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How To Fix A Missing Or Corrupt P17.Sys File

Monday, August 29th, 2011 by | Filed Under: Multimedia, System Tune-Up Help

Wanda from TN asks:

I have no sound on my computer. While trouble shooting, I keep getting a message that says I’m missing a file p17.sys. I’m out of ideas. Please help.

How To Fix A Missing Or Corrupt P17.Sys
Unable to hear sound from movies, music, YouTube, or any other files/websites on your computer? Do you see an error message talking about a file called “p17.sys” being corrupt or missing from your computer? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then you are missing a very important file, known as a device driver, from the Windows installation on your computer.

A small program which works as an intermediary between a piece of hardware and other programs which utilize said hardware, device drivers ensure that programs running on Windows are able to access the physical parts of your computer they need to do their job correctly. Virtually every piece of hardware on, in, or attached to your computer, be it your mouse, your monitor, or your printer, needs some type of device driver to communicate and function properly within Windows.

This leads us to the our missing/corrupt file “p17.sys.” If you haven’t guessed already, p17.sys is, in fact, a device driver. Used as a intermediary file between Windows programs and sound cards made by Creative Technology Ltd., p17.sys helps your Creative sound card interface with your Windows applications (your  music, movie, and other media players) to allow sound to be played through your computers’ speakers. While it is one of many files which enable your computer to play sound properly, as with any set of device drivers, having one become corrupt or go missing/deleted can make parts of your computer no longer function properly, if at all. Such is the case with p17.sys. When this device driver goes missing or becomes corrupt, any speakers powered by your Creative sound card will typically cease to function, many times giving you only an error message stating p17.sys is missing or corrupt as an indication of what is causing your computers’ speakers to no longer function properly.

So, when faced with this error message and the silence which comes with it, what exactly can you do to fix it?

Remove and re-install your sound card and drivers from Windows

Removing your Creative sound card, and re-installing it and its associated drivers in Windows is the simplest method for replacing p17.sys and re-enabling sound through your speakers. To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1. Find your “Computer” or “My Computer” icon/button on your desktop or “Start” menu, right click it, and in the context menu which appears, select “Properties”.

Step 2. In the window which appears, click the “Device Manager” shortcut. The Device Manager window will appear.

Step 3. Click the small “Sound, video and game controllers” icon.

Step 4. In the list that appears, find your Creative sound card. Right click on your Creative sound cards’ name, and click “Properties” in the context menu which appears. The sound card properties dialog will appear.

Step 5. Browse through the tabs in the sound card properties dialog box, taking note of the sound card name, type, and version number(s) if available. Click the “OK” button once you have all the information written down.

Step 6. Right click your Creative sound card once again and select uninstall from the context menu.

Step 7. The “Confirm Device Uninstall” dialog will appear. Check the “Delete the driver software for this device” check box if it is listed, and click the “OK” button.

Step 8. After your Creative sound card has been uninstalled, you should be prompted to restart your computer. Shut down all open programs and reboot.

Step 9. Once your computer restarts, Windows will find the sound card and attempt to install drivers for it. Click “Cancel” where prompted, and ignore warnings that your device will not work properly (it didn’t work previous to the uninstall so this is not an issue.)

Step 10. Open your web browser, to Creative’s support website at, and find your sound card software and device driver(s) by following the steps on Creative’s website.

Step 11. Once you find the proper driver for your Creative sound card/Windows version, follow the instructions for downloading and installing the device driver installation package.

Step 12. Once your device drivers are installed, restart your computer once again. Once your computer has rebooted fully, follow any further instructions where prompted by the Creative sound card device driver installation package.

Your updated Creative sound card drivers, including a replacement copy of p17.sys, should now be installed, and your speakers should pump out sound once again.

If, after following the above steps fully, your Creative sound card still does not work properly, by either continuing to not allow sound to be heard through your speakers, and/or continuing to display a “missing or corrupt” p17.sys error message, you may need to do one of the following:

– Visit Creative’s support page once again and ensure that the device driver package you downloaded contains the correct files for your Creative sound card AND your version of Windows. If you think you may have gotten the wrong device drivers, find the correct package for your computers’ configuration and follow steps 11-12 once again.

– Check Creative’s support pages for any additional device driver installation steps or alternative’s you may have missed.

– Have a professional computer hardware technician take a look at your computer to check to see if your Creative sound card is physically mis-aligned or in need of replacement.

These steps only apply to a “worst case scenario” type situation. In most cases, removing and installing updated device drivers for your Creative sound card as detailed in steps 1-12 above will fix your sound card woes quickly and easily.

~ J. Conboy

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