What is OpenAL? Should I Remove OpenAL in Windows 10/11?

After a certain Windows  10 update, users started to notice a new application on their Windows PC by the name OpenAL. On further drill down it was found that OpenAL was installed via Windows Update. OpenAL is a misnomer for many users, and it needs a detailed explanation to make one aware of what it is all about. Therefore, in today’s post, we will talk about what is OpenAL in detail.

Note: We haven’t heard about OpenAL on Windows 11 so far. We are not certain that OpenAL technology is used or supported in Windows 11.

What is OpenAL?

Before we discuss why Microsoft pushed it on Windows PCs via Windows Update and what there pros and cons of having them on the computer, let’s first talk about what it is.

What Is OpenAL

OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is a licensed freeware cross-platform 3D audio API. It is designed especially for gaming, some hardware devices like Creative Audio cards, Go Pro, and all other audio application that works in 3D audio space.

It provides a rich set of multi-dimensional 3D audio quality which is a must requirement while playing games and other high-end audio quality tasks. It gives an impressive sound experience which is needed while playing games.

Loki Software developed OpenAL, but after the closure of Loki, OpenAL was released as freeware in many developers contributed to it to enhance this 3D audio API. After it was taken over by a company called Creative Technology, the application made tremendous progress.

Why is OpenAL used?

The primary reason for using OpenAL is to render 3D sound to produce much more advanced and superior sound output.

OpenAL was primarily developed to enhance audio quality when a user is working in a sound-intensive environment. For example, for video editing, a PC needs a decent graphics card and proper driver configuration to enhance display quality and the rendering of the video in a similar fashion OpenAL is designed to improve audio quality and remove missing quality to provide a perfect sound effect.

As OpenAL is used to enhance audio quality, hence this file is also added by the Graphics driver manufacturer when a new graphics card is configured on the system or an old card gets a driver update.

Recent Developments in OpenAL:

Recently, OpenAL has made some great strides, especially in making sound in games and virtual reality feel more real. One cool update is how it deals with sound getting softer the farther away it is. This is super important in games where you need to hear things from different distances to feel like you’re really there. Also, it now does a better job with the Doppler effect – that’s the change in sound you hear when something moves past you fast, like a racing car.

It makes action-packed games feel way more exciting. Plus, OpenAL got smarter at understanding how sound travels through air, water, or walls, making everything sound just right. These updates are a big deal for anyone who loves gaming or works with virtual environments. It shows that OpenAL isn’t just keeping up; it’s leading the way in making our audio experiences feel super lifelike

Should I remove OpenAL on Windows 10?

The primary use of OpenAL is to enhance audio quality in multi-dimensional 3D. Hence it can be removed anytime if a user is not using any such application that is dependent on 3D audio.

However, there is no harm in keeping the OpenAL background file running as it is in no way going to impact system performance. Hence keeping the file on the computer would be an ideal decision. However, the final decision depends upon the user and the PC on which it is installed.

As these files are either pushed by Microsoft to Windows 10 or by Graphics card manufacturer the user must decide between keeping the application running or letting it go.  In case the user chooses to uninstall the OpenAL executable file and wants to get it back, then they must download the file again and configure it on the computer.

If the OpenAL file consumes 100% CPU or hard disk usage or troubleshoots some virus activities, you can remove it and reinstall it when required.

What does it do on a Windows computer?

The primary reason for having OpenAL on a Windows PC is to provide enhanced 3D audio quality. It acts as an amplifier to improve the sound quality and provides a great user experience when playing games and or in any other high-end audio quality task.

If a user is using any high-end computer with a sound card and or graphics card, then having an OpenAL is a must. It is required by such hardware as a sound card or graphics card to improve the audio as well as video quality exponentially. In case there is no such high-end computer configuration, then it can be removed.

Keeping OpenAL won’t impact computer performance, hence if a user doesn’t want to uninstall it, then it can be kept safely without any issue.

Advantages and Disadvantages of OpenAL on Windows:

If we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of OpenAL here are a few of them.


  • Free API that can be used to integrate with other applications
  • EAX style effects can be programmed in OpenAL
  • OpenAL Improves audio quality by installing on the PC
  • It provides a robust user experience by enhancing audio and video quality
  • Provides SDK’s for OpenAL integration with other cross-platform 3D audio


  • Currently, not all games and other hardware devices support OpenAL
  • OpenAL is not supported on Android
  • There is a known issue with loop sounds
  • Sometimes it plays multiple sounds at a time
  • There is an issue with controlling the pitch and volume of sounds

How to download and Install OpenAL?

Before we talk about the download and installation process let’s first understand in what cases users are required to download OpenAL.

Scenario 1:

In case the computer hardware got upgraded and you are noticing some issues related to sound. It can be while watching Netflix, YouTube, and or playing games. In such a scenario, you need to upgrade the sound quality by installing an OpenAL file.

Scenario 2:

In case OpenAL is already present on the computer, but the file got damaged due to malware infection or system failure. In that case, users are required to uninstall the old setup file and reinstall a fresh copy of the file.

To download and install OpenAL, users can follow the below steps:

  • Go to OpenAL’s official website (Creative Labs) to download the file here
  • On the download page, there are two files, one is SDK which is mostly used by a developer to integrate OpenAL features in their application and the second file is OpenAL Windows Installer (.zip) format
  • For the end-users, they are required to download the OpenAL Windows Installer file
  • Once the zip file is downloaded, extract and run the oalinst exe file
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the OpenAL integration in Windows.

Download OpenAL

OpenAL is the best audio enhancer currently available in the market. It provided free API and SDK for easy integration and development.

Do you have OpenAL installed on your computer? How did you like the performance of the computer after OpenAL was installed on the computer? Do let us know your experience about the same in your comment section below.

Understanding OpenAL as a robust 3D audio API is crucial for developers and audio enthusiasts seeking to enhance their software’s sound quality. This cross-platform audio library elevates user experience through superior sound quality enhancement, a feature particularly notable in gaming and professional audio software. Leveraging OpenAL’s capabilities allows for a rich, multi-dimensional auditory environment, making it a cornerstone technology for those looking to optimize their audio software for peak performance.

If any of the above solutions did not fix the Windows PC issues, we recommend downloading the below PC repair tool to identify and solve any PC Issues.

Abhishek is a software engineer by profession, have worked with Fortune 50 companies globally. He holds many renowned certifications from Google, Microsoft, Adobe & many more.

1 thought on “What is OpenAL? Should I Remove OpenAL in Windows 10/11?”

  1. OpenAl, in my situation, switched left to right and right to left channels and I was not able to switch it back. Uninstall helps and none of any games need this. maybe some old one but still I play retro/ old pc games and everything is fine. I prefer use own sound “machine” for effects and 3d sound not that old OpenAl thing.


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