How to Install a Sound Driver

by Gregory Hamel

A sound card is a device that processes audio information from your computer and sends it out to audio devices like speakers, headphones and microphones. Just like video cards, DVD drivers and other hardware devices on a computer, sound cards require a software component (driver) to tell the computer how to properly utilize the device. Therefore, whenever a new sound card is installed or a new operating system is being used, sound drivers need to be installed for the audio to work.

Determine what type of sound card you have. To do this find your "My Computer" icon and right-click it. Then select "Properties." Under "Properties," click the "Hardware" tab. Then click on the "Device Manager." Within the device manager, find "Sound, video and game controllers."

Download drivers appropriate for your operating system. If you have a CD with drivers that came with your sound card, use that to install the drivers. If not, go to the website of the manufacturer of your sound card to download drivers. If you have a sound card built into your motherboard, its name under your device manager may be somewhat less descriptive. For onboard audio go to your computer maker's website for driver downloads.

Run the driver installation executable file you downloaded. This will take you trough a short installation process, where usually you can just press next a few times without having to change any other options.

When the installation process is complete restart your computer.

Turn up the volume on your speakers. As the computer restarts, you should hear the start up sounds that Windows makes, which will indicate that the drivers were installed successfully.


  • check Software drivers can sometimes cause system instability. If you experience crashes soon after installing a new driver, reverting back to the older version will often stop the problem.

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.

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