Sunday, November 14, 2010

More sound issues with Windows XP

I've posted on fixing sound issues on Windows XP before, but in the world of computers there's always that one more problem that you've never seen before. I've encountered one such instance just recently. This followed a faulty RAM module replacement so the most likely culprit is faulty memory screwing up Windows big time.

Basically, the problem is with a missing system device called Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator that normally can be seen in Device Manager under the System Devices category. If this device has driver problems, or goes missing for some reason then there'll be no sound in Windows and even the Sound applet in Control Panel shows "no audio device" detected. To resolve this, just reinstall the device.

:\> copy %windir%\inf\machine.inf %windir%\temp\machine.inf
:\> notepad %windir%\temp\machine.inf

Editing machine.inf with Notepad
Remove the line "ExcludeFromSelect=*" immediately following the [ControlFlags] section. Be sure to save changes.

Note: %windir% is a system variable that normally translates to C:\Windows. It always points to your Windows installation location by default.

Then, head over to Add Hardware in Control Panel and manually add the device back into Windows. It will search for new devices for a while before asking you if the hardware has already been added after it fails to find any new hardware. Just say "yes" to that.

Add hardware wizard
Next, select "Add new hardware device". It should be at the bottom of the list on the next screen. Follow that with the advanced option (installing manually from the devices list). Then, select "System devices" as the hardware type you want to add.

Manually adding hardware

You'll have to click on the "Have Disk..." button and point the wizard to the modified .inf file (%windir%\temp\machine.inf). Choose "Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator" under the Standard System Devices category.

Adding Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator

Once installation completes, you'll have sound working again on Windows.

Related posts:

No sound on Windows XP