Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am currently developing some software and am working with an audio related API which has an odd quirk, if a microphone and speaker have exactly the same name, the API fails to load them properly. In the case of my testing machine, they are both named "IDT Audio1", after the sound card. I realize the problem lies in the API, but in my experience the company responsible for it tends to be slow to respond to bug reports. So i'm looking for alternative workarounds in the meantime.

On windows 7 or vista the problem is easy to solve, simply go to control panel > audio and rename the devices. On XP there does not seem to be any way to do this. Quick googling tells me that it might be possible by editing the registry, but it seems to be speculation at best. So far I have been unable to change the name of either device, in spite of changing the key in

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1960408961-448539723-299502267-1003\Software\Microsoft\Multimedia\Sound Mapper

which seems to be the obvious choice.

Has anyone out there successfully done this?

share|improve this question
There is no way to do this, unless you hack the registry as you are suggesting. I have found articles mentioning doing this but I haven't found any step-by-step instructions on how to rename the device. Part of the reason why is because the name of the location is considerably dynamic in the registry. I'd back up a copy of the above key, and then rename it. If it works, great! If not, do a rollback and restart. Try at your own risk. – RLH Aug 9 '11 at 19:42
If reinstalling the drivers is an option, extract and edit the .inf, renaming the various components to suit, then reinstall. I've never done this, but what little I remember about device drivers and .INF files suggest the FriendlyName should come from there. – Robert Kerr Aug 21 '11 at 17:12

You also can edit the name of the device in the driver itself. This will make it not certified, but that's optional in Windows XP. You'll need to uninstall the driver for this to work.

You'll need to find the INF file for the driver in question. You'll need to find where in the file the Microphone and Speaker are named (Searching for their usual name will help). Replace whichever one you want to rename, then install the driver normally, and choose to "Install Anyway" when your are told about the driver not being certified.

I've never done this with an audio driver, but it did work with my monitor driver.

share|improve this answer

You could delete both devices in Device Manager and reboot, to see if anything changes.

You could also look for older drivers that used other names (if this exists) and use a different driver per each device. (Admittedly, this is rather far-fetched)

If you wish to try manually rename a device, a time-saving utility would be Nirsoft's DevManView, an alternative to the standard Device Manager of Windows. It can open regedit at the registry entry of the device, or even open the driver's .inf file. This will avoid registry searches.

Create first a system restore point as backup, before starting this adventure.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .