This happens every so often. The update gets processed, and my audio is deactivated for about 24 hours. Then it comes back with no indication as to why. It's got nothing to do with my audio driver.....it happens because of the windows update. Anybody seeing this happen?

Did you by chance accept ANY drivers from WU (windows update)? You wrote it's not a driver but so far, everytime I encounter this I find a driver in WU's list of installed updates. Otherwise no.

It may be. The RealTek driver is not in the list, but Win8.1 has its generic driver which -could- be updating.

I've had issues with generic drivers. I know to hunt down the one specific to the machine and OS from the laptop maker. In a pinch there are realtek drivers but that's in a pinch. Also, we have motherboard chipset drivers to check. Finally most laptops I see today have apps to control devices. For example Dell has their Quickset and other makers, other names for this app.