Monday, 28 December 2009


The error - it was impossible to install the driver (either from the CD that came with the soundcard, or from the latest drivers on the Creative site).

Last night I was extremely annoyed with Creative, makers of PC sound cards and other peripherals. I wasted many hours trying to fix a problem with my new Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme Gamer soundcard. The drivers just wouldn't install. I was even forced to close my anti-virus protection (since Sophos flagged up the Creative software as 'very suspicious' - which shows that Creative are trying to do something more nefarious than just provide a straightforward driver), but the driver still wouldn't install, as the screenshot above shows. All I got was additional unwanted software attempting to make me register my soundcard with Creative (i.e. hand over personal data).

I finally decided to try and get support. However the Creative website sends users in circles, and offers no means at all to contact anyone at Creative apart from an online form that will only send data if you enter serial numbers from somewhere on the card.

Yes, they do expect you to tell them the model number of their own hardware (even though I had given the name of the appropriate soundcard), and to open up your PC to get the serial number. It doesn't matter that you have already had a lot of your time wasted by problems with their products - if you don't act like a good little customer and do as you are told, you will get no help!

I have a new PC, under warranty, and don't want to be opening it up and removing soundcards to try and get a model/serial number. If anything went wrong my warranty would be invalidated.

This is simply adding extra obstacles to customers. Since this blog was created, it seems that one of the most common complaints is large companies making it difficult for customers to get in touch with them, usually by only having an online form that has mandatory fields (even if they are not relevant), instead of making it as simple as possible for people to get in touch, and clarifying any necessary information afterwards. This lack of any after-sales service, and lack of understanding of the customer's position, means that I would certainly warn people away from Creative as a company in future.

So I was left unable to get any help from Creative. I searched their 'Knowledgebase', but it had no relevant answers. After more hours of searching online fora and trying many things, including some of the many suggestions from Microsoft (e.g. I tried this and this to no avail) I eventually gave up, and did a full reinstall of Windows XP. So about five hours after I first had the problem with the Creative soundcard, I had fixed it myself. If only I could get those five hours of my life back...

Creative's current score:

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