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I've looked all over the internet for a legacy device driver that will work with a Thinkpad R51 running Windows 7 Embedded Standard / Windows Thin PC and I haven't found anything that works yet.

The Device Manager lists it as Multimedia Audio Controller and it's Hardware Ids look like this:


and the Compatible Ids look like this:


I've tried quite a few drivers, and tried to install them in compatibility mode to no avail.

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Since that laptop uses AC'97 audio, did you try the Windows 7 Realtek AC'97 drivers? If not, download them from Realtek Here (if for some reason that doesn't work start here). Don't forget though... as I stated at length in my answer to your Video driver question, you may still be disappointed. You can't expect all hardware manufacturers to continue to support hardware after a decade of creating new and improved stuff.

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your audio chip appears to be an AD1981B, there appears to be a vista driver for it here:

if not, you can sometimes force drivers that don't seem to work at first in a number of ways.

sort of a rambling off the top of my head of things to try to force an old driver:

play with compatibility mode beyond the suggested settings, this has worked for me several times

if that doesn't work, try to fool the system. you can sometimes find drivers for a newer quite similar piece of hardware that works on the same chipset, perhaps pick apart the cab file a little and edit something here and there.

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