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After First Sound Plays on Windows 8.1, Sound Driver Gets Stuck in a Loop

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Last Modified: 2017-12-23
I have what looks to be like a potentially serious problem on a Dell T7600 that is configured with Windows 8.1.  I have the speakers set up with a bluetooth USB adapter and a bluetooth speaker.  Last week that speaker stopped working, so I have no local sound.  On a lark, I decided to connect to the affected computer from Chrome Remote Desktop, and what is immediately clear is that the sound driver is playing continuously in a loop and never stops.

I tried this sequence:

1) Reboot computer
2) Connect to computer from Chrome Remote Desktop.  So far there is no sound.
3) Login.  So far there is no sound.
4) Start an application ( a stock price monitor ) that triggers multiple alarms, each with an associated sound.
5) Immediately after the first sound plays, the sound driver gets stuck in a loop and never stops.

The Windows System eventviewer is NOT loaded with messages.  I cannot find any error that corresponds to the looping sound driver.

How should I go about diagnosing this and fixing it?
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William MillerIT Specialist
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Commented:
First thing I would do in this situation is uninstall the sound driver and then simply reinstall it. See if this fixes the issue. It could be that some files have corrupted or the driver is potentially far enough out of date that more modern patches/functionality are causing conflicts which force the driver into a crash state (This is why you hear the looping).

Author

Commented:
Which of these drivers should I try to reinstall?

sound-driver1.jpg

Author

Commented:
Okay, here is additional information.  When I directly connect an external speaker by an audio cable to the Dell T7600's built-in speaker output, that works.  So this is not a generic sound driver issue.  It looks like this is a defect in Bluetooth, either the USB-attached Bluetooth receiver I am using or in the generic Windows Bluetooth drivers.   How can I isolate which one?

One question I have is how can I force Windows 8.1 to simply replace the installed driver with the most recent one?  If Windows thinks you have the most recent driver installed already, it does not provide any option to overwrite that driver.  I could simply delete the device and hope it re-installs automatically, but that is a higher risk procedure than force-installing the correct driver.    I remember that older versions of Windows allowed you to force update the current driver.  That seems to have been removed.
William MillerIT Specialist
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Commented:
Navigate here:

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/precision-t7600/drivers

Scroll down the page until you see a "My Download List" link. It may ask you to sign into the Dell website (If you don't have an account, go ahead and create one). This should then prompt you to a page where it wants to install a small dell utility. This utility should return back any drivers out of date on your system with links to download each of them (I'm not sure if they've updated this utility to update them for you or not). Try that, then see if you're still having issues with sound. If yes, then you're most likely looking at a hardware issue.

Author

Commented:
Dell's driver support for the T7600 is so disorganized that honestly it would be scary to try to install one of their three-year-old-and-never-well-supported drivers.  I would probably be more inclined to go to Intel's site and find the driver chipset support for my Intel CPU and motherboard chipset, if I could figure that out.   Dell's versioning is mostly non sensical, because on three different parts of their website you will find three slightly different versions of the same software.  It's not uncommon to download the version for your system from the support page for your system, and it refuses to install.  Or it will announce a different version number than the one in the filename.  

In any case, your thinking is that the motherboard chipset drivers are going to include the Bluetooth drivers for the OS, and those are the ones that we might suspect are corrupted?

Is there any procedure to just select a driver in Device Manager and force-install the current driver over itself?
William MillerIT Specialist
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Commented:
Yeah, that's my line of thinking at first glance. Re-install the driver and just see what it does. As to a place to force-install the new driver.. when you look through device manager do you see anything mentioning a Bluetooth device? If yes, then that's the object you want to force update the driver on. I can't remember off the top of my head which listing it would be under, but likely either Human Interface or Network. If not (Which would be odd as you have Bluetooth and it should) then that may describe your problem right there. IF it doesn't show at all, that means the computer doesn't even recognize it as an unknown device and could point to hardware issue.

Author

Commented:
I found the Bluetooth drivers, and those were already listed in the image I posted earlier in this thread.   The problem is where is the *functionality* to force-update the drivers?   Older versions of Windows let you look for the most recent driver, and when you find that you already have it installed, there is an option to re-install it.   That option to re-install has been removed in Windows 8.1, or maybe it is provided in a different place that I cannot locate.
William MillerIT Specialist
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Commented:
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Author

Commented:
I am documenting the step that appears to have resolved the problem, specifically removing the USB-attached bluetooth receiver and re-inserting it.

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