Solved: CDs and DVDs: no sound! But other sounds work! What is wrong?

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Saussure

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My sony-vaio desktop (xp home, sp2) has got two drives, a DVD-ROM drive and a DVD+/-RW/CD-RW drive. The computer is 5 years old and has always played back my CDs and DVDs without problems. Until this morning. I did not change my computer in any way or install/deinstall anything. Suddenly, there is simply no sound when I try to play back DVDs in either drive with PowerDVD or with Windows Media Player. The image is fine with DVDs - but no sound. And if I try playing a CD in Windows Media Player, I am told that there is a problem with the audio device - all the menus are in German, so I am translating here. But other sounds work (streaming content, mpeg-4 files, computer sounds like e-mail notification etc.). My loudspeakers are plugged in (well, they've got to be if the other sounds are okay!). What is wrong? I checked under device manager, but everything seems to be okay, nothing is set on mute, there seem to be no conflicts...Can anyone help me? And below is a snapshot of the audio devices on my computer (they're indicated in German), and there's no red cross or any other mark which may indicate that there's something wrong with them.
 

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Saussure

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Feb 28, 2005
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Sounds like (no pun intended ;)) you may have bad audio cables leading from the drives to the motherboard.
In other words: the computer is ancient and should be hauled off to a dump. Well, I've still got a laptop with Vista on it...I am hesitating to download service pack 1 on it although Windows Update keeps notifying me...I'm afraid that SP1 do something weird to the laptop...and I'll be left without a computer at all - I think this one, the desktop with the sound problem, is going to pieces. I do remember that, a few days ago, I received a blue chkdsk screen on the desktop, saying that one of my drives (I have two, C and D) was incosistent or something and had to be checked. I chose to have chkdsk go ahead with its scan, and after it had done (it said that it was successful), the computer booted normally into Windows. I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would last more than 5 meagre years...oh well...I don't know how long-lived laptops are.
 

Saussure

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Okay, this is really strange. Tried playing a DVD with PowerDVD and Windows Media Player after a few reboots, still didn't work. So. I try playing the DVD with VLC portable. VLC portable is on a USB drive. And...it worked. Is this because my hard drive C is missing a codec or something (maybe thanks to chkdsk), but VLC, because it is portable, does not miss it?

I managed to fish this info out of PowerDVD:

Hardware Information :
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU running at 2539 MHz
3DNow! Technology : Not Detected
Enhanced 3DNow! Technology : Not Detected
3DNow! Professional Technology : Not Detected
IA MMX Technology : In Use
IA Streaming SIMD Extensions : In Use
IA SSE 2 : In Use
Video Accelerator : DirectX VA (not in use)
Multispeakers Audio Device : Not Detected
SPDIF Output Device : SoundMAX Digital Audio (not in use)

When I go "Configuration" (I'm translating from German) and then to "Audio", everything is greyed out, except for "Use SPDIF". But I can't choose my audio settings (with a DVD inside [in pause/stop status] and without a DVD). It's like there's no connection to the audio device. I don't get it.
Okay, back again. Went to control panel to check the audio settings and when I tried to call up the advanced settings of my loudspeakers (I've got 2 external loudspeakers), I got the message:
"DirectSound settings not available"
 

Saussure

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I'll try reinstalling the Soundmax driver from my PC manufacturer's website. Let's see if it works.
 

Saussure

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377
IT WORKED! Sound is back again, as are the advanced settings/options for the sound. This was a driver problem, and it required the reinstallation of the driver (I managed to find an updated version on my manufacturer's website for my computer model). Problem solved.
 
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