No sound on Dell Dimension even after reformatting

By Barutero
Jun 15, 2010
  1. I'm trying to solve a sound problem on someone else's computer, and it's driving me insane.

    Symptoms: No sound playback in Windows at all. The problem started out of nowhere, no one has any idea how it happened. It's an integrated sound card, and I'd have chalked it up to a dead sound card if it weren't for the fact that the audio still works on Dell's diagnostics tool accessed during boot-up. Integrated sound is enabled in BIOS. The sound device is recognized by Windows and shows up in Device Manager, but doesn't report any problems at all, it just won't play sound at all.
    Almost forgot to mention: Sigmatel HD audio, and yes, Microsoft UAA bus driver is installed too. Windows XP SP3.

    Things I've tried: Uninstalling and reinstalling all manner of drivers. Updated bios, reinstalled chipset drivers, reinstalled sound drivers about a hundred times. Thinking it was a driver conflict beyond my reckoning, I backed up all data and did a factory reformat. Still no sound.

    So, it can't be a dead card, since it plays the test song just fine in Dell diagnostics outside of Windows. But if a complete reformat can't fix this problem, what possibly could?
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    1. re: hearing sound from Dell;s diagnostic vs hearing "sound"
    Your computer can create mono-tonic tones without needing a sound card or audio drivers and codecs. I'm going to guess if you run the Beepex tool in Windows you'll still hear simple tones (just not audio files)

    2. Check Problem Devices report
    • Make sure all your devices are connected and powered on
    • Click Start->Run, enter: msinfo32. Click the + sign next to Components to expand it
    • Click Problem Devices. Anything appear?
    • If yes, click on it, Ctrl-A to select all, Ctrl-C to copy it, Ctrl-V to paste into next post
    3. Generate and attach a DirectX report
    • click Start->Run, enter dxdiag
    • Notice progress in lower left window corner
    • When done, click Save Information button and save to your Desktop
    • In TechSpot, use the paper clip icon to attach the report. (If you don't see icon you may need to first click Go Advanced)
    4. click Start->Run, enter services.msc. Scroll to Windows Audio. Verify Status=Started and StartupType=Automatic

    /* edit */
    I should clarify: The computer can play monotonic tones directly to an internal speakers - which, ummmm... no pun intended "sounds" like applies to your case :)
  3. Barutero

    Barutero TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Actually, the sound in diagnostics is a short song clip, most likely a WAV. It tests each speaker individually, then both together. So, it's not the system beeps.

    Also, I discovered a work-around that might shed more light on the problem. Sound works perfectly if the speakers are plugged into another jack, like the headphone or microphone jack. Strangely, only the proper speaker jack doesn't work (it only works in diagnostics). I noticed that the Sigmatel software has a feature that recognizes when devices are plugged into other jacks, and will display a pop-up in windows notifying which jack has been accessed asking what kind of device was plugged in. It just doesn't acknowledge the speaker jack.

    I have them just using an alternate jack now, but I'll run your recommended tests when I work on their computer again. For now it's "solved" in the sense that they can hear sound as normal, just not with the correct set-up. Possibly a faulty jack?

    In any case, thanks, very much appreciated.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Yep. You're right. I had guessed (incorrectly!) Dell was just doing monotonic beeps

    Hmm.. Given what you found about the jack problem, I don't think the tests i suggested will help for your case as the tests suggested would only check if the driver was installed correctly)

    Quite possibly, especially since the problem just started as you said. Tho very odd if you say the jack works in Dell diagnostics yet not under Windows. Dunno
    Your most welcome. One more thing i would suggest you might want to try (tho not sure if will help) you can download, burn and boot into Knoppix (an alternate OS). Then try using it's audio CD player. Maybe you can see if things behave different under Knoppix (then you'd know it's software at least vs. hardware) See How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot It includes info about creating a bootable Knoppix CD
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...