Gateway MX6445 sound driver problem

Last week I was working on a Gateway MX6445 series notebook with MS Media center loaded on it. I want to share my experience coz. it was really interesting.

Initial Problem –
Wireless internet disconnects sporadically. I was called in for an on site job.

Initial troubleshooting
– Checked the connection on the notebook end and on the router end to make sure they are connected and talking. Then un installed the broadcom interface and left the basic drivers. After rebooting the system, it seemed to connect, but only for few minutes. The wireless network kept disconnecting on its own even when the router was 5 steps away from it. The windows interface for wireless networks would say unable to find any wireless network in range and will have the disconnected Cross sign. While another Gateway laptop with same broadcom built in G adapter, was connecting without any hiccups and scanned more then 5 networks in range.
So next I try another wireless USB adapter by DLink. Same thing, no luck. So I decide to take the PC with me and do a system restore. I take it back and reinstall OS from their restore partition. No results, it still did the same thing in my house. [I had a Linksys router, so this ruled out any router problem as well.] So I decide to wipe out the restore partition and install OEM Win XP Pro. Did that but ran into a bigger driver issue.

There were bunch of drivers missing. So I say to myself, “no big deal”. I download the drivers from Gateway web site and install them one after the other. All goes fine except that the Sound drivers and SM Bus [Chipset] drivers does not install.

After spending 8 hrs and doing another windows reinstall, I somehow find out the make and model of the chipset and the sound card. It was a ATI chipset with SB400 AC97′ type sound chip on board. Gateway had posted an AMD driver setup file for this? Weird! So, anyways, after running the ATI chipset driver setup file, SM BUS was installed successfully, but sound wasn’t. I was hoping that it will coz the driver said it will install both the chipset and the SB400 sound chip.
At the end the driver that actually worked was what Gateway had provided – AC97′ Conexant sound drivers. Weird!!
What was I doing wrong all this time? – Well, I was using the setup file to install this sound driver, since windows built in driver wizard was not able to find a suitable driver in the directory where I had it all saved. So all this time I was thinking that it is not the right driver, since windows does not like it. Even the built in Setup file that came with the driver failed to install and gave an error saying “Failed”.
Sound Driver solution – But the way it worked was I had to do a forceful install. i.e. using Have Disk feature while installing the driver. So to make the sound drivers work, –

    you will have to go to device manager, right click on the sound device [doesn’t matter if it is not yellow with question mark],

  • select update driver
  • select Not at this time when asked to connect to the internet for drivers
  • select Install from a list or specific location
  • select Don’t Search, I will choose the driver to install
  • select Have Disk and browse and point to the folder where the drivers are saved. [Make sure the drivers are unzipped]

This should fix your sound problem. It fixed mines, although I still had wireless dis connectivity problem which I could not fix. Or let’s say, I was so fed up with the piece of shit that I did not want to work on it anymore. Thank’s to Gateway for making such f***ing piece of shit notebooks with crappiest hardware in it. I am never going to recommend another Gateway to anyone.