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Utterly Confounding Computer Problem (No Audio, Video, Game Controllers)

wazillawazilla Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Windows XP SP2 Fully updated.

OK, the problem is that one day all of my "Audio, Video and Game Controllers" suddenly came up corrupted/missing. Literally every entry under that heading in the Device Manager had a yellow exclamation point with Error 39. Uninstalling and reinstalling the device results in the same error. I downloaded new drivers from my manufacturer's website (Dell) and extracted them to the appropriate folders and *still* got the corrupted/missing driver spiel. the computer will recognize my USB Audio device, This guy, but also has the missing/corrupt driver error and will not play sound via the headphone jack.

I know it's not a hardware issue. I can boot into a diagnostic partition and run tests that play music from the speakers. The USB device is pingable in the diagnostic but doesn't work to play sound or record audio. My on-board headphone jack is broken but the microphone jack works and the diagnostic for recording audio did work.

I've run Ad-aware SE personal edition and Spybot S&D (nothing interesting found) and am currently running AV programs to see if it's virus related. The only reason I suspect that it is, inded, a virus or some form of malware is that the same thing happened to one of my roommates laptops. The difference is that upon downloading new drivers his sound worked again.

I've been beating my head against this wall for about 24 hours now, any help at all would be appreciated!

wazilla on


  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    What was the last thing you remember doing on the system (physically or software-wise) before this happened?

    On a hardware level: Did you, for example, move the system to another location? Did you put in a new component or swap an old one out? Did you clean out the system with a compressed air canister?

    Or on a software level, did you install a new patch just before this happened? Install any new software? Open an unsolicited E-Mail attachment? Let someone who doesn't know jack about computer security use your computer without you watching them?

    Also, can you contact Dell about the issue? If you're under warranty, this can likely be best solved by contacting them. It could be a defect in the system, or even some known issue that they can work around.

    Let us know.

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  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    The last thing I remember doing was installing Autogk from http://www.autogk.me.uk/

    However, after a restart and normal use for several hours there were no problems. I tried to use a system restore but for some reason even though I have the max space possible allocated the only restore dates were from only hours ago and were created due to me installing my University's AV program (which is not something I wanted to undo).

    I am very hesitant to contact Dell since my system is out of warranty (XPS M1710) and the last time I contacted them they said "what? give us money now. NOW!" and that was pretty much the end of that. I will attempt contacting them soon though.

    On the hardware level, there were no changes made. All the affected hardware seeds to work fine on its own but Windows just can't get it to work.

    I did leave my computer out in the front room for about... half an hour unattended and then shut it down and carried it back to my room. Upon turning the computer back on and heading to youtube I discovered my sound problem.

    To be clear. Windows is not detecting any audio devices at all according to the Sound and Audio option in the control panel. However, if I remove the devices in device manager and then run the Add Hardware wizard it detects them but says their drivers are corrupt or missing. I have since verified that at least *some* of the drivers are where they're supposed to be (not going to bother going through the entire list unless I absolutely have to).

    Edit: Oh, I also removed AutoGK as soon as this problem popped up.

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    So the problem really happened as soon as you moved the system from the front room to your room?

    I wonder if something became unseated inside, or got banged up in the moving of it. One of these sounds like the most likely possibility to me... Do you have any experience working with the inside of computers? You may need to open it up and see if something is no longer connected (for example, if your sound card is partially unseated from its slot.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    it's a chore taking this laptop apart. I suppose it's the next logical step in diagnosing the problem.

    What happened was I shut down the computer and unplugged it, carried it to my room and set it on my bed and then plugged it back in and turned it back on. The main thing is that I can get the speakers to play in diagnostic mode... oh well... maybe the sound card is being a bitch. I will call dell first on the off chance that it's a known issue.

    Thanks VT :)

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Oh, it's a laptop! I didn't realize that!

    Usually those are MUCH more stable as far as pieces being firmly fixed in place. I didn't realize it was a laptop.

    Definitely call Dell first in that case, because something wierd has happened beyond what most people can fix. Laptops are definitely a pain to open, and can be harmful to the system if not opened properly. It's a whole different world than the world of desktops as far as the ability to open it up and fix stuff goes.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I do have experience with it. I used to do some rudimentary computer repair for a mom and pop shop a couple years ago so I'm confident poking around. I already took it apart once to examine the broken headphone jack (infuriating finally realizing what the problem was).

    Anyways, it's just weird that my roommate also had a similar problem within less than a week of me having the problem. He's running Vista which could explain the slightly different symptoms... but yeah. A call to Dell is definitely next on my list.

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