Dell sound problems nearly a year now

  royboxer 20:40 24 May 2006

I have a Dell Dimension 3000 its about 9 months old now and I have been having sound problems since day 1, well day 10 to be precise. It appears to have some sort of sound conflict that appears after about 10 days. If I listen to any audio the sound becomes distorted. If I browse to another page or website whilst listening to music the sound almost stops , then gradually increases in speed until it's almost acceptable. I first contacted dell about this last September, after spending about two hours on the phone to support, the engineer finally decided that I had a software problem and should reinstall windows. I did this and the sound was fine, then after about ten days it started again, it sounds like an old vinyl record played at the wrong speed. Since then I have been in touch with Dell by phone, Email and in writing (with a pen and paper). After months of getting nowhere and 5 reinstallations of the OS I finally receive an email from an engineer saying he has diagnosed a problem with my motherboard and it has to be replaced. I was so chuffed, then I received a phonecall from someone at dell saying the engineer wouldn't come to fit the motherboard until I had done some diagnostics, well eventually someone came, changed the motherboard, sound was still x&*%$~ said i should reinstall windows again and everything would be fine. Well instead of tying him up and keeping him hostage I believed him and let him return to his loved ones. Now 10 days later the sound has gone again. What do I do. This is an original system with no modifications. I've been through the driver upgrades, downloads, changes, reinstalls, I'm beginning to think that dell are not a very nice company to get involved with. Hindsight is fantastic.

  Sandy110 22:32 24 May 2006

Which software are you using to play the audio?
Do you have the same problem with MP3, WAV and MIDI files?

  woodchip 22:37 24 May 2006

It may be better to just fit a cheap sound card. From £4.50 click here
You need a free PCI slot a white one

  royboxer 07:27 25 May 2006

It happens when I play anything, I've tried speakers, drivers, it happens when I play CD's or from memory. It happens when I play downloads or tracks on an MP3 player mp3, wma,wav,midi, but the wierd thing is that the fault takes two weeks to appear after reinstalling windows.

  royboxer 07:33 25 May 2006

I've also tried different media players, Windows media, Real player, win amp, nero, dell's own preinstalled media player. I've tried removing players and just having one or the other.

  Stuartli 09:13 25 May 2006

Your Dell appears to have onboard sound; have you tried downloading the latest audio drivers for it?

It's most likely to be a C-Media or Realtek onboard sound chipset.

See the end of this thread for links to drivers:

click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:00 25 May 2006

Sound setup
click here

  Stuartli 14:03 25 May 2006

The strange thing is that the problem only reappears after 10 days once it clears.

  royboxer 19:50 26 May 2006

If you read my earlier threads you will know what I am talking about. My primary IDE is running in PIO mode. Can somebody tell me please Shouldn't this be DMA and if so how do I change it.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:54 26 May 2006

Re-enable DMA using the Registry Editor

Run REGEDIT. Go to the following key:


It has subkeys like 0000, 0001, 0002, etc. Normally 0001 is the primary IDE channel, 0002 the secondary, but other numbers can occur under certain circumstances. Check the DriverDesc value to see which one it is.

Delete MasterIdDataChecksum or SlaveIdDataChecksum, depending on whether the device in question is attached as master or slave, but it can't actually hurt to delete both. Reboot. The drive DMA capabilities will be redetected.

Open Device Manager again and check whether the device is now actually using DMA mode. If so, congratulations, you've made it (at least until the next time Windows disables DMA).

Alternative Method—Uninstalling the Port
1. Uninstall the secondary IDE port
To do that, open Device Manager as follows. Right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the Hardware tag, click on the Device Manager button, click on the plus sign to the left of IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller, right-click on Secondary IDE Channel, click on Uninstall. Deactivating is not enough.

Reboot to make the changes active and permanent.

After booting Windows will automatically reinstall the IDE channel and the DVD (or CD) drive. This Plug-n-Play process can take a little while, so give it a minute after the boot process finishes.

2. Reactivate DMA
But this is not enough, because unfortunately Windows does not automatically activate DMA on a DVD or CD drive. You have to tell Windows to try to use DMA first.

For that, go to Device Manager again. Right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the Hardware tag, click on the Device Manager button, click on the plus sign to the left of IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller, double-click on the secondary IDE channel, click on Extended Settings and change the relevant setting from PIO only to DMA when available.

On Windows NT and 2000 you now have to reboot a second time, but Windows XP applies the change instantly. Then you can go to the same place in Device Manager again and check whether the device is now actually using DMA mode. If so, all is well.

3. Driver is not intended for this platform
If you keep getting the following error message:

There is a problem installing this hardware.

IDE channel

An error occurred during the installation of the device. Driver is not intended for this platform.

then the way out is to rename C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (or a similar path on your computer) to something like atapi.old.

If that's not possible, you can try it from the repair console (boot from the Windows install CD and select the repair console).

If Windows always automatically recreates atapi.sys, you can try renaming it in safe mode or from a command line window or you can try to rename or remove it in the driver cache as well.

Desensitize Your Computer's IDE Channels
There's a bit more to it. The following article offers a way to reduce the incidence of this problem, although it still doesn't solve it altogether.

IDE ATA and ATAPI Disks Use PIO Mode After Multiple Time-Out or CRC Errors Occur
click here

Do read this article because it contains a useful long-term workaround. But you have to go through the procedure described here to re-enable DMA first. Assuming you've done that, insert the ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess registry values mentioned in this article into both the primary and the secondary IDE port registry keys as described.

Unfortunately this is only a half solution, because when you enter an unreadable DVD, you will get 6 errors in a row, and the IDE channel will revert to PIO mode, but at least when you pull out the DVD in time and then insert a good one, the error counter will be reset and it will at least be a bit more difficult for Windows to hobble your IDE drive.

  gudgulf 20:31 26 May 2006

Are you seeing any CRC (cyclic redundancy check) errors or other error messages at all?

Do you use the pc for gaming at all.....if so are you using any games employing "Starforce" copy protection?

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