Why do my speaker drivers keep disappearing?
July 28, 2011 11:24 PM   Subscribe

Why are the drivers for my USB speakers missing sometimes when I reboot?

I've got some el cheapo Logitech Z105 speakers that are about 6 months old and work fine. They are connected to a pc running Win7 and about every 2 or 5 times I start the computer, the troubleshooter program has to redownload the drivers.

The rest of the time the speakers work without problem after booting. One thing that comes to mind (although it might have no bearing) is that I've had a USB tv stick for a couple of months and this driver problem *might* have started since then. It's not a great hassle obviously so I haven't taken enough notice to be able to associate it with anything. At first I thought it had something to do with using the mute button on the keyboard but that doesn't seem to be the case.

What's the likely/possible cause(s)??

posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: No idea. But I'd remove the drivers, then reboot. Login as Admin. Check the drivers are missing. Then connect the speakers, let the drivers install, then reboot again.
posted by devnull at 2:26 AM on July 29, 2011

Response by poster: Done. I guess I'll see over the next day's cycle through use, sleep and reboots if that sticks and the gremlin is gone. Taa.
posted by peacay at 3:49 AM on July 29, 2011

Best answer: I have an external USB sound card which has the same problem. If it doesn't initialize properly, I just unplug it, wait about three seconds, and plug it back in again.

I think the problem is a race condition during the booting process, but I can't prove it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:30 AM on July 29, 2011

Best answer: I think this is a side-effect of the way manufacturers cheat on the USB spec to make thing nice for Windows users (and a PITA for Linux users). It boils down to the devices lie to the computer about what they are. They often advertise as some common device (a keyboard, HD, or CDROM) that has built-in drivers under XP. This keeps the "OMG no driver found" messages to a minimum, and once you install drivers from the included CD, the drivers will figure out the correct device by secondary information found during probing. They also do things like put the device on the second bus ID...

I forget the details. This is why Linux USB support can be flaky and involves 'blacklists' of device IDs that says "don't trust this ID, probe the device instead", and why things like webcams and speakers mysteriously get identified as generic HID devices or such.

Try manually downloading and installing the drivers yourself, unplug and replug the device after Windows has finished all of its background startup tasks. Curse your cheapo device manufacturer for having their device play dumb tricks to mostly make Windows users happy. This will likely keep happening whenever the magic driver isn't fully loaded until after the device has already been recognized as some other device.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:27 AM on July 29, 2011

Response by poster: Ah right. Glad to hear this actually: I had a teenytiny inkling that it was unsolved malware or the somesuch. So far so good anyway. And here was I thinking I was being smart power-wise having speakers that didn't need to be plugged in. Anyway, it's a small problem: I'm not about to replace the speakers over this. Cheers.
posted by peacay at 12:46 AM on July 30, 2011

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