Improving audio without shelling out moolah
Several of my friends who are new to the PC field asked me how I update my audio drivers. Below is the procedure.
Please take note that I have an integrated sound solution using Realtek AC97 audio drivers. Our update procedures may differ if you are using a soundcard.
The basic procedure of replacing old drivers is still the same though. (ie "Uninstall, restart, install)
Also take note I will not provide technical advice. Do the procedure at your own risk.
1. I download the latest version. (Of course! There's no reason to update if there's nothing to replace the old drivers with.)
(Tip: This is just for convenience's sake but I usually take measures to recall my settings with my old driver. The simplest way to do this is by taking a screenshot.)
2. I uninstall the old one. (Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs)
3. After the uninstall procedure is finished, I restart the PC.
4. I restart into Safe Mode.
5. While in Safe Mode, I launch Driver Sweeper.
I click "Analyse," check "Realtek - Sound," and click on "Clean." That's it.
6. I restart again. (This time not in Safe Mode.)
7. I ignore Window's prompt to install "current and updated software."
8. I turn off my anti-virus. (I ALWAYS turn off my anti-virus when installing something --- though NOT before scanning the installer with various anti-malware software first. I even scan installers from trusted sites.)
9. I launch the installer of the new audio driver and turn on my anti-virus again. I'm basically done at this point.
10. I tinker with the settings using the audio driver's Control Panel to enjoy optimal sound quality.
11. Finally, I eliminate the said icon from the system tray by going to Start > Run and typing in "msconfig." I search for my audio driver's configuration utility ("Soundman") and uncheck the box next to it.
I am done!