Error 39 - Cannot load device drivers - driver may be corrupted or missing

dillerboi used Ask the Experts™
For a while I have been dealing without sound but really want it fixed.  I started trying
 to install the Realtek AC97 Audio Controller and got the Code 39.  Now in Device Manager
 there are the following all with yellow dots with an exclamation point:
MS Kernel Acoustic Echo Canceller
                 Audio Splitter
                 DLS Synthesizer
                 DRM Audio Descrambler
                 GS Wavetable Synthesizer
                 System Audio Device
                 Wave Audio Mixer
MS Streaming Clock Proxy
                       Quality Manager Proxy
                       Service Proxy
MS WINMM WDM Audio Compatibility Driver
Realtek AC97 Audio

I felt like the tour manager for The Rolling Stones.  

I have tried several different things starting with uninstalling all of them and re-installing
only the AC97   I had a friend download the AC97 driver from his computer.  Still with the
end result.  Error 39, no sound.  One thing that did rid me of the code 39 was doing a registry
edit (and I'm going to sound like the novice I am) on some information like end value or something
that was somewhere I'm sure I wasn't supposed to be so I touched nothing else and was
rewarded with an error code 10.  The next day, a friend who is knowledgeable(I thought) tried
something and the error 39 was back.  

Today I found out that Kernel System Audio Device and the WINMM WDM Driver are supposed to
be on the computer.  In checking, both the drivers

sysaudio.sys and wdmaudio.sys respectively
are in the C:WINDOWS\system32\driver   folder and there are (2) sysaudio and (1) wdmaudio
in the Driver Cache.   When looking at the properties in device manager it shows those drivers in the
details and when you try and update them it says it cannot find a better driver.  But, when I
try to tell it which driver to use it says "This item has no information...".  Oi...

I do feel stupid on this one, though.  At one point, I had come across a file that was similar to the
services file that shows if an item is started, if it is a manual or automatic start, etc., but it showed
all of the drivers, the kernels, all kinds of things.  I inadvertently closed it out and haven't been able to
find it again.  But it showed that these 2 particular drivers were installed and "OK" but were just
turned "Off".  Could that be the whole root to my problem?  Probably not but it was a nice fantasy.
If anyone has any thoughts as to what to do I would greatly appreciate it.  Hope you can decipher
all this.  Thanks in advance.
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I don't know how much damaged you've done by messing with the system registry. You should only play with that if you're certain of what you're doing; and even then, always back up your registry before you make any changes. This is so dangerous that you may have to repair or even reinstall your operating system if you do something wrong. With that said, go to the following link and download the correct version of the driver for your operating system (if running win xp it's the second option):

Download and expand the driver to a folder in your desktop. You can either go into the folder and double click "wdm_a406.exe" (I'm assuming you're running windows xp) and follow the on-screen instructions. If you tried to manually update the driver with whatever your friend downloaded and it didn't work then it's most likely not the correct version of the driver.
Top Expert 2013

apart from a bad sound card (if so - use another card), i suggest to run the free drivereasy  :      
Python 3 Fundamentals

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Top Expert 2009

Hi. Try this.
Firstly create a restore point..

>on device in question:

>go to device manager
>properties of issue device
>go to details
>Use drop down list to see inf number
>cut + paste that inf number elsewhere for now>located from c:\windows\inf
> Then update driver again


Thanks to all who tried to help with their suggestions.  It was Orangutang's link to Lockergnome that got the issue straightened out.  I had done this step once before and had gotten rid of the Code 39 but was left with a Code 10.  Not remembering how I had done it, I DIDN"T want to go back into the registry and change anything without knowing exactly what it would do.  Thanks again for the help and suggestions everyone.  Cudos Orangutang.
What do you mean "but was left with a Code 10"? You still have a problem?

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