Diagnosing
Sound Devices

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Audio Troubleshooting check list

Audio problems are the hardest to devices to troubleshoot, so use a process of elimination...

Audio problems range from extraneous noses (buzz, whine, pop, etc) to no sound at all.

Noise:

Audio - sound cardFor those problems that you have extraneous nose the problem is in the cable, the connection at the sound out port, or the connection on the speaker.

It could well be a cable has what is called a cold solder joint where part of the cable is not completely soldered to the connection.

Because these cables are very thin there are only a few strands of wire in them, excessive bending can break the wires, this could also cause the lack of or external sound.

To find a bad connection gently move the cable back and forth at all connections, on the speaker and at the computer connection, does the sound stop and start?

If it does try a different cable or head set, has the problem gone away?

If not then it is a receptacle on the end that you are moving has failed. (in this case you may have to replace the speaker or the sound card)

 If the problems have been resolved then the cable has failed.

Lack of sound:

You can find out if your sound is working properly just by starting the system. With Windows you get the startup tune.

So lets say you haven't deleted the wav file that runs when you start Windows, but there isn't any sound when Windows starts.

Let's see if we can find the problem. Problems with sound range from a bad or no driver for the sound device to a bad sound device.

First the hardware and driver, is it installed? With out even opening any programs you can tell if it is a hardware/driver problem by looking at the task bar: do you see the speaker by the clock?

Yes? then it maybe a hardware/driver problem.

No? then the hardware or driver is not installed.

Checklist for hardware:

Procedure:

Right click on My Computer, on the menu select Manage, drop down to Device Manager, click to open it.

Go to Sound, video and game controllers. Expand the menu by clicking on the + sign.

You should see at least four items or more. If you have less than four your hardware is not installed, look for your hardware name, i.e.: Creative labs, or SoundMax, or Turtle. After the manufacture name will be the version of the sound card, i.e.: PCI512, or Integrated Digital Audio, etc.

You have device installed:

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Right click on the device name; go to properties, on the General tab two lines are of interest: In the "Device status:" "This device is working properly" and In the "Device usage:" "Use this device (enable)"

If these two items are ok then go to the Properties page, click on the Audio Devices, a new page will open; look at the three lines, one says: "Use audio features on this device" it should be checked.

If the other two are selected remove the checks and check "Use audio features on this device". Click apply, ok, then go to the speaker on the task bar and test the sound by changing the volume.

Fixed?

Yes?  Done!

No?

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What about the driver?

Click on the Driver tab, this will list the driver installed for the device. You can look at the driver details, update the driver, roll back the driver, or uninstall the driver.

Click on the Driver Details, you are looking for a driver named xxxaudio.sys, where xxx represents the name assigned by the manufacture. Click on the driver, the file version under the window will give you the name of the provider, the file version, copy right, and the Digital Signer. We want the provider and file version to search for updates.

You have two choices:

You can uninstall the driver, restart your computer and let the OS find the device again.

You can uninstall the driver, go back to the Device Manager and right click on the right column and do a "Scan for new hardware"

Either one will reinstall the driver again, once the driver has reinstalled test the sound. The easiest way to check the sound is to go to the speaker on the task bar and open the volume control, change the volume. Do you have sound?

Yes? Done!

No?

Now you will have to make a decision ...

Try a new driver or call a tech?

To try a new driver open the Audio Properties and go to the Driver tab, you know the name of the manufacture and the driver version.

Click on Update Driver, if you have an internet connection let the program search for the driver, it also has the name of the driver and version.

If a search for the driver fails you will have to go to the manufactures site and find the drive with the information from the Audio Properties.

After downloading the driver follow the installation instructions.

Once you have the new driver installed test the sound (see Device installed section for testing instructions).

Do you have sound?

Yes? Done!

No?

You have a failed device.

Audio - No device present?

You check the Sound, video and game controllers and there are only Codec drivers listed no hardware.

You know there is a sound device installed in the system, but the hardware is not being recognized by the Operating System.

When you start the system up one of the checks the OS will do is hardware scan, it detects all the devices in your computer.

With the Device Manager open right click on the name of your computer in the right column, a box will open that says: "Scan for Hardware Changes". Click on the button.

The system will scan for new or undetected hardware, this may or may not bring up your device.

If it brings up the "New hardware found" box then install the hardware, if not
then you will have to get the drivers for your device and install them.

The drivers may come on a cd when you bought the computer or the device, or you may have to go to the manufacture's web site and down load the drivers.

Follow the installation procedure the manufacture provides with the drivers.

Do you have sound?

Yes!! Done! Job well done!

No?

You have a failed device.

If the Audio device is an embedded on the motherboard and the motherboard has an open slot you can use an ad on Audio card. If you use an ad on card be sure to disable the embedded device in the BIOS. Then uninstall the drivers.

Even though the device is not fictional the drivers and the Operating System will assign port and memory addresses to the non fictional device. This insures there will not be any conflicts with the new ad on card.

Also if you disable an embedded device and use an add on card consider changing out the motherboard, when an embedded device fails other devices will start to fail also this is a cascade effect.

It may not be the Sound
card, it
may be  the
quality of the
Speakers!


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