OK… don’t ask why I would do this but I decided to install Vista Ultimate on an older (3+ year old) HP laptop. An HP Pavilion zx5180us to be exact. The install actually went very smooth. Once I plugged it into a wired network connection Windows update managed to find all of my devices including my wireless card and installed in perfectly. Even the video driver was updated (no Aero however… the laptop just isn’t equiped for that). The only problem I ran into was the lack of audio. The driver Windows update kept sending down (Realtek AC’97) would fail every time.
After spending a few hours messing with this I finally figured it out. I used the hardware IDs to track down a set of drivers from ATI called the ATI Chipset / Southbridge drivers. So far the only place I have found them for download is at http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=648316&action=winfo. It sucks because you either have to pay for the driver download or click through a series of ads. Anyways, once I receieved the file I unzipped it onto my hard drive. I tried to run the setup program but just ended up getting error messages and being told I need to reboot. So I did just that; rebooted the laptop. Of course on boot up Vista wanted to help and said hey… I found new hardware… let me install the AC’97 driver for you. Of course that fails as exepected. I opened up device manager, selected the AC’97 device and then selected update driver.
I selected to browse my computer for driver software. I followed that up with the selection of let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. This then allowed me to choose have disk. I navigated to the recently downloaded and unzipped ATI files (the folder was C:ChipsetATI SouthbridgeAudio) and selected the only INF file shown. A warning was shown about the driver not being signed… since I am desperate I went ahead full steam and instructed the system to install the drivers anyways. A few minutes later and I had audio!
WOOT! Who said you can’t teach and old laptop new tricks?
Now everything seems to be workin,,g well… last step to reinstall office and get my email working again.