10 July 2010

Windows 7: Let There Be Sound

A week or so ago I finally got around to clean-installing Windows 7 on to my desktop.  It was fairly painless and seemed to install quicker than previous O/S installations.

All was fine for about a week when my audio abruptly died.  In the morning it was working fine before I shut down my computer.  That evening when I turned on my PC there was no more sound.

This was especially strange since literally nothing had been done between the time I turned the PC off and when I turned it back on to hear only silence.  No plugging or unplugging stuff at all.

Hovering the mouse over the speaker/volume icon on the taskbar gave me the message "No Audio Output device is installed".  My PC came with an Avermedia M780 PCIe NTSC/ATSC Combo sound card and according to both the manufacturer website and Windows Update I had the latest drivers installed (ver; date 11JUN2009).  Device Manager said "This device is working properly".

The audio-out/headphone jack wouldn't work, either.

The Windows 7 Playing Audio troubleshooting wizard couldn't identify the problem.  All my web searches basically ended up talking about Windows 7 compatibility and installing the latest driver -- nothing that solved the sound of silence emanating from my PC.

I checked my PC speakers on my Netbook and they worked fine.

I thought perhaps the sound card drivers had been corrupted or something, so I installed an older driver version (which still didn't work), then re-installed the updated drivers.  Reboot.  Nothing.

So... instead of wasting any more time I went to Best Buy to buy the cheapest PCI sound card I could find compatible with my computer and Windows 7.

Opened CPU, 1 minute.  Bemoaned the fact I didn't have an empty PCI slot, 5 seconds.  Wondered what the cable that was attached to the Avermedia sound card was for, 10 seconds.  Removed telephone/fax PCI card, 1 minute.  Installed new sound card, 20 seconds.  Reassembled CPU and reattached plethora of cables, 30 seconds.  Turned on computer, installed drivers from CD, rebooted, 5 minutes.

Sound, sweet sound.

Anywhoo, my Avermedia card is still installed so if I ever get bored maybe I'll continue trying to figure out how to fix it, or perhaps Windows Update will come out with new drivers in the future.  For now, though, I'll let it be.

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