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Its a driver incompatibility issue. Many hardware components designed for Vista are incompatible with XP. This means that the Realtek audio driver may be the Vista version. Also, some hardware has of yet no XP drivers, so your audio components were designed for Vista only. While it may be possible to "force" the driver to work, it may involve a number of hacks to the Windows registry and other files.
First and foremost before you try to downgrade your OS from Vista to XP make sure that you can find a working device driver for your laptop, if you check your manufacturer's website(Acer) see if they have XP drivers for your device because I had some clients that are having problem trying to make some of their device work(built in webcam, ethernet, wi-fi, sound) when they downgraded to XP for faster processing.
Pl check the whether all driver from OEM have been installed including MB and try to reinstall the driver it should work fine. or reinstall the SP2 for win XP. then install the OEM driver again, this should work, else there might be hardware problem.
OK ! As far as I can tell, (hopefully) you have installed corrupted audio drivers for the laptop. Its an issue that I have come accross 1 month ago. I fixed it by doing the following...
Installing the latest audio drivers for the downgrade of XP.
Installing the latest audio/video codecs for Windows XP.
Installing the latest Direct X redistribute
Uninstalling the windows update:MSWindowsHighDefinitionAudio
These three (Audio/Video Codecs, Audio Drivers and Direct X) are responsible for "decoding" your Movies and Music. If they are outdated or their host application is corrupt, they can cause sum grief to your multimedia.
Also, a very rare issue could be that you're selected (If you are using Windows Media Player 9-11) the speed settings. It could be that the speed settings are set to low. To troubleshoot this, simply download and install 3party apps like WINAMP (for audio) and VLC / VLan Player (for Video) and open your music or video with either one of the mentioned apps...