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What's the best way (other than opening the chassis) to identify a sound card under windows XP? it is a generic, on board sound card.

The card used to work till I have reinstalled the machine, but now XP fails to recognize the card, and I can't find the installation disk.

I have tried windows update and the "New hardware" wizard.


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migrated from Jul 1 '10 at 20:28

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Open the registry key:


You'll see subkeys like "VEN_1013&DEV_6003&SUBSYS_01531014&REV_01". That's a PCI identification string. Open these up and you'll see subkeys like "3&61aaa01&0&28". When you highlight one of these subkeys you'll see some values w/ description information. Look for the "Unknown" device.

Once you find the unknown device, search the "VEN_xxxx" and "DEV_xxxx" portion on Google, and you're likely to find something. Some of the Linux PCI code has a nice manifest of devices in it. can help you search by vendor number, as well.

That's probably your best bet, short of opening the case, to find more about the device.

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Thanks a lot - it didn't work for this one, so I guess I'll just open the chassis and get the original Motherboard driver. – Adam Matan Jun 27 '09 at 19:51
EA does it again. I almost posted this same question on Friday, but thought I would wait until Monday. Thanks man..workd for me! – user5195 Jun 28 '09 at 12:47
+1, instead of going to the registry, you can even open device manager and if its showing up as some unknown device, just go to its properties and device tab, and you'll find this id there. saved my life many times. – _HK_ Jun 28 '09 at 14:12
@_HK_: Heh heh... why go in the front door when there's a perfectly good window? Good point re: using "Device Mangler". – Evan Anderson Jun 28 '09 at 21:00
+1; saved my bacon many times in the past. Why don't more people know about this trick? – mh Jun 28 '09 at 21:25

In this case I found out that booting from a Linux live CD is the fastest and easiest method. (Something like Ubuntu).

When the desktop is displayed go to Applications->Accessories->Terminal to open a command line. Type lspci in the command line window. You will see the company and model like this. This works on both on-board and standalone cards.

05:09.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Live! EMU10k1 (rev 0a)

It will also list other devices (Ethernet, video, USB controller, etc.) and the chipset]

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Nice and handy! thanks – Adam Matan Jul 4 '09 at 8:01

For an onboard soundcard you could also just watch for the motherboard model number during post. Or even in the bios. Then head to the manufacturers website and find a driver there. The previous answer looks great too though.

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The software Everest from is great at detecting unknown hardware. It isn't free, but there is a trial. If you're constantly looking to identify unknown devices, it is well worth the investment.

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I'm not doing it on a daily basis, so I'll skip - but I'll keep it in mind. – Adam Matan Jul 4 '09 at 8:02

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