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Congratulations from me as well-- most likely the upgraded ALSA and/or kernel did the trick, and if installing a new distro was the best way to get them, then that's fine.
Chinaman, please don't confuse the new migrators with "distro-eliteism" ("Mandreck"). I know that there are many reasons for disliking heavily-tweaked binary distros, but they do have their place in the migration market, and the nice thing about Mandrake is that it's the only freely available commercial binary distro that's actually made for the end-user as opposed to the enterprise. Fedora is a testbed for RedHat Enterprise, SuSE Professional is also really for the enterprise, SuSE Personal is ridiculously crippled for an ordinary user (what do you mean, no compiler and no DVD playback?) and Lindows/Linspire.... is a whole 'nother kettle of fish (and certainly not freely available).
Mandrake is not completely perfect (naturally, what is?), but I admire their effort to make (and freely provide) a binary distro for me (a home user migrating from Windows 2000) that I can use out-of-the-box, rather than a distro for my boss, his secretary, and the IT department who's responsible for administering the boxes at my workplace.
One could definitely do worse, and heck, their boxes work now, so they can use Linux. Ultimately, that's what we're all after when we try to help. I'm just glad that II_pretender_II and mentallysilent stuck with it instead of deciding that "Linux sucks!" and retreating back to Windows.
So, double congratulations are in order for you both.