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I have a 5-year-old Acer Aspire 4520. Until a month back it was working beautifully on Windows 7 32bit. But then out of the blue, the sound stopped working. I've tried reinstalling the OS 3-4 times. The sound came back a couple of times, but it stopped working after a reboot. Even after installing the sound drivers, I don't see any entry in the Playback tab of the Sound applet in Control Panel.
I see a High Definition Audio Controller entry in Device Manager. I disabled and uninstalled it, but Windows reinstalls it automatically. I'll share specific hardware details if anybody here needs to know. The processor is "AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor TK-55".

Any help would be appreciated.

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"out of the blue" : Have you (un)installed any software just before this happened? Maybe you could rollback to a system restore point dating to before this happened. – harrymc Dec 3 '12 at 15:28
Your card may very will be dead or dragging to its death.. This would explain its poor or no performance issue as its 5 years old. Alternatively, did you install any new software before it started playing up? There might a bug from another application that is causing this. – onxx Dec 6 '12 at 22:27
The only thing I did was reinstall Win7 Ultimate (32-bit). I have a very small list of essential softwares I use on my laptop, and I haven't even gone ahead with their installation. I install the OS, and then drivers related to the chipset, sound card, & display (in that order). Yet there's no sound. But @onxx, you make a valid point. Maybe my sound card is dead. – aliensurfer Dec 7 '12 at 9:22
@harrymc- It's a fresh install of Win7. – aliensurfer Dec 7 '12 at 9:23

From what you have described, it does sound (no pun intended) like like a dying card. That is really the only thing that makes sense with a sound system that varies on how well it works.

To check, you could try plugging in external speakers, and see if you can get sound to come out of those. If it does, and works well, then it is probably not the sound. If it doesn't work either, then it is probably the card.

Luckily, as your laptop is quite old, it might be pretty easy to replace the card. :-)

If you do the test and the speaker does work, drop a comment, I'll keep looking.

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