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:


  • 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:

Name:            Cmaudio
Type:            REG_SZ
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.

R-Tape Loading error,
Luis Rato


~ por Luis Rato em 18 de Agosto de 2009.

49 Respostas to “Windows 7 and C-Media CMI 9880 driver installation”

  1. WhenI try to install it, it says “Driver installation failed. Please check High Definition Audio Device and Reboot System” and even after somany tys and alot of reboots it still wont work… any tips?

  2. nice! it worked fine

  3. dosnt work for me. when i install the driver, its sys installiaton faild:S what shall i do?

  4. sorta worked for me. I do have sound now but the Xear 3d audio configuration / testing does not work. Spent a lot a time trying to get this to work then gave up and shutdown only to hear the sound come on.Your instructions were the best I have found so far and I searched for hours so thanks loads.My hardware was an ASUS P5AD2E-Premium.

  5. Thanks, muy buen post

  6. Works like a charm on ALDI Medion Titanium MD 8383XL. Thx a lot !!! (first i only got sound in the headphones, now only in the speakers, but I \’ve sound on Windows 7!)

  7. Thankyou so much after reading so many blogs/solutions and downloading so many drivers that didnt work.Yours worked like a treat. Ive been searching for a solution since windows 7 first came out and now i have sound from my pc….hoorah!! 🙂

  8. thanks buddy.<a href="">ed hardy</a>

  9. Luis – thank you very much!

  10. Thank you! Fixed my problem!!

  11. Thank-you so much. Followed the instructions and it worked first time. Much appreciated.

  12. thanks much!

  13. Thanks a lot for your web help. I was at a loss to solve that problem on onboard sound card. Your suggesting was been very clear and simply. Good job.

  14. Luis, this was the perfect solution!
    Running Windows 7 Home Premium on a motherboard using the CMI 9880 chipset. I did exactly as you said. Was perfect. Thank you!


  15. thanks very much!

  16. Excellent. Thank you. UK January 2011

  17. It works perfectly, thank you.

    Steve H UK

  18. Thank you so much, I was getting frustrated! Works like a charm!

  19. thanks man

  20. […] Windows 7 and C-Media CMI 9880 driver installation « Luís Rato’s …Aug 18, 2009 … Alex disse isto em 30 de Novembro de 1999 às 0:00 | Responder. nice! it worked fine. cesar disse isto em 31 de Outubro de 2009 às 19:10 | … […]

  21. I have been searching for a solution since last 3 days. Your solution worked like a charm. I have P5GD2 Deluxe motherboard and the audio is restored. A Big Thank you !

  22. all the last night, i was stand up with this problemm…. many many thanks – bernie

  23. This works perfectly for Medion 8383 XL computer, thanks a million from the Netherlands !

  24. thanX a lot Guy!!!!!! U R the best, i´m back on the sounds life 🙂 long and best life 4 U

  25. you are the bomb buddy. drive installation worked on a Medion M3 Composer 5200 AC97 C-Media CMI9880 audio with Windows 7 Ultimate with the following ID:



  26. hvala puno thanky thanky I finaly have sound on lg lw70 win7 thanky

  27. ECS 915P-A onboard soundcard C-Media 9880
    V3 Black VL 8000 Thermaltake case
    8 gig Kingston memory
    Socket T 3.4
    Nvidia GE 8400
    Eagle 650w PSU
    Seagate Barracuda 500 SATA 7200 16 MB CACHE
    Sabrent PCI TV Tuner Capture Card
    Blueray DVD/CD Writer
    Win7 32 bit
    Works like a champ…just followed the directions. This system on the low end 45 % but it works good.Thanks

  28. Tu es un as !!! Extra un grand merci à toi et à ton blog. Bravo pour le fichier partagé.

  29. Thak you!!!!

  30. OK, ThanX for the installation-tip(s). So basically you can just use the XP 32-bit OR 64-bit drivers from the regular ASUS Site. Nobody mentioned the difference, but with the 32-bit drivers you should delete the folder ‘BusDriver’ to skip the ‘KBxxxxxx’ update for XP (which is UAA, if I remember well). My system also complained with ‘Failed’, but Device Manager showed already a proper install BEFORE rebooting! But during reboot the system kept hanging, until a hard shutdown. Afterwards I plugged in and heared sound, but it took an age before the red cross disappeared from the sound-symbol in system tray. Greetings from an old P5GDC-V DeLuxe, still running XP (till 2014), but finally testing Win7.

  31. It works.
    Win 7 & Asus P5GDC Deluxe with CMI9880

  32. Very useful guide, thank you very much.

  33. does not work on Windows 7 x64. help please

    • Hi, the described installation process was done on a x86 Operating System due to the lack of x64 extensions on my Intel Prescott CPU.

      Anyway, please provide me the details so that I can evaluate if it is possible to find a solution.

      Need to know:
      – Motherboard model;
      – CPU model;
      – Audio Driver that you are using and from where you downloaded;
      – Installation tasks that you have done and what is the abdnormal behavior that you are experiencing;

      Let me emphasize that ASUS does not Support Win7/8 on the Described motherboard, I cannot promise that I’ll solve your issue but at least I can try. 😉


  34. It’s True.
    Thank you.

  35. Hello,
    I am fighting with this exact same problem, and the solution you provided did not work for me. On my machine, with Win7, the problem is that I have the sound out of speakers, but the MIC entry does not work. If I boot back to XP, everything works fine.
    Machine : Unica, MB MS-7187, with Xear-3D interface for sound, chipset CMI 9880L.

    I have downloaded the driver, set it up to compatibility & administator, & launched it. Install starts, but at the step ‘installing bus driver’ the install stops and a message appears : ‘Driver installation failed. Please check High Definition Audio device and reboot system’
    Tried it 3 times, without success. It is like it says the device is not there, but as said, if I boot on my alternate partition which is in XP, everything is working fine.

    Any idea ?
    Thanks for you help, if you can provide some. :O)


  36. … I forgot to tell that the CPU is intel 820D, OS is Win7 32bits. and driver that Win7 assigned by default, and that is not working, is ‘High Definition Audio’ version 6.1.7600.16385.

    Thanks !

    • Hi there Guy,

      I notice that you are testing the process with a different Motherboard, from the feedback I had this process worked for other Motherboards with the same CMI chipset, so I can’t guarantee that it will work with your specific motherboard.

      Anyway, let’s try to fix that.

      First, keep in mind that the Default High Definition Audio will not work.
      I believe that the failure you described is caused by a Hardware Conflict (IRQ, DMA channel, etc) with the High Definition driver already installed.
      Before you run the setup with the described process, try to remove the High Definition Audio driver, for that on the Device Manager right click on that Hight Definition Audio Driver and select “Uninstall”, after this run the setup process again as described on the blog post and try to see if it works.


  37. Hello Luis,

    I just tried your last proposal.
    I Uninstalled the driver, answered NO to the ‘reboot’ proposal,
    And rolled out the procedure again, basically removing cables
    and launching the Setup, (compat XP SP2) as the driver files
    were already on my computer.

    The installation fails at same step with same error message.

    If after default driver removal, I answer yes to the ‘reboot’ proposal,
    the system restarts, and unfortunately re-installs the default driver immediately, so I am back again with the default driver. :O/

    Another idea ?

    Many thanks !

    N.B.: I suppose that in installing an additional PCI sound card,
    I can workaround the problem, but I would prefer to make the
    motherboard work, if it is possible. Thanks again.

  38. Thanks Luis.

    I think this is the best solution, provided that I have spent a lot of time yet to try to resolve this, not to mention the help you also kindly provided.

    Thanks a lot !

  39. But the driver or knows any solution for Windows 8? I tried the same thing but does not open the icon in Contol Panel. Thanks

  40. Or no 9880 driver for Windows 8? or a solution?

  41. I am French and I make the effort of translation just to say Thank you.

  42. Show Show Show. You are the men.
    Long life and peace for you.
    Thanks thanks very much
    Roger from Brazil

  43. sweet. i had used a 62.64 driver for xp/2000. btw your solution is unique and others sits only make me lost time.
    Cheers mate.

  44. Thanks very much. Just installed on MS-7091 ver2 motherboard (Windows 7 home premiun). No problems, Device manager happy and line out ok. Rest to test but less important for this project.

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