i went to the dxdiag in run or whatever and i brought up direct x diagnostic tool. i clicked on sound1 tab and it has like the default for my sound and i go to test it and it doesnt work.....so i go to sound 2 tab and it has my creative live! 24 bit or whatever sound card and i go to test that one under the music tab and it WORKS! like i hear a brief clip of music.......so whenever i test that it works. under the music tab it has two descriptions of sound sources or something. one is 'microsoft synthesizer' thats the one that isnt working. and then theres the 'sound blaster live!' that IS working. HOWEVER - under 'default port' it says the 'microsoft synthesizer' is the default because it says 'yes' and the sound blaster live says 'no'. so how do i make sound blaster default?!!!?! i think this will solve my problem after over 14 hours !