Here we go again. The timeline is a bit messy, so try to stay with us on this one. Microsoft released a Windows update last week to fix a bug from a previous patch that was causing unexpected CPU spikes, killing users’ performance on their desktops and laptops. This patch came with some annoying bugs of its own, which Microsoft (and other users) are now attempting to address.
The first security update, KB4515384, fixed the CPU-spiking problem, but it added a few extra issues of its own. These included breaking the Start-Menu Search feature—giving you a big screen of nothing instead of answers when you searched for items—and causing some unexpected audio issues in various games.
Microsoft has since rolled back the change that caused gamers’ sound to mysteriously disappear, dramatically decrease in volume, or lose bass (to name a few outcomes). It has also posted an update to provide some advice for what gamers can do to resolve any issues they’re experiencing:
“To mitigate the issue, open settings in the impacted game and disable multi-channel audio, if this option is available. You can also search in the Windows Control Panel for third-party audio device control panels and disable Multi-channel audio or Virtual Surround Sound, if these options are available. We are working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in late September.”
Other potential fixes found by those afflicted include dropping your sample rate (on the Advanced tab of your speaker or headphone properties window), uninstalling the KB4515384 entirely (via Windows Update > View update history), or even disabling all sound effects under the “Enhancements” tab of your speaker or headphone properties.
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As for the Window Search issue—the other biggie—Reddit user CptBrian posted a potential workaround that might be able to get you up and running again:
“I just had the blank Search issue after installing 1903, but I fixed it with a simple registry edit.
Basically just change CortanaConsent’s value from 0 to 1. This may require reboot or logout.”
You can also try running through Microsoft’s generic advice for fixing Windows Search issues. However, I’m willing to bet that these simpler troubleshooting tips probably won’t do you much good.
If you don’t find any success, you can always uninstall the update (as previously mentioned) and make sure you pause the auto-installation of future updates for a reasonable amount of time. (I’d give it 14 days or so myself, just to be through, but the time you pick is up to you.)