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On Dell – Audigy 2 issue

Update: June 2006: THE LATEST drivers from Creative appear to work perfectly with DELL OEM Audigy 2 cards. You can get the drivers here.

Update: Scroll to the bottom for a fix that has so far worked on 5 Dell PCs, including my own.

Jeff Jarvis has generated enough bad-press on the blogosphere that Dell appear to have sat up and listened. A quote from an article that cites Jarvis’ problems:

…says it has new procedures for dealing with the blogosphere. The company’s public relations department monitors blogs, looking for commentaries and complaints–and, starting about a month ago, began forwarding complaints with personally identifiable information to the customer service department so that representatives can contact dissatisfied consumers directly, said Dell spokeswoman Jennifer Davis. The move appears to have been triggered by a series of “Dell Hell” posts penned by Jarvis about his problems with a Dell computer. Jarvis first wrote about the topic in June, and continued posting updates through the summer.

“Obviously, Mr. Jarvis’ experience could’ve been handled better,” Davis said.


But I have my own grief, and I have to admit it is rare I have had problems with the Dell PCs I have owned in the past. But this time Dell seem incapable of solving the problem, or at least are unresponsive.

Yes of course I could ring tech support in Bangalore, with a quick ‘Kay sa-ha’ I would be on the pigs back, but the simple thing is I shouldn’t have to because Dell are failing to do something very simple:

…post drivers for their hardware on their own website.

Allow me to elaborate. I own a Dell Dimension 8400, 3.4Ghz, 2048Mb DDR2, 320Gb SATA, 256Mb GeForce 6800, DVD/RW…yadda yadda, with a Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card. And I ran into a big fat problem with it this week.

Following a clean install whereby I formatted the RAID 0 array and clean installed Windows XP SP2, the Audigy 2 has failed to work. At all. And being the nerd I am, since I’ve been tinkering with everything from Atari 2600’s and Amiga’s since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I always endeavour to solve these problems myself – I always think the best way of learning how hardware or software works is by fixing the problems you come across by yourself – tech support is a very last resort, and anyway I can usually predict what troubleshooting measures they will ask me to take.

Place Audigy 2 driver CD (that I got with the computer) into the drive – begin installation:

“Setup has failed to detect a Creative Audigy 2 in your computer, please ensure it is installed – setup will now exit”

Bugger. The bloody thing is installed you stupid computer.

So begins the trouble shooting process. Ensuring the card – which was not touched or moved since wiping the hard drive 10 minutes ago, is properly plugged into its PCI slot. Yup sure is. Back to CD installation. No joy. Open computer again, move the card into a different PCI slot. Try CD again. No joy.

Maybe its the CD? Maybe its the drivers? Maybe I can get the latest ones? Maybe there’s something small I am missing. Windows XP should recognise this device, shouldn’t it? Oh yes, the Audigy 2 isn’t actually an Audigy 2, its a Dell Audigy 2.

In order to save money and time, Dell get Creative to make them lashes of sound cards, with a specific Dell chipset, so my card is not supported by Creative – and their drivers won’t work on my card. I tried. So off to the Dell website I go. Downloads, Drivers, Audio…no driver. A webpatch alright, if I have the sound card already installed. Well that’s the bloody problem isn’t it? I want to install the bleedin’ thing. And your crappy drivers aren’t bloody working. Surely it makes sense to offer the full drivers…but no.

And I am not the only one having problems.

The solution suggested there I had already tried, with no joy either.

So I asked fellow blogger Rymus, who has the same Dell sound card, to pass over some info about his. But it’s to no avail, I am stuck with a rather good sound card that won’t work, Dell don’t have place for me to download drivers, the CD doesn’t work, so….what now?

Your guess is as good as mine.

21 thoughts on “On Dell – Audigy 2 issue”

  1. Gavin, I had the same issue with my new Dimension 5100 (fresh XP install, soundcard not recognized by Dell’s and Creative’s driver). My solution:

    1. Download the official Creative driver:

    2. Double-click to have it extract itself.

    3. When the pop-up appears that says “Make sure you don’t have any other applications open blah blah”, don’t click anything. Just leave the pop-up open.

    4. Go to your windows/temp folder and search for the installer’s extracted data (should be something like a “CRF000” folder).

    5. Now go to the Hardware Manager and look for the undetected device(s). In my configuration, there was an audio controller (the game port) and a pci device (the audio processor).

    6. Install the driver for the device(s) by hand. As the location use the “WDM” folder of the installer’s extracted data. In my case:

    7. Cancel the Creative Installer.

    8. Turn up the volume and dance.

    Let me know if it worked…bye!


  2. AWESOME! After a whole day wasted to find a fix for this it finally worked.

    Only thing was I had to go to “..Documents and SettingsUSERLocal SettingsTempCRF000DriversWDM” instead of windowstemp

  3. Well this has worked for me too. I’ve spent far to much time getting this to work, so thank you.

    Managed to install SBA2_EAX4DRV_031031 which is needed 1st I think. This leaves SBA2_BETADRV_US_2_05_0000 which I think is the latest driver. I’ve tried going about it the same way, but to no avail.

    At least I have sound now although I’m not sure I have EAX.

  4. Anyone know if this will fix the microphone issue with Dell/Creative Audigy 2 ZS Dell supplied soundcards?

  5. My situation is a little different. My computer came with Audigy 2 and it worked well for 6 months. Another user made some unknown registry changes and now it doesn’t recognize the card as an Audigy 2 but an older version Audigy. When I try to reinstall the software it says Audigy 2 is not detected on your system. I tried your method but when I try to install the drivers from the temp file it says there is not a better driver than the one that exists already. Any suggestions?

  6. i tried sasha’s method and it did not work.Windows only detects an audio multimedia controller for which i cannot find appropiate drivers even on my original CD or in the folder sasha mentioned.I get this after formating C: and re-installing windows.

  7. Hi, well I have had exactly the same problem with my poxy Dell Audigy 2 card i.e. not being able to update the drivers on Creative’s website. Because of their “corrupted” message, I thought my sound card files were damaged so I tried to reinstall them. Whoops, what a mistake! The 2 errors I got were the “plxcore.plx” file missing and the mediasource taskbar not launching properly after the reinstall.

    To fix the first, verify that the file PLXCore.PLX is located in the correct folder in your hard drive. The default folder is C:Program FilesCreativeShared Files folder. If the file is not present in the folder, manually copy the file from the original installation CD-ROM disk to the above location. To do so, insert the Sound Blaster installation CD-ROM disk, exit from the Installation procedure if it auto runs.

    Go to My Computer, right click on the CD-ROM drive that contains the installation CD-ROM disk, and select Explorer. Double click on the CTEngine folder, then the file, it should expand. Select the file PLXCore.PLX and copy it to C:Program FilesCreativeShared Files. Reboot.
    Any other bootup error that may arise can be fixed using the same method as above, though you will be looking for a different file.

    SECOND problem after this was the fact that after the re-install from the Dell disc, the Mediasource applications were not launching from the taskbar even though the volume icon was there. Click, click, click, but nothing happens! This was because my version of the mediasource on the Dell CD was buggy. So I submitted my problem to Microsoft using the “submit error report” feature of windows expecting nothing to happen, but lo and behold they said “oh, you have an error, this is the solution!”:

    Go to the Creative support website and key in SID (Solution ID) no 9206 in the knowledgebase, for the UPDATED MEDIASOURCE 2005 FULL INSTALL. The filename is CMS_PCAPP_LB_3_30_21.exe (stick that in yer google search!)

    Jeez, I spent a whole weekend trying to figure this out, if I had submitted that error report to Microsoft earlier it would have saved SO much time. This updated mediasource full install seems to be happy with my Dell Audigy 2 card thank goodness, now I am back to full working order with all surround speakers working and applications launching.

    Hope this helps people stuck in the same boat!

    Mr B

  8. omg thanks Sascha worked like a charm… after all that headache of not knowing what the hell was going on….

  9. Ok so now i have the same problem with this wonderfull card — Sarcasim — i have the driver installed and sounds fine but just curious on how to get the eax, thx, and all the other extras on this card to work help

  10. I have a new Dell Dimension 9150 where the Audigy chip is on the motherboard. As supplied it all works, but if you clone the drive with Acronis 9 on to a larger drive, then only the sound works but not the EAX extensions. Dell suggest using the Audigy Advanced MB CD supplied by Dell to re-install the drivers, but the CD refuses to install.
    The EAX software uses CTMBHA.dll which refuses to load on the clone. It seems to be a Dell file that protects the Audigy EAX extensions by reading the MBR.
    Creative don’t want to know about this and so far Dell can’t seems to find how to resolve the problem.
    The code in the MBR is not XP standard as Dell use partition 1 for diagnostics and partion 3 for a Symantec Ghost 8.3 restore facility. The clone MBR is reset to the Dell form using dsrfix from (a very helpful site for Dell users). There are no obvious markers for the Audigy EAX software.
    Why does Audigy-Dell go to such lengths to protect a rather mundane sound extension package when it only works with an Audigy licensed chip?
    At least the plain sound facilities work without any difficulty.

  11. “Update: June 2006: THE LATEST drivers from Creative appear to work perfectly with DELL OEM Audigy 2 cards. You can get the drivers here. ”

    Uhh no they dont

  12. So does the dsrfix work to get the audigy drivers running?

    I had a Raid0 setup from dell, and I’m pretty sure the dell utility and restore partitions are gone anyway.

  13. Worked a treat. I have searched the net and only this site (the Irish political blog) has the answer. It’s still working.

    Go the Irish. There’s a few in Australia too.

  14. Gavin, you are a life saver. It didn’t work quite right the first time, but I was able to uninstall the WDM device, then restart and re-update the drivers with your tips.

    Cheers mate.

Comments are closed.

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