PC sound troubles

So I spent two hours + troubleshooting a friend’s PC tonight, and not getting it fixed. How frustrating!

Here’s the scenario:

She noticed a few weeks ago, after doing her annual AV/Firewall renewal, and other updates, that her sound wasn’t working. Now, it may have not been working prior to this, this just happens to be when she noticed it, because she had tried to play a clip from Amazon shortly after these updates.  It used to work, but at some point over the last couple of months, maybe, it stopped. This is a PC that someone built for her a few years back, XP SP2, fully updated.

I got there and eliminated the obvious. Plugged her speakers into my iPod, they work just fine. Plugged headphones into her PC, no sound. Checked all the various places the volume could be muted, or the audio device could be disabled. Nothing out of the ordinary. Went into the hardware and no errors on sound devices, the sound card, a Creative SB Audigy showed to be working properly. Went to the Creative site and got new drivers, installed those. Rebooted and still no sound. Uninstalled the drivers completely and rebooted, Windows saw the card, and installed the driver, no problem. Still no sound. Disabled the sound card, Windows gave me an error trying to play any sound files. Enabled the device again, error went away, but still no sound coming from the speakers.

Then I went to Google and found a few ideas. checked Windows Audio service, was started. Checked to make sure it was not set to use digital audio only. It wasn’t. Set it to do that. after getting no sound, reset it back. Downloaded the K-Lite Codec pack, to correct any possible codec issues. It found one, but still no sound. Ran MS Update to check for any outstanding, non-critical, updates and there were  none related to sound.

Here’s what I’m stuck thinking. The external hardware is fine, it must be internal, however the sound card is definitely powered on and communicating with Windows. That leads me to believe the sound card isn’t necessarily shot, however it is possible that the outputs are. (?) The only audio software that may be causing a problem is Nero Ultra 6, and Roxio, however both were installed long, long ago. They would not represent a recent change.

Barring some insight from you guys, I think the next step is going to be, over the weekend, going down to the basement and pulling out an old PC that I have here, (It quit working for non-sound card reasons), yanking the sound card, taking it over and replacing the one in her PC. If that works, then I will chalk it up to the outputs on her sound card being shot, but that seems like a long shot. On the other hand, I don’t have many other ideas. I’ve exhausted all the things I could think of, or find through quick Google searches! So now I turn to the wisdom of the crowd. 🙂

Technorati Tags: Soundcard, WindowsXP, troubleshooting

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One Comment

  1. I doubt this is it, and you have probably checked it already, but some sound cards had an analog volume control on the backplane of the card.

    Try plugging into the other ports of the card. Sometimes I find they aren’t marked very clearly.

    I was once caught by the fact that a PC had both on-board sound AND a sound card in a slot. Why? I don’t know but only the backplane card was working.

    If everything else seems to be working with the card, I would look for other physical reasons there is no sound like, as you mentioned, a bad connector and look to see that something isn’t muted in the software somewhere. Good luck!


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