I hope I'm in the right category- it seems a systemic issue.
I have a delightful antique> 1999 Dell Dimension XPS T700R, [ PIII 750Mhz, 256MB RAM, ATI Radeon 9200 128MB, "SCSI" PCI controller with 30GB, 80GB EIDE HD's, Memorex 52X CD-RW, Iomega 100, XP Pro SP2, AutoCad R14, Corel Graphics 12, MS Office 97 Pro ]. This computer cost about $2,100 new and was among the faster consumer machines then.
As this computer is in excellent condition and runs surprisingly well with it's "period" graphics and CAD software, I thought to put it back together and back to work- or sale.
After adding an Ethernet card- it last used a 56K dial-up modem, I wanted to put back the old (1995) e-magic Audiowerk 2 soundcard . I used this machine successfully- 110GB of HD recording with both this card and an m-audio 2496 Audiophile when this ran Windows 95 and 98/ Cakewalk Home Studio 2 XL. The 16-bit Audiowerk 2 was among the best soundcards of it's day-$250 new.
[ I've used every MS OS since DOS 6, 1993 through to Win 7 Ultimate, 2011: The worst OS was Windows 95- disappearing registry- and the best was XP Professional- best balance between industrial strength and annoying consumer frills.]
But no sound from the Audiowerk 2 with XP Pro> the original AW2 installation disk says it is ''expecting" a Windows 98 machine so my XP doesn't qualify and setup exits.
I've downloaded the AW2/8 driver sets for XP from several sites and tried to install this card 8 ways. Still, in device manager it's "working properly", and the driver version displays, but in Control Panel > System > Sound and Audio there's no sound card. BTW, there is no onboard sound.
Is there a configuration/setup setting I'm missing? Also, using F2 at startup seems to get me only to a partial info/configuration/setup window. I've tried F8, 10, and 12.
When it arrives today or Monday, I'll be increasing the RAM to the max- 768MB. Is it possible the xp drivers are bigger than the Windows 95 ones and can't load within the current RAM limit ?
This probably isn't the answer that you want, but your right when you said that machien is a blast from the past, you'd be better off posting on the Dell user forums over at www.dell.com. There are a ton of people there who are very knowledgable when it comes to Dell's machines, and you'll probably get a much quicker answer there.
Ah, driver issues. I love them (not). Sorry there, I can't help you. But with your RAM question, I have a similiar Dell XPS from that period that I had a blast upgrading. Maxing out its RAM had no issues for me, in either Windows 98 SE or Windows XP. That said, I'm not aware of any driver being limited by RAM, therefore causing it not to work. I say if the drivers aren't doing it, then its a dud.