Blog 04

August 2008

ASUS 3EPC-900 No Audio Issue

[This article is getting old now, if any links are dead please let me know]

As with anything new these days there are inevitably a few teething problems.

Having just obtained a new Asus EeePC-900 my first job was to rip out Linux, reformat the whole drive and install WinXP-PRO-SP3. Not that I'm a great fan of MotherSoft but since all my other company machines have evolved from Win98 through to what Windows should have been in the first place; XP, we're stuck with it. We do have one copy of Vista on our newest machine, but it appears to be a window dressed version of XP, probably why most people are not upgrading. I suppose if you are the first kid on the block with a PC operating system it makes financial sense to make it as buggy as possible and copy-able. That way you have the opportunity to take it through several stages of evolution, charging the gullible public almost full price for each upgrade (even though they've already paid for most of the source code before) and by making it copy-able it became the world standard. Eventually legitimate businesses and users using ripped copies would buy original copies, for a variety of reasons.

Anyway enough bitching, this blog is really for anyone who has installed XP Service Pack 3 only to find that their High Definition Audio no longer works. Specifically it's for those who've installed XP-SP3 onto their ASUS EeePC-900. Even though the E3PC900 comes with Linux pre-installed Asus thoughtfully include a CD with all the XP drivers (the same drivers can be downloaded from the Asus website).

Of course the diminutive size of the E3PC900 precludes the inclusion of a CD drive, so installation of XP has to be via either a USB flash drive or an external CD drive. I opted for the latter which while working OK for the XP installation, failed completely after installation. So I copied all the files from the Asus XP Drivers CD onto a USB flash drive which then installed seamlessly onto the E3PC900. Well, not quite seamlessly as when re-booted the error message 'Missing Audio Driver, disable Fn+F7,8,9. Please install audio driver'popped up, and there was NO AUDIO. (Probably why the external CD was not working). The Realtek driver was installed, it was in the programs listing, Windows was just not seeing it.

NO AUDIO FIX

Four hours of Googling and it seems this is an issue with XPSP3 not the baby ASUS, well actually it was also an issue with XPSP1 and 2, though there is a MotherSoft fix, KB835221 for SP1 and KB888111 for SP1 and 2 but there is no MotherSoft fix yet for SP3. Fortunately 'redxii'from msfn forum has created a modified KB888111 for SP3 which is available for download:

If it helps, I also include details below of the procedure I followed:

  1. Install XPSP3 and load in all the Asus XP drivers.
  2. Download the modified KB888111 SP3 fix from one of the the links above, unpack it, transfer all the files to a USB flash drive.
  3. Uninstall the Realtek HD Audio driver from Windows Add/Remove programs in Control Panel.
  4. Re-boot.
  5. Insert the USB flash drive into the E3PC900.
  6. Go to Device Manager in Control Panel/System and there will be a PCI device problem, right click the ? and select 'reinstall the driver'
  7. Browse to the folder on the USB flash drive that contains the unpacked 'KB888111 fix', it should then install the 'Universal Audio Architecture (UAA) High Definition Audio class driver'.
  8. If part way through the installation it asks for a file, just browse to the same folder, it's in there, just select and hit OK.
  9. Now you can re-install the Realtek High Definition Driver from either the Asus XP drivers disc or from the USB flash drive you used previously.
  10. If all has gone well you should hear a little beep when you unplug the USB.
  11. Re-boot.
  12. That should be all.

Thanks again to Redxii and Dashken.

IN CONCLUSION

Finally I would say that the E3PC900 is a neat little machine with absolutely no moving parts except for the lid and the 'on'button. Its limited on-board memory takes me back to the days when a big hard drive was 8GB and you had to be careful about what you loaded in (no bad thing). With XP Pro loaded and other essentials that have to be on drive C there's not much of the 4GB left, but with all other programs and files on the SD card it runs faster than my higher spec Vaio burdened with probably too many programs. With the audio now working it's not only a full blown PC but also an impressive mobile music/video system. With wide screen and a resolution of xxx x xxx crammed into a 9" screen, even mp4 movies appear to be photo quality. Eat your heart out Sony, small PC's don't have to be twice the price of a regular laptop.

2010 Update: Of course since this was written there are now a plethora of affordable small screen computers on the market.

 

 

 

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