Blast from the past: originally published August 7th 2001, updated July 12th 2002.

It’s interesting what gets lost in the hectic pace of the computer industry. I have a lot of hardware floating around my office, and when I eventually get around to using something it’s a struggle to find drivers and technical information.

I built a system for one uncle a few years ago; standard fair Intel machine with an 810e motherboard and a Sound Blaster AWE64D PCI sound card. Everything OEM and in static bags; no retail parts for me, thank you very much. I enjoy saving the extra cash and using it for better components.

He trundled along fine until Windows 2000 Professional came out. He wanted to upgrade, so I came over and looked around for all his driver disks and CDs. Identifying the hardware, I downloaded all the drivers and installed Windows 2000. When I came around to the sound card, I ran the self extracting executable and watched it do it’s thing. Unfortunately on boot up there was a problem: no sound and Device Manager telling me the proper drivers aren’t loaded. Uninstalling and repeating the process ended with the same results.

Editors Update: Windows 2000 drivers are now available and work; they’re on DriverGuide. This site uses a generic username ( drivers ) and password ( all ) for access.

I opened the machine and removed the offending hardware. Creative always lists a part number on their boards beginning with CT followed by four numbers. This Sound Blaster’s ID number was CT4600. I scrounged around the Creative site and found no mention of this model; lots of AWE64 drivers but nothing for the “D” model. After dashing off an email to Creative tech support and waiting a few days, I received the following reply.

The CT4600 card is an OEM AWE64D audio card. We do not have any drivers for this card. The card is different from all other PCI audio cards (PCI64, PCI128) Details concerning the hardware and software included with the OEM card are only available from the company who packaged the card. I would suggest you contact the system vendor for more information about its drivers.

If you can not locate the original disks, you can use those Waveset files included with Windows 98. The file names are eapci2m.ecw and eapci4.ecw, located in the drivers/audio/ensoniq.

I of course did buy the card as an OEM ( original equipment manufacturer ) item. These parts are sold to computer assemblers for inclusion in white box PCs, but clone builders sell them to the public. I felt a little left out by Creative; why would they manufacture an OEM card that is built on the Sound Blaster 64 PCI foundation but varied enough for the drivers no to work?

Hitting the web in earnest for mention of this card did little for me. I called my local vendor and explained the situation; he knew right away how to help. He sent me an email with a link to the drivers: I downloaded them and installed without a hitch. A small quirk; during installation you run the setup, but nothing happens. On reboot, the operating system recognizes the new hardware and installs the drivers. Quirky all around.

A happy ending to a troubled tale. A key lesson for me; don’t assume your hardware vendor is without merit.