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"No audio device", but okay in Device Manager


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nymd15

nymd15

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Hi,

I've had a refurbished Sony VAIO laptop (PGC-FRV28), with a 2.4 Ghz Pentium 4 and running Windows XP SP2, for a couple of years without any problems. But a few days ago I suddenly got a SMART warning of impending hard disk failure, which then disappeared in 24 hours (and has not reappeared since) but was replaced, coincidentally or not, with another set of problems: At the same moment --- as far as I can determine --- I lost sound AND battery power on the computer.

The battery is a couple of years old, so I suppose it might have just died. The taskbar icon shows "AC power" only and the Device Manager has an exclamation mark next to "Microsoft Composite Battery" in Systems Devices; it says, "this device cannot start". Is this consistent with a battery failure?

More pressing, since I'm a musician and work with sound-related software all the time, is the loss of audio. The usual audio device icon in the taskbar is missing. Under "Sound, video and game controllers", the Device Manager shows everything --- SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio card, Legacy audio drivers, audio codecs, and all related drivers --- as "working properly". (I updated the SoundMax driver via the Sony website, just to make sure, and it installed correctly but changed nothing.) But in "Sounds and Audio Devices", from the Control Panel, it shows "no audio device"; in the Audio tab, "no playback device", "no recording devices", etc., where normally SoundMax would be listed. Every possible field in the Volume, Audio and Voice tabs is greyed out and unchangeable; only "sound scheme" in Sounds can be changed (from blank to Windows default, which doesn't stick from one time to the next). Yet in the "Hardware" tab, everything is listed and said to be normal. I checked Services (Run>services.msc) to find that Windows Audio is "started" and "Automatic", as it should be. (I also tried to check Bios settings --- F2 during reboot, right? --- but only see "speaker volume: 4" as an indication of audio functioning. Much less bios detail than in my Gateway desktop running W98...)

**I HAVE just discovered, after selecting "show hidden devices" and "show hidden files" in the Device Manager, two "non-plug and play drivers" with yellow exclamation marks, both marked "Code 24": One is "mrtRate", which I believe is a Quicken driver and therefore probably irrelevant; the other is "serial", which I'm wondering about. Could this interfere with my sound card function?? If so, how do I correct that?

I'm running up-to-date McAfee AntiVirus and Personal Firewall, Spybot resident scanner and TrojanHunter's on-access Guard, and have recently run McAfee VirusScan, TrendMicro Housecall Antivirus, AdAware, Spybot, SpySweeper and TrojanHunter, as well as TuneUp Utilities 2006, so I believe the system in general is as clean as I can make it. Because I was deleting spyware recently, XP's normal system restore wouldn't be much use, as most old restore points were erased when I temporarily disabled it.

I realize I may just have to bite the bullet and --- praying that my hard drive really IS okay --- use the System Recovery Disks I made when the laptop was new to reinstall the OS and original software, just to see if that fixes the audio problem. Then would take the unit to a repair facility and test a different battery to see my the battery is indeed dead. But I'd love to avoid a week's-worth of reinstallations, involving so many programs I use constantly, if there's any way of troubleshooting this short of a total reinstall. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks very much.

Edited by nymd15, 25 March 2006 - 12:40 PM.

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