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How to make Windows XP install a sound card?

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Wow thank you so much for this information. I work in tech support and this ac'97 issue was driving me up a tree. Went so far as to completely reformat and first thing I did was head to that update site to get all my updates, without knowing about this issue, and then trying EVERYTHING to fix it. I'm assuming my 'fix' is yet another wipe, direct soundmax driver install, THEN win update? OR to avoid updating from that site like the plague? Any direction in this matter would be greatly appreciated. In addition, if this makes any difference, I even installed win 7 on this emachines T2893, which 'corrected' the sound driver issue (by getting a different version of the software completely, as I recall) but win 7 could not find a compatible video driver that would recognize and provide the full functionality of my onboard vid card, so I ended up having to do a full wipe anyway to go back to xp in the first place. another one or two couldnt hurt.