Updating your PC sound drivers can help solve problems with audio hardware and certain programs. Particularly games can be sensitive to the version of the sound drivers installed, mainly because of DirectX compatibility and performance requirements.

Normally you can download the right sound driver and simply run the installer to update the sound driver. But in some cases the install plainly fails, or it seems to succeed, but nothing actually changes. Complications can be caused by the fact that the audio driver files are actually in use when you try to update them.

A good install program will take care of such issues, but often it is simpler and better to uninstall the current sound driver first. Some audio manufacturers even recommend this step. Before you start, make sure you have the installer for both the original and the new driver version, so you can revert back to the current version in case things do not work later.

Steps to Uninstall Sound Drivers in Vista

In Windows Vista, you can uninstall the sound drivers as part of the process of uninstalling the sound device.
Using the Device Manager you can uninstall the sound device, which allows you to remove the driver files as well.

First, start the Device Manager through the Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Device Manager. You might need to click Continue in case the User Account Control is active.

Next, open the Sound, video and game controllers group.

Right-click the audio device, and in the popup menu select Uninstall.

Uninstall sound device in Vista

This will start the uninstall of the sound device, and you will next see a window that will ask you if you want to remove the driver software for the audio device. Select the checkbox to really delete the driver files from the disk, and click OK.

Delete driver files for device

The sound device will now be uninstalled and the sound driver files will be removed from your system. Next you can run the installer for the new version of the sound driver.

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