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  Creative Soundblaster Problems

Ed. Note: This is a reprint of a couple of the most popular news posts from the old site. While they were simple recaps of problems I had, they must have struck a chord with consumers across the net, because they are still quite popular. So before the old site is deleted, I thought I better convert them to the new site. I have also updated the links.

Part 1 - Installation Woes

This is the end of Creative Labs for me...unless they get their act together really fast. I have had it with their disregard for the consumer. In the past, my ire had been raised with the quality of their drivers. They make good soundcards, but without driver support, they suck. However, today was the final straw. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes (a toll call, no less), they hung up on me promptly at 5PM CST when they closed!! No warning, nothing. They simply hung up. How is that for customer service?

If you follow this site, then you know some of the problems I've had with my old SoundBlaster Live! card (fixed with the latest drivers) and my new Audigy Gamer. However, if you are new to the site, here's a brief history.

I purchased a SoundBlaster Audigy Gamer to replace my Soundlaster Live! I uninstalled the Live! drivers and removed it from Device Manager (in Safe Mode). I installed the Audigy and the drivers from the Installation CD. Everything seemed fine until I went to shutdown the system. I got a BSOD and a subsequent memory dump. I couldn't even boot into Windows XP, I would get the same error. After countless futile attempts, I finally determined that the SoundFont Manager in the original drivers (and the updated ones on the web) was the culprit. I finally used the brand new one that came with the latest Live drivers and it fixed the problem. Why do they have flawed drivers on their site? Even after all that, I still couldn't launch any of the AudioHQ tools.

After a week of enduring the lack of tools, I decided to fix the problem yesterday. One side affect of investigating that problem was the discovery of many, many references the the Live! card still in the Registry. Apparently, Creative's Uninstall routine leaves a lot of junk behind. After cleaning out the system, I reinstalled the drivers, but still without success. Looking through the Program Files folder, I noticed that there was a folder called SBLive!\AudioHQ. Thinking that might be the problem, I deleted that folder, uninstalled the drivers and tried again. However, the update just added drivers for the Live! folders put it back. Why is there Live! stuff with the Audigy?? How do I fix it so that the AudioHQ entiries lauch on my machine? So at this point is when I tried to call tech support...without avail.

Part 2 - CTHELPER.exe and ADGJDet.exe

Well, a new problem has raised its ugly head with my SoundBlaster Audigy Gamer card. For some reason a file called CTHELPER.EXE occassionally flips out and utilizes 100% of the CPU!

Here's a condensed version of what I know. I haven't played C&C: Renegade in a while. So I installed the new patch and fired it up. This is no exaggeration...when I got into a game, it was running about a frame every 3 or 4 seconds. My system was basically paralyzed. It took almost 10 minutes just to be able to get out of the game. Thinking it was a video problem, I tried changing all the settings as well as installing the new Detonator drivers (40.71), but to no avail. Finally, I opened Task Manager and saw that CTHELPER.EXE was consuming 100% of my 1.33GHz Athlon CPU. When I shutdown that task, the system returned to normal.

I did some searching and found that I'm not the only one to have that problem. It appears that the CTHELPER.EXE file is something that recently appeared with two other tasks (UpdReg.exe and ADGJDet.exe) that Creative now loads on Start Up. This thread on Creative's European site shows others with the same problem. This thread discusses the roles of those three files. For some reason, nobody from Creative answered questions about those files even though they answered questions in other threads. Why? What is so mysterious about those files?

So if you find your PC suddenly slowing down, check Task Manager, that might be the cause.

      Posted by: , February 15, 2004, 6:00 pm  

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