How to Install Windows XP Sound Device Drivers

By Randall Shatto

Often, after you format or install a new instance of Windows XP, you need to install drivers to get all of your devices to work properly. This is true of graphics, sound and even sometimes network devices. Drivers are small files that tell Windows how to communicate with specific components. Without them, Windows still receives information from those components; however, Windows XP does not know how to use that information correctly. Sound drivers are important if you want to listen to music or videos on your computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Sound driver disk

Automatic Installation

Step 1

Insert the driver disk that came with your sound card or computer into the CD/DVD ROM drive. The disk should automatically boot.

Step 2

Follow the on-screen instructions. This usually entails clicking on “Install” or “Install Sound Driver." After the installation completes, double-click the driver for your sound card to complete the installation.

Step 3

Download the sound driver specific to your card and Windows XP from Windows Update (link in Resources) if you no longer have the installation disk. Select "Custom" to allow Windows to find the information specific to your computer. Click "Hardware," and then "Optional" to select the updates for your computer. Click "Review," and then "Install Updates." Windows then retrieves and installs the drivers you need.

Manual Installation

Step 1

Click on the “Start” menu. Select “Control Panel,” and then double-click "System."

Step 2

Select the Hardware tab and expand the "Sound, video, and game controllers."

Step 3

Double-click the sound card for your computer, and then select the "Driver" tab. On the Driver tab, click the option to "Update Driver."

Step 4

Use on-screen instructions from the Hardware Update Wizard to locate the driver and update it.

Step 5

Turn up your speakers and reboot your computer to ensure sound is now working on your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are unsure of your sound driver's manufacturer, open your tower or case. Use a flashlight to look at your sound card. A model number or manufacturer's name will be displayed. Use that information to locate the correct sound-device drivers for your Windows XP.