17.8 Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows 95/98/2000/XP

Configuring a sound card requires similar steps in Windows 95, 98, and 2000/XP, with minor differences in the names and sequence of dialogs. To configure a sound card under Windows 9X or 2000/XP, take the following steps:

  1. After removing the existing sound card and drivers, if any, verifying that all vestiges of the old sound card drivers are gone, and physically installing the new sound card, restart the system. Note that the drivers supplied on CD-ROM with some sound cards must be present in the CD-ROM drive when you start the system.

  2. Windows should recognize that the new sound card is present and display the Add New Hardware Wizard. Although Windows 9X includes drivers for many sound cards, you are usually better off using the Windows 9X drivers supplied by the sound card manufacturer. To do so, mark the Search for... option button and click Next.

    Windows 2000 and Windows XP include drivers for relatively few sound cards. The drivers they do include often have limited functionality, such as supporting only two-channel sound on a four-channel card. We strongly recommend downloading Windows 2000/XP drivers from the sound card maker rather than using those provided with the operating system. Install Windows 2000/XP drivers in the same manner described for Windows 98 drivers.

  3. When Windows displays the next dialog, either specify the location of the drivers or tell it which drives to search for them. Click Next to continue.

  4. Windows should locate the proper drivers and load them. When the process completes, reboot the system. Most sound cards include an automated installation procedure for bundled applications, which usually autoruns immediately after the system restarts. Follow the prompts, and provide any necessary information to complete the installation.

  5. For Windows 98, right-click the My Computer icon, choose Properties, and then click the Device Manager tab. For Windows 2000/XP, right-click My Computer, choose Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button. Then, for either version, expand the Sound, video and game controllers branch and verify that the sound card is installed properly and that no conflicts exist. Most sound cards also have a test utility that you should run to verify that all aspects of the sound card hardware and drivers are operating properly.

  6. From the Control Panel, double-click Multimedia to display the Audio page of the Multimedia Properties dialog (Windows 9X) or the Sounds and Multimedia Properties dialog (Windows 2000/XP). If you have more than one audio device in your system, use the Preferred device drop-down lists in the Playback and Recording sections to select one of the installed audio devices as the default for each. Click the Advanced Properties buttons in the Playback and Recording sections to configure driver-specific options for such things as degree of hardware acceleration to be used, sample rate conversion settings, the type of speakers you are using, and so on.