Windows Vista Drivers--- Help!

I, with my very limited knowledge of computers, don’t know how to solve this problem, and I need help!
So I have an HP with Windows Vista. For the first couple of weeks the speakers in the computer worked, and then they stopped. My test tones won’t work. I did a scan on my drivers and apparently 21% of my drivers are failed, including the RealTek sound card drivers.

I can pay $29.99 to download all the drivers I need for a year, I guess, but hmmm, should I really have to pay extra for these drivers that I need? And how could they have worked in the beginning but be no good now?

As I said, I don’t know very much about things like this, and I dread calling tech support but I guess if I have to, I will. Can anybody help me before it comes to that?

Did this machine COME with Vista on it? Drivers don’t “wear out” – if they worked once, they still should. Try doing a system restore (in the help system) on the Start menu back to when the drivers worked.

If it works, you may have to re-install some applications, but you won’t lose any data.

If not…

If the machine is new, it should come with valid drivers for all its hardware on the pre-installed operating system. No one should charge you for these – if they sold it without working drivers, it’s broken and they need to fix it (I can’t see a major manufacturer shipping with bad drivers, though.)

If the machine is NOT new (i.e. you updated to Vista from something else), you probably just need to wait a while for the drivers to become available; some may never, and you’ll be stuck with the choice of not using that hardware or else buying new hardware.

Well. I had downloaded different drivers that were supposed to fix the problem six times and restarted the system, and it hadn’t worked. Then, just two minutes ago, I downloaded one that I found in a post on the microsoft forums, and restarted, and hey, whaddya know, it works! Yay!

Thanks anyway, TimeWinder.

Now if I can just find the fixes for the drivers on my camera, and my printer/scanner thingy, and all the other tiny little things that aren’t so important but they add up to irritate greatly, then I’ll be good!
Dangit, I wish I’d gone with the XP!

And… now it doesn’t work again.

My quest for the correct driver download (for free) continues. Off to google again.

I’m not running Vista, so I can’t help much, but I’m curious; where were you offered the option of paying to download drivers? Was that on Microsoft’s website or HP’s? I’ve never heard of paying for drivers.

Neither- it was a site that scanned all my drivers, told me which were bad, and offered to give me the correct drivers for pay. I only considered it because I’m getting desperate at this point.

It seems to be a very common complaint with Vista- not only no sound but no drivers for certain cameras, and my own experience with the scanner as well. Right now I’m downloading my eighth driver that’s supposed to be “the one”-- in 15 minutes I will know.

If you bought the machine new from HP with Vista pre-installed on it, then HP would have provided working drivers for all of the hardware. If something stopped working, then yhou should go to HP to download the drivers again.

If the sound card did not come with the PC, but was something you added yourself, then you should go to RealTek for the drivers. There should be no reason to go to any third party for drivers.

What was the site that you went to that scanned your machine and offered to sell drivers to you? As has been previously stated, you don’t need to pay fro drivers; the hardware manufacturers always supply them for free. I would be concerned at this point that this site might not be legitimate, and might be doing harm to your PC.

It was called Driver Detective.

Yes, I bought the machine new, on Feb 1, with Vista installed. But it’s not just me that’s having this problem- I’ve read through many forums with post after post of Vista users having this problem. And it looks like a lot of the drivers out there are working for some people- they post their links and others say it worked for them and offer thanks. But none of them are working for me. This latest one I’ve downloaded may work, but I still have 20-30 minutes of copying to go through and then I can test it.

I’ve been doing this for around a month, off and on- searching for and downloading drivers that are supposed to fix it, but for some reason none of them have worked for me.
I have a real aversion to calling tech support.

I can’t imagine why. It’ll be just like what you’re doing here, only tech support will, you know, be able to help you.

I have just found in the past that if you’re not very informed about computers (I’m maybe a 4 out of 10 in terms of knowledgeable about them) they can be very rude and condescending. Some of the attitudes I’ve encountered before make me not want to call them.

Just tried to download the Realtek driver update from microsoft (again!) and it won’t install.

Guess I’ll suck it up and call tomorrow.

Did you try going into the Device Manager and uninstalling all the malfunctioning drivers, then restarting Vista to let it discover the new hardware and reinstall the correct drivers? Windows keeps an archive of all the drivers that came with the computer, so if it worked at one time, they are still on your machine.

After trying the last suggestion and related things, I finally broke down and called India. After two hours of Patel remote-controlling my computer (how trippy is that?), it seems there’s a defect in the hole in the back of the tower where the speakers connect and I have to send the tower for repair. Dammit.

Turns out I’d done everything possible to try to fix the problem myself, so I can at least pat myself on the back for that.
Sigh. Thanks anyway to all who responded.

Huh? Was the sound card bad, or the connectors faulty? (Or was it that the Indian guy’s English skills weren’t up to the task of describing the problem clearly?)

Although faulty jacks are not at all uncommon, I’d be highly suspicious of this diagnosis if a driver update or rollback seemed to have fixed the problem previously (assuming you didn’t do any physical jiggery-pokery at the same time as the driver update/rollback that seemed to work).

In any case, if it is a physical fault, before you send the thing away, try plugging some headphones into the socket - because it might not be the socket itself that is faulty, and may instead be the plug on the end of the speaker cable - if so, it’s probably going to be cheaper and easier just to get some new speakers (or a new cable if it isn’t hardwired in at the speaker end).

What Mangetout said. It could be as simple as a $1 part. Try different speakers or a headphone. It could be that your intermittent problem was a bad connection.
Drivers don’t break and then get fixed and then break again.

Generally this is true, but if Vista is silently downloading and installing driver updates from Microsoft in the background, it could well be replacing the working soundcard driver with what it considers is a newer, better one, but one that doesn’t actually work, then it could appear that the driver was going wrong, then right, then wrong again.

My experience of the soundcard driver updates offered by Windows Update is that they do sometimes stop the soundcard from working - on more than one computer, I’ve has MS update offer me a completely inappropriate driver for my hardware.

Ah, that’s good to know for future reference.

Actually, I never did get the drivers to work- I just tried many different versions, none of them worked, and then at the end I put back in what my computer said was supposed to be in there (which still didn’t work, of course). The hardware tech I spoke to after Patel told me there was an issue with the motherboard and jack- apparently it’s been happening to a lot of other people, too, not just me.

I hope I’m doing the right thing by sending it. It sucks to have to go back to my old computer for at least 3 weeks.

Shoot, if that were me I’d replace the sound card with something off the shelf at the local computer parts store. I hate not having a computer at home. I guess that’s why we have more than one. :wink:
At least with fixing it yourself you won’t have to worry about them replacing the bad card with the same type of card that may go bad again…
And sound cards are cheap and easy to replace. Unless you have a laptop.
Even if the sound card is part of the mother board you can disable that one and enable the newly installed one.

Well maybe I misoverestimated by computer skillz… maybe they are more like a 2. I have not the first clue how to do that and I’d even be scared of letting my 16 year-old son do it. I’ll gladly ship it- I do have the one I replaced with it, it’s just that Vista is so pretty.

A couple of friends have suggested that since I just bought it 2 months ago, I should just march back into Sam’s Club with my 55-pound box of computer and demand a new one. You can’t do that! Can you? Nah, I’m pretty sure I would look like a big country bumpkin if I did that.