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It's possible that the drivers required for that Vista-era sound card haven't been written for Windows XP.

I purchased a used Sony, which originally came loaded with Windows Vista. Due to a serious problem with the hard drive, I had to replace it with a 160 GB SATA drive, but as I didn't have the original backup discs I decided to load Windows XP SP 3. Upon installation of the OS, it identified the sound card but noted there were no drivers installed. I have obtained a set of compatible drivers but although these are now loaded, the laptop still does not recognize the Realtek High Definition Sound Card, which is installed on the motherboard. I've tried installing different versions of the Realtek drivers; de-installed them and then reinstalled the drivers but I still cannot get the sound card activated. Everything else on the laptop works perfectly and I'm at my wits end. Have you any suggestions?

In this excerpt from Answercast #65, I look at a downgraded computer that is having problems with sound card drivers.

Fixing sound card drivers

Unfortunately, none that are practical.

The issue here, I believe, is it's very possible that the drivers required for that specific sound card don't exist for Windows XP. They probably exist for Windows Vista since that's the operating system originally installed on that machine.

One of the issues with moving forward with different operating system versions is of course that manufacturers begin to stop supporting the older versions.

Manufacturers have the option of no longer creating drivers that are compatible with Windows XP because Windows XP isn't being sold anymore. Windows XP is actually on the way out, so they focus their limited resources on creating drivers that work in whatever the current operating system would be.

So, I think there's a very strong possibility that you're kind-of, sort-of out of luck when it comes to Windows XP.

Upgrade the system

Now, there are two different things you can try. One major one; one minor.

The major one of course is to bite the bullet and install Windows Vista. Or Windows 7 I would assume would have a compatible sound driver as well.

USB sound card

The other approach (if it's worth to you) would be to basically give up on the sound hardware on that laptop. Get a USB, an external sound device. You can get external speakers that are basically driven off of the USB port. Those kinds of drivers have actually been around for quite some time.

I would make sure that they work and make sure that you have a return possibility if they don't. But the fact is: they may in the long run be a much simpler solution to get sound out of your laptop without having to fight the battle against these drivers that in all honesty, simply may not exist.

Article C5969 - October 29, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
October 31, 2012 4:02 AM

If you post the model of the Sony laptop some folk here will check out if there is a driver available.
The model of the motherboard would also confirm chip set. Speccy will give this info ..available from download.

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