Dell Inspiron 1100 - Audio Driver Installation Issues

Posted on 2009-04-08
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP sp3 w/ all updates on my Dell Inspiron 1100, but cannot load the audio driver.

The driver I am attempting to install is the SIGMATEL STAC 9750 AC97, which was downloaded from Dell support site (Service Tag:  2K5WP31).

Based on research in this and other forums, I also downloaded and successfully installed:
 - the latest BIOS
 - the latest Chipset driver

When I attempt to install the driver using the installer, I receive this error:
"Installing C-Major Audio Driver and Applications --  Device Object not present, restart the system and run setup again"

When I attempt to install the driver through the Device Manager using the Found New Hardware Wizard, I receive this error:
"Cannot Install this Hardware - There was a problem installing the hardware:  Multimedia Audio Controller -- An error occurred during the installation of the device -- The data is invalid."

The prior "solution" posted implies that I need to reformat and reinstall Windows XP from scratch again, which is what I hope to avoid.

Any suggestions?

Question by:10Tenths
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 24104645
is the sound enabled in the bios? if not, enable it and install the driver
it can be your sound section is bad; you can test by running the live knoppix cd; you should hear the welcome sound :

Expert Comment

ID: 24104687
Try following:


2. Make sure the audio card is enabled in the BOIS?

3. If that doesn't work try to download this lightweight driver tool Unknown Devices v 1.2 by halfdone.

4. extract the download to a folder and delete the pcidevs.txt file (List of Hardware).  Below the download button on halfdones page there is a link to a brand new pcidevs.txt file on "Craig's website" download the newest list and put it in your unknown devices extracted folder.

5.  Run the Unknown Devices app and find your audio device listed in the app.  Compare the specs listed on Unknow Devices with the specs on Dell's Support site to verfy that you are using the correct Driver.  

6. try drivermax :     
Sound Device can be bad too

7. Got to Start>Control Panel>System. Click on the hardware tab > Click on Device manager.

8. Go down to Sound, Video and game controller. See if the Sigma is listed there.

9. If it is, right click an select "Uninstall" Then reboot. Windows should detect it, and reinstall it. If that fails, go to Start>Add/Remove Programs and uninstall any Sigma Software.

10 .Download this registry cleaner, and save it to your desktop and run it. Reboot, and hope.  You can also try downloading the newest drivers, here,

11. follow this link, uninstall the codec and reinstall the driver

Hope this helps

Expert Comment

ID: 24104712
You must have a bootable cd from dell names dell diagnostics, run it and check for sound diagnosis and see what error you receive in it because this issue can be related to two things the sound card or the motherboard. the diagnostic will help us know what exactly it is.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24105281
Knoppix suggestion by nobus is a good idea.
Will ID if problem is software or hardware.

Go into "Device Manager" and delete everything except Codec's under "Sound, video and game controllers" and then reboot.
That should force a driver reinstall.
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24105361
I have found in the past Dell laptops have differnet model numbers underneath to wha'ts printed on the lid and elsewhere and sometimes the drivers are different (even within a particular model)
I would go to the dell site and use the software on thier site to inspect your system and determine what drivers you need.
the error message you are getting is its the wrong driver or the driver software is corrupt.
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

jamietoner earned 250 total points
ID: 24106773
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24114378

Author Comment

ID: 24134437
Alright, it took me a while to try the many various solutions suggested (which I appreciate :), but unfortunately none of them have appeared to improve my situation :(

Of important note, the audio worked fine prior to reformatting & trying to reinstall Windows, so I highly doubt there is a hardware problem.

So, I decided to go back to square one, reformat the drive and reinstall WinXP.

At this point, the only thing installed is WinXP Pro sp2 w/ no service packs or updates.
- the BIOS is up to date (vA32)
- the Audio Controller is listed as Sigmatel 9750

Nothing really works at this point, including audio, video or networking.  What is the preferred sequence to load the following software & drivers to have best results getting the audio to work?
- WinXP sp3 & other updates
- Dell Notebook System Software
- Chipset drivers
- Audio driver
- Video driver
- Network drivers

LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 24134958
When you run Windows update you are loaded up with an updated driver database.
That database is used to ID parts that came out after your OS CD was made.
If you did not run Windows update after you re-installed the Windows doesn't know what the sound chip is or which OS drivers are needed to support the sound drivers.
LVL 34

Assisted Solution

jamietoner earned 250 total points
ID: 24134979
If you swap the video and audio that is the exact order Dell teaches techs to install drivers after a clean reinstall.

Author Comment

ID: 24135038

You mention "If you swap the video and audio that is the exact order Dell teaches techs to install drivers after a clean reinstall."

Is it OK to install the Network drivers first?  Otherwise it will be more challenging to get WinXP sp3 and latest updates loaded...

Author Comment

ID: 24135047

I downloaded all the XP compatible versions of the Sigmatel driver from the Dell website (thanks for pointing me to these), but how can I tell which I should try to install first?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31568401
Thanks for your help!

Author Comment

ID: 24220815
Bottom line -- I could not install the correct audio driver without completely starting over with a fresh install of Windows XP.  If you encounter a similar problem w/ an audio driver for a Dell Inspiron 1100, do not waste your time trying uninstall/reinstall the audio driver or chasing around different versions, start over.

Installing in the following order allowed the sound card driver to install successfully:
1.  WinXP sp3 & other updates
2.  Dell Notebook System Software
3.  Chipset drivers
4.  Video driver
5.  Audio driver


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