Sorry about the length of my post but I wanted to make sure that is was sufficiently detailed so that someone would be able to help me:
I am having a rather strange issue which, although is not hindering the use of my computer, is still something that I would like to try and resolve. I purchased a Dell Inspiron 545 about a month ago (first week of Oct. 09). Given that Windows 7 wasn't available at that time to the general public, my new computer came with Vista Home Premium. My computer does not currently have an aftermarket sound card; I only have the OEM one that came with the computer. Also, I currently do not have any speakers or any other external audio devices that are currently hooked up to my computer. While I was using Vista I never had any problems or warning prompts appear when using audio programs like iTunes even though I didn't have any external audio devices connected to my computer. No problem there.
When I received my copy of Windows 7 Pro I decided to do a clean install on my computer. After installing 7 I went through and manually installed all of the audio drivers that were on my computer when I received it from Dell (note: although the audio drivers were the same the re-installed ones were the updated versions designed for Win 7). I didn't use the driver disk that came with my computer though, because of the hassle of using those disks. Instead I manually downloaded the drivers that I needed from the Dell support page.
After re-installing all of the drivers, updates, and programs on Win 7 I noticed the following: every time that I opened an audio program like iTunes I would receive a warning prompt claiming that "iTunes has discovered a problem with your audio configuration; audio may not operate properly". Furthermore, I have a Sony voice recorder that I use for school and the program for the recorder gives a similar error message claiming that "the file cannot be played back; check your audio drivers or operating system". In addition, this error message prevents me from editing any of the voice files I have saved on my computer.
But the strange thing is that all of these error messages disappear when I plug in my headphones. The messages go away, I am allowed to edit my voice files, and the sound works great.
As I said above, the audio drivers I currently have installed are identical to those that originally came with my computer. Given that I had never received similar error messages when not having speakers or headphones hooked up to any of my past computers or to my current computer before I installed Windows 7, I am assuming that the operating system is the culprit.
Has anyone else experienced this problem and if so, do you know how to fix it?