FIX: YouTube Playback Error in Windows 10

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Everything you need to know to fix YouTube streaming issues on your system

YouTube has become the staple of streaming videos online for almost all kinds of content. It is not just the go-to streaming place for entertainment videos but also for all kinds of informational and utility-based content. Imagining a world where YouTube doesn’t work is disheartening. A glimpse of that can be seen when you’re not able to play a YouTube video.

If you’re on Windows 10, several issues can lead up to playback error on YouTube, like Graphics and Audio driver issues, interference from Anti-virus software, a browser add-on/extension, and many others. We’ve compiled a list of the most common fixes to these problems. Have a look.

Restart your computer

Most errors occur due to a temporary glitch in the system which can be resolved by simply restarting your computer. You can either simply Shut down and boot up your PC, or use the ‘Restart’ option from Start Menu » Power button.

If the problem persists, try other solutions discussed below.


Update your graphics card driver

One of the foremost reasons why you might be facing a playback error on YouTube is that your computer’s graphics card driver is not updated. It is crucial in playing any video content and thus must be updated to clear any hindrance.

To update your graphics card driver, type ‘Device Manager’ in the search bar of your Windows 10 system and open it from the search results.

The device manager window will then open up on your screen. Double click on the ‘Display adapters’ option from the list present on the window.

From the available list of display adapters on your system, right-click on the device that you’re currently using to power the display and select ‘Update driver’ from the context menu.

A new window will pop-up before you, asking you to either automatically search for the best driver and install it, or manually do so. Select the first option of ‘Search automatically for drivers’ and your driver will start installing on itself.

Once the updated driver is installed, restart your computer to complete the process.

Note: If you’ve multiple graphic cards installed on your system, be sure to update drivers for each of the devices.

If the playback error still persists, you might have some other problem hindering your YouTube experience. Other solutions discussed below might help in that case.


Update your Audio Drivers

Updating your audio drivers also might resolve the playback issue you are facing with YouTube on Windows 10. To update your audio drivers, open ‘Device manager’ again by searching for it in the Start menu.

Double click on the ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ option from the list of available devices in the ‘Device Manager’ window. This will display all the audio devices present on your system. Right-click on the one your system is currently using and select ‘Update driver’ from the menu.

A new window will appear before you, asking you to either automatically search for the best driver and install it, or manually do so. Select the first option of ‘Search automatically for drivers’ and your audio driver will start updating on itself.

Note: If you’ve multiple audio devices installed and you’re not sure which one your PC is currently using, be sure to update the driver for all audio devices.

Once done, ‘Restart’ your computer from the Start menu » Power button option.


Disable hardware acceleration in your browser

Hardware acceleration aids graphics-intensive tasks in your computer like streaming videos or playing games by using your computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU). However, sometimes it also results in slowness or playback error while streaming YouTube. Disabling hardware acceleration in the browser where you are streaming YouTube might help to resolve the error.

To disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome, click on the three dots present on the top right corner of the Chrome window and select ‘Settings’ from the expanded menu.

The Chrome settings tab will open. Scroll down until you see the ‘Advanced’ settings option at the bottom of the page. Click on it.

Under the ‘Advanced settings’ section, scroll down until you see the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ option under ‘System’ settings. Turn off the toggle switch next to it to disable hardware acceleration in Chrome.

If you are using some other browser to stream YouTube, the process to disable hardware acceleration will be similarly found in the ‘System’ settings of the browser.


Disable Anti-Virus software

If you’re using third-party anti-virus software that’s filtering internet traffic on your computer, then disabling it temporarily might be a good idea to resolve the YouTube playback error.

You can try disabling the web protection feature in your anti-virus software or make an exception for youtube.com in the program’s setting.

If disabling isn’t an option, then consider uninstalling your anti-virus program and use Windows 10’s built-in ‘Windows Security’ anti-virus software to protect your system. It should resolve the YouTube playback error if your anti-virus program was really the problem.


Clear your browser’s cache

Another reason why you might be facing a playback error on YouTube is that your browser’s data and cache memory is full. Simply clearing your browser’s cache can resolve the issue sometimes.

To clear data and cache memory from your Google Chrome browser, click on the three vertical dots on the top-right corner of the Chrome window.

From the available options, click on ‘More tools’, then select ‘Clear browsing data’ from the expanded menu.

The Chrome settings tab will open with ‘Clear browsing data’ pop-up. Make sure you check on the boxes before ‘Cookies and other site data’ as well as ‘Cached images and files’ and then hit the ‘Clear data’ button.

Once unnecessary browsing data from your browser is cleared, try streaming a video on Youtube to see if the issue has been resolved.


Disable Extensions on your browser

Normally extensions increase the efficiency of any web browser. It is however not very well known that on some rare occasions it can cause errors in your browser’s functionality too. Disabling the extension that is causing the error on streaming YouTube can resolve the problem.

But since there are several extensions present on a browser sometimes, the easiest way to disable the one causing error is to disable all at once. Once the errors subsided on playing a YouTube video after doing this, enable extensions one by one and check each time if the error is back again. The one at which you find the error returning is the extension causing the error and should be removed from your browser to prevent future issues.

To disable extensions on your Chrome browser, simply click on the three vertical dots present on the top right corner of the Chrome window.

From the expanded menu, select ‘More tools’. Another menu will expand from the more tools option. Click on ‘Extensions’ from it.

A new page displaying all the extensions added on your browser will spring up on your screen.

You will find a toggle switch against each extension. Just turn it off against all. This will disable all the extensions on your browser.

Now you can continue with the process of turning each one on and checking playback on YouTube each time to determine which extension was causing the issue. If the error wasn’t resolved on turning off all the extensions, the reason might be something else altogether.


Restart your modem or router

Sometimes restarting your router or modem can solve browsing and streaming issues. A technical issue in your internet connection can also sometimes result in a YouTube playback error as it reinitiates internet connectivity on your system.

If the playback error doesn’t resolve with this, try the below-mentioned fixes.


Disable and then enable your Playback Device

Sometimes your playback devices might not be working right and causing the YouTube playback error. To resolve this issue, just disable your playback devices and enable it a few minutes later.

To do so, right click on the ‘Sound’ icon present on the bottom-right corner of your taskbar. From the expanded menu, click on ‘Sounds’.

In the new window that pops up, you will find all your playback devices listed under the ‘Playback’ tab. Right-click on the active device and select ‘Disable’ from the expanded menu.

Wait for a few minutes and then enable the playback device by again right-clicking on the device and selecting the ‘Enable’ option.

This should resolve the playback error on YouTube if the issue was with the playback devices.


Reinstall your browser

Sometimes some corrupt files on your browser can also lead to a playback error. In such a situation, it is ideal to reinstall your browser on your device. To do so, go to the desktop screen of Window’s 10 device and type ‘Control Panel’ in the search bar at the bottom. Double click on ‘Control Panel’ from the results.

The control panel window will then open up on your screen. Click on the ‘Uninstall a program’ link present below the ‘Program’ option.

You will find the list of software programs present on your device listed in the next window. Select your browser from the list and right-click on it. An ‘Uninstall’ button will pop-up on the screen. Click on it.

Another page asking you to allow the application to make changes in the system will appear on the screen. Select ‘Yes’ on it and restart your computer.

You have now uninstalled your browser. Now all you have to do is go to the official website of the browser and download as well as install it again in your system. This should resolve the playback error you might be facing while streaming YouTube on Windows 10.


Install Media Feature Pack

If you have Windows 10 N or KN edition installed in your system, you will have to download the Media Feature Pack in order to run media smoothly on your device. Windows 10 N or KN edition has the same functionalities as Windows 10, except that various media apps are not included in it. Thus you’ll have to download the Media Feature Pack from the Microsoft store in order to eliminate multimedia errors from your system.

Just go to this link, select the desired language, and click on the ‘Download’ button to initiate the download of Microsoft Media Feature Pack.

A new web page will appear before you displaying two download versions to choose from. Choose between the 32bit version or the 64bit version depending on the properties of your system and click on ‘Next’.

The file will start downloading in your system. Once downloaded, run the program to install it and then restart your computer. The Microsoft Media Feature Pack will then be installed in your system and the playback error will go away if you have Windows 10 N or KN version.


These are the issues that might be behind the YouTube playback error that you are facing on your Windows 10 system. The solutions discussed above will resolve the playback issue and you can stream YouTube again in bliss.