Date: April 29, 2017 01:48PM
Read this all the way through before starting.
First try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver(s) that worked for you. A WIN update may have screwed them up. Read on.
A free, open source player that plays, records, streams and manages most media types:http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
I don't use Audacity, only tried it for a short time, and found it to be as reliable as you described.
VLC is a work horse. It has many, many settings, but likely the only ones you need to fool with will be the file associations. Associate all media types with VLC:
Tools > Interface > Set up associations (button on lower right of window)
Click Save (again, on the main settings window)
VLC will now be the software that is your default main player (won't play blu-ray by default). It will open whenever you "call" for media to be played. The default user interface isn't sexy, but its programming is extremely sexy. I rarely use anything else.
Open Source is software designed and improved by developers all over the planet to make the best software absolutely free for public use. VLC is one of those.
Don't fool around with trying its different skins* and other non-functional settings. Use as is, but customize the toolbar to show the tools you want:
Tools > Customize Interface...
Also, if you are into archiving your media, (also) save those files to a removable hard drive. Trust the world on this.
Fool with the advanced settings at your own risk - take screen shots of the "before" settings if you do fool with them, so you can switch them back if you don't like the results of your edits.
Oh, and a quirk of WIN 10: Your customized settings can (and likely will) be over-written by automatic WIN updates if you don't reboot your machine before the next update. Lose your Outlook and other program/WIN settings? Close all the programs to save the settings, reboot yout machine. This process is like a "settings" vaccine.
That may be how/why your original Audacity installation (and/or driver) settings reverted to default WIN "squealer" settings. A simple uninstall/reinstall may or may not fix a WIN update registry overwrite. You may need a guru to clean it up. There's a free program, but the uninformed can really screw up their machines, powerful as it is:https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
IF you use it, ALWAYS select to back up your settings.
You would use it to uninstall Audacity, then use its reg cleaner to clean your registry. Then you would re-install Audacity, and reboot to "lock" the file associations. You would then reinstall the driver(s) that worked. Reboot. No guarantee that a WIN update won't screw it up again.
I don't have these problems with VLC.
*skins - user developed, and while all are "safe," not all skins are created equal, and some funtionality can be lost, requiring very special hoop-jumping to get back to the original skin (weirdly not in the skin list), or a skin that works for you. Just don't do it. Stick with the un-sexy, but highly functional original skin.