The Compaq laptop with Vista Home Premium that we have always battles to play sounds through the headphones.
Somehow, we manged to disable the laptop sound while trying to get the headphones to work and got the message "No Audio Output Device is installed".
Control panel / Device manager / Sound, video and game controllers shows "High Definition Audio Codec". Tried updating the driver - Nix. Tried checking for new hardware - Nix.
Tried disabling - enabling - Nix.
You need to uninstall the device and then check for new hardware. Vista will find the "new" sound card and re-enable the audio device.