If you’re struggling with high CPU or disk usage, you might have turned to the Windows Task Manager to uncover the culprit. If you notice Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation spiking or staying at a consistently high CPU usage value, it’s time to dive into the problem to find a solution. The name alone might not mean much at first, but it’s an issue many others have faced and overcome.
Once you figure out the cause, you’ll see your CPU or disk usage go back to more normal levels.
What Is Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation?
It sounds very cryptic, doesn’t it? From the name alone you can derive that it’s something to do with the computer’s audio. Past that, however, it’s hard to tell what exactly this process does.
This process is mostly aimed toward developers creating drivers that can interact with the computer’s sound and to add additional effects. Because this will affect all sounds coming from the computer, they have to talk to Window’s audio service.
To aid with this, Microsoft isolated a part of their audio service into a separate process, which is Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation. Having a separate service from Window’s core process means that a crashing third-party audio driver won’t take out the entire operating system with it. It also supplies tools to aid with DRM.
Fixing the Issues
Now that we know what the process does, we can apply what we learned to fix it, should it go out of control.
Disabling Sound Effects
Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation was created to handle additional sound enhancements on your PC. Therefore, if we disable the PC’s ability to play sound enhancements, this may solve the problem. This is especially useful if you have zero desire to use sound enhancements on your PC. Note that this isn’t the same as disabling the computer’s sound – it’s just disabling the ability to add fancy effects to it, such as an echo.
To disable all sound enhancements, first right-click the speaker symbol in your tray, then click Sounds.
Select the Playback tab, and you’ll see a list of different ways your computer can output sound. Find the default device your PC uses to output sound. You can tell which this is because it’s labelled as “Default Device,” and the green bar to the right will light up as you play sounds on your PC.
Right-click this and click “Properties” or click on it and click the “Properties” button below.
In the window that pops up, go to the “Enhancements” tab. You’ll see a list of sound effects you can apply to your sound. Of course, we’re not here to use these – we’re here to turn them off! At the top, you should see an option to disable all sound effects. Check this and OK out of all windows.
This tells Windows you don’t want any additional sound effects, which should put a little less strain on the audio device graph isolation process.
If you don’t see an Enhancements tab, you may need to update the driver for your default sound device, such as Realtek.
Reinstall Audio Drivers
If this doesn’t do the job, the problem might not be with the sound effects. Instead, it might be with the audio driver that handles these effects.
To solve this, first download the current version of your audio drivers. You can do this from your PC manufacturer’s site. Alternatively, you can find the model of your motherboard and search for audio drivers associated with it.
Once done, you can either install these straight away (follow any instructions included with the download) and see if it solves the problem or do a “clean sweep” of the drivers to ensure nothing from the old driver installs interferes.
To do a clean sweep, expand “Sound, video and game controllers,” right-click your audio driver, and click Uninstall.
In the pop-up that appears, check the box that asks if you want to delete your drivers and click OK.
Restart the PC. Windows will likely install audio drivers for you, but if you want to be absolutely sure you’re installing the best drivers for your PC, you can manually install them with the drivers you downloaded earlier.
If this fixes the issue, but you start having Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation problems again, a Windows update might have changed the driver. Repeat the process above to install your chosen driver.
Check for a Virus
If neither of the above options work, it might be a case of a virus disguising itself as the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation process to perform its nasty deeds. In order to make sure you don’t have a virus on your hands, right-click the “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” process and click “Open file location.”
A folder will open. Check the file path for the folder. If it’s in System32, there’s a good chance it’s not a virus.
If it’s anywhere else, or if you’re still suspicious that a virus could be the problem, perform a full virus scan with your trusted antivirus solution immediately.
With such a cryptic name as Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation, it’s hard to know how to troubleshoot problems with it. Now, however, you know what the process does, what areas of Windows it uses, and thus, how to control it should it go awry.
Did the above work for you? Let us know below.