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Making SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 work on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003

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      10-19-2004, 04:30 PM
If you has Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 series and tried installing
latest drivers and software on Windows Server 2003 or even sometimes
on XP, you will find it isn't working. Starting AudioHQ will give you
error message "Cannot Initialize Audio Driver. Reinstall Audio
Driver". Running Diagnostics utility will say "SOUNDFONT SETTINGS" and
"Mixer Driver" checks failed. If you look up the driver version, it
would still say original default Microsoft driver rather then the one
from Creative.

The way I resolved problem was like this:
1. Disable On-board soundcar from BIOS (I don't know if this makes any

2. Uninstall drivers that reads like "Creative SoundBlaster Live!
Basic" in Devices Control Panel. This is original Microsoft driver for
older cards that doesn't have 5.1 functionality.

3. Without rebooting, run the setup from original driver CD that came
with Live! 5.1 card. This CD has much older versions of driver,
AudioHQ and PlayCenter. Choose Drivers Only Installation option. You
will get warning that driver isn't signed etc. Ignore it.

4. In Control Panel > Devices you should now see a driver by Creative
dated in 2000. Now go to Creative website and download a patch from
this URL:
While installing patch you might get errors that .ico and .bmp files
are not found etc. Ignore those. After rebooting you should be able to
run AudioHQ but you would see lot of things are missing and Mixer
still doesn't work.

5. Last step: Install the whole driver pack LiveDrvUni-Pack from

Now you should see all and everything should work now. However in
Speaker test my surround and center speaker never works. It had never
worked before and I read that Dolby output is available only for DVD
playback. That was shocking. True 5.1 surround card should ALWAYS
emitt dolby/AC-3/DTS encoded signal from digital output - without
fuss. It should do that even while playing Wave files. My hometheater
system which is set on Digital-Auto mode has never detected Dolby
signal coming from SoundCard for whatever settings I do - with old or
new drivers, the problem remains same. I feel like Creative has fooled
me by luring in to its $200+ useless cards which are not really 5.1.

This combined with weired problems like above: No more creative sound
cards for me in future.

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