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Audio issue


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#1
fawoodward

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Hello geeks;

I have a friend with XP installed and a Dell Dimension E521. One day the power went out and her computer was shut off. When she turned it back on, she couldn't hear any sound from anything. So she purchased new speakers, but she still can't hear any sounds. So she purchased a new sound card and disabled her onboard sound, but still can't hear any sounds. She's plugged both the old speakers and the new speakers into the new sound card. I don't have access to her computer physically but I have remotely connected to see if there was anything obvious, but everything looked like the sound should be working. She's hooked her microphone up and when she speaks into it, the bar moves according to the sound input, but, of course, we can't hear anything. But this tells me the microphone is at least working. So here's the quick and dirty rundown:

onboard soundcard
old speakers
unplugged old speakers and plugged in new speakers
disabled onboard soundcard and installed new soundcard
unplugged old speakers and plugged in new speakers

No sound regardless of sound card used and regardless of which speakers used.
I've checked to make sure nothing was muted and the volume wasn't turned way low. I can only assume she's plugged the speakers in to the correct jacks, I had her plug them into each jack on the specific sound card. And she hadn't changed anything at the time she lost sound.

Anybody have any thoughts or suggestions? I'm stumped.

Thank you!
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#2
The Admiral

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Sounds like you know what you're doing. Have you checked the drivers to make sure they're installed properly? Any abnormal entries in the Device Manager? What is every device listed under "Sound, video, and game controllers" category? Is the output device properly selected? Are there any output devices even listed in the Sounds and Audio Devices control panel?
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#3
fawoodward

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Hi, thanks for your reply. When I connected to her computer remotely, I installed the drivers and there was nothing out of the ordinary in device manager and the correct sound card was listed under the audio devices. And in the control panel multimedia section, it showed the correct audio device and everything was enabled and, other than her not being able to hear any sounds, looked as if everything was working properly. There were no errors showing in any event log, no error messages, nothing. I even went to pcpitstop.com to run tests and see if there was something else going on, but all tests completed fine. I'm just stumped :/
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#4
The Admiral

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Hmmm.... have you tried the sound card in a different PCI slot, just in case the slot or controller is bad from the power outage?
Is the hard drive still partitioned the same way it was when she received it? i.e. if you look in Disk Management, is there a 60(ish) MB EISA partition at the beginning of the drive? I'd like to get into the Dell diagnostics to run some sound tests from there, eliminating Windows from the picture.
Also, what sounds are you using to test? I like to use the sounds under the sounds tab of Sounds and Audio Devices, click a sound with a speaker next to it and press the play button. That way you aren't messing with any potential problems in the program itself.
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#5
fawoodward

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Yes, as a matter of fact the last time I had her put the card in a different slot, but it still didn't work. Yes, I am using the sounds in the sound scheme in sounds and audio devices. I did run the Dell diagnostics, but it was from inside windows and wasn't helpful at all. It stopped working when there was a power outtage, so I'm thinking it must be a hardware issue, but I'm not really sure how to check or where it would have ocurred.
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#6
The Admiral

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Hmmm.... I'm not sure which diagnostics you ran.
Try booting into the Utility partition by pressing <F12> during the DELL post screen to access the Boot Device Selection Menu, and select Boot to Utility Partition. This will get you to a blue screen with a grey window, select "Symptom Tree" and find something that talks about sound. Select that test and press the "Run Test" button in the bottom left corner. When the test is done, just close the windows with the X in the top corner, and the system will reboot.

Report back with the results!
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#7
fwoodward

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Hi, thanks again for replying :)

I can only connect remotely so I only have access to windows after it's already booted. I can walk her through it and see what that brings up. Thanks for that! I will post any results, probably will be a day or 2.
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#8
fwoodward

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Ok she booted into the utility partition and ran the diagnostics. She said there were no audio diagnostics, but she ran some of hte others and she was able to hear the sounds while running those. So this tells me that it's definitely a windows issue and not a hardware issue. And I've checked any windows program I could htink of to see if the sound was muted or the volume turned way down or something and none were. Not only that, but we've uninstalled and removed completely and reinstalled the software and drivers, and she's even done a restore and still, no sound in windows. I'm stumped!!
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#9
The Admiral

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Can you verify with her that the sound she heard was coming from the speakers, and not from the computer itself?

I hate to give you such a small assignment, but I need to know before we proceed.
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#10
fwoodward

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Yes it was coming from the speakers. I wanted to make sure of that, too :)
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#11
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What are the two cards that she has? Some cards' configuration utilities have the option for digital i/o. If this is enabled, you won't hear any sound, since the speakers are analog. See if maybe you can find that digital i/o setting while I do some more research after I find out what cards she has.

And sorry, Windows Vista or XP?
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#12
fawoodward

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Windows XP. And I did switch to digital and back while I was connected and it made no difference. It's set to analog currently. The original card is the Dell Dimension onboard sound card, and the new one is...a soundblaster. I'll have to see if she can tell me the model of it.

Thanks!
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#13
The Admiral

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When you put in the new sound card, did you get into the BIOS and disable the onboard sound?
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