Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation. Wow, what a mouthful, yeah? Somebody once told me he wanted to stop the process just because of the name.
Well, after reading this article, you should be able to see why you shouldn’t try to stop the process because I’ll be explaining exactly what it does, why it is important, and what to do (without trying to remove it) when the process has issues like high CPU usage.
What The “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” Is & What It Does
Maybe you were looking for something else on your task manager and you came across the process and was interested in knowing what it did.
Or maybe you noticed your computer wasn’t performing as optimal as before. Whatever your reasons are of finding out what the process above does, you’ll find all your answers here.
The first thing you should know is that the process is an official and legit process. Of course, the term Windows in the name should have given that away. But yes, it is totally a legit process.
The “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” is different from the Windows Audio Service. It is the default go-to audio engine for Windows 10 users.
What does It do?
The process is responsible for features like the prone to crashing DSP (Digital Signal Processing) which also involves the support of the new audio enhancement effects that Windows now offer.
Because the process above is different from the Windows Audio Service, there is room for hardware developers to also add their own version of an audio improvement service by swapping out the process above for theirs.
They won’t even need to change the Windows Audio Service. This ensures better stability across the board.
What the developers are trying to achieve is a situation where Windows Audio Service does not crash often and that the crashes are contained instead of affecting the entire system.
So when third party apps can use the audio service without using Windows Audio Service, it reduces the risk of crashes and makes possible the stability that I talked about before.
Does “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” Take Too Much CPU Resources?
Normally, it does not. The process if it’s running properly should use about 0-1% of your CPU resources, it should also use quite little of your memory and none of your disk space.
Whenever the process is in use, you might probably notice a spike in its use of CPU resources but after a while, the spike should come back down and it should be down to normal.
But the problem is when you notice that the spike isn’t coming down. It is just going up or maintaining that really high CPU usage.
When you notice this, then there must be something wrong somewhere.
There might be issues with the “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” process itself or maybe other factors are affecting it.
I’ll explain how to fix the issues below so that the process CPU usage will go back to normal.
Can’t I Just Disable The Process Instead Of Trying To Fix It?
Like my friend that wanted to remove it because of the long name, other folks feel like just disabling the process maybe because of the issues. Don’t do it, the gain is minimal and the loss is huge.
Yes, the process can be disabled but disabling it also means disabling the Windows Audio Service too.
Basically means you won’t have audio at all on your system if you disable it. I’m sure that’s not something you’re willing to live without. So I’m going to recommend you not try disabling it.
Even if you try disabling it or ending the process through the task manager, Windows will automatically direct you to the troubleshooting tool instead because of the importance of the process to system functionality.
Fixing The Issue Of “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” High CPU Resources Usage
There are a few tips you can carry out to ensure that the process’s CPU usage comes back to normal.
The idea is that you can use any of the tips below and you should use the next one if the one you used didn’t get rid of the issue.
Before using the tips below, I will suggest you check if the process exhibiting high CPU usage in your taskbar is actually the legit “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” process and not malware/virus posing as the process.
It is a known fact that viruses and harmful processes masquerade as legit ones to avoid detection. To find out if the process is legit, follow the steps below.
Checking The Process’s File Path
What you’re basically doing here is checking the file path of the process and comparing it to the one I’m going to give you.
If the file paths match, then the process is legit. If the file paths don’t match, you’re in a bit of a pickle, my friend. Chances are, your system has been infiltrated.
What you have to do is first open your task manager (do that by using the shortcut keys Ctrl + Alt + Del).
Then find “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” and right-click on it.
In the list of options that appear, click on Open File Location.
The normal file location should be a – Windows\System32 folder.
Now check the file location the process took you to. If it matches the above, you’re good to go and you can continue with the fixes below.
If it doesn’t match, then you have quite an issue on your system and you need to use a solid Antivirus software and anti-malware software to get rid of all the issues on your system.
What To Do Next?
If you found out that it’s a legit process using the tip I explained above and the high CPU usage issue is still occurring, then follow the tips below to help reduce it.
Disabling Sound Effects To Reduce CPU Resources Usage
Remember when I said the process is responsible for all of the audio enhancements and special effects on your system?
Well, now that the process is giving issues, you might want to disable all the sound effects and just use the normal sound feature.
Gamers might not really like this tip because gaming is more fun with the extra effects in sound so if you’re into gaming sessions, I’ll suggest you use other tips before considering this one.
But if you’re willing to let go of all the extra sound effects, then follow the steps below.
How To Disable
Using the search bar, search for the Control Panel.
When the search results come back, click on the Control Panel to open that menu.
When the menu opens, switch your view to Large Icons. Now search for and click on the Sound option.
When the Sound menu opens, you’ll get to see all your playback devices.
Go to your system Speakers and right-click on it. Then click on Properties in the list of options that appear.
In the Properties menu, click on the Enhancements tab.
There will be an empty checkbox next to the Disable All Sound Effects option. Check that box. Or if you have an “Enable all enhancement” checkbox, uncheck it.
To save the changes made, click on the Apply option just close to the bottom of your screen.
Carrying Out The Same Process On All Your Playback Devices
Now go back to the Sound menu where you found all your playback devices, choose another one, and carry out the same process that you carried out on your Speakers (disabling all sound effects).
Restart your computer when you have made sure that none of your playback devices use the sound effects feature.
This should help reduce the high CPU usage issue that the “Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation” process is exhibiting.
Updating Drivers To Help Fix The High CPU Usage Issue
Outdated drivers cause issues in many processes and this process is no different.
You can experience high CPU usage just because your audio drivers are outdated. Just follow the steps below to update your outdated drivers and this should help fix your issue.
Open a Run Box (do that by using the shortcut keys Windows + R).
In the run box, type in this text – devmgmt.msc and click on OK. This should take you to the Device Manager menu.
In the menu, go to the Sound, Video & Game Controllers option and click on the icon that looks like an arrow to open the option.
In the menu that opens up, right-click on the Audio Driver option and select Update Driver.
Then the next thing to do is select Search Automatically For Updated Driver Software.
Windows will do the rest. Find updates and install updates to your audio drivers.
This should help get rid of the issues plaguing your system.
Uninstalling & Reinstalling Your Audio Drivers
If the above doesn’t work, you can go further, totally uninstall and delete the audio drivers and then reinstall them back.
The process is very similar to the Updating Drivers to the above.
Use the same methods I already described above to get to the Sound, Video & Game Controllers menu.
Right-click on your Sound Card Device’s Name in the menu above and click on the Uninstall option.
You will see an option for Deleting The Driver Software For This Device. Click the empty checkbox next to it.
Select Uninstall again to continue the process.
When you’re done, restarting your computer should make Windows reinstall your audio drivers again and that can get rid of bugs in your audio drivers.
This could help in getting rid of the high CPU usage disturbing the process above.
Uninstalling Skype (And Reinstalling It Back If You Want)
Some users have reported that uninstalling Skype has helped them solve the high CPU usage issue. So it might be worth a punt for you.
Follow the navigation below
Settings > Apps
Then in the Apps menu, find the Skype app. Click on it to expand the view.
Then select the Uninstall option that just appeared as you expanded the view.
Continue with the Uninstallation process until it’s done. Then check if the high CPU usage issue has been solved.
Reinstall the Skype app if you want by going to the Skype official website and following the instructions that will be provided on-screen.
The Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation process is a vital part of your audio system process so it is a no on disabling the process.
You can always use the tips above if it is exhibiting some errors or issues like the high CPU usage problem.
You should also note that it is more likely to be problems with other processes or programs that will cause the high CPU usage problem.
Have you experienced issues with the process? How did you solve it?
Please share with everyone using the comment section below.