How to Install a New Sound Card in Your HP Laptop PC

By Editorial Team

Updated July 21, 2017

HP laptops, like most laptops, include an integrated on-board sound card. If you want to improve the sound quality, or you want to use advanced editing and recording functions, you may have to install a new sound card in your HP laptop PC. There are two different kinds of sound cards available for laptops. Below are the instructions for installing each.

Installing a PCMCIA Sound Card in Your HP Laptop

Locate the PCMCIA slot on your HP laptop. On most laptops from HP, the PCMCIA slot is located at the left side of the front of the computer.

Press the "PC Card Eject" button.

Remove the PC card cover. Retain it so that you'll have it if you remove the new PC card later.

Insert the PC sound card with the upper label facing up. Push it gently into place.

Your computer will make a sound to indicate that the card has been recognized.

Install the necessary drivers and software from the CD that came with your new sound card.

Installing a USB Sound Card in Your HP Laptop

Turn the computer on.

Plug the USB sound card into the appropriate USB plug on your laptop.

Wait for the computer to recognize the new USB device.

Insert the sound card manufacturer's CD if prompted to do so.


You can install the PCMCIA card while the computer is running if your computer supports hot-swapping. The operating system will automatically recognize the new hardware and find the software for it. The newest laptops ship with no PCMCIA slot, only the ExpressCard slot.

As of this writing, there are no sound cards that fit the ExpressCard slot. You'll need to use a USB sound card or system. If you really want to use a PCMCIA sound card in your HP laptop with no PCMCIA slot, you'll need an express to PCMCIA card adapter like the Duel Systems adapter (see Resources below).


Some sound-card manufacturers include an express install CD with their hardware. If a CD is included with your sound card, follow the instructions on the CD, but only install the drivers and software needed for your computer model and operating system.

Items you will need

  • Software and driver CD

  • Sound card

  • HP laptop