To configure an audio adapter under Windows, take the following steps:
Figure 12-3: Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog
Figure 12-4: Enable digital audio in the optical drive device properties dialog
- Before you install the new adapter, remove the existing audio adapter and drivers, if any, and verify that all vestiges of the old audio adapter drivers are gone. Install the new sound card and restart the system.
- Windows should recognize that the new audio adapter is present and display the Add New Hardware Wizard. Although Windows includes drivers for many audio adapters, you are usually better off using the drivers supplied by the audio adapter manufacturer. To do so, mark the Search for option button and click Next.
- When Windows displays the next dialog, either specify the location of the drivers or tell it which drives to search for them. Click Next to continue.
- Windows should locate the proper drivers and load them. When the process completes, reboot the system. Most audio adapters include an automated installation procedure for bundled applications, which usually autoruns immediately after the system restarts. Follow the prompts, and provide any necessary information to complete the installation.
- Right-click My Computer, choose Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button. Expand the "Sound, video and game controllers" branch and verify that the sound card is installed properly and that no conflicts exist. Most sound cards have a test utility that you should run to verify that all aspects of the audio hardware and drivers are operating properly.
- From Control Panel, double-click Multimedia to display the Volume page of the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog, shown in Figure 12-3. Set the Device volume slider to the its highest setting and use the Speaker settings section to configure your speaker setup and audio playback performance settings.
- Click the Audio tab to display the Audio page of the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog. If you have more than one audio device in your system, use the Preferred device drop-down lists in the Playback and Recording sections to select one of the installed audio devices as the default for each. Click the Advanced Properties buttons in the Playback and Recording sections to configure driver-specific options.
- Right-click My Computer and choose Properties to display the System Properties dialog. Click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button to display Device Manager. Expand the DVD/CD-ROM drives item and double-click each optical drive entry to display the Properties dialog for that optical drive, as shown in Figure 12-4. On the Properties page, verify that the "Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM device" checkbox is marked.
WINDOWS AUDIO DRIVERS VERSUS GOOD AUDIO DRIVERSWindows audio drivers may have limited functionality, such as supporting only stereo sound on an 8-channel sound card or not fully supporting the hardware acceleration features of the adapter. We strongly recommend downloading drivers from the sound card maker rather than using those provided with Windows.