Solved: Major problems with Sigmatel audio card

By TridentCrash · 130 replies
Dec 8, 2008
  1. Hi. I know a good amount about computers but i have almost no knowledge about audio cards. I'm currently running a Dell Inspiron 1501 and have full factory default hardware and settings (its a dell, many personal problems with dell so i don't mess with them anymore). One day my volume controls "disappeared" so i rebooted my comp and they still weren't there so i uninstalled my audio driver and rebooted then reinstalled the driver with another reboot. Nothing. So i repeated this process 6 times, 3 installing from the CD provided by Dell and 3 times from Still nothing. I then decided to do an operating system repair. Took over 24 hours and got to the Windows XP Boot screen (the one with the XP symbol right in the center durring pc boot up) and it said "Please Wait...". Sat like that for 24 hours. So I turned off my comp and rebooted it. Everything works but the audio still. After the "repair" i tried twice from the CD and twice from and still nothing.

    I don't know if its my sound card or just faulty downloads?
    Please help!
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  3. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Yea I've done that many times. But my audio driver just will not install/work. I don't know if its cause my card has crashed or what.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Possibly faulty hardware, but we'll continue with software anyhow

    1. Uninstall the drivers from Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel of Windows.
    2. Restart the computer.
    3. Run Driver Sweeper*, select the drivers that you have uninstalled and click Clean button.
    4. Install the new drivers.

    * For Windows Vista users, please run Driver Sweeper in administrator mode.
    Right mouse click Driver Sweeper shortcut and click Run as administrator.

    To download and install Driver Sweeper, please click HERE. (direct link)
    Save DriverSweeper_1.5.5-setup-[].exe file on the hard disk.
    Run DriverSweeper_1.5.5-setup-[].exe.
  5. electromagnetic

    electromagnetic TS Booster Posts: 208


    Go to Start button, then control panel, sounds speech and audio devices. Place volume control in task bar. Also make sure mute is not checked.

    Or do a factory reset F11 and control on Dell logo screen, but make sure to back everything up first as this wipes clean the hard drive.
  6. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    I have tried that many times Kimsland and as for Electromagnetic I have also tried that to. When I open control panel i have an icon for my audio but i get an error when i try to open it. When i open my audio devices control panel it says no drivers even though I clearly have one installed?
    So does this mean my sound card has cashed or that I'm still having problems wih the drivers?

  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  8. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    hmm.... still nothing
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Installing the drivers without errors is necessary but not sufficient for your sound to work.

    What do you mean? If it does not install (i.e. install with no errors) you shouldn't expect it to work.
    Or are you saying it DOES install or what?? Please explain

    Then follow these steps to supply some more detailed data
    Click to download then run Everest Home. From top of Everest window:
    • Click File->Preferences
      • Check English
      • Then (still under Preferences) click Report and uncheck Include Debug Information
      • Close Preferences window
    • Click Reports->Report Wizard. Get a Custom Report report in plain text. Check these items
      • Computer
      • Motherboard
      • Multimedia
    • Attach the report file to a TechSpot post. When you create your TechSpot post, use the paper clip icon to attach the report. (If you don't see it among your icons, you need to click the TechSpot Go Advanced button towards bottom of window)
    Check if Windows reports any problem devices
    • Click Start->Run, enter: msinfo32. (It may take a short while till a second window opens)
    • Expand Components (click + sign next to it)
    • Click Problem Devices. Anything appear?
    • If yes, click it, then Edit->Select All then Edit->Copy and then paste into your next post
  11. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    I've already tried that. My Uncle came by today and he is a computer genious an he would never lie to me or my family and he said that my sound card has crashed Unfortunly because i have a crap dell i have to buy a new mother board (stupid warranty ran out SIX DAYS AGO!) cause the sound board is intragraded into it... any ideas?
  12. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Heres the thing:

    IF your OS is actually OK, try this;

    Sound Troubleshooting in XP:


    Usually, people lose sound because of driver corruption (malware/viruses or user error) or after doing an operating system re-install. Of course, sound chip failure is also a possibility.

    The following suggestions may help identify the problem area to aid in getting it back. Users should use a program like Everest or Aida32 or Belarc or even using the Windows System Information data.

    The key thing is to clearly identify:

    Make and model of computer (if a manufactured model)

    Make and model of motherboard and/or chipsets installed

    Add-on devices (has a sound card been added or is the onboard sound used or is there only an add-on card)

    Sound devices/drivers/codecs listed in Device Manager and Add/Remove programs


    Check the motherboard bios to ensure sound is enabled.

    Check Start, All Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Volume Control to ensure no 'mute' box is ticked and volume sliders are at maximum.

    Check Start, Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager for any yellow alert markings.

    Check Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services for the Windows Audio entry and ensure it isa set to automatic and is started.

    Check Start, Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, Speaker Volume to ensure speakers volume is maximum and then check Advanced to ensure speaker setup is right.

    Check Start, Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, Audio - make sure a default device is entered for Sound Playback and for Midi Music Playback.

    Check Start, Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, Hardware - click on the cd/dvd and make sure it is enabled then look at properties - properties to make sure the cd/dvd isn't muted and the sound volume is at maximum.

    Check Start, Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, Hardware - there should be an Audio Codecs entry and an entry for the Audio Controller.

    The audio codecs can be further explored by clicking properties - properties. A number of codecs may be displayed. It may be useful to select the Microsoft codecs one at a time and click properties and re-number them 1-5 such that they are the default codes. Make a note of the original sequence of priority so you can return to the original later if you want to.

    The audio controller can be further explored by clicking properties. Make sure the device is enabled.

    If you have done and recorded ALL the above, prior to seeking help, it then becomes easier to provide information that can be used to fix your problem.
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Tried what??!! I was asking in order to get much more specific and detailed data about your system and its Windows devices

    I have absolutely no doubt your uncle wouldn't lie. But there are so many issues and nuances about Windows device and device driver installs can be good to have another pair of eyes look at device installs and methods. And based on your descriptions previously am still not convinced you don't just have device driver and/or resource conflicts or such problems which can be found via Device Manager.

    If that's still your only question... i think the 1501 is a laptop if i recall? i don't know costs off hand but assess the cost of a new motherboard vs. a new laptop. BUT ALSO consider there are EXTERNAL sound cards that usually attach via USB (so you needn't change the motherboard let alone try to open your laptop and change it yourself - if that/s what you're thinking.
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    It sure is:

    Sometimes these strange issues can be caused by Virus or Malware
    Have you completed a full Antivirus or Malware scan (reference post: #7 above)

    I'm thinking conflict still in Device Manager too
    Or possible an incorrect driver loaded, which is forcing Audio to fault

    Maybe have another read through this thread, it's all been covered quite comprehensively, I feel
  15. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Attached is an Everest error report and also pasted is a Windows Error report

    Name SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
    Manufacturer SigmaTel
    Status Error
    PNP Device ID HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_8384&DEV_7690&SUBSYS_102801F5&REV_1022\4&35873B3A&1&0101
    Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\sthda.sys (5.10.5143.0 nd491 cp1, 1.12 MB (1,171,464 bytes), 12/4/2008 11:05 PM)

    Attached Files:

  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Ah-HA!! As I suspected!

    I explain next (under PROBLEM EXPLANATION) if you’re curious to know (and for the benefit of anyone else reading this thread who may have found it because of similar symptoms.). And, of course, we still need to prove we can solve the problem! For that, look under NEXT THINGS TO DO below)

    Hi Def Audio vs. AC’97 sound cards
    You have a Hi Definition Audio sound card installed on your Dell
    ==> Hi Def Audio is the newest standard for sound cards. It uses digital technology
    ==> AC’97 was the name of the original standard for sound cards. It used analog technology

    Hi Def Audio vs AC’97 Drivers
    • AC’97 sound cards require a sound card driver and that’s exactly what we all got used to looking for
    • Hi Def Audio sound cards require TWO drivers (by definition of the Hi Def Audio standard!) The standard requires:
      • A driver for the sound card (when looking in Device Manager, it still looks like the one we’re used to installing and seeing there) PLUS
      • A driver for a new device called the “sound card bus controller”. You may also see it refered to as the “Hi Def Audio controller” or a some similar name. (When looking in Device Manager you'll find it listed with other controllers)

    Installing Drivers for Hi Def Audio
    Microsoft decided to include a default Windows driver for the Audio bus controller. They thought sound card vendors then had a choice:
    ==> a) Use the Windows default driver for the Hi Def Audio controller and only provide their own sound card driver, or
    ==> b) Write their own Hi Def Audio controller. They would include both drivers, controller and sound card, in the driver install file the user runs.

    Vista was released with the default driver already included in its driver library. However, established versions of Windows (like XP) requires a user to install Microsoft update
    ==> KB835221 to add the default driver to XP SP1
    ==> KB888111 to add the default driver to XP SP2. KB888111 should be installed after KB835221 has been installed
    ==> XP SP3: No updates required. The default driver comes included in XP SP3's driver library

    My current best guess: Your problem is related to the bus controller driver on your computer​
    1. I’d like a snapshot of all your drivers and version numbers
      ==> Install and run DriverView
      ==> Once it opens Edit->Select All, Edit->Copy then paste it into a Notepad file .txt file and attach it to your next post
    2. Uninstall things in this order:
      • First off, you should open Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs, look for any sound devices and, if found, click the Remove button to uninstall
      • Next uninstall using Device Manager. Look for the sound card and audio bus controller drivers. Click View->Devices by connection. Expand ACPI PC and sub-components until you see PCI Bus then expand PCI bus as well. You can find both devices under PCI Bus
        • Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio among the items directly under PCI bus and
        • Expand the Hi Hi Def Audio controller to see your sound card.
        • Check each device to see if a device driver is loaded. Rt click to select the driver then Uninstall.
    3. Try installing the Dell driver again. Once installed, repeat above to find both of the two drivers. Find them? Rt click on each driver, select Properties. On the General tab, look for Device Status. Does it indicate it's running or a problem?

    Note: I downloaded then opened the Dell driver file and looked at what the installer was doing. It first installs Micorsoft KB835221 only (not the other MS KB). If you still have a problem, let me know as there's still other things to do
  17. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I have saved the above info for information reference (seeming it's excellent) :grinthumb
    This part interests me most:
    Please follow LookinAround's request under "NEXT THINGS TO DO"
  18. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    thanks :)

    and a footnote re: DriverSweeper. Some supplemental info which you may already know but to be clear for others

    1. i've never used this tool but had previously read about it and seems an excellent tool
    2. However, is important to note
    ==> a) It only cleans up supported drivers which currently are NVIDIA (Display and Chipset), ATI (Display), Creative (Sound), Ageia (PhysX), MMouse and Realtek (Sound).
    ==> b) Also, it also does NOT touch the Hi Def Audio Bus controller drivers (should they be in need of some attention)
  19. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Says the drivers are either missing or corrupted...?
  20. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    OK. let's go over some things

    1. just an fyi/request: When you post a reply please use the Post Reply button vs. Quote buttons as follows:
    - Quote: Only if you think helpful to reference the older post you are replying to (as you see all prior text gets included and repeated)
    - Post Reply: To simply post a reply (note this button is typically sufficient for most replies)
    2. Please be careful to follow instructions AND follow them in the order given or there's no point in trying to be of help. Step #1 told you how get and give me a snap shot of your drivers BEFORE you uninstalled anything (which is now impossible as you didn't post the report file so i assume you never created one)
    3. Are you stating that you checked for BOTH devices indicated and BOTH devices reported current or corrupt status? or was that for just one device?
    4. You're leaving out important information as i assume if you reran the the device install (which later results in corrupt device status when using Device Manager) you must have gotten SOME type of error messages back during the time of the actual install. Some information about problems and error messages when you do something that generates them would be most helpful

    So please try to provide the same detail when responding as i've tried to give you when giving instructions
  21. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Sorry I for got about the pic. my dad turned off the net and i didnot have this page up still so i just went by with what i rembered.
    I click on the drivers (both of them) and its flat out says driver is missing or corrupted... i rebooted my comp and when i get back to device manager it said that it had installed like 10 new audio devices. they say stuff like kernel audio and such.
    each time I uninstall something it keeps reappearing back into the device manager. so its still possible to make the pic because nothing is seeming to be pernament?
  22. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Now i get what you;re describing! I need modify my instructions (my error).

    And as an fyi, i think there's a good chance to get this solved if we work together like this and make sure we understand each other. (helped me realize the change of instructions needed.) Probably not new instructions till tomorrow tho.

    But let me explain what what/why you're seeing

    Open Device Manager and change the View to Display by Connection and you'll see something like pic attached to this post (Download pic and then you can view pic)
    - Note the View Menu also shows Device by Connection is indicated
    - Note the 2 sound devices that appear on my sample computer: The Hi Def Audio device is toward the bottom in the pic and the SoundMax HD Audio for that computer is below it

    If you right click a device then Uninstall it, it WILL disappear (at least for the moment!) but DO NOT REBOOT YET!

    - First rt click and uninstall the sound card . For the moment it disppears, right? Do NOT reboot.
    - Next, right click the High Def Audio device and uninstall it. For the moment it also disappears, right? Do NOT reboot

    Cause when you reboot, Windows re-detects hardware connected devices on boot (Note hardware detection doesn't need drivers. Your sound hardware gets detected whether the driver exists or not!). Once redetected, the device reappears and of course says no drivers

    So now you can reboot and use your computer while i going double check some things and get back to you tomorrow!

    Attached Files:

  23. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    ok thanks for the information. I have done all that you have requested and I will wait for further directions before I reboot thus to not futher mess up my comp for some strange reason...
  24. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    oh. is ok to reboot now and use your computer while you wait for next instructions.

    sorry, if wasn't clear. I had only meant for you to not reboot when i was taking you thru that "device uninstall / device disappear / device re-appear" demonstration in prior post
  25. TridentCrash

    TridentCrash TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 68

    Oh ok. I have rebooted my comp now and under device manager its says underMicrosoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio (which reappeared after uninstaling) there is a SigmaTel High Def udio CODEC. An an unknown deice? on the sigmaltel there is a small yellow exclamation point?
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