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How can I effectively troubleshoot or solve the following sound problem?

Microphone sound works fine

Speaker sound will work fine for a bit but then a 3 tone system sound plays in windows 8 (it was silent in windows 7) and sound will no longer work in that application until I either restart it (if it is an application) or refresh the window (if it is a browser).

This happens in Chrome, Firefox, and IE and with flash based sounds or HTML5 encoded sounds. Sounds in the control panel or when adjusting volume will still play their appropriate sound (for example: adjusting sound volume) even if sound appears to be broken in the browser.

So far I've tried updating the drivers and uninstalling the drivers and reinstalling. I've also updated windows, rebooted, etc.

What are appropriate next steps to figure out this issue?

Edit> Listening to the various system sounds, the sound I'm hearing seems similar to the "Device Connect" sound.

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Have you contacted the manufacturer of the sound card to be sure that it is compatible with Win8? – mdpc Mar 24 '13 at 2:50
this problem occurred in win7 as well.. – Eric Mar 25 '13 at 14:14

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