Or does it? When I recently installed a Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCI-e card in a Windows 8-system, nothing appeared to happen.
When I looked at the Device Manager, there was no Creative X-Fi card to be found. No undetected devices either, and the system did not do any driver search and install.
So what happened? Did it just ignore the card? Or was the card somehow incompatible with my system’s PCI-e controller, and did the system fail to detect it altogether?
I booted into Windows 7, to see what would happen there. And much to my surprise, Windows 7 immediately detected new hardware, and started downloading the X-Fi drivers. Right, so on the hardware-side, everything seemed to work. After the drivers were installed, I plugged in some headphones, and indeed, sound was playing from the card.
So what happened in Windows 8 then? As you may know, any modern system will have a number of “High Definition Audio” devices. Usually you have an onboard sound card, and then a few devices for your HDMI ports and whatnot. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that one of these generic HD Audio devices was only just installed, using the standard Microsoft drivers. Hum, wait a minute? Is that what happened then? Windows actually DID detect the sound card, but it just automatically put the generic HD Audio driver on it, so you never even saw it detecting and installing the card?
Yes indeed. I checked the card’s hardware ID, and it indicated that it was a Creative card. And when I used this device, the audio would play through the X-Fi card.
Okay, so that explains where the X-Fi went then! Apparently the X-Fi drivers are available through Windows Update on Windows 7, but not on Windows 8. So I just downloaded them manually, and luckily, they installed just fine on Windows 8. And the HD Audio device disappeared from Device Manager now, and the card was now detected as a proper Creative X-Fi. Now everything is back to normal again!