How to Install a Sound Card in Your Computer - dummies

By Andy Rathbone

Some folks upgrade their computer sound card to get a higher-quality sound than what comes standard on most computer. Every computer sold in the past ten years comes with PCI slots for sound cards. Your PC probably also has the PCI-Express slots preferred by some new sound cards.

1Turn off your PC, unplug it, and remove your computer’s case.

The tiniest sound card slots in your computer, about an inch long, are PCI-Express 1x slots. The adjacent slots, about three times as long, are usually PCI slots. The longest slot is probably a PCI-Express 16x slot, almost always reserved for video cards.

2If you’re replacing your old sound card, remove the single screw holding that card in place, and then lift the card up and out of its slot (left).

If you’re placing a new card in an empty slot, remove the empty slot’s metal backplate by removing the single screw that holds the backplate in place. Then lift out the little plate. (Save the screw, as you need it to secure the new sound card in place.)

3Hold the new card by its edges and position it over the appropriate empty slot, either PCI or PCI-Express 1x, then push the card slowly into the slot.

The edge with the shiny metal bracket faces toward the back of your computer. Line up the tabs and notches on the card’s bottom edge with the notches in the slot. You may need to rock the card back and forth gently. When the card pops in, you can feel it come to rest. Don’t force it!

4Secure the card in the slot with a screw.

Use the screw you removed in Step 4.

5Plug the computer’s power cord back into the wall and PC, and then turn on your PC.

Windows usually recognizes a newly installed card, displays a message saying it recognizes the new device, and automatically sets the card up to work correctly.

6If Windows doesn’t correctly identify your card (or doesn’t recognize it at all), install the software that came with your card.

Whenever you install a new sound card or any other card, visit the manufacturer’s Web site. Find the site’s Support or Customer Service section, and then download and install the latest drivers for that particular model and your version of Windows. Card manufacturers constantly update their drivers and software to fix bugs.

7After everything’s working, put your PC’s cover back on.

Your new sound card should be ready to wow you!