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What Can Cause Bad Sound

The most common problems with your system's sound are often similar to the problems you find with CD-ROM or DVD drives. (You can refresh your memory by rereading the last half of Chapter 23, “What to Do When You Can't Access Your Disks.”)

  • Things might not be hooked up right. Remember to seat all the cards and connect all the cables, including the power cables for your powered speakers.

  • Things might not be configured properly. Don't forget to configure Windows for your specific sound card and make sure you have the latest sound driver loaded.

  • Things might be in conflict—in particular, ports (also called input/output addresses), interrupts, and DMA channels. It's important to make sure that your sound card is set up so that it doesn't use ports, channels, or interrupts assigned to other devices on your system. If you have conflicts, you might find that several devices don't work right.


    Your sound card, like most peripherals, uses a direct memory access (DMA) channel to pipe information directly to your system's memory, bypassing the microprocessor. Most systems have eight DMA channels available.

  • Things might not be properly associated. If you find events that used to make noise have suddenly become silent, chances are the .WAV file has been deleted or moved or associated with an inactive media player. Check the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box to make sure that real sounds are associated with all key events and actions.



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