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What to do when an unsupported model goes wrong?

Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
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July 29, 2010 5:42:51 PM

Hi all,

Very frustrated user here looking for some help.

I have a Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop which I have no intention of replacing. What I have replaced though is the operating system, with an upgrade from the supplied Vista to Win 7 Pro 64bit. This all went smoothly and I found new drivers for everything.

Unfortunately, there is a single application that doesn't play nicely - Skype. Using the standard audio drivers skype cuts out all audio (mic & speakers) on the machine which doesn't come back until I exit Skype. All other software works fine, with full audio.

I have found a second set of drivers which play nicely with Skype. The only problem is that the laptop's speakers are disabled when using these drivers - only the headphone jack works.

I travel a lot and use skype to call home - it's a pretty important app for me. Dell doesn't support this model under Windows 7 - it's obselete. Sigmatel, the audio hardware company, seems to have gone out of business and won't be releasing new drivers. Skype acknowledges the problem but will not do anything about it. So my options seem to be:

1) Swap between drivers every time I want built in speakers / skype. Clunky.
2) Use one set of drivers, but listen to all audio through external headphones/speakers. Clunky.
3) Use one set of drivers with full audio, but don't use Skype. Unacceptable.
4) Buy a new laptop. Expensive, and I'm happy with my laptop in all other ways.
5) Go back to Vista. Would rather manage the issue with headphones tbh.
6) Get new drivers. My reason for coming here.

I have no idea as to the status of indie driver writers - whether they exist or whether it's even possible to decompile manufacturer drivers. On the face of it, my problem seems fairly simple - take the working code that interfaces with the built-in speakers and pop it into the drivers that work with skype. However, with no coding background whatsoever, I'd be astonished if it was that simple.

I guess this is my last resort before I weigh up between 2) and 4). Is combining those drivers feasible, and if so, what would it take for someone to do it, and who would that person be?

Many thanks for any assistance you can give me!

Adam
a b \ Driver
a c 224 D Laptop
July 29, 2010 5:49:33 PM

Try using the Vista audio drivers under Win7.
July 29, 2010 6:04:59 PM

Hi Hang.

Yeah, I've tried a whole host of Vista drivers under Win 7. They result in the 2 outcomes above - audio compatible with skype but no built-in speakers, or audio incompatible with skype but with the built-in speakers working.
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a b \ Driver
a c 224 D Laptop
July 29, 2010 6:10:21 PM

Have you tried various Skype versions? There could be a Skype version out there that would work with what you have.
July 29, 2010 6:26:18 PM

Many, including the beta. Unfortunately they don't seem to have changed the way skype interfaces with the audio hardware - why would they I guess?
July 29, 2010 8:46:18 PM

Abramley,
It would seem you are not the only one with this issue. In looking around there are several people on the dell and skype user forum with the same issue on several Dell models.

Supposedly Sigmatel has a driver update that works.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-inspiron-dell-stud...
and
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/35...

both have threads on how to fix the issue and where to download a working driver. If neither helps let me know and I will see if I can post you a direct link to the drivers.

It would apprear from further reading you may ahve to steal a widows 7 driver from a newer model off the dell website as the maker of most of dells sound cards refuses to offer driver updates to the end user.
July 29, 2010 9:52:43 PM

Hi evilavatar,

I've come across those threads already and I haven't had any success. However, with the number of versions of drivers that I'm putting on and pulling off I'm wondering if I've not left some files behind...

I think tomorrow I'll give it a reformat and run with the bloke in the second thread's suggestions - he seems confident his solution works. Will let you know what happens - thanks for the help :) 
!