I knew the sound on my system was basically okay, since I could listen to everything in the VLC player.
However, the fix for my sound problem was really simple but the answer was just very complicated to hunt down.
I noticed that a lot of the chatter about similar problems on other forums was tied to Adobe Flash Player.
One of the last things the support person had me do after ridding my computer of malware was have me uninstall all my old Adobe software and reinstall all the latest versions. I just didn't make the connection that Adobe software could affect all the Microsoft sound.
Finally after doing a Google search on Adobe Flash Player sound problems I found the solution:
Here is an actual quote:
Alright the problem is really the mapping of wavemapper in Windows registry as reported by one member of the forum.
All you need to do is to open registry editor by going to Start menu, Run, typing regedit and then Enter.
After that, in the registry editor, walk yourself through the tree in the left pane, till you reach
My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32
And then on the right pane, right click and click on New, select String value, enter "wavemapper" (without quotes of course), ENTER, type "msacm32.drv",
Well, of course it didn't work the first time. I received this message:
the registry editor cannot rename New Value #1. The specified value name already exists. Type another name and try again
I was stumped for a time until I saw somebody in the forum with a similar problem mentioned they had found a fix for this problem by granting subkey permissions. This led me back to Google searching for registry permissions.
After that here is what I had to do, and although it seems like a lot of steps, it is really quite simple:
Once I had reached the drivers32 registry entry I highlighted the entry in the right pane. Mine said (Default) REG_SZ (value not set). I then clicked on Edit in the Menu bar and clicked on permissions in the drop down.
This opens the Permissions For Drivers32 window. I highlighted the Administration entry and clicked on the Advanced button.
This opens the "Advanced Security Settings for Drivers32" window. I made sure that I was on the Permissions tab in this window. I noticed that the box called "Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here" was checked. Again, I made sure that the Administration entry was highlighted and then I clicked on the Edit button.
This opens the "Permission Entry for Drivers32" window. I selected "this key and subkeys" from the Apply onto: drop down in this window. I then checked the Full Control check box. I clicked OK.
I clicked Apply from the Advanced Security Settings for Drivers32 window.
I clicked Apply from the Permissions for Drivers32 window.
Once I had done this a whole bunch more entries appeared in the right pane for Drivers32 including my wavemapper entry. It was there all along; it just didn't have any permissions to do anything including showing itself in the registry pane.
I exited the registry and now all my sounds are back and the volume icon is again in my system tray. Who would have thought?
Hope this helps someone else.