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Fitting A Sound Card

Step 1

Check you have a free expansion slot to fit a sound card by looking around the back of your PC case. A free slot is usually indicated by a metallic blanking plate which may be adjacent to a modem or a graphics card. If you are sure that you have a free slot or if you feel that you need to investigate further then proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

If you have a static band then make sure it is earthed correctly otherwise switch off at the mains, leave your computer plugged in and touch the metal case of the computer to discharge yourself of static electricity. Remember static can damage circuitry.

Step 3

Remove all the cables and unscrew the case. There are usually 4 or 6 screws and the case will then lift off completely or an access panel will slide off on either side.

Step 4

Locate the free PCI slot PCI slots are usually about 8.5cm long and white. Older motherboards may have ISA slots which are black and around 14cm long. Most modern sound cards are PCI. Once you have found the free slot you must remove the blanking plate opposite. It will be held in place by a screw and may require a bit of careful persuasion to remove bearing in mind that the case can be quite sharp.

Step 5

Perform Step 2 first. Remove the sound card from its protective bag and hold it by the edges. Turn the card so its metal backing plate is facing the rear of the case and ease it into the PCI slot in a careful and firm downward motion. Do not rock the card across the width of the slot as it may cause damage to both the card and the motherboard.

Step 6

Secure the new PCI card with the screw you removed from the blanking plate earlier.

Step 7

Take the cable, that should be supplied, and connect one end to the CD-in socket in the sound card and the other to the socket in the back of your CDROM drive. This cable is important as it will allow you to listen to audio CDs through your speakers rather than use a set of headphones plugged into the front of the CDROM drive.

Step 8

Now that we have finished with the internals, reassemble your computer and plug in your speakers and microphone if you have one. There should be either words or symbols indicating the correct sockets e.g. "line-in", an arrow pointing outwards, a little microphone etc.

Step 9

Reconnect your cables and switch on your PC. When you enter Windows, you should see a prompt saying that it has found new hardware. You will need to install the drivers which are on the CD provided with the card. Insert the CD and follow the install wizard.

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