Lost sound, long story.....

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This one's got me bamfoozled as I've done all the right things as far as
I can tell.

AMD AM2 +3400 dual core
MSI K9N6GM-V motherboard
2 gigs RAM
Win XP SP2 with current SP3 chunks as per WinUpdate.
Creative SoundBlaster Live! 24 sound card
(then later)
RealTech onboard HD audio as well.
Running Avast!, ZoneAlarm, Threatfire, SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot; all
current and recent ran, both before and after this problem

It all started when Neilsen NetRatings crashed the machine. I didn't
want it but my wife does surveys and wanted it. At least M$ web "Error
Reporting" actually came back telling me that NNR was the cause of the
problem. Or at least that's what appears to be the cause....

I removed NNR thru Add/Remove, and rebooted. No sound from the SB
Live!24. Device Mangler said the driver and registry entries were
corrupted (as well as the yellow exclamation point), so I d/l'ed the
XP/Vista drivers and software package and ran the EXE to install that.

On reboot, the 'found hardware' ballon came up and said it was
installing the SB Live 24, but when fully booted device manager gave the
same "corrupted registry" error.

I deleted the SB again, shut down and physically removed the card (BIOS
set for onboard sound disabled), rebooted and then shut down and
reinstalled the card. Reinstalled the software and still got the same
'corrupted registry' error.

Went thru the same routine again, but this time the device manager
message was 'can't find device', even though the balloon came up as
installing a SB Live 24.

OK, I told myself, maybe the SB died as a coincidence after all the
horsepucky done above, but I've still got the RealTech onboard audio to
fall back on.....

Went thru the same steps again for the RT audio, now Device Mangler says
it can't find the hardware..

I've been thru "lost hardware in device manager" routine before, and
from my perspective I've done everything properly, including the
"install drivers, then put in the hardware" route.

It's probably something dirt simple, but I'm in that "can't find the
forest for the trees" mode now.

I'm leaving on a short-notice "vacation" and will be away for the
computer for about a week, will see what you folks come up with when I
get back.

Thanks in advance....

Re: Lost sound, long story.....

On Mon, 04 Aug 2008 15:33:35 -0700, "nobody >"

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Not to be picky or anything, but troubleshooting something
like this is best done semi-interactive, it would be
somewhat wasteful for everyone to try and mention everything
but the kitchen sink without some feedback about results of
some things you might try.  By narrowing the possiblities it
keeps everyone, yourself included, doing less work towards a

For example, we dont' know what PSU you have, if it's a
generic it may be failing and confound any further attempts
at resolution.  It's brand, model, total wattage and rated
current on 12V and 5V rail might be helpful.  If you have a
spare known-viable PSU for powering this system, after other
tests if you can't nail down the problem then swapping it in
might be a good option.

You might have motherboard capacitors failing, causing
instable CPU or other corruption.  It does appear you have
corruption since you got the registry errors for things
seemingly unrelated to the application you uninstalled.
Thus, you may end up needing to reinstall windows, trying a
repair install first but if that isn't sufficient then
either a restore from a backup you might/might-not have, or
lasting copying off any important data then wiping out the
filesystem on that partition and reinstalling windows clean.

A few things to check first might be:

Multimeter reading of the PSU output, especially 3.3V, 5V,
and 12V rails.  If it's a dual rail PSU, measure both for
the rail powering drives/etc, and for the one powering CPU
through the 4 or more pin separate 12V connector.

Will Memtest86+ run for several hours without errors.
Does the hard drive pass the manufacturer's diagnostics
(manufacturer of HDD, not computer itself).
Can Orthos run for at least 30 minutes w/o errors.
Does Windows' Checkdisk run and report anything significant.
Does your Windows' Event Viewer Log(s) show anything

Since you suspect the sound card, did you remove it?  Check
the bios for sound card related settings when trying to get
the onboard sound to work.  I'm doubting it's just a sound
card problem because sound cards don't fail very often,
especially if you had removed the old card and still have
problems it seems more likey that general system instability
of some sort caused the initial Nielson program crash,
caused registry corruption, and keeps system instable during
further attempts to correct the problem.

If you have a motherboard or PSU failure progressing it may
get worse, onto the point of potentially damaging the
powered parts.  In theory they are supposed to shut down
before this happens but in practice they don't always.

Lastly I am not familiar with all these protection
softwares, is it possible some are intercepting writes to
the registry and that causes the corruption messages?  If
nothing else finds a fault I might disable audio entirely,
temporarily, and use the system for a bit to see if
everything else is working stabily, especially the Orthos
half-hour or longer test mentioned above.

Re: Lost sound, long story.....

On Mon, 04 Aug 2008 15:33:35 -0700, nobody > thoughfully wrote:

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Corrupted registry is big bad problem.  Got to safe boot, run Registry
Mechanic, Registry First Aid, or any registry cleaner you have.  Then run
whatever Defrag program you have.  Reboot the PC with the SB installed
and see if that finds the hardware. With the SB installed you should have
the onboard sound turned off in bios to avoid conflicting sound drivers.
If the SB doesn't work with the SB supplied drivers then remove it, turn
on onboard sound in the bios and try the Realtek sound card. Very rare
both sound cards would be broken.

Could be the sound simply went mute.  You have to open up your sound
volume manager for the device and make sure the sound isn't muted.  From
the Desktop it may not be muted but when you check sound volume control
(or manager) the sound is muted.   This after you reinstall the SB.

Don't forget to make sure the speakers do work by using them with an
external CD or MP3 player.

Worse case you could always do a install repair of WinXP SP2 and redo all
the updates.

Re: Lost sound, long story.....

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Wifey should be firmly instructed not to install that specific
piece of crapware in particular.  Even by spyware standards it is
particularly invasive, monitoring even encrypted connections to
banks and the like.  Added to that it is huge - last time I looked
at it, it used over 20MB memory when running, which they said was
negligible (on which planet?) and it has probably grown since then.
It's a _very_ high price to pay for the typical benefits that the
user gets in return even if you disregard the privacy element.

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This is telling you something.  You may want to have a look at the
registry repair tools out there. Personally I'd take a look at it
myself but it's impossible to know what I'd do without being there.

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I've had difficulty with these devices in the past - they don't
show up easily and installing and configuring them is always "fun".
To begin with there is a supplement needed for HD audio support -
I forget the specific patch number but it is rolled into SP3.  I'd
recommend installing SP3 explicitly (from the "Network Installation
Package" - it's a big download but it is good for any machine once
you have it) to ensure you get everything.  Windows Update may well
not be getting the necessary support because it can't find any
appropriate devices.  Catch-22 since it can't find them without
the patch.

Once SP3 is loaded in its entirety load the _motherboard_ drivers.
From memory the MSI boards with Realtek HD audio use VIA chipsets
which always benefit from their specific drivers anyway - VIA
chipsets frequently have a few quirks.

IIRC at this point your on-board audio will be recognised correctly
and the drivers found for it on the next boot, but I may just have
been lucky and/or the drivers were hanging around from a previous
attempt to fix.  If you don't have support, add the audio drivers

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As Kony has said, this is bad form.  It means that we can't get
further information or ask you to try things.  In my view it also
creates a very bad impression, especially when you have no name or
email address.  It makes it appear that you are not willing to put
any effort of your own into solving this issue.  Instead it is as
if you are saying "I've got this problem... make sure you've fixed
it before I get back."

Andrew Smallshaw

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