Solution ID: 42331
Installing Sound Blaster sound card

Installing Sound Blaster Sound Card
Keywords/Key Phrases: creative, install, drivers, not detected, Sound Blaster, sound card, software installation, hardware installation


  • Applicable To: All Sound Blaster sound cards
  • Preparing your system for hardware installation;
    Uninstalling existing audio device;
    Installing Sound Blaster hardware;
    Installing Sound Blaster drivers and applications;
    Verify software installation;
    Troubleshooting installation difficulties;
    Upgrading Windows

Step 1. Preparing your system for hardware installation

Please ensure your computer meets the minimum system requirements.

Kindly uninstall or disable any existing audio devices like your built-in onboard audio.

  • If you are using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, please verify that your Sound Blaster is supported under these Operating Systems. For more information about Windows 7, Windows 8 driver downloads, please refer to our Windows 7™ and Windows 8™ - Driver Availability Chart. For more information about Windows 10 driver downloads, please refer to our Windows 10™ - Software Available Chart.

  • If you are using Windows Vista, please verify that your Sound Blaster card is supported under Windows Vista. For more information about Windows Vista and driver download, please refer to our Windows Vista™ - Driver Availability Chart.

  • If you are using Windows XP or Windows 2000, please make sure that you have installed the latest Windows Service Packs for your operating system.

  • If you are using Windows 98 SE, the software installation often requires the Windows 98 installation disc.

Step 2. Uninstalling existing audio devices

If you see a set of audio jacks (microphone-in, line-out, etc) at the back of your PC, it is certain that there is already an audio device in your PC.

PCI Slots

The existing audio device could be either a standalone expansion card or an audio chip integrated onto the motherboard. The following is a general procedure on uninstalling sound device from a PC but this varies from vendor to vendor. It is strongly recommended that you contact your system vendor for assistance.

  1. At Windows Desktop, click Start > Control Panel > System.
  2. Select the Device Manager.
  3. Scroll down to the Sound, video and game controllers section and expand it by clicking on the + next to it.
  4. Locate the listing for your existing sound card, for example, Sound Blaster Zx.


  6. Right click on the sound card listing, and then select Uninstall.

  7. Close all active Windows.

  8. Power down your computer, and remove the existing sound card from your PC if it is an expansion card.

If the existing sound device is integrated to the motherboard, you will need to disable it in the system BIOS. Please consult your system vendor on how to disable it.

Step 3. Installing Sound Blaster hardware

  1. Turn off your computer and all peripheral devices if you are installing a new Sound Blaster card.
    Turn off the main power supply and disconnect your computer's power cord. System power supply unit with soft power off may still be powering the card slot. This can damage your audio card when it is inserted into the slot.

  2. Touch a metal plate on your computer to ground yourself and to discharge any static electricity, and then unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  3. Remove the computer cover.

  4. Remove the metal bracket from an unused card slot if this is applicable.


  6. Align the audio card with the card slot and press it gently but firmly into the slot as shown below.
    DO NOT force the audio card into the slot. If it does not fit properly, gently remove it and try again.


  8. Secure the audio card to the computer.

  9. Replace the computer cover.

  10. Plug the power cord into the AC wall outlet, and turn on the computer.

Step 4. Installing Sound Blaster drivers and applications

Before using your Sound Blaster card, it is necessary to install its drivers and applications.

The instructions below apply to supported Windows Operating Systems:

  1. After you have installed your audio card, turn on your computer. Windows automatically detects your audio card and searches for device driver.

  2. If there is a prompt for the audio driver, click the Cancel button.

  3. Disable all Virus Scanner software and other non-essential background applications.

  4. Insert Sound Blaster installation disc into your drive and the CD starts running automatically.

  5. If it does not run, you can install it manually. From your Windows desktop, click Start > Run and type:\ctrun\ctrun.exe (replace d:\ with the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive). Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.

  6. When prompted, restart your computer.

  7. Note: During the installation process, Windows 98 SE users may prompt to insert Windows 98 SE installation CD into the drive. If you do not have a Windows 98 SE installation CD, the necessary Windows files may already be located at :\WINDOWS\Options\Cabs (replace c:\with the letter of your hard disk drive).

Step 5. Verifying software installation

  1. At Windows Desktop, click Start > Control Panel > Sound.

  2. Make sure that your installed Sound Blaster device is chosen as the default device. Notice the check sign.



  4. Make sure that the audio volume is not muted. Adjust the volume slider if necessary.



Troubleshooting installation difficulties:

If the newly installed Sound Blaster card is not identified during the boot process, or detected by Windows, it is strongly recommended that you move it to other card slots. Please avoid installing the sound card next to a graphics card.

Changing card slots often resolves Interrupt Request (IRQ) conflicts between the Sound Blaster card and other devices such as graphics card or integrated peripherals.

You can also reseat the card to ensure that the card is firmly seated into the slot.

For detailed instructions on how to install or move a Sound Blaster card, please refer to the Sound Blaster manual, or the manual of your PC.

If there are still issues with installing software application , you would need to perform a clean boot to remove conflicts. Please refer to the article: Clean Boot Troubleshooting for Windows - SID 6738.

Upgrading Windows:

Windows 8 is the latest Windows Operating System. Sound Blaster applications that are designed for earlier Windows Operating Systems may not work under latest Windows when it is launched. It may display a message "The audio device supported by this application is not detected. The application will exit".

It is recommended to uninstall existing application software and then installing applications from the web that are designed for latest Windows. Please ensure latest supported driver is installed prior installing software update.

Last updated: April 21, 2016

If you require further assistance, please send an email to technical support.

Note: Product specification, technical or troubleshooting information are subjected to change. This is due to changes and/or updates in the new firmware/driver releases. Please refer to the web release notes in the download section for details.


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