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I had a problem with a sound card on a Dell machine. All test showed it was working fine but it still produced no sound. I tried reloading the driver and then tried a newer driver going to the manufacturers web site for support and it still did not work. I did make an observation that some Windows sounds (like a new email) was coming through. I use HMDI for both sound and video so I wondered if by chance the video card (Nividia) could do it all. I removed the sound card but nothing changed. I went into BIOS and found that there was a sound card integrated into the MB. I activated the integrated sound and now all works beautifully and the original sound card sits on my shelf. If you have an integrated sound card make sure it is not ON if you also are using the discrete card and also if you remove your discrete card then turn the integrated on, It worked for me.
Your Device Manager not registering the device is worrisome. Maybe remove the card reboot and then shutdown reinstall the card and reboot and see if it picks it up. Oxide or dust on the pins can be a problem. There are parts cleaner sprays that help, the fumes are strong so make sure you have good ventilation and try not to breathe any more fumes than necessary.
You can download the drivers from Dell WEB site, thesupport download page. Make sure you select your model desktop or laptop,better still, type in the Service Tag number, it is printed on the label on thebottom of the laptop and on the back or sides of a desktop. (If the Service Taglabel is missing then go into the BIOS setting and on one of the BIOS pages,the Service Tag number will be displayed). This will open the page where thespecific drivers for your model computer are located. Also make sure you selectthe Windows XP or Vista version of the drivers for your Windows operatingsystem. Click on this link to download the drivers: -