Buy Sound Software-Only or USB Sound Card--Which is best for Laptop?

I purchased a Dell laptop 2 years ago and added Creative Soundblaster software to my order. It was digitally delivered. After a recent driver update, I lost the use of the S/B software and it does not appear when I open the control panel. Only Realtec shows up. Dell does not support replacing this software. I changed from Win 7 64-bit to Win 7 32-bit, with help from Dell, after I bought the laptop, due to my software products not running under 64-bit.

I lost the recording function--recordings sound like they are coming from inside a bucket.

Is there a software option for me to purchase or is an external sound card my best option?
I am assuming this is what I need to record what is being played through the computer speakers.
I use Audacity for recording. Adjusting the various settings in Audacity did not correct the problem.
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  1. Creative SoundBlaster software only works with Creative SoundBlaster sound cards.

    Presumably, then, when you bought your laptop it had a SoundBlaster sound card since you also got the SB software.

    Are you now saying that the SoundBlaster card has somehow magically changed to a Realtek card (since a Realtek driver only works with Realtek hardware)?

    Sounds to me like you've installed the wrong sound driver - it needs to be a SoundBlaster driver since there is no way your SoundBlaster device can change itself to a Realtek one.
  2. Best answer
    Thanks for your quick response. I don't know if my Creative software is an application with a driver included or what it is. There is a media player application included, but its sole purpose on my laptop is to allow me to do sound recording. When I first bought the laptop with Creative installed and Win 7 64-bit, sound recording worked. I soon realized that much of my old software did not run under 64-bit. Dell assisted me in changing to Win 7 32-bit and sent me a Windows disk to do that. Then sound recording produced distorted sounds. Dell helped me download (through digital delivery) and install the Creative s/w and recording has worked ever since until I ran a driver update function with the application Advanced System Care. This updated Realtek drivers.

    Today I went into System Restore, saw that Realtek was changed on March 3rd, so I restored the PC as of Feb 28.
    Sound recording is working now. This is solved. System Restore was the solution. Thanks again!
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