Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fun and Games with Windows 7

No, before anyone asks, I haven't gone over to the dark side and "upgraded" my Mac or Ubuntu boxen to Windows 7 ....

However, whilst staying with friends, I volunteered to help resolve an issue whereby he was getting no audio from his Windows Media Centre PC. The PC ( a Sony VAIO VGX-TP1 ) connects via a HDMI cable to a monster LG 42" LCD HD telly.

Having worked OK whilst running Vista, all appeared to be well following an upgrade to Windows 7; however, something seemed to change, potentially due to a pesky Windows update.

The symptoms were quite simple - no sound, anywhere, from anything, zip, nada, nowt, nuffink.

The plumbing is quite straight-forward; a nice chunky HDMI cable from the the back of the Sony, plugged directly into one of the two HDMI ports on the telly. We tried the normal problem determination techniques; swapping HD cables, powering on/off PC and TV etc. but nothing appeared to help.

To cut a very long ( 3 hours last night, 3 hours this morning ) story short, having upgraded/downgraded/regraded the audio drivers ( provided by Realtek ), I'd completely failed to realise that, in this brave new world, HD audio comes from the video card as much as from the sound card; the sound card only drives a so-called optical output on the rear-side of the PC. Once I downloaded and installed the latest drivers (15.​12.​75.​4.​1930) for the graphics card, an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 from: -

and rebooted, all was well.

For reference, we also used the most up-to-date Realtek driver (R2.35) from here: -

but this made no difference; I switched to/from the stock Windows 7 drivers, but to no avail. The "killer blow" was the Intel drivers :-)

Apart from trial and error ( and coffee ), credit must be given to this posting: -

Good news!  I talked to a friend that worked in the Windows 7 development at Microsoft and he had the same prob with 2 of his computers and figured out the solution.  While it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, the HDMI Audio comes from the video card drivers.  I went to Intel's website and chose my video card, and they had Windows 7 RC drivers up, I downloaded those and installed, rebooted and my HDMI audio is now back in the soundcard list and I tested it, worked great! So to all of you above, go get the latest video card drivers and try again. Worked for me!

which provided me with the clue to upgrade the frikkin' Intel drivers :-)

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