How to Install Windows XP Sound Device Drivers

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.

Man sitting at cafe table using laptop and wearing earphones
Install drivers to ensure you can hear music from your computer.
credit: Jochen Sand/Photodisc/Getty Images

Automatic Installation

Step

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

Step

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

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

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

Step

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

Step

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

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

Step

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