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Extremely low volume using headphones, but No sound in speakers, after Vista updates. maintenance

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Old 04-12-2010

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Extremely low volume using headphones, but No sound in speakers, after Vista updates.
Hello Everyone,

A week back, while vista was installing a few updates on my laptop (Sony Vaio VGN-NS130E / Vista Home Premium SP1), I happened to close the laptop by accident. Next time I logged in I saw that the update had failed (obvious.)

Soon after I realized that there was no sound from my speakers, but I can still hear very feeble volume through the right channel of my headphones. These are the steps that I have done in an attempt to fix my problem (in the same order as I did it)

1. Rolled my system back to the immediately previous System Restore point (one created when the system was fine and these updates were not installed.) - No luck!

2. Checked, if my speakers were set to default. - They were.
3. Tried recording using Sound Recorder - the file plays fine on other machine, plays on mine but with no sound.
4. Reloaded the driver for the inbuilt sound card. (Realtek High Definition Audio)
5. Installed the latest Chipset Drivers for my motherboard.
6. Checked for the latest audio driver for my laptop model from Sony , installed it. - No luck!
7. Used 'Microsoft Fix It' - no help.
8. Installed Service Pack 2 and ALL updates that I could find, using 'Search Updates' feature. - no use!
9. Used 2 different Driver Scanners to find if I was using any older versions, by this time my audio driver was up to date.
10. Reloaded the audio driver again.
11. Tried installing generic High Definition Audio Driver.
12. I used a tool which tries to find if my device is working properly, it reports no problems.

After each step I restarted my system as and when I was prompted to do and made sure that the (h/w & s/w) volume controls were all set to 100%, and speakers to default. For all this while, I have been able to hear any song that I play through my headphones (only the right channel). Well, technically I can 'hear' the sound (which makes me think there should be no hardware problems ), but the quality is way too bad (dominated by hissing sound), and I have to wait for the room to be "really quiet" to even hear whats coming from that ear plug, then I plugged in an external speaker into (one and the only) audio jack...set speaker's volume to full... I can hear only a loud hissing sound , but if i stick my ears into the speakers I can figure out the music.

I do observe that rthdvcpl.exe (Realtek HD Audio control panel) never starts, even tough its configured to do so in the startup. Windows Audio Service is always running. Rthdvcpl.exe wont run even if I manually try to run it, now I am guessing something is blocking it, but have no clue how to fix this problem. Please help!!

I have tried almost every potential fix that I could find on most of the forums (including this one) , but to no good

Would be great if any one in the community would be able to help me with this problem.
Thank you.

[sorry for an extra lengthy post, just wanted to make myself clear.]
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