Windows 2000 Sound Issues

If your soundcard has an FM chip (SB, Pro, 16, AWE 32, etc.), you don't need sound card emulation. If you have sound issues:

  1. Set up a dual-boot system with Win9x on a different partition.
  2. Switch to Windows XP, which has SoundBlaster support for DOS apps. It requires a sound card with a real FM chip for music, though, so a real live SB16 or AWE32 will work, but not a SB Live (because it doesn't have an FM chip). Digital sound effects work with any sound card.
  3. Try a sound card emulator, such as VDMSound, which is open source software. Here's how they describe it: "VDMSound is a program that overcomes what has probably been the most exasperating limitation of DOS boxes since Windows NT -- sound support. VDMSound is an open, plug-in oriented platform that emulates an MPU-401 interface (for outputting high-quality MIDI music), a SoundBlaster compatible (SB16, SBPro 2, SB2, SBPro, etc.) implementation (for digital sound effects and FM/AdLib music), as well as a standard game-port interface (for playing games with joystick support)."
    And if you're one of the fortunate few that still own and use a MT-32 or LAPC card, VDM sends the sound through to those synths instead of automatically emulating it.
    Sound FX, a SoundBlaster emulator for NT/Win2K. You can download an evaluation version
    that will give you 3 minutes of sound so you can tell if it works before you pay for it. Larry 1 and 5 both sound fine. You can
    buy it online
    for $39. SoundFX doesn't work with the digital sound effects in all Sierra games.

Making Your Older PCI Sound Card Work Under Windows 2000
by John Saville

There are currently problems in 2000 with PCI based sound cards, including the Creative PCI 64 and Creative PCI 128 however it is possible to use the NT 4.0 drivers after making a small change to your system.

The problem is that Windows 2000 uses IRQ steering by default. PCI bus IRQ steering gives Windows 2000 the flexibility to reprogram PCI interrupts when re-balancing Plug and Play PCI and ISA resources around non-Plug and Play ISA devices. 

Without IRQ Steering Windows 2000 cannot re-balance PCI and ISA IRQs for Plug and Play devices around non-Plug and Play ISA devices to solve resource conflicts. For example, if your computer's BIOS is unaware of non-Plug and Play ISA cards, the operating system does not have PCI bus IRQ steering, and the BIOS has set a PCI device to IRQ 10, you may have a resource conflict when you add a non-Plug and Play ISA device that is configured for IRQ 10. However, with PCI bus IRQ steering the operating system can resolve this IRQ resource conflict.

To do so, the operating system:

Disables the PCI device. 

Reprograms a free IRQ to a PCI IRQ, for example IRQ 11. 

Assigns an IRQ holder to IRQ 11. 

Moves the PCI device to IRQ 11. 

Reprograms IRQ 10 to be an ISA IRQ. 

Removes the IRQ holder for IRQ 10. 

To disable IRQ Steering perform the following:

Start the Computer Management MMC snap-in (Start - Programs - Administrative Tools - Computer Management) 

Expand the 'System Tools' branch 

Select 'Device Manager' 

In the right hand pane expand Computer and right click on 'Standard PC' 

Select Properties from the context menu 

Select the 'IRQ Steering' tab 

Uncheck the 'Use IRQ Steering' box

Click OK 

Reboot the machine 

Once the machine has restarted you should be able to install your NT 4.0 PCI sound drivers (make sure you get the new drivers from the sound card makers website).

If you do not have a Standard PC, you must disable ACPI BIOS detection as follows: 

Modify the file txtsetup.sif in the Windows 2000 Setup folder. 

Change the line




Reinstall Windows 2000. 

An alternative to the reinstall is to open the Device Manager (right click on My Computer, select Properties and select 'Device Manager'), open the Computer, double click on the system type shown (for example MPS PC), go to driver tab. Click on update driver. Choose display a list of drivers. Choose Show all hardware of this device class. Choose Standard PC.

Now you can change the IRQ steering option. Reboot and install the proper sound card driver.


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