Getting the RTL-SDR to work in Windows 10

The RTL-SDR is fully compatible with Windows 10. However with the recent release of Windows 10 some users have been having trouble using their RTL-SDR after upgrading. We thought that we’d announce that the simple solution to most problems is to reinstall the SDR drivers with Zadig. The latest version of Zadig can be downloaded from zadig.akeo.ie or if you use SDR# then it will already be in your SDR# folder. The process is:

  1. Plug in the RTL-SDR.
  2. Run Zadig as administrator by right clicking it and choosing run as administrator.
  3. Go to Options -> List all devices and make sure it is checked.
  4. In the drop down box choose Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0). This may also sometimes show up as something prefixed with “RTL28328U”. That choice is also valid.
  5. Make sure that WinUSB is selected as the target driver and click on Replace Driver.

If you need more help see the Quickstart Guide.

The Windows 10 upgrade process appears to replace the WinUSB drivers with the Windows DVB-T ones, so reinstalling the SDR drivers is necessary. It shouldn’t be necessary, but one user also reported the need to log in to Windows with an administrator account and to uninstall the current drivers before running Zadig, so try that if you continue to have problems.

As in our previous post we can confirm that several popular SDR apps such as SDR#, HDSDR, SDR-Radio, CubicSDR and Unitrunker all work fine in Windows 10.

34 comments

  1. R vd Meer

    The procedure i follow with windows 10 is insert the dongle,start zadig 2.3.
    Make sure that list all devices is selected,from the pull down menu select bulkinterface 0
    Replace driver with winusb.if it failed just do a reboot and try again it should work fine.
    Download the zipfile relwithdebinfo,http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/attachment/wiki/rtl-sdr/RelWithDebInfo.zip?wptouch_preview_theme=enabled
    extract the zipfile.
    Now copy the 32bit version of the driver to the sdr# folder not the 64 bit.
    Startup sdr# and select from the pulldown menu rtlsdr usb.
    Now you can go to settings and adjust the gain and select the dongle you want to use.
    The number of dongles i use is about 4 to 6,
    What i also noticed is if you put different drivers in the sdr# folder,example for plugins it can result in a crash of sdr#.
    Hopefully it helps you guys with windows 10.

  2. KK0DJ

    I have two dongles… neither have I ever had them working. I have tried Zadig, I have gone through the steps on the sites that I have found through searching out this issue. It seems that it’s all a waste of time! Isn’t there someone who manufactures these things that provides software AND drivers that work in Windows 10? Very disgruntled and tired of the hours and hours chasing this stupid thing.

  3. Andy

    I can’t get SDSharp to run just get the crash folder with this in it:
    The type initializer for ‘PortAudioSharp.PortAudioAPI’ threw an exception.
    at SDRSharp.Radio.dll.PortAudioAPI.Pa_GetDefaultInputDevice (IL offset: 0xffffffff)
    at SDRSharp.Radio.dll.AudioDevice.GetDevices (IL offset: 0x6)
    at SDRSharp.exe.MainForm.InitializeGUI (IL offset: 0x153)
    at SDRSharp.exe.MainForm..ctor (IL offset: 0x150)
    at SDRSharp.exe.Program.Main (IL offset: 0x6e)

    Any Luck? I’m getting the same error:
    The type initializer for ‘PortAudioSharp.PortAudioAPI’ threw an exception.
    at SDRSharp.Radio.dll.PortAudioAPI.Pa_GetDefaultInputDevice (IL offset: 0xffffffff)
    at SDRSharp.Radio.dll.AudioDevice.GetDevices (IL offset: 0x6)
    at SDRSharp.exe.MainForm.InitializeGUI (IL offset: 0x153)
    at SDRSharp.exe.MainForm..ctor (IL offset: 0x150)
    at SDRSharp.exe.Program.Main (IL offset: 0x6e)

  4. Anonymous

    I got it up on windows 10
    I can not however connect to it via tcp 127.0.0.1:1234, the machine actively refused the connection.
    I am trying to use https://github.com/bemasher/rtlamr to listen to my meter

    I have tried “CheckNetIsolation LoopbackExempt -c” to remove all apps but I think maybe this may be only for windows apps.

  5. AC9BX

    Options for Windows 10:
    open your Group Policy Editor (as Admin) – one way to do this is to search on your start menu or enter in a Run box gpedit.msc
    Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
    There you will find an entry “do not include drivers with Windows Update”
    set it to enabled. This will be for all drivers, be warned.

    There are other options there you may be interested in such as “no auto-restart with logged on users” – tired of Windows logging you out while you’re working?
    Or disable “allow automatic updates immediate installation”, this means you will have to do it on your own.

    Start Menu problems, Windows 10 has known issues with the Start Menu failing. Microsoft has a tool you can download to attempt to fix it. It may or may not work. Sometimes the tool will report that it didn’t fix it but it did indeed fix it. Windows 10 is a kludge. Go here https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12385/windows-10-troubleshoot-problems-opening-start-menu-cortana and look for “try the troubleshooter”.
    Attempting to uninstall built-in apps for Windows 10 will often break the Start Menu, other things apparently do as well.

  6. STEPHANE TEOT

    Using zadig to install rtl-sdr driver , it cannot complete the installation giving me a windows 1018 error. The name of dongle name appears with bulk 0 but driver installation cannot be completed and obviously the device is not found in sdrsharp 🙁 … any idea ? thanks !!!

  7. Luis

    With the upgrade to Windows 10 I have had to choose to either have Windows working correctly or being able to use HDSDR with the Zadig driver. If I install the Zadig driver, HDSDR works fine, but causes many important features to stop working on Windows 10, for example, the Windows 10 Start Menu/Button stops working, clicking on the search or Cortana search box does nothing, when trying to preview open applications on the task bar the menu that normally pops up to be able to close, minimize, etc. does not come out anymore by right clicking the application’s icon. Since the Start Menu/Button stops working, only way to restart or shut down the computer is to use ctrl, alt, delete to be able to do so. Researched the possible causes of the Windows 10 issues with no fix, by chance I ended up uninstalling the Zadig driver and Windows 10 started to work normally again. Just to make sure, I then tried on a different computer with Windows 10 and the same thing happened. I need my PC working correctly so no HDSDR and Zadig for me anymore…

  8. clifford wright

    A new problem with Windows 10. BTW I have reinstalled using Zadig several times and turned off (I think) the automatic USB upgrades. It works perfectly, for about 5 to 10 minutes and then crashes. Sometimes it can be restarted but it crashes very soon after that. Does anyone know if Win 10 is somehow still snaking in an upgrade,behind my back?

    • Peter G

      I’m having the exact same problem, SDR# crashes after about 5 minutes. Started happening out of nowhere, so suspecting one of the recent Windows updates as well.

    • Alphie

      Hi. Im having a similar problem after upgrade to win10 64 bits. Sdr# crashes randomly with Realtek dongle. It sometimes works well for just 5 mins and other Times 30 minutes Or more. Tried replacing driver with older zadig, disable anti vírus, checking mouse options as the crashes are more often when i use the trackpad. I also have various copies of sdr# on diferent folders for the keneerd and hf experimental drivers but Guess this is not the problem since all use the same zadig driver i think. Any suggestion?

      • Alphie

        After some time looking for options to change i finaly solved my problem. Looks like on order for this to work, at least on my win10, i nedded to go to advanced power saving options and disable the option as when my laptop is conected to plug and battery. After that all is working as it should.

  9. mitch

    Hi, had the same problem sdr# not seeing the rtl-sdr device. using zadig driver. to fix i copied the rtlsdr.dll file in the zadig directory to the sdr# directory, it copied ok and did not over wright any files(i was missing the dll), and then started sdr# – it is able to access the rtl-sdr device and is working ok now.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards
    Mitch

  10. Tony

    The zadig did the trick for Windows 10. No problem. My next project will by trying skywave Linux on my laptop. The windows laptop is my girlfriend’s.

  11. Dean Denton

    When I ‘try’ to open SDR Sharp, nothing happens, and a file called ‘crash.txt’ is created. This happens every time! It’s annoying. In crash.txt this is shown:

    Configuration system failed to initialize
    at System.Configuration.dll.ClientConfigurationSystem.EnsureInit (IL offset: 0x120)
    at System.Configuration.dll.ClientConfigurationSystem.PrepareClientConfigSystem (IL offset: 0x8)
    at System.Configuration.dll.ClientConfigurationSystem.System.Configuration.Internal.IInternalConfigSystem.GetSection (IL offset: 0x0)
    at System.Configuration.dll.ConfigurationManager.get_AppSettings (IL offset: 0x0)
    at SDRSharp.exe.Program.Main (IL offset: 0x3d)

    —————-
    Please Help me!!! Thank You

    Dean

  12. Jonathon Pearce

    Can anyone help…..
    I have an SDR R820T Nooelec dongle and it works fine under HDSDR but always get device not found. Running Win10 on Surface Pro and suspect it may be the USB3. If it wasn’t running on HDSDR I would suspect a driver but having run zadig and also can see it in device manager it is not the driver. Also downloaded and run the install file so if it is not the USB3 which I suspect is fine as HDSDR works fine it must be SDR# and a missing dll.

    Please help as I am seriously frustrated!

    • Jonathon Pearce

      Sorry to clarify its device not found in SDR#. HDSDR is great!
      Also please don’t suggest zadig been there, done that to death!

  13. Adam Ebel

    I tried to the same thing, and there is no joy, and I am running a Windows 10 32 bit operating system. Now I know I need to get a 64 bit operating system installed soon just to get this software to work. For the time being until I switch to 64 bit, I have to use linux based RTL SDR software on a flash drive. I know, the struggle is real.

  14. Larry Dighera

    Just installed CubicSDR on a Pipo9 “tablet” running Windows 10 32-bit, and don’t see any spectrum nor waterfall. SDR#, HDSDR, and SDR-Console work fine with the RTL-SDR dongle (love the TCXO by the way). What do I need to do to see signals?

    ADVthanksANCE

    Best regards,
    Larry

  15. Lee Donaghy

    Right pain getting it working on Win10 after i reinstalled windows, kept messing about with zadig and trying to install them manually in device manager but to no avail.
    then i tried rtl_test and it saw it, so the problem was sdrsharp! it was missing rtlsdr.dll sigh.
    downloaded it and all was working…

  16. alexandre27

    I had two PCS on W8. One ran SDR# without pb I could never get it the other to work (no explanation found). On W10 my new PC runs reliably SDR# . Try to desinstall and reinstall the driver ?

  17. Hiram

    For the life of me I can’t get Zadig 2.1.2 drivers to work on Windows 10. They install, but when I run SDR# with my RTL connected – it says “device not found”. I have had them working on 8.1, but for some reason they don’t seem to work on Windows 10 – any thoughts?

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