Troubleshooting New Audio Drivers

I updated my audio driver a couple of weeks ago and funny enough, I didn’t even realize that I had no sound on my PC till I noticed I was hearing nothing but annoying ‘beeps’ from it. After a day or so of this, I thought ‘hmmm, that didn’t happen before I updated my sound driver’. To verify, I went to YouTube, clicked on a music video, and… SILENCE.

To ensure that it was not just a Flash-related issue (YouTube needs Adobe Flash to function) I downloaded and installed the latest Flash player. However, that didn’t help.

I rolled back the audio driver (i.e., went back to the older version) and got my sound back. However, it was a bit frustrating because I knew the audio driver I had was at least 2 years older than the one that was just out so what was wrong?

Someone suggested that I uninstall the old driver first, before installing the new one. Somehow, just installing the new audio driver does not always work. So that’s what I did and here’s how you can do it too.

Note: Steps below are done on a Windows XP machine. Steps may vary slightly if you have a different Windows OS.

  1. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  2. Click System.
  3. Click the Hardware tab.
  4. Find the Sound, video and game controllers category and expand it.
  5. Select the audio device installed on your PC, right-click it and then click Uninstall.
  6. Close the Device Manager and – important! – restart your PC.

Now, you can update your audio driver by repeating Steps 1-4 above, and then for Step 5, just choose the option Update Driver, instead of Uninstall.

For me, since I had the actual file for the new audio driver on my PC already, I just double-clicked its installer to install it on my machine (i.e., didn’t go through Device Manager anymore).

So there you have it. If ever you download a driver for your system and it doesn’t work right away, it doesn’t always mean the driver is faulty; perhaps you just have to completely uninstall your old driver before you install the new one.

Good luck!

Jules Peters is a Technical Writer at, where her mantra is ‘fix Windows errors’ with me!