Saturday, August 22, 2009

Missing audio device for HP Compaq CQ40 under Windows XP

Microsoft is still as persistent as ever in emphasizing Windows XP's lacks by getting OEMs to not provide proper drivers for hardware. Or, maybe I'm just overly paranoid and it's the hardware manufacturer's fault? Or, it's Microsoft getting to us through the hardware manufacturers?.. Well, you get what I mean.

The HP Compaq CQ40 is no exception to the conspiracy that's been on since shortly after Windows Vista's release. Now that Windows 7 has RTM'd I get the feeling things are just going to get worse for end users.

This particular notebook cannot even be installed with Windows XP unless you slipstream the necessary SATA drivers in. Don't even think Windows setup will even start. Normally, Windows setup starts and tells you there is no hard disk available for installing Windows but this particular model just gives you a stop 0x7b just as you are supposed to get into Windows setup.

No problem, right? Just use nLite and slipstream the drivers in there and all's well that ends well. Not quite. Once inside Windows XP proper, you'll find that the audio device, HDMI controller, and modem aren't even present in Device Manager. Not even nLite can save you here. There's a little trick you need to do to get things moving along: you have to manually restart the audio device.

Yes, that's right. Windows XP doesn't even the hardware until you forcefully resuscitate it. You have to do it every boot, too. Once the audio device is made available, you can install the HDMI and modem devices easily.

But first, you need to get a little file called devcon.exe and run it from the command prompt:

:\> devcon.exe restart "PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_293E"

Wait a short while as Windows detects the hardware before proceeding to install the audio drivers followed by the HDMI and modem drivers. Place that command in a batch file and add it into the Windows Startup folder so that it will run the command everytime you boot Windows. It's ugly but at least you get your hardware to work. Now with Windows 7... we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Oh, and one final note. You'll also need to spend time hunting down the drivers for all three devices. Sadly, I forgot to bookmark the sites where I found working drivers, so I can't provide them for anybody's convenience. Happy hunting.