How can I get my PCI based sound card to work under Windows 2000?

A. There are currently problems in 2000 with PCI based sound cards, including the Creative PCI 64 and Creative PCI 128 however it is possible to use the NT 4.0 drivers after making a small change to your system.

The problem is that Windows 2000 uses IRQ steering by default. PCI bus IRQ steering gives Windows 2000 the flexibility to reprogram PCI interrupts when rebalancing Plug and Play PCI and ISA resources around non-Plug and Play ISA devices.

Without IRQ Steering Windows 2000 cannot rebalance PCI and ISA IRQs for Plug and Play devices around non-Plug and Play ISA devices to solve resource conflicts. For example, if your computer's BIOS is unaware of non-Plug and Play ISA cards, the operating system does not have PCI bus IRQ steering, and the BIOS has set a PCI device to IRQ 10, you may have a resource conflict when you add a non-Plug and Play ISA device that is configured for IRQ 10. However, with PCI bus IRQ steering the operating system can resolve this IRQ resource conflict.

To do so, the operating system:

  1. Disables the PCI device.
  2. Reprograms a free IRQ to a PCI IRQ, for example IRQ 11.
  3. Assigns an IRQ holder to IRQ 11.
  4. Moves the PCI device to IRQ 11.
  5. Reprograms IRQ 10 to be an ISA IRQ.
  6. Removes the IRQ holder for IRQ 10.

To disable IRQ Steering perform the following:

  1. Start the Computer Management MMC snap-in (Start - Programs - Administrative Tools - Computer Management)
  2. Expand the 'System Tools' branch
  3. Select 'Device Manager'
  4. In the right hand pane expand Computer and right click on 'Standard PC'
  5. Select Properties from the context menu
  6. Select the 'IRQ Steering' tab
  7. Uncheck the 'Use IRQ Steering' box
    Click here to view image
  8. Click OK
  9. Reboot the machine

Once the machine has restarted you should be able to install your NT 4.0 PCI sound drivers (make sure you get the new drivers from the sound card makers website).

If you do not have a Standard PC, you must disable ACPI BIOS detection as follows:

  1. Modify the file txtsetup.sif in the Windows 2000 Setup folder.
  2. Change the line
  3. Reinstall Windows 2000.

An alternative to the reinstall is to open the Device Manager (right click on My Computer, select Properties and select 'Device Manager'), open the Computer, double click on the system type shown (for example MPS PC), go to driver tab. Click on update driver. Choose display a list of drivers. Choose Show all hardware of this device class. Choose Standard PC.

Now you can change the IRQ steering option. Reboot and install the proper sound card driver.

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