How do I "start" an enabled driver in XP SP2?
April 24, 2007 11:19 AM   Subscribe

My audio device is giving me the following message: "Driver is enabled but has not been started." Please help.

Long version: All of a sudden yesterday I had no sound on my three-year-old Thinkpad X40 (XP Pro SP2). In the Control Panel under "Sounds and Audio Devices," all of the devices and options are grayed out, and when I play an audio file I get this message: "Windows Media Player cannot play the file because there is a problem with your sound device. There might not be a sound device installed on your computer, it might be in use by another program, or it might not be functioning properly."

I've reinstalled the driver for my SoundMAX sound card, updated the BIOS, and tried everything in the Windows and Lenovo troubleshooters, including disabling/enabling every relevant audio device. The Device Manager is showing no conflicts.

Now, the device properties window is showing the message above, and my question is this: how do I "start" the audio driver once it's been enabled?

My own research has revealed that apparently I'm not alone with this problem. One common solution appears to be a reinstallation of the Plug and Play Software Enumerator. I tried that. I've also discovered using the Thinkpad utilities that the Microsoft Kernel Wave Mixer (kmixer.sys) is showing "Status: Stopped" as compared with the previous "Running" status.

I'm reaching the limits of my own knowledge, and I'd really like to avoid this guy's solution of reinstalling Windows. I'd very much appreciate any help.
posted by padjet1 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I had the same problem, with the same sound card. Restarting the Windows Audio service fixed it.

From memory: Choose Start, Run, services.msc. Find Windows Audio in one of the subcategories. Double-click it. Start the service and make sure it's set to Automatic.

If the service keeps stopping, you may need to set it to restart after failure. That option is available under one of the tabs.

I'm not sure of the cause of this problem, so I hope others have more info.
posted by Yogurt at 12:50 PM on April 24, 2007

Sounds like maybe the driver is being run as a'd need to go into the Services Snap-in to start it.

Start>Control Panel>Switch To Classic View (If Needed)>Administrative Tools>Services

Go down the list and see if you can find your driver. If you see the right file name, double click in and under Service Status, click "Start."

Maybe. Driver issues can be funky, and all the big OEMs have different ways of driver implementation.

If this doesn't work, hit IBM's or (Lenovo's) website for the most recent driver for this device in your model ThinkPad. Uninstall the current driver, reboot, install the new one, reboot.

If none of this works, it may be time for a re-image, painful as that is.

Good luck!
posted by SlyBevel at 12:55 PM on April 24, 2007

Ooooh, Yogurt, beat me by 5 minutes. Not sure how that happened.

Anyway, yeah, Services. Yeah.
posted by SlyBevel at 12:56 PM on April 24, 2007

Have you tred uninstalling/reinstalling the "Microsoft Kernel System Audio Device" and the "Microsoft Kernel Wave Audio Mixer" from Device Manager? (You may need to enable "View->Show Hidden Device" for it to actually show up in Device Manager.)
posted by yeoz at 1:40 PM on April 24, 2007

Thanks for the tips so far, guys.

I restarted Windows Audio Service, but still nothing. I'm trying to reinstall the Microsoft Kernel audio devices, but even after showing hidden devices in Device Manager I can't seem to find it. Oddly, I'm not seeing anything helpful on the Lenovo or Microsoft support sites, and my Googling is turning up mostly nonsense. Any more ideas what I can do about kmixer.sys?

When I revealed hidden devices, I noticed something else. It looks like there's a conflict or some sort of problem with "PMEM," listed under Non-Plug and Play devices. But once again, I'm not getting much on what exactly this is. Any thoughts?
posted by padjet1 at 2:44 PM on April 24, 2007

This is not a "fx" but my be a last ditch effort. I have you tried restoring your device to a known-good-audio working day?

Good luck!
posted by lutzla23 at 4:01 PM on April 24, 2007

This may sound like a long shot, but I would try downloading Microsoft's KB927891 patch. The problem it fixes has to do with svchost.exe and Windows Updates (which is why I said it sounds like a long shot), but often the audio service is hosted in the same svchost as Windows Updates, and when one gets messed up, the other does too.

This is a problem we've been seeing a lot in my office over the last several weeks, usually manifesting as a complaint about the sound not working, and that patch usually fixes it.
posted by llamateur at 5:28 PM on April 25, 2007

go with yogurt's post that could be your best solution. If it is a creative labs sound card, try uninstalling the drivers, downloadidng and installing the latest driver and seeing if that fixed the problem
posted by the_binary_blues at 8:40 AM on May 17, 2007

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