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Windows 10 Update Breaks Start Menu, Game Audio: What to Do Now

As the famous quote goes, nothing is certain but death, taxes and a slew of bugs following a Windows 10 update. We've got a double-feature in store for you on this episode of "What's wrong with the latest version of Windows?" Following that strange orange mode issue (now resolved) is a bug that affects the Windows 10 start menu and another that breaks PC audio when a game is being played. 

Windows 10 Start Menu and search bug

We'll start with an issue that renders the start menu and search function unusable after installing the latest cumulative update for Windows 10 version 1903. Microsoft acknowledged the problem, posting a notice to its "Known issues and notifications" page on Sept 11.

"Microsoft has received reports that some users are having issues related to the Start menu and Windows Desktop Search," Microsoft writes. 

The bug doesn't affect every user on build 18362.356, but those who are unlucky enough to run into the problem won't be able to use the Start Menu and search function and might even receive an error message stating, "Your Start Menu isn't working. We'll try to fix it the next time you sign in." For its part, Microsoft says it is currently "investigating and will provide an update when more information is available."

Windows 10 in-game audio issues

A separate bug, caused by a Sept 10 patch for the May 2019 Update (version 1903), is doing some strange things to people's PC audio when they're playing games like Apex Legends, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Overwatch. Numerous Redditors have complained about various in-game sound issues, from reduced bass to low volume output. The thread tying them together is that the problems arise after the Reddit users installed the latest Windows 10 update.  

"After finally updating the latest Windows 10 update yesterday, the volume has decreased by a lot and it's close to no sound," one Reddit user wrote. "I've reinstalled and updated all the necessary sound/headset drivers, both manually and also in Device Manager. I've tested and tried uninstalling some audio drivers, and it's still the same. The volume bar hasn't changed, it remains at 40% which I've always used, but the volume has gone very low."

Microsoft has not acknowledged this problem, but there appears to be a fix that doesn't require you to roll back Windows 10 to a prior update. As Windows Latest points out, the audio problems vanish when you change the Windows Audio format to 16-bit (down from 24 bit).

To do so, right-click the sound icon in the taskbar on the bottom-right corner of your screen then select "Open sound settings." From there, select "Sound control panel" under the "Related settings" heading. Right-click the default speakers on the playback tab (you might see Realtek audio). Select "Properties" and go to the "Advanced" tab. Now use the drop-down box to change your audio output to 16 bit. 

If you're not willing to sacrifice audio quality, then we suggest reverting to an earlier version of Windows 10 by going to Settings>Windows Update>View update history>Uninstall updates. 

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.