“The device is being used by another application” error is a rather common video and audio issue occurring on Windows devices. It is often related to an HDMI connection (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and can come up when you are using a digital camera projector, monitor, or TV. The error message doesn’t seem to be related to any particular software or device. Even so, it is quite common for all Windows users.

So, what causes the “device is being used by another application” error? There can be many reasons behind this issue. However, in a lot of cases, it is related to corrupted audio drivers and other files that have been incorrectly installed on your PC.

Now, what can you do to get rid of the problem? Multiple fixes can be applied here like rolling back some software updates or, on the contrary, installing the latest ones. You may also want to update your system drivers and disable excluding application control. Below, we will look into solving the error in more detail.

How to Fix “The Device Is Being Used by Another Application” Error on Windows 10?

Once you get “the device is being used by another application” error, you will see this message:

“The device is being used by another application. Please close any devices that are playing audio to this device and then try again.”

The error message will stop you from running the application normally and you won’t be able to use your audio devices like microphones, speakers, headphones, etc. Naturally, this can be a big problem — and you will certainly want to get rid of the error right away.

Unfortunately, the error message itself doesn’t provide any information on how this issue can be solved. Luckily, we have a few ideas. Here are several fixes we suggest you try to get rid of the problem:

  • Restarting the audio device
  • Reverting your audio drivers to the previous version
  • Updating your drivers
  • Disabling exclusive application control

Now, let’s go over each of these methods in a bit more detail. Try each solution by following the steps below. If the first solution you try doesn’t work, simply move on to the next one. Let’s get started.

Fix One: Restart Audio Service

Restarting your audio service can fix the problem in just a few simple steps:

  • Use the Win+R key combo on your keyboard to launch Run.
  • Type in “services.msc” (no quotes) to open the Windows Services window.
  • Double-click Windows Audio.
  • Under Service status, click the Stop button.
  • When the service has stopped, click Start.
  • When the service starts up again, click OK.

If this doesn’t help solve the error on your PC, try the next fix.

Fix Two: Revert Your Audio Drivers to the Previous Version

  • Launch Run.
  • Type in “devmgmt.msc” (no quotes) and press Enter to bring up the Device Manager.
  • Find Sound, Video and Game Controllers and expand them.
  • Right-click your primary audio device.
  • Select Properties from the context menu.
  • Go to the Driver tab.
  • Select the Roll Back Driver option, then click OK.

Check if the error has been resolved. If not, move on to the next solution.

Fix Three: Updated Your Drivers

Outdated or corrupt drivers can be causing a lot of issues on your PC. So, if you are running into errors like “the device is being used by another application,” try updating your drivers to their latest available versions. Here’s how;

  • On your keyboard, use the Windows key + X key combo to bring up the Power User menu.
  • Select Device Manager from the list.
  • Find the Sound, Video and Game Controllers items and expand them.
  • Right-click your sound driver and then select Update Driver.
  • Select the ‘Search automatically download and install drivers for you’ option.
  • Next, restart Windows.

Note that if Windows can’t locate the needed drivers, you will need to do this manually. This means that you must head to the manufacturer’s website to find, download, and install the latest available driver versions. If you’ve never don’t this before, this process can be quite time-consuming and complicated. What’s more, if you install an incompatible driver, this can lead to even bigger issues for your system.

However, there is another way you can go about updating your drivers. You can do it automatically with the help of specialized software. This will make things much quicker and will also help you eliminate all associated risks. For this, you can use a program like Auslogics Driver Updater. Once installed, it will run a check of your system for outdated drivers. If any are located, Driver Updater will update them automatically to the latest available versions.

If you want to use Auslogics Driver Updater to update your drivers, you just need to do the following:

  • First, go to Auslogics Driver Updater’s official page.
  • Download the software.
  • Follow the prompts of the installation wizard.
  • Once the program has been successfully installed, go to Scan for Driver Issues.
  • Driver Updater will then scan your system to locate any outdated or faulty drivers.
  • If any such drivers are found, you will receive an update.
  • Next, press the Update Drivers button.
  • There you go — your drivers will be updated with no risk of anything going wrong.
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Unstable PC performance is often caused by outdated or corrupt drivers. Auslogics Driver Updater diagnoses driver issues and lets you update old drivers all at once or one at a time to get your PC running smoother

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Once you’ve made all the necessary updates, check if you are still running into the same problem. If you are, try the next fix.

Fix Four: Disable Exclusive Application Control

Disabling excluding application control can also be effective in getting rid of the error. Here’s how to proceed:

  • On your taskbar, right-click the speaker icon.
  • From the context menu, select Open Volume Mixer.
  • In the Volume Mixer dialog box, you will see all your applications that are currently using audio devices.
  • Note down these applications.
  • Use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combo on your keyboard to launch Task Manager.
  • In Task Manager, under the processes tab, locate the applications that you’ve noted down from the Volume Mixer dialog box.
  • Terminate these applications.
  • Next, right-click the speaker icon again to open the context menu.
  • Here, select Sounds.
  • Navigate to Playback.
  • Choose your default audio device.
  • Click Properties.
  • In the Advanced tab, uncheck the box next to the “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” option.
  • Click OK to confirm and restart your PC.

There you have it. We hope you now have several workable ideas for how to remove “the device is being used by another application” error message. At least one of the methods above should resolve the problem.

Which fix has worked the best for you? Please share in the comments below.