Windows 8 AC'97 Audio Driver


Noob Whisperer
Nov 30, 2009
Since I'm one of those guys who is obsessed with having all the latest and greatest drivers for my hardware devices, I had to share this recent experience I had while testing the Windows 8 Developers Preview.
After getting the Dev Preview up and running in both Virtual Box and VMware Workstation 8, I decided to give it a go on an old laptop I had on the shelf just sitting there not doing anything HP Pavillion zv5000). Just to see how it would perform on some older hardware (P4 3.2Ghz HT processor with a Gig of DDR PC2700 memory).
Well the install went flawlessly and afterward checking device manager the only issue remaining was my integrated sound device which was being identified there as a Realtek AC'97 device. So off I go to Realtek to obtain their "Vista/Windows 7 driver", downloaded installed, no help. So off I go to the Microsoft Update Catalog and download and install the most recent driver for that device (6/19/2009), still no help.
So then I decided to check HP's site and see what they had specific for my laptop regarding the integrated sound device and download and installed it using "Compatibility Mode" at the conclusion of the "SoundMax" install I was prompted to restart my computer to finish the install, imagine my surprise when I heard the shutdown system sound coming out of my speakers. So after a reboot and clearing some startup items out of the registry that were a product of the install everything works and Windows 8 Developer Preview actually runs pretty well on the old beater. So much for the latest drivers!


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Likewise, I've installed Win-8DP on an old beater, a 2005 Compaq Desktop, with a Realtek, AC97 sound chip, on-board.
I've had to download drivers for that chipset so many times over the past umpteen years, that I've started archiving them.
I found the driver I needed in my own archives and like you said, was both pleased and surprised to hear sound coming out of my speakers.

The LAN driver was a bit more of a task, but finally that too is working. The old SiS Extended Video is another matter. I never did find Win-7 drivers for that. But, thankfully, the generic video drivers in Win-8 are working satisfactorily on that old PC. So I won't be pursuing that any further.

Finding drivers for older PC's, is such a problem that I encourage people to never just wipe an old PC and reload windows until they know for sure that they have all the hardware drivers for it.

A while back I was given a 1999 version of a Toshiba Laptop. It came to me with Windows ME on it.
I backed up the C: drive to an external HD, and then upgraded it to Windows XP-Pro-SP3. I spent days finding compatible drivers.
But, at last, everything works, including the PCMCIA wireless LAN card.

Good Thread!

Happy Holidays!