AC'97 Audio Codec a4.06

A tool meant to be used with its namesake chip

  • Category:


  • Version:


  • Works under:

    Windows Vista / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 7 / Windows 2003 / Windows 2000 / Windows NT / Windows 98 / Windows XP

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    6.8 (504)

If you're like me, you're probably here for troubleshooting a Windows XP, Windows 2000 or an older machine. Sound problems? No driver? No codecs? Pretty sure it's AC '97 and not one of Realtek's many random codecs? I hope you have broadband and can download a bunch, just in case you found the wrong one.

If you've found the right codec, great job. Here's a bit of advice before you get started.

Don't just download this file and delete. Put it on a disk, a USB drive or anything that you will be able to access later. Far too often an old machine will suddenly lose everything from a bad reboot or a complete crash. You'll want to make sure that you have something to fall back on.

If you haven't downloaded winzip or winrar yet, do so. You don't want to have any weird errors from uncompressing any files, and you just might want to package all of your post-installation files with something reliable.

When installing the drivers, don't try to load up everything at once. Install this codec on its own, give the system a restart and hope for the best. Don't just test with a video or music; go to the sound volume menu and click around a bit.

If there's no sound, are you sure that your audio drivers are correct? Go to the device manager (For windows, go to Control Panel and look for it or right click My Computer and click "manage").

The codec downloaded here isn't a problem itself, but it can be a bit finicky if the system is on its last legs. You may need to consider a standalone sound card, which may be compatible with the AC '97 as well. Again, back up all of the files you would use for a fresh installation, because after a crash you won't want to track down sound and Ethernet drivers all over again.


  • The codec is compact and works quickly. The latest AC '97 is the result of many years of trial and error. If you have a vintage system that uses Realtek's system with this codec, you're in luck.
  • Keep in mind that this is the codec, not the driver with a similar name. If you use other codec packages, you don't have to worry about conflicts. If it does conflict, most modern codec packages (search softonic for CCCP) can disable as needed.
  • Great independent controls for different speakers. No need to get multiple useless control suites and mixers if you're not into that.


  • It's an old codec. You'll probably need to supplement it with newer codec packages, but the controls are still great.
  • The codec may need to be reinstalled after certain computer crashes. If your sound is gone and you're sure it's not the driver or mute button, try installing AC '97 again.

This is a piece of computer history, believe it or not. Many people right before the broadband age know well the struggles of getting the right drivers and codecs. It still works, and if you ever want to restore an older Windows NT or Windows 9x system, this might be what you need.

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