Windows 7 and C-Media CMI 9880 driver installation
Before I started running the Windows 7 RTM setup and doing my data backups I remembered how challenging it was 3 years ago to install the audio drivers for the onboard sound card CMI 9880. I started to bing (same results for google and I use bing for every search) for Windows 7 audio drivers and no luck, I did bing it again for Windows Vista drivers and there was a few links pointing to some forums where people got insane with the CMI 9880 drivers installation on Windows Vista (at 3 years back from now I was one of them and I kept the same installation during all this time, heheheh). I also tried to get new drivers from the Asus website and there was no new drivers and they also pointed the responsibility to C-Media, even thou I started looking at the C-Media website but even 3 years later there is no Windows Vista drivers, so it was a bit obvious that Windows 7 was no exception. Like thousands of other guys that bought motherboards with the C-Media 9880 integrated (Asus was not the only hardware vendor to integrate this audio chipset), I am extremely disappointed with C-Media, I can guarantee you that I will not spend any single cent in another motherboard or sound card that has any C-Media chipset integrated.
To help you with the audio driver installation of the C-Media CMI 9880 on Windows 7, I present you the following plan:
- Unplug all the jacks of your audio system from the Onboard Sound Card back panel (the smart jack function will mess with the driver installation);
- Download the CMI 9880 driver version 09.59.73 flexbass from the link below:
UDAX009-AZA10-Logo09.59.73-flexbass.zip – http://cid-0fa4fd9b4dcab3bc.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/P%c3%bablica/UDAX009-AZA10-Logo09.59.73-flexbass.zip
- Unzip the file and browse into the the folder where you can see the “setup.exe” file, right-click on it and select “Properties”, click on the “Compatibility” tab, mark the checkbox “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and select “Windows XP SP2”;
- You need to run the setup process has an Administrator so that the setup process can complete successfully the registry changes related to the Xear 3D system tray icon (Audio control panel to manage the audio configuration). I have tried to run it before without elevating the admin privileges and the icon did not showed up at the System tray. To avoid that issue right-click on the setup.exe file and chose the option “Run as Administrator”.
- Reboot the machine;
- Open the Xear 3D icon from the System tray (don’t forget that by default Windows 7 will hide several system tray icons, you need to expand the system tray to see the Xear 3D icon) or from the Control Panel (read the “Note 2” if you can’t find it there);
- Plug in all the jacks from your audio system and set the right configuration (it does support 2.1, 4.1, 5.1 and 7.1 sound systems);
Note 1: Even after running the setup.exe with elevated privileges if for some reason the Xear 3D (C-Media 3D Audio Configuration) system tray icon is not showing, you can do the following changes to enable it:
The Xear 3D is a control panel application that came integrated on the Audio driver, it can be found at “C:\Windows\system\cmicnfg.cpl”, basically what you need to do is to run a shell command (RunDll32 cmicnfg.cpl,CMICtrlWnd) for the cmicnfg.cpl during the system startup. It can be done by doing the following registry changes:
Under the reg key “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” create a string value with the following specification:
Data: RunDll32 cmicnfg.cpl,CMICtrlWnd
Restart the computer and the Xear 3D icon will be available on the system tray (don’t forget that by default Windows 7 will hide several system tray icons, you need to expand the system tray to see the Xear 3D icon).
Note 2: Like on Vista the Xear 3D icon that will give you access to the C-Media 3D Audio Configuration should be available on the Windows Control Panel as well, the thing is that the default view of the Windows 7 Control Panel is shown by categories and for some reason the Xear 3D icon is not shown there, to be able to see the icon you just need to sort the view by “large icons” or “small icons” or for instance if you are a kind of geek you can run shell commands to open the Windows Control Panel by running shell:ControlPanelFolder which will show you the Control Panel with the Large icons view. :)
Note 3: The plan didn’t work for you? RTFM, follow it carefully and you will not have any issue during this installation.
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