|Here are some suggestions. Try them one by one, in the order listed, moving on to the next only if the earlier ones haven't solved the problem.|
These represent the most common problems, in my experience. No doubt there are others.
1. REVERT TO A REGISTRY BACKUP
Boot to DOS (using a bootable floppy disk, e.g. from http://www.bootdisk.com) and type the following at the C:\ prompt -
Note the space before the forward slash in this command.
Follow the on-screen instructions, and try to restore the *oldest* backup of the registry (they're listed by date) as that's the one with the best chance of being from before the problem arose.
By default Windows keeps 5 backup copies of the Windows Registry, so that you can go back to before the problem arose.
When an on-screen message tells you that the registry has been successfully restored, restart the computer normally.
2. USE SYSTEM RESTORE
If the above hasn't solved the problem, use Win ME's "system restore" function to return the system to a point before the problem arose, if you have System Restore enabled in your computer.
For details, do a google search on the phrase "System Restore in Windows ME" at http://www.google.com -
3. RE-INSTALL THE DRIVERS
If the above hasn't solved the problem, try reinstalling the sound drivers from the original software disks that came with the computer.
4. DELETE THE SOUNDCARD IN DEVICE MANAGER
If the above hasn't solved the problem, try having Windows re-detect the software drivers, by deleting the soundcard in Device Manager. Go to:
Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager
and highlight the device, then click Remove. Then reboot the computer. Point the Plug-and-PLay wizard to the location of the drivers on the original software disk (A: disk or CD) if the wizard can't find them on the hard disk.
Or try pointing the wizard to these locations (try each in turn):
5. A MISSING SOUND FILE
Symptom: An error message that "The file 'sndvol32.cnt' was not found" (or some other file belonging to the audio sub-system).
Restore the missing file, by copying it from a Windows installation CD or from one of the .CAB (cabinet) files in C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CAB
6. AN ERROR IN THE BIOS
(1) In the BIOS (reboot, and press DEL during the powering-up sequence) change the setting 'pnp OS controlled' (or similar setting) to NO, to let the BIOS set the devices instead of the operating system.
(2) Change the 'reset config' option (or similar) in the BIOS to "enabled", to let the BIOS look again at the device configuration.
NB: This lets the BIOS control the devices (including sound devices) on boot-up, instead of the Windows plug-and-play wizard, but ONLY on systems which have this option in the BIOS program.
7. AN ERROR IN SYSTEM.INI
In the [boot] section of SYSTEM.INI check that the following 2 lines are correct as follows:
Obtain a standard SYSTEM.INI file (without 3rd party drivers) from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140...
(1) In the [boot] section of SYSTEM.INI, add the following line:
(2) Reboot to SAFE MODE (press F5 during power-up), then go to:
Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager
and delete every entry under "SOUND, VIDEO and GAME CONTROLLERS"
(3) Reboot. (Provided you have the correct drivers on your hard disk,
this reboot will rebuild the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers"
section back to normal, if the above sound.drv line is in
NB: SYSTEM.INI is located at C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI
NB: To edit SYSTEM.INI go to START > RUN and type SYSEDIT then click on "Okay".
8. AN ERROR IN WIN.INI
Windows sound drivers are sometimes loaded by the Win.ini file, in the "load=" line in the [windows] section.
If you have an old copy of WIN.INI check it to see if a sound driver is loaded by that line. If so, check that the active copy of WIN.INI has the same line.
Loading the audio driver in Win.ini is all that is required to force Windows to recognise it.
NB: WIN.INI is located at C:\WINDOWS\WIN.INI
NB: To edit WIN.INI go to START > RUN and type SYSEDIT then click on "Okay".
9. AN ERROR IN THE WINDOWS REGISTRY
A sound card is properly installed, but the error message "No Playback Devices" is displayed (and there is no sound).
Obtain a registry fix, to add the correct MS Kernel and MS Streaming Proxies to Device Manager (MESoundFix.exe), from:
NB: This restores the "ghost" entries to Device Manager, under "Sound, Video and Game Controllers").
10. A DEVICE DRIVER CONFLICT
An exclamation mark or question mark is displayed against the device
in Device Manager (Start > Settings > Control Panel > System).
(1) Reboot into Safe Mode (press F5 during power-up)
(2) Remove Multimedia from Windows Setup:
- Go to: Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs
- Choose the Windows Setup tab
- In the list of installed components, uncheck "Multimedia"
and click "Apply"; once the files are uninstalled click "OK"
(3) Remove and reinstall the sound drivers:
- Right-click on "My Computer" and choose "properties"
- Choose the "Device Manger" tab
- Click on the plus sign beside "Sound, Video and Game Controllers"
and remove all items under this category (select the item and
Note: You have to click the plus sign beside "Sound, Video and
Game Controllers" again each time to re-open the category
- Once all items have been removed and "Sound, Video and Game
Controllers" no longer appears in the list, click "Close"
(4) Reboot. As Windows reboots it will redetect the sound card and
reinstall the drivers and multimedia components (NB: You may
need your driver disks and Windows installation disks)
11. NO AUDIO DRIVERS INSTALLED
(1) An error message (including "no audio drivers installed") is displayed when trying to play a sound file in Winamp; or
(2) The error message "MMSYSTEM032 error: The specified format cannot be translated or supported" is displayed when trying to play a format of audio file (e.g. WAV or MP3 format).
A. Go to the website of the manufacturer of the Chipset used on the motherboard, and download the driver files for that specific chipset.
NB: For this, obtain the make and model of the motherboard (as below) and download a manual for the motherboard from the website of its manufacturer, which will give the m/board's specification (including the type of chipset used on it).
NB: This information is sometimes available in the Device Manager (where the chipset is described as "Intel xxxxxxx Controller"): Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager
NB: The website of Intel (for Intel audio chipsets for Desktop PCs) is: http://support.intel.com/support/mo...
B. Go to the website of the Motherboard manufacturer, and download the driver files for the type of controller chip that's installed on the motherboard.
NB: For this, you need to know the make and model number of the motherboard. Open the computer's case, and read the model number printed on the motherboard.
Right-click on, and install, all the INF files in C:\WINDOWS\INF
Install the WDM (Windows Driver Model), to install the Kernel drivers.
NB: Faults of this 11th type may be caused by booting into Safe Mode and removing the Microsoft Kernel drivers from the device manager, as "ghost" devices, in trying to overcome device driver conflicts.
General Note on Rebooting:
When rebooting a system that uses a Sound Card instead of on-board audio, make sure the Sound Card is plugged in before rebooting; otherwise the computer will not detect it or configure its settings.
Start up in SAFE mode, then go to CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM > DEVICE MANAGER and expand "Sound, Video & Game Controllers". Check these against what you should have, and delete any devices that don't match your actual hardware. Might as well delete the entries for your acual hardware as well while you're at it. Then restart Windows; it will detect the hardware attached to the computer, and any conflicts with 'phantom devices' will be gone.
Option 13 (WDM Trick):
The problem may be that a device which is necessary for the AC'97 drivers to work properly is not installed (even though Device Manager says the AC'97 device IS working properly!)
Boot to SAFE mode. Then open the Device Manager and remove all Multimedia Sound and Video devices. Also remove any other device that didn't load correctly during the last normal boot.
Look specifically for a device called the "Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator". This is the device which is usually missing, but
having more than one instance of it can also cause problems. Remove it (or all of them!) if present.
Reboot the computer. Be sure to choose CANCEL when you are prompted to locate the drivers for the "PCI Multimedia Audio Device". (This is the actual AC'97 device, but you must install the "Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator" before installing it, so choose CANCEL.)
But load all other devices (if any) that the boot-time wizard wants to reinstall. Then reboot. Keep rebooting until the only device found on bootup is the "PCI Multimedia Audio Device" (but, as before, choose CANCEL when offered it, every time: don't install it yet).
Then go to START > SETTINGS > CONTROL PANEL and open the "Add/Remove hardware" wizard. With it, manually add the device called "Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator", which you'll find in the Microsoft group (it should be the only one listed there in Windows 98). Install it. Then, even though not prompted to, reboot (to let the driver load correctly and fresh).
On this reboot, you can now (finally!) install the driver files for the "PC Multimedia Audio Device" when prompted. Your original Windows CD would be helpful here, because in my case I'd always been loading the WDM (Windows Driver Model) version of the audio drivers, but I found that the non-WDM version was the one that worked; so look for that driver and load it (identifiable from the fact that it won't have "(WDM)" listed as part of the "pretty name" of the driver).
As soon as the AC'97 driver loads, you should hear sound. Reboot just to be sure, once it's completed loading.