Jun 19, 2012

Windows 7 PC won't Sleep automatically - An audio stream is currently in use

My Windows 7 64 bit PC (A Dell XPS 420) had been working just fine with sleep mode - going to Sleep after the specified period of time, waking with no problems, even waking automatically for my Windows Home Server backups.

But recently it would not automatically go to sleep.  I did swap out some different hard drives recently but nothing that should have messed with the BIOS or Sleep settings.  So I've been troubleshoot this issue quite a bit.  I did find a nice checklist of things on this page.  I'd suggest going over those basic tasks first. However mine was a little more complicated.

First, launch a Command Prompt window using the "Run as administrator" option. (Search for "cmd", right-click and select "Run as administrator".)

Then run this command:   powercfg -requests

What this will do is tell you any programs or devices that are currently preventing the system from entering sleep mode. In my case, it reported that my audio device was causing the issue. The message was "An audio stream is currently in use."  This could be caused by something as simple as a web browse that has some Flash content in it.  See screenshot...

So now that you know what is preventing Sleep mode, you need to tell the power management system to ignore that device and go ahead and enter Sleep mode anyway.  In my case, it was my audio card called "High Definition Audio Device".  Yours will vary - it might mention Creative Labs, SoundMax, RealTek, etc. Or it might be a totally different device all together (network card, mouse, keyboard, etc.).  You'll need to specify that exact same name in the following command.

For me, the command was:   powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "High Definition Audio Device" SYSTEM

Now that I've told the power management system to ignore any audio streams opened by that device, it goes to sleep without any problems.

(If this helps to solve your issue, why not throw me a bone and click on an ad or two? Thanks!)


Don said...

I'm having the exact problem where my PC stop going to sleep mode automatically recently. Tried disabling all the sound device and sleep mode works perfectly.

I tried the command for ignoring sound device, but it doesn't work. Could you give me some advice please.

image of my CMD

Jason Hartman said...

Hi Don,
I checked your screenshot and it appears to be correct. Not sure why that didn't fix it. I'd suggest having a look at some of the other steps from this article to see if it's something else ...


Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried going into the Start Menu and Right click, select Properties for 'Taskbar and Start Menu Properties' and Select 'Sleep' for the Power Button Action. Worked for me after trying everything else.'Sleeps like a Dream'

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion to use the powercfg -requests command! On mine it was the same issue, the audio stream in use. I recently plugged an extension cable into the Mic In port on the sound card. I unplugged the Mic extension cable and ran the powercfg -requests again, and it was clear. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Exact same issue on my brand new XPS!
Your tip worked a treat.

Jonathan Holman said...

Hi Jason,

I have used the 'run as administrator' and in command prompt received the following responses:

As this appears to be the case that I do not have any Audio running in the background, what else could be preventing the sleep function to not be working?

Currently what happens, is that the sleep function goes to sleep but immediately turns itself back on.

Any advice would be welcome...more bones will be thrown (:))

TL said...

When I run the powercfg-requests, all the items come up as "none".

So what might be the problem and/or where can I find the problem if it's not reporting anything that's waking it up?

Adam Petramala said...

You got me all fixed up! Thanks for the help.

Dr. Tom said...

Anonymous is exactly right about right clicking either on the Start icon or when hovering over the "all programs" link and changing the power button from shut down to sleep. I love it when the simplest answer works! Like making sure your monitor is plugged in when the picture goes out. Common things are common and the basics come first.

Daniel said...

Love you!

daniel@skrutt ~
[DRIVER] Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM) (PCI\VEN_1102&DEV_0005&SUBSYS_10031102&REV_00\4&1b02cb0b&0&20F0)
An audio stream is currently in use.

I was slightly fooled by the (WDM) part of the string at first

$ powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM)" SYSTEM

u luv my softie homoies said...

I tried you remedy as well however the system says none under all three. This is strange because after a windows update and a reboot a while back my computer again would go to sleep after not working for awhile before. I am pretty sure that some application or malware his causing this but idk. Just keep troubleshooting it i suppose.

Anonymous said...

After updating drivers and overriding requests which didn't work at all I disabled Chrome running as background application. My Windows 7 machine is now able to sleep.

Anonymous said...

After reading about Chrome being the issue for another user, I started investigating that path. Looks like "Google Voice" extension in Chrome was keeping the audio stream open. Now maybe it will sleep like it used to...

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I've been having this issue for the past week or so and following the steps shown has resolved it.

Clayton Smith said...

- Worked for me.
- It was Chrome's Google Voice extension as well.
- Ads clicked.
- Bones thrown.

Ognjen said...

I followed Jason's instruction and it worked fine. However, it brought me another problem: Now, the computer goes to sleep mode even when the music is playing on Windows Media Player. :(

So, now I need another advice. How can I cancel this command: powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "High Definition Audio Device" SYSTEM??
What do I need to type to cancel that command and to bring the settings on my PC to the previous position?

Thanks in advance, I really need this piece of advice.

Anonymous said...

Thank You! For me it works!

Anonymous said...

yup, it was the Google Voice Chrome extension for me too!

Mark C said...

Thank you SO much! I just googled the problem and got me to your site which identified the problem as Google Voice Chrome Extension. Easy fix and I really appreicate it greatly.

Anonymous said...

Rather that the Google Voice extension for chrome, my problem was coming from the Google chat widget built into my wife's iGoogle page. Disabling the chat widget solved the problem.

Anonymous said...

to OGgjin:

powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "High Definition Audio Device"

in commmand prompt will remove the override

to all with audio preventing sleep, check your microphone and playback devices (listen to this device for me was on)

CK said...

Wow thanks bro, didn´t know this problem would be that easy to solve. I tried using the exact title at first, didn´t work. Even though it was `SoundMax HD high definition digital audio bla bla bla..` This did nothing for me. Typing the exact thing listed in the blog, powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "High Definition Audio Device" SYSTEM, worked however.

Anyways, hope this helps out some other people. Good tip! Ads clicked!

jasonpf1123 said...

windows 7 64 home premium user here. i've been having this problem since i bought black ops 2 on steam. been about a month now and couldn't find an answer. guess what this article just solved it for me. enter the command prompt as he has it and it will work. my frustrations are over. thank you thank you.

chris said...

Thank you, it worked! Is this a permanent fix or will it have to be redone each time the computer is restarted? Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I had the same thing happen to me 2 days ago. The requests override did not work. Two days ago, I started to record some audio cassettes. I plugged in to my audio card's line input and then had to enable the line in for the Realtek High Defination Audio plug that I found in the recording tab for Sound in the control panel.

Once I went back and disabled it, the audio stream in use went away.

The tip off was when I clicked on the speaker icon, I had some additional mixer boxes that I never saw before. That then lead me back to the enabling that I did to make it where I could record my cassettes.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thing happen to me 2 days ago. The requests override did not work. Two days ago, I started to record some audio cassettes. I plugged in to my audio card's line input and then had to enable the line in for the Realtek High Defination Audio plug that I found in the recording tab for Sound in the control panel.

Once I went back and disabled it, the audio stream in use went away.

The tip off was when I clicked on the speaker icon, I had some additional mixer boxes that I never saw before. That then lead me back to the enabling that I did to make it where I could record my cassettes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this - it was really ticking me off that this laptop would not go into sleep mode. I used the powercfg -requests and found two sound items that were keeping it from entering sleep. I went into the sound menu shut down all the microphones-I can reopen them if I ever need them and I figured out that the system was trying to run two sound systems - I shutdown the one that I don't use. Now it goes into sleep with no effort

Moomelon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moomelon said...

This fix works for my new Win 8 PC but only until the next reboot.

Is there a way to write the powercfg command into a startup script?

Many thanks for a good fix to a terrible bug that was keeping me awake at night (not just my PC!).


Jonny said...

for people that are not seeing anything in the cmd screen, you need to run something like a youtube video, then you will see something there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this, it really helped me out.

Cliff said...

I liked the suggestion by anonymous to check for lines that the audio manager is "listening to." I found that it was monitoring an input jack. I disabled that and powercfg no longer reported that an audio stream was in use. For me, that was preferable to the bigger-hammer approach of telling the system to ignore the device.

Orestes P said...

It worked for me too. Thank you very much.

Gavin Adams said...

Thanks Jason, this was helpful. I've been struggling with this for the past couple of years. Previously it was only related to a couple apps that I used infrequently, such a VideoLAN Client. Since then more apps have started to leave these audio streams active.

Made the change and it allowed my system to sleep w/o having to track down errant processes.

sanam arzoo said...

Great information. Thanks for providing us such a useful information. Keep up the good work and continue providing us more quality information from time to time. If possible, as you obtain skills, would you thoughts upgrading your website with additional information Audio System

Unknown said...

Thanks much. Problem was finally tracked to the Realtek driver for the Asus MB. New driver fixed it.

Anonymous said...

I cant belive no one asked. how to tell if it worked?

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem. Using powercfg -requests this always showed despite overriding the requests with that powercfg option.
Mobo: Intel DH55HC w/Realtek audio.

powercfg -requests >


[DRIVER] Realtek High Definition Audio (HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_10EC&DEV_0888&SUBSYS_80860037&REV_1002\4&29b2d71f&0&0001)
An audio stream is currently in use.


I was using the drivers that Intel provides, latest versions. Finally I gave up and downloaded this -


from Realtek's site and now the problem is fixed. The only time I now see a request is when the sound is actually being used.

Anonymous said...

I had the Audio Stream issue, this was 3rd time lucky, on trying to find why the PC wouldn't sleep.
Screen would turn off, but not physically sleep.
Fixed. Thanks

The Doctor's Companion said...

no idea what's going on, but i unplugged my speakers and mic, then ran the driver override. when i checked the requests through powercfg, it still said an audio stream was in use! what bollocks is this?

Anonymous said...

Thanks man!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Bill Gannon said...

Took the powercfg step with no luck. Took the additional step of removing the driver provided by Microsoft, and installed the most recent one (older) from the computer mfr. (Acer). Voila!

Anonymous said...

You`re the man, thanks a bunch!

To summarize for anybody still having problems:

1. Make sure you run the cmd as admin

and more importantly:

2. Make sure you have audio playing while checking!

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Rich B said...

I get this in Windows 10 because of a Chrome extension: sound on click
It only took me 6 hours to isolate this :-)
Regardless of whether I'm running the Chrome browser or not, this manifests itself as an open audio stream. If I disable the extension, I sleep fine. FWIW, I have a Realtek audio "card".
Very annoying. I'm reluctant to bypass the problem, so I simply disabled the extension. Too bad -- I like navigational sounds.
Hopefully, this will help someone else.

Clay Townsend said...

Well, the command line override worked...now the system looks good and reports to be working perfectly...BUT...NO SOUND...haha! Any ideas anyone???

Clay Townsend said...

Problem solved. I had to completely remove the driver, reboot the system, then reinstall the driver again. Works fine now.

Also note for anyone else who has this problem: make sure to go into your device manager and get the correct full name of the driver. For example, "high definition audio device" will not work for all systems. Mine for example was "Realtek High Definition Audio".

Anonymous said...

Worked perfectly...
Great tip.


Boby 15991 said...

This might work:
powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "High Definition Audio Device" SYSTEM
This did not work:
powercfg -REQUESTSOVERRIDE DRIVER "Realtek .... High Definition Audio Device..." SYSTEM (putting everything that came back from first powercfg did not work)

Ray said...

Hello all,

In my case,it was a Gadget (yeah, yeah, I know) causing the problem. A spectrum analyzer that for whatever reason opened an audio stream. It served no real purpose, so I chucked it. Computer sleeps as it should now..automatically.

Just so everyone knows, I DID use the fix in the article and it did indeed work, but as others have stated, I wanted to discover the actual cause of the trouble, not do an end run around it.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

this has helped me so many time on different computer
+++ search longtimed before i found the easy solution you had


Big thanks

Anonymous said...

Your blog helped me a lot and I finally found what was the problem on my computer.

By running the command "powercfg -requests" multiple times, I identified that Google Chrome was blocking the sleep mode.
Then I decided to close tabs of Google Chrome one by one (and always running the command) and I found 2 tabs causing the problem of "An audio stream is currently in use" :
- one tab was a website that can use sound but was not playing sound
- one tab was gmail with a parameter activated about notification for incoming email
So I closed the bad website and I changed the parameter of gmail !

Now I'm so happy that my computer is going to sleep mode.
Thanks a lot !!

PS : I think the google chrome team should modify the way they block the audio stream.

Hope this help !

Anonymous said...

...REQUESTSOVERRIDE... worked fine. Thanks

lapsmith said...

Thanks, it worked for me. It was the same high definition audio device! Ad has been visited in appreciation:-)

Anonymous said...

Seems like your taking the credit from the Microsoft team's post here:


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