Windows XP SP3 - sound doesn't work in admin profile, works fine in limited user profile.

I have an HP Pavilion desktop PC running Windows XP SP3. When logged in as an administrator, there is no sound, other the windows startup, error, and logoff sounds, and there is no Windows sound icon in the system tray.

When logged in as a limited user, all sound works fine, and the Windows sound icon appears in the system tray.

I created a new admin account and got the same problem. When I changed that account to a limited user, the sound worked fine and the Windows sound icon appeared in the system tray.

All drivers have been re-installed without effect

I would normally have re-installed the operating system by now and start from scratch, but the user can't find his OS disk and license from the manufacturer.

Any ideas?
cwtechpdxAsked:
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cwtechpdxAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Knightsman.

Good suggestion, but I had already tried the Microsoft repair tool and it didn't resolve the issue.

I ended up getting the user to find the system recovery CD and did a non-destructive restoration. Refreshing the OS installation did the trick, as I thought it would.

I still have no clue what caused the original issue, though.

CW
KnightsmanCommented:
weird, I wonder if it was a virus blocking it, or a tid bit of one.
cwtechpdxAuthor Commented:
It took a combination of Malwarebytes, Spybot, and AVG to remove all of the malware that was on the machine. I'm usually able to bring the OS back by trimming services, limiting startup items, removing any unwanted programs using Revo, and then running Ccleaner to clean the registry.

Not so this time.

When I wasn't able to resolve the problem by uninstalling and then re-installing all of the audio drivers (and trying a few other registry fixes that were posted online), I was in for a hard decision:

1) Reinstall XP from scratch, reformatting the hard drive, and then restoring the user data from my external drive. The downside to this being the potential loss of favorite settings, 3rd party apps, etc.

2) Run disk recovery and refresh the operating system installation without reformatting the hard drive, allowing me to keep most user settings in tact, or at least easily retrievable. The problem with this approach, of course, is that (like disk imaging) it can "clone" messed up user configuration settings from the old Windows installation to the new one.

While option 2 brought back sound to all users, and preserved customizations that will make the client feel all warm and fuzzy, I'm not convinced it was the best way to go. If this were my own machine, I would have done the complete re-install as soon as I encountered a serious malware infection.

I have never had any problems with and XP or Windows 7 machine that I had a chance to install, tweak, and secure from scratch. The average user however, is really attached to lots of tiny "look and feel" details that are really time-consuming to re-create in the newly installed OS.

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cwtechpdxAuthor Commented:
There must be a registry edit or user profile policy change that would have solved this problem, but I was unable to find it via online postings to tech boards, or from Microsoft.

Given that the problem was likely caused by corruption to user settings in XP caused my malware infection, however, completely re-installing the operating system is probably the best overall solution.
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