Extremely low volume using headphones, but No sound in speakers, after Vista updates.

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by TheRandomGuy, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. TheRandomGuy

    TheRandomGuy

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    Hello Everyone,



    A week back, while vista was installing a few updates on my laptop (Sony Vaio VGN-NS130E / Vista Home Premium 32-bit with SP1 running on Intel GL40 Chipset ), I happened to close the laptop by accident. Next time I logged in I saw that the update had failed (obvious.)

    Soon after I realized that there was no sound from my speakers, but I can still hear very feeble volume through the right channel of my headphones. These are the steps that I have done in an attempt to fix my problem (in the same order as I did it)



    1. Rolled my system back to the immediately previous System Restore point (one created when the system was fine and these updates were not installed.) - No luck!

    2. Checked, if my speakers were set to default. - They were.

    3. Tried recording using Sound Recorder - the file plays fine on other machine, plays on mine but with no sound.

    4. Reloaded the driver for the inbuilt sound card. (Realtek High Definition Audio)

    5. Installed the latest Chipset Drivers for my motherboard.

    6. Checked for the latest audio driver for my laptop model from Sony , installed it. - No luck!

    7. Used 'Microsoft Fix It' - no help.

    8. Installed Service Pack 2 and ALL updates that I could find, using 'Search Updates' feature. - no use!

    9. Used 2 different Driver Scanners to find if I was using any older versions, by this time my audio driver was up to date.

    10. Reloaded the audio driver again.

    11. Tried installing generic High Definition Audio Driver.

    12. I used a tool which tries to find if my device is working properly, it reports no problems.



    After each step I restarted my system as and when I was prompted to do and made sure that the (h/w & s/w) volume controls were all set to 100%, and speakers to default. For all this while, I have been able to hear any song that I play through my headphones (only the right channel). Well, technically I can 'hear' the sound (which makes me think there should be no hardware problems :confused: ), but the quality is way too bad (dominated by hissing sound), and I have to wait for the room to be "really quiet" to even hear whats coming from that ear plug, then I plugged in an external speaker into (one and the only) audio jack...set speaker's volume to full... I can hear only a loud hissing sound , but if i stick my ears into the speakers I can figure out the music.



    Observation:

    I do observe that rthdvcpl.exe (Realtek HD Audio control panel) never starts, even tough its configured to do so in the startup. Windows Audio Service is always running. Rthdvcpl.exe wont run even if I manually try to run it, now I am guessing something is blocking it, but have no clue how to fix this problem. Please help!! I have tried almost every potential fix that I could find on most of the forums (including this one) , but to no good :(



    Would be great if any one in the community would be able to help me with this problem.

    Thank you.



    [sorry for an extra lengthy post, just wanted to make myself unambiguous.]
     
    TheRandomGuy, Apr 12, 2010
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  2. TheRandomGuy

    WAW8

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    One thing I didn't notice in your list is to reset Windows Updates. Don't know offhand if that will work, and if it does reset, you may then be faced with hundreds of updates, but it's the only thing I didn't see in your list.



    We have a pinned post on how to do that in our General Technical forum.



    Also, in my experience, I have found System Restore to be completely useless -- which I why I do all my own image backups and rely on those.
     
    WAW8, Apr 12, 2010
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  3. TheRandomGuy

    TheRandomGuy

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    @WAW8

    Thank you for your prompt reply.



    I did try reseting the vista update as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/949104/ and Microsoft Fix it 50202, and I noticed a difference in the sound quality, it got clearer, no more hissing sounds. But my problem is still not solved, there is no sound through the speakers and its way too feeble through the audio jack.



    I found this Information about audio device drivers that are known to cause problems when you install Windows Vista service packs, they do not claim that the this list is exhaustive but since I do see many other similar (Realtek HD audio problems) posts, I am inclined to believe that maybe realtek hd audio a part of that list. (just my opnion).



    Well, in either case is there anything else that I can try to fix this problem?



    (meanwhile, I will try using Live OSs to doubly assure myself that there is no problem with the hardware)
     
    TheRandomGuy, Apr 12, 2010
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  4. TheRandomGuy

    TheRandomGuy

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    Alright, an update on the problem seeking some more help and suggestions from the community members. I contacted online-chat Microsoft Support for this issue. The representative tried many potential fixes and I was on the chat for almost 2.5 hrs.



    At the end, Microsoft tells me that maybe the new audio driver is conflicting with the 'old' BIOS settings, so I explicitly asked if they would suggest flashing my BIOS. Their reply was - "..usually reloading the BIOS software needs some knowledge from the manufacture side, so we would not recommend that you do it yourself." Cool!!! So they connected me to a Sony representative, immediately after listening to m problem she says - "Yes we can solve that but that would be $129".



    My Problem: I do not want to spend $130 on this thing for various reasons. At the same time, I have never flashed any BIOS, I have the BIOS update utility for my model. But I am hesitant jumping my guns on it even though the process seems very simple (as per online/wiki tutorials).



    Is there anything that you guys would recommend me, to take care of, while updating my BIOS? Is there anything that I could try as a "last shot" before attempting to flash the BIOS?



    Any help is much appreciated.

    Thankyou,
     
    TheRandomGuy, Apr 14, 2010
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  5. TheRandomGuy

    WAW8

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    Ordinarily, I would not respond to BIOS update requests because that is completely outside of any kind of OS support, but since things are slow here, I'll respond.



    Flashing the BIOS on any PC runs the risk that, should it fail, the PC is then turned into essentially an electric "brick". So, the most important things to have in place are (1) the ability to save off the existing BIOS, (2) the ability to restore the saved BIOS should the BIOS flash fail.



    When I have done BIOS upgrades, one of the following was always true:

    1) Created a boot diskette, copied the BIOS update program to that diskette, saved off the existing BIOS to that diskette, inserted a second diskette with the updated BIOS, ran the BIOS update, removed the diskette, rebooted the system, chose the BIOS setting to restore factory defaults, manually updated the various BIOS settings.

    2) Booted the PC, pressed the key combo to run EZ-flash, inserted a blank formatted disk, saved the BIOS to the disk, ran the BIOS update to use the new BIOS from a file saved on the hard drive, rebooted the system ...



    As you can see, these are not simple, one-click, activities.



    You could try Googling for BIOS update with your machine make and model -- and see if anyone else has done it and has some tips specific to your machine.



    I can see you NOT wanting to pay someone to do this, but consider that if you do anything wrong, you're left with a completely unusable PC -- that may be worth the cost to you.
     
    WAW8, Apr 14, 2010
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