Getting sound to work in Vista with the ASUS P5PE-VM

Upon installing Vista on what I considered to be a relatively recent motherboard (the p5pe-vm), I found that the audio drivers weren’t detected or installed. Often, Windows Update finds updated drivers, but this time I wasn’t so lucky. So… I tried the following:

  • Choosing random generic drivers included with Vista
  • Trying an ADI SoundMAX 1888 driver for another ASUS motherboard
  • Searching the net for about an hour

From what I gathered, it looks like ADI hasn’t really put a lot of effort into making drivers readily available for Vista. Just about every search result I came across was someone looking for drivers and not finding them. I’ll also throw a little bit of blame at ASUS. I’ve bought a lot of ASUS motherboards, and I’ve never had issues down the line when upgrading to a new OS. IN ANY CASE, there is one and only one way I’ve found to get the sound to work…. use old drivers.

The ones I used are available here, and they may or may not have been originally for the P5PE-VM – however, they’re working just fine. You could also try grabbing drivers right from the asus website, although I haven’t tested them (though they’ll probably work). Whichever you choose, it’s worth mentioning that you’re probably going to want to install the driver manually (ie not through the setup/install program).

Here’s how I did it. Before you start, the standard disclaimer applies… You should back everything up, and if my instructions result in anything from a borked system to a nuclear catastrophe, I’m not responsible. That said, here are the steps I followed:

  1. Extract the zip file you just downloaded. The desktop’s a nice place for this.
  2. Click the Start button, right-click on “Computer“, choose “Properties“, then select “Device Manager” (listed on the left hand side). Windows will probably “need your permission to continue”.
  3. Something called “Multimedia Audio Controller” should be sticking out like a sore thumb. Right-click on it and choose “Update Driver Software“.
  4. Choose “Browse my computer for driver software“.
  5. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  6. From the nice long list that presents itself, scroll down and select “Sound, video and game controllers“. Click next.
  7. There should be a button called “Have Disk…”. Click it, and then browse to the folder you extracted in Step 1. Browse deeper in the folder until you come to a folder called “W2K_XP“. If you used the link I provided it should be easy to find. If you downloaded the driver from the ASUS website, it’s probably within another folder called “SMAXWDM”. Once you’re inside the W2K_XP folder, select one of the INF‘s (there may be 2 – I chose the 1st) that show up and click Open, then OK, then Next.
  8. You will get a warning about Windows not being able to verify whether it’s compatible with your hardware. Just click Yes.
  9. If all goes well, it should install the driver, and you should be left with a screen that says “Windows has successfully updated your driver software”. Just Close and you should be up and running.

Hopefully at this point you’re good to go. If for some reason the driver fails, it usually only results in the sound not working (my many prior failed attempts with various drivers didn’t wreck the system), and you can usually just try again with a different driver. Again, back everything up just to be safe.