Thank you for the information / advice.
I installed Belarc and ran the analyzer. VERY interesting information.
There were no multimedia entries on the notebook. I ran it on another computer for comparison and found two high definition audio entries.
Does Belarc actually look at the hardware? or is it formatting the registry? If its looking at the hardware, then does this mean that the sound hardware is no longer working? If so, my only alternative would be a USB sound solution.
(The control panel / device manager does not allow the audio driver deletion, as it does not see a driver.)