Creative Labs Sound Card
Drivers Tutorial

The Creative Labs sound card drivers tutorial walks you through the simple steps of installing sound card drivers.

If you want your new sound card to work correctly, you need to install the drivers. The steps below are similar for all types of sound cards. This is part 3 of a 4 part series.

Part 1, Sound Card Definition, explains what a sound card is, and discusses what audio cards are used for.

Part 2 walks you through the steps of installing a physical audio card in to your computer. This is a simple process that anyone is capable of doing.

Is your sound card not working? Part 4 looks at your options for fixing audio issues.

Now that you have your new audio card successfully fitted into your computer, the next step is to install the device drivers.

For this purpose I am using Creative Labs sound card drivers as an example.

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Table of Contents

  1. Download Drivers
  2. Install Drivers
  3. Creative Labs Sound Card Drivers Final Thoughts

Download Drivers

If you have bought a new sound card, the drivers are usually on the CD that come with the card. Simply insert the CD into your computers CD/DVD Drive and follow the on screen instructions.

If this is not the case, you can download free drivers from the manufacturers web site.

There are a couple of things you need to do first before you can download the correct drivers for your audio card.

  • Identify the model of your sound card. If you do not know, you may need to open your computer and look on the card itself

    Note the make, model, serial number and/or model number. Part 2 shows you how to open your computer safely.

    Alternatively a free PC audit tool such as Speccy (Opens New Window) is worth trying first to see if it can identify your sound card without having to open up your machine.

    To find your drivers in this example, go to the Creative Products web page (Opens New Window) and select the Sound Blaster products link. This shows you how to identify your card.

Creative Labs Sound Card Driver Products List from The Suppliers WebsiteCreative Labs Sound Card Driver Products

  • Once you know what model you have, go to the Sound Blaster products page (Opens New Window) and left click your model.

    You now see the option to download the latest Creative Labs sound card drivers for your card type.

    Most audio card manufacturers offer supporting applications such as the Creative Labs media toolbox, which is an audio manipulation package.
  • Left click the download link for the latest drivers. Click Agree on the creative end-user software license agreement and answer the verification question.

License Agreement With Verification QuestionLicense Agreement With Verification Question

The driver package downloads to your computer. Next we look at the installation steps.

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Install Drivers

Drivers, or device drivers, are a software program that enables your operating system to communicate with your computers internal hardware components, such as graphics cards and hard disk drives.

When you first switch on your computer, your operating system detects the new card and looks to install the native Microsoft version of the driver.

A message similar to Detected High Definition Audio Device appears on your screen in this instance.

This is OK. However I always find installing the drivers that are provided by the manufacturer are technically a much better option.

If you have the drivers on a CD that come with the sound card, simply put the CD into the CD/DVD drive.

If the driver installation process does not start automatically, go to your CD/DVD drive letter in Explorer, and double left click the Setup.exe file.

If you do not have a CD, or you want to install the latest downloaded drivers as described above.

  • Double left click the self-extracting file you downloaded. The driver files are extracted to a temporary location.

Creative Labs Drivers Extract In ProgressCreative Labs Drivers Extract In Progress

  • Select your language (Shown below). Select Next then Yes to progress past the software license agreement.

Driver Language Selection PageDriver Language Selection Page

  • After the read me file prompt and choosing to install to a specific directory, select the Typical Installation option.

  • The drivers will now install. You may be prompted to restart your computer. Do this until the driver installation is complete.

  • After restarting your machine, have your speakers switched on and turned up. You should hear sound from your computer. Test and confirm this is the case.


Make sure your computer's sound is not muted! I can't tell you how many times this has caught an unsuspecting home computer user out.

The installation process described is specific to Creative Labs sound card drivers. However, the installation process is very similar whatever type of sound card you have.

Creative Labs Sound Card Drivers
Final Thoughts

One of the obvious problems you have if your drivers fail to install correctly is no audio!

The fourth and final part of the sound card tutorial series looks at what you can do if you find your sound card is not working.

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