Why is it unique? Because there is a possible chance that my sound card could be physically damaged and I have no idea if that's the case or not.
I have a Sony VAIO VPCEB42FX.
What happened was I had recently taken my laptop apart to clean the fan and reapply thermal paste on the CPU. When I turned the laptop on for the first time a few hours later, it turned on just fine and the fan and CPU is working even better, but now I have the "No Audio Output Device Installed" problem AND my USB ports are not working which are coincidentally on the same card.
What I have done:
-Gone to Device Manager and uninstalled/reinstalled all the USB ports and everything under Sound
-Realized that Realtek HD Audio is not listed under Sound, the ONLY thing listed is the Intel Display Audio which I have uninstalled and reinstalled too
-Tried to install the Realtek driver but when I would restart, the problem is still there and it is still not listed under Device Manager
-Cleaned my Registry
-Reinstalled the Intel Chipset Driver
-Went through my BIOS to look for something related to Sound that I can enable, but found nothing
-Went to the Audio settings, right-clicked the white box and enabled "Show Disabled..." and nothing showed up
Could my sound card be damaged from opening up the laptop?
Yes, I'm sure it was not a static issue. And I did not even touch it while doing the Thermal paste process. I'm not really tech-savvy person so I'm just going to say it's the card that has the headphone and microphone jacks and the 3 USB ports on it that is connected to the main motherboard with a black strip.