Maybe 4 or 5 days ago, I finally gave in and allowed the 'Windows Update' popup thingie that had been coming up day after day to download and install. Big mistake. Once that happened, I immediately started to notice problems with the sound on my computer. Sometimes it would make this hissing noise with faint beeping, and I discovered that if I tried to listen to anything else during that time, I could only hear it (faintly) if I turned all the volume settings up to 100%. The volume settings didn't adjust the volume of the hissing.
The hissing sounded almost exactly like what you hear when someone's breathing into a microphone. It would abruptly start out of nowhere with no connection or pattern to what I was doing, and last for an undetermined amount of time, then suddenly vanish and I could hear sound again fine. I had already concluded the problem was with the computer rather than the headphones or speakers I use because both produced the hissing but when attached to another computer, they worked fine.
I checked in Device Manager, and no X's or exclamation marks appeared in any of the categories. I had no idea what to do, but I stumbled across System Information, and when I looked at the System History tool, something interesting in Components showed up around the time I had gotten the problem. I took a screen-capture; you can see it here
Having read more, I decided to play around with the drivers (I can't remember whether the first time I rolled them back or updated them - probably the first) - needless to say, it seemed to work. Then, the next day, it didn't work again, and checking the log in SysInfo I found that it had been removing and adding the same audio-related Plug and Play thingies (all Microsoft Kernel -- stuff) again while I had been sleeping. The way I had tried the previous day no longer worked, so this time I updated the drivers (except the one for my sound card, Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit), which may have helped; I can't remember.
Anyway, once this had continued for days - fixing and reemerging - I finally updated all the drivers ... and now there's no sound at all! No hissing, but nothing else either!
I've already checked standard things like Conflict/Sharing, Device Manager, SysInfo logs, whether anything's muted or turned down, whether the cord for my headphones is plugged in correctly, etc. None show any problem.
I tried the 'Creative Diagnostics' for my sound card and everything came back positive; it couldn't find any problem.
Oh, by the way, I'm running Windows XP SP2. I can't hear any system sounds either.
I tried Troubleshooting on the devices/drivers/stuff and that eventually led me to download and install an update from SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit to SB Live! 24-bit ... apparently the latter was signed and listed as made for XP, whereas the previous had blank entries in the Hardware Compatibility List.
However, I think that going SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit > SB Live! 24-bit was what had finally turned off all the sound day(s) ago, after which I rolled back the driver to the previous SoundBlaster < SB Live! etc., but it didn't fix it.
I _do_ remember that I only downloaded one of the 'critical' updates from Windows Update, and there was something with making sure things were 'signed' included, which I'm not sure whether it was on my comp. beforehand.
Can anyone help? I just read the other 'No Sound' thread and tried dxdiag; neither test produced any sound so it gave an error message "Failure at step 19 (User verification of software): HRESULT = 0x00000000 (error code)" for both.
The only weird thing I can think of is that in Sound1 in said program, the driver listed for my SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit is P17.sys v.5.12.0001.0514, and says that "The file P17.sys is not digitally signed, which means that it has not been tested by Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL). You may be able to get a WHQL logo'd driver from the hardware manufacturer."
All the drivers for the other audio-related stuff in the Device Manager (Microsoft Kernel Wave Audio Mixer, Microsoft Kernel System Audio Device, Unimodem Half-Duplex Audio Device) were listed as signs, but a couple under my soundcard one weren't. As one of the Windows Updates was related to signing, that's the only thing I can think of that could be linked. I should have remembered that EVERY time I allow a Windows Update, something like this occurs (last time it was browser problems and control, e.g. opening folders when I had merely positioned the arrow on them rather than click or doubleclick them), but it'd been too long for me to have remembered.
Sorry for rambling - do you need me to provide any type of specifications?