Please excuse some of my lacking expertise here.

My daughter got a new laptop roughly 2 months ago, an HP. It has Vista as its OS. It has had absolutely no problems. We went on vacation a week ago, and she shut the computer down while we were away. When we returned, upon rebooting, she had no sound. When we try to go into Control Panel and adjust the volume, it tells us there are no sound devices installed. But when we go to Device manager, it says they ARE installed, working properly and have the latest drivers. When we attempted to adjust sound again, we got the message that no sound was present because Windows sound service was no enabled. We clicked to enable it and got the message that the host program, Rundll32 had "a problem" and was not working. Microsoft had absolutely no fix for this at their site. So, what do we do? Should I use a registry cleaner, should we just backup necessary files and try to reinstall Vista from scratch?? HELP!!

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You possibly can't rule out malware. Maybe you should look at her internet history and see if some dodgy sites have been accessed that could have deposited a corrupting trojan.

I would download some antimalware software from Malwarebytes and scan the system. What Anti-Virus protection is on this laptop? And is it fully up to date?

One has to ask what would give RUNDLL32 a hard time. A corrupted DLL file? Trojan?

She has Webroot Spysweeper with anti-virus and it's up to date, as far as One can see. I ran two scans last night and, besides about 16 cookies, there was no spyware or malware found.

When you try to enable Sound, Rundll32.exe uses a DLL program in Windows\system32 (I don't know which one); if there is a problem with this DLL the an execution error can occur. It could have been corrupted at last shut down or something.

You could try and switch off (temporarily) DEP (Data Execution Protection) and see if that cures the sound enabling problem:

- Right click Computer, select properties
- Select Advanced System Settings (in the left pane)
- Advanced tab (you should already be there)
- Click Settings in the Performance section
- Select the Data Execution Prevention tab
- Select "Turn on DEP for all programs and services except..."
- Click Add and browse to \Windows\System32\Rundll32.exe
- You could consider adding \Windows\explorer.exe

If this doesn't help, you could try repairing Vista (I think that's F8 when booting and using the repair console.

If it had Realtek HD Sound Manager, try reinstalling it. If you did not, try installing it.

Thanks much--I'll give this a go and get back to you.

If it had Realtek HD Sound Manager, try reinstalling it. If you did not, try installing it.

This not the first time I've seen you throw this "tit-bit" out there, and again will pull you up on it. Don't you think you should find out if it actually a RealTek card before advising to install drivers/manager for a RealTek card??

First thing to try (as corrupted DLL file was a very possible assessment) would simply be to use System Restore to roll Windows back to just before that eventful shut-down. The other is to use Windows repair option, using your copy of Windows or the supplied recovery disk.

Either option should get your daughter's notebook back on track.

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