ED#96 : High Definition Audio Support In Windows XP SP3
After years of development, Microsoft finally released Windows XP Service Pack 3 for downloading early last month. Earlier, we covered how the Windows XP SP3 RC didn't support high definition audio because Microsoft apparently "forgot" to add the Universal Audio Architecture (UAA) driver for High Definition Audio devices in the latest release candidate of the Windows XP Service Pack 3.
The solution was in the form of a modified KB888111 update. Installing the original KB888111 update (meant for SP1 and SP2) wouldn't work even for Service Pack 3 RC v3264. When I tried that, I was prompted that the current service pack installed was newer than the fix I was trying to apply. Naturally, the older KB835221 update (meant for SP1 only) similarly failed to work. Hence, we need to install a modified version of the KB888111 update.
Now that the final Windows XP Service Pack 3 has been released, one, especially yours truly, wonders if it now supports high definition audio, or if Microsoft forgot to add the driver once again?
If you are having doubts about installing Service Pack 3 for your Windows XP installation because you might not get any audio once you do that, you need not worry any longer. Why? Well, here goes...
A few days ago, I installed Windows XP SP2 on my office system, a fresh install since my Windows XP got corrupted (the hard drive was dying ). After the installation was complete, I installed final Service Pack 3 that I downloaded from Microsoft Download Center. After that, I installed the drivers for my system. The good news was I faced no problem whatsoever. My Realtek High Definition Audio was detected properly and the driver was installed successfully. I quickly downloaded Winamp and played some MP3s. Sweet! I have audio!
The KB888111 Universal Audio Architecture (UAA) High Definition Audio class driver version 1.0a for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 was listed as one of the fixes included in Windows XP Service Pack 3 which was not available in the RC (Release Candidate) version. For the list of fixes which are included in final Windows XP Service Pack 3, you can check them out here and here.
Before You Upgrade Though...
You can now download Service Pack 3 (either from the Microsoft Download Center or through Windows Update), but like all Service Pack releases from Microsoft, you should be prepared for some compatibility or stability issues. So, here's some friendly advice - install SP3 only if you have a fresh Windows XP SP2 installation.
If you are thinking of upgrading your existing Windows XP SP2 with Service Pack 3, then you had better backup your data and make sure you have some free time on your hands to troubleshoot any problem that may occur. Of course, if you can have absolute faith in Microsoft, you can just install SP3 right away. After all, according to Microsoft...
"Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released updates for the operating system, in addition to a small number of new updates. Windows XP SP3 will not significantly change the Windows XP experience."
Of course, there are already some users who have reported problems ranging from spontaneous reboots to outright system crashes after installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 at Microsoft's Windows XP message board.
In the office PC that I installed Service Pack 3, I didn't face any problem although for the record, I only used it for a couple of days. After that, I installed Vista Business to dual-boot from, but after doing that, I discovered I couldn't boot into Windows XP! LOL! The dual-boot menu just refused to appear. I edited the bcdedit entries but no luck there. I got the menu to show up but I still cannot boot into Windows XP. Hmm... that will be another story for another day.
Windows XP SP3 can be downloaded from Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update and the Release Note can be obtained here. Before you proceed with the installation, do check out this page at Windows XP Solution Center or our article here before your attempt to install SP3 on your system as there are quite a few things you need to be fully informed before the installation.
Good luck upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 3!
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