Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation – what hides under that name?

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation – what hides under that name?
Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation, audiodg.exe
Written by Wilbur Woodham

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation is a low-level process in Windows 10. Like a huge amount of other processes, it can be spectated in Task Manager. For some reasons, its presence embarrasses the users, and they think that this process belongs to malware. This post will explain to you what is the purpose of that service, and how to figure out if it is really a malicious counterfeit.

Why does my PC need the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation?

As you can understand by reading the name of that process, it is responsible for correct sound decoding and playing. Since there is a wide range of sound cards on the hardware market, it is quite hard to create a single utility which will be able to provide a 100% correct interaction of operating system and audio devices. All well-known audio device manufacturers include their own low-level utility, which substitutes the Windows Audio Graph Isolation after the driver installation. So, usually, this process always runs in a fresh-installed Windows, until the user manages to install the driver for his sound card1.

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation in Task Manager

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation in Task Manager

Sometimes, that process may be constantly present in the system. That usually means that your sound card manufacturer did not provide the additional utility to substitute the application offered by Windows. Another case which may force the activation of that system application is outdated/malfunctioning drivers. In that case, Windows decides to control the hardware element with its own facilities to avoid functionality problems.

Can I disable this process?

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation gets disabled automatically at the moment when you install the correct drivers for your audio device. At the time period when it substitutes the absent driver/control utility, it consumes quite a low amount of memory. That process runs only when it is really needed, and its suspending will likely cause a system crash. The last thesis is not a joke: Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation process is embedded on a very low level, together with drivers. Disabling it will lead to the blue screen of death.

The times when you can disable Windows processes to increase the system performance have passed long ago. When Windows XP was the last actual OS version, computers were quite weak, and their upgrade was quite expensive. Disabling several services could really make your PC faster without any significant problems. Nowadays, such tricks can make things even worse.

Can the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation be a virus?

There are no actual reports about the viruses that may use the name of this process to disguise itself. It is also quite strong against exploits – there are no known vulnerabilities. However, no one can predict what will happen tomorrow. There is always a chance that a new virus will use the name of that system application, or will use its vulnerabilities for malicious purposes.

You can figure out if the process you spectate is a legitimate one. In Task Manager, click it with the right mouse button, and then choose “Open file location”. You will see the source file (audiodg.exe) of that process in its root directory. The default directory for the source file of that process is Windows/System32. If you see this file in any other location, it is better to check your system with antivirus software. My choice for this case is GridinSoft Anti-Malware2.

Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation file location

Proper location of Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation source file

Removing the viruses with GridinSoft Anti-Malware

  • Download and install the GridinSoft Anti-Malware. After the installation, you will be offered to perform the standard scan. Apply this action.
  • GridinSoft Anti-Malware during the scan process

  • Standard scan lasts up to six minutes and checks the system files together with the files of the programs you have installed on your computer.
  • GridinSoft Anti-Malware scan results

  • When the scan is complete, press “Apply” to wipe out the malicious items that are present on your PC.
  • Malware removing with GridinSoft Anti-Malware

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I just delete the process from the root directory?

    No. In case if the process belongs to the legitimate system element, you will not be able to edit the root directory of the system, where it is stored, without granting yourself permission for this action. And its deletion will surely lead to a system crash without a possibility of loading the system back because the crucial component is absent.

    Is it possible to decrease the hardware consumption of this process?

    That process consumes literally nothing, so you will likely see no occasions when there is a need to make it less greedy with resources. However, if you see that it takes more than 20-30% of your CPU and the same amount of RAM, it is likely a virus. Perform the guide I wrote above.

    How can I know this process is malicious without checking its root directory?

    As was mentioned in the previous question, the CPU/RAM consumption of the original process is very low. So, the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation process that uses a lot of hardware capacity is definitely a virus. Another way to understand that this process belongs to a malicious program is its location inside of the Process Explorer. System processes are listed in the corresponding thread, so that process’ application among the user’s background processes is a sign of malware presence.

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    1. Microsoft Forum answer about the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation
    2. Explanation why do I recommend you to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware.
    Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation - what hides under that name?
    Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation - what hides under that name?
    Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation is a Windows low-level application that acts as a universal basic driver for audio devices. It gets disabled as soon as the user installs the sound card control app from the manufacturer of the last.

    About the author

    Wilbur Woodham

    I was a technical writer from early in my career, and consider IT Security one of my foundational skills. I’m sharing my experience here, and I hope you find it useful.

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