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No sound after startup

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A strange problem appeared for a week. Whenever I start Windows XP, I hear the Windows log-on sound, but shortly after that (a minute or so), the sound simply disappears, like it's been cut. I tested it playing a music right after the startup. It plays for a minute, then all sounds disappear. When I restart the computer, the sound is working fine again (it won't disappear for the second time). So basically, if I want to have sounds on my computer, I have to start it, then once the system is loaded, re-start it AGAIN. This is [bleep] annoying, I can tell you...

I downloaded a new driver for the sound blaster - didn't fix the problem. I also tried my luck with the Event log to see if any error is related to this problem, but couldn't find anything. Can anyone help me how to eradicate this problem?

System configurations:
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty (newest drivers)
No spyware/virus infection is present
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How does it behave if you boot to Safe Mode with Networking? If better then something is starting at boot that is causing the problem. You would have to do this the first time you turn it on to test.

Advanced startup options - XP
Advanced startup options - Vista
Advanced startup options - Windows 7

Use msconfig to determine what is causing the problem

These are good tutorials on using msconfig in XP, Vista or Windows 7:
How to use msconfig in Windows XP
How to use msconfig in Windows Vista
How to use msconfig in Windows 7

Click on Start then Run, type msconfig and press Enter.
Click on the Startup tab, record what is currently starting then click the Disable All button.
Reboot and see if it runs better.
If yes then use msconfig to enable several items at a time till you find the culprit.

If no, start msconfig and click on the Services tab.
Check the Hide All Microsoft Services box, record what is currently starting then click the Disable All button.
Again, do a regular boot, see if it runs normal.
If yes then use msconfig to enable services till you find the culprit.

Once you've found the culprit, uninstall it or find out how to eliminate it from your system. Simply disabling it in msconfig is a temporary fix at best.
Enable everything else you disabled.
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