Audio Device Drivers
For most PC users, working with a computer that has no sound would be unimaginable. In order to have sound, you need an audio device installed on your machine.
However, this device will not work on its own. You need to download and install a piece of software known as a driver program that enables your computer to communicate with the audio device in question.
This driver will often come on a CD when you buy the original device, or it may be something that you download from the manufacturers website. It is critical you keep these drivers up to date or else you risk hardware failure and lose your sound completely. What a nightmare!
How To Update Your Audio Device Drivers
The best solution is to grab a free download of the outstanding ‘Driver Installer’. This program checks every driver that you currently have on your machine before updating those that are out of date and fixing those that need repairing.
Thus, it offers a ‘one-stop’ solution to any and every driver problem that you may be encountering on your machine, which is obviously going to save you a great deal of time, trouble and effort.
More On Audio Device Drivers
Every time you send a sound ‘job’ by attempting to play an audio of video file, your machine sends the normal sound command to your Windows operating system which then passes that command to the driver program.
This then ‘translates’ the command into a format that your audio device can understand, and as long as everything goes smoothly, the sound should start pouring forth from your speakers or headphones.
The problem is that drivers are often surprisingly complex little software programs and they are not always tested as thoroughly as they might be. Thus, driver problems in general are relatively common, and audio device drivers are no exception to this rule.
How To Troubleshoot Audio Device Drivers
Audio device driver problems can manifest themselves in several ways.
First, you may simply find that there is no sound at all coming from your machine. As long as the audio device itself has been correctly installed, then this is probably indicative of a driver problem.
Check the ‘Device Manager’ on your machine for the presence of your audio device. Using XP, you find this from the ‘Control Panel’ after which you click on ‘System’, then ‘Hardware’ and you should see the ‘Device Manager’ there.
You may have sound but it is distorted, broken or fragmented. Check that your speakers of headphones are connected properly to your PC and if they are (and there are no other loose connections) then the chances are that you have a driver problem.
Audio device driver problems can be far more serious than this, however.
For example, situations where a recently re-installed audio device driver causes a computer to ‘hang’ for 2-3 minutes after every reboot are relatively common.
This is not only incredibly frustrating and worrying, it also means that there is still unlikely to be any sound as well!
In this case, what you would do is reboot the machine is ‘safe’ mode, because when you do this, none of the drivers that support third party devices work when you computer is in ‘safe’ mode. This will allow you to uninstall the driver and start again, although that does, of course, mean that you still have to find an audio device driver that works.
The easy way is to download this tool which locates drivers automatically. If you don't want the headache this is definately the best solution.