Which Realtek Audio driver Should You Install? [2023 Guide]

Realtek HDA Driver is the best audio driver for Windows 10 64-bit PC. The sound driver helps control sound, Dolby, and DTS sound systems on your PC. Users need this driver to deliver sound while working on the computer. 

But, the problem is;

There are two Realtek drivers available on the internet. Realtek HD Universal Driver (42MB) and Realtek High Definition Audio Driver (277MB).

So, how to determine the HDA Realtek driver needed for your Audio?

To check the type of Realtek driver you need to install on your PC, Go to your Motherboard’s Manufacturer site, and search for the Audio driver for your system. Make sure to download the suggested and latest audio driver for your chipset.


Keep reading, As I’m about to shed some light on this complicated issue so that you can easily detect Realtek High definition audio driver on your PC, install it, and update the drivers to its latest version.

Quickly find out what happens when you uninstall Realtek HD Audio Manager.

Which Realtek driver do You need?

Install the Realtek High Definition Universal Driver for your Windows 7/8/10. The universal driver is recommended for users who update their Windows OS to the latest version (Windows 10 RS3 or above). It doesn’t matter whether the file size of the universal driver is less than the HDA driver. 


The Realtek Audio Console Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app from the Microsoft store requires a Universal Audio Driver and it does not work with a Traditional Realtek High Definition Audio legacy drivers or nonUAD driver.

Seems complicated right?

It won’t be complicated for you once you read the whole post. You might get confused with the audio console of Realtek. For that, quickly check out the comparison post between Realtek Audio Console Vs Realtek HD Audio Manager.

Visit Realtek’s official page and you will see two Realtek drivers. One is the Realtek HD Universal Driver and the other is the Realtek High Definition Audio Driver. Also, the page suggests downloading Nahimic 2 or 3.

You might ask:

Is Nahimic necessary?

Nahimic is for users who want to play games with more bass, more equalizing pieces of stuff, etc. It is not mandatory to install Nahimic along with Realtek drivers. But, if you want to control sound levels with advanced options inside any game, Nahimic is the best software to use.


Since July 26th, 2017, Realtek hasn’t made any changes to its software, but it changed its user interface. You will now find five file types based on the Keyword Audio in the search bar.

Are those drivers necessary? And which Realtek driver works the best for your PC?
Keep reading to find out.

Realtek is a simple platform for delivering the best quality sound to users. In most cases, you won’t hear any audio from your PC  just because of some missing drivers. Although your speakers are working perfectly fine, if your computer has no sound, your next step must be to update the sound driver.

There are five file types for Realtek audio. To know which file type is for you, open up your computer case and see the numbers that correspond with the Realtek sound card model and the version of Windows. Then, download the suitable file.

If any of the files are bothering your taskbar, quickly check out how to remove Realtek HD audio manager from the taskbar.

Pretty Annoying, Right?

Instead, go to your Motherboard’s manufacturer support page and check for the audio card model number. Normally, ALC888S-VD, ALC892 or ALC898  file types work best for most Realtek-supported sound cards.

Still, facing problems?

Visit Realtek’s official website and select the Windows OS of your PC.

Do I need to install Realtek High Definition Audio Manager?

If you are not facing any sound issues on your PC then there is no need to install HDA manager. It means that your Motherboard’s sound card supports other manufacturers’ drivers other than Realtek. HDA Manager is not a mandatory driver for running your PC audio properly.

You can install the sound drivers if you want. It won’t harm your computer. Realtek Audio Manager is like a control panel for the audio adapters. It automatically detects newly added devices like Headphones, Speakers, Built-in Monitor Speakers, and Microphone.

It is always wise to use drivers from the mfg of the motherboard. Realtek HD Audio Control Panel may not function properly if not using a driver from the manufacture themselves. Try to reset realtek hd audio manager if the software malfunctions.

In short:
It’s not mandatory to install the Realtek HD Audio Manager but it assists a lot if you have it on your PC.

How to check Realtek audio driver version Windows 10

Audio cards are not available on every computer. However, this card is in-built into the motherboard these days. If your motherboard doesn’t have an audio card, then you can use an external audio card and plug it onto your motherboard. 

Find out how to enable front panel in realtek hd audio manager.

Each of the audio cards needs an audio driver to control. Without the driver, your computer cannot provide a command to the sound card what to play on the speakers.

It is exactly like a classroom where a teacher is needed to control the class. If there aren’t any teachers, students will be clueless about what to do next.

Realtek drivers can be used if the motherboard supports Realtek audio cards.

Here are the steps to check the Realtek HDA driver version on Windows:

  1. Press the Windows Key + X button and click on Device Manager.
  2. Select Sound, Game, and Video Controllers.
  3. Navigate to Realtek(R) Audio and double-click to analyze the details of the driver.
  4. Open the Realtek(R) Audio Properties window and click on the Driver tab to check the Driver Version.


Realtek Audio Driver Windows 10 Download

Realtek is the universal audio driver for Windows 10 64-bit PC. You will see a lot of file types when you visit their official websites. Quickly check out our separate post if Realtek HD Audio manager wont open.


Let me explain the differences between each file type as they appear. You can then choose between them.

  1. Realtek HD Audio Driver: It is an additional driver that comes along for configuring sound options. The driver comes as an executable file so it can be installed with ease. Check out  our latest post to fix Realtek HD audio manager popping up issue.
  2. Driver only (Executable file): It is the audio driver that allows your sound to work. The file won’t deliver any optional program for configuring volume and effects. You must use the default Windows 10 volume slider if you install this driver. The file comes in an executable, which means you can install the driver with one click.
  3. Driver only (ZIP File): This file is the same as the previous one. The only difference is that it comes in a ZIP file. You have to decompress the files and find an alternative way to install the driver. I don’t recommend downloading this file as for most users it just adds unnecessary headaches.
  4.  Realtek High Definition Audio Drivers: This latest Realtek audio driver is a legacy driver for Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP. You don’t need this.


Question: How to fix the Headset mic not recognized problem on Windows 10?

Answer: Installing the Universal Realtek Sound Driver might not be suitable for some PCs. In that case, the Realtek USB microphone driver is the best solution to fix the headset mic not recognized issue.

Question: Should I install the Realtek Audio driver on my laptop?
Answer: There is no need to install Realtek sound drivers on Laptop if the speakers are working perfectly fine. There is no way that the installed driver will improve sound quality.

Question: Does installing Realtek audio drivers improve sound?

Answer: Audio drivers like Realtek don’t improve sound quality. It just acts as a  control panel to provide sound to your speakers.

Final Words

If you want to fix only sound issues, pick the Driver only (executable file). If you are looking for additional programs like sound effects, get the Realtek HD Audio/Sound Driver or, install Nahimic. The third and fourth options shouldn’t be a headache for you as these are designed for computers with older specs.