How-To: Changing the Windows Vista Startup Sound

Of the many controversies surrounding Windows Vista, probably the most infamous (and pathetic) issues brought to the table is the Windows Vista Startup sound – and how to get rid of it. If  you were anywhere but under a rock during the beta, it’s impossible to have missed the posts going back and forth by haters and supporters of Windows Vista’s new startup sound – which, like almost everything else in Windows Vista, doesn’t even always work.

This sound isn’t the one you get on startup (which is still there, just like in previous versions of Windows), but rather the one that plays right when Windows finishes loading – and you can’t do a thing about it. In our opinion, it’s a quite nice sound, but unfortunately you don’t get to hear it (most of the time) if you have a analog/digital sound card with analog being the default. At any rate, for those of you that don’t like it, chin up: it can be changed!

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Digital/Analog Audio & Sound Drivers for Windows Vista

While Windows Vista may tout a “all-new and improved” audio stack with superb quality and resonance, it’s of no use if you don’t have the right sound card drivers for Windows Vista. The biggest problem with audio drivers for Windows Vista is with Digital Audio – most people can get their SPDIF or Digital outputs to spew analog sound – which just doesn’t work with hi-fi, digital speakers. NeoSmart Technologies has compiled a list of audio drivers for the most popular sound cards that experience trouble with Windows Vista, in hopes that our readers will find it useful.

  • SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio Analog audio with the drivers works fine, but digital audio doesn’t.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Live! Series No sound by default, Creative drivers won’t install.
  • Creative Audigy 1 No sound by default, Creative drivers won’t install.
  • Creative Audigy 2 No sound by default, Creative drivers won’t install.
  • Creative Audigy 4 Creative drivers install but constantly stutter.
  • Creative X-Fi Series Creative drivers install but constantly stutter.
  • SigmaTel HD AudioDefault Vista drivers don’t well in digital, bad bass
  • SigmaTel Integrated AudioNo compatible drivers; Digital N/A.
  • Other AC ’97No compatible drivers; Digital N/A.

The last two entries do not support Digital Audio, and are simply a manner of finding the right drivers compatible with your chipset; making them at once the easiest to solve due to the lack of complications, and the hardest due to the large variety of AC ’97 implementations.

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