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Headphones and speakers play together

Compac 550
Microsoft Windows XP

I have an HP 550 laptop running Win XP SP3. I use the headphones most of the time. Recently I found that when I plug the headphones in, the speakers keep playing and there seems to be no option anywhere to turn them off. The volume control only lists a single wave output device and Device Manager has no option or tab which differentiates between speakers and headphones. After 10 minutes of chasing my tail on the HP customer support site, which demanded an "SKU" (no description of same or information on where to find it, the link just goes back to the main support page and I'm having to start over from scratch picking my device type), or a product number and which wouldn't accept the P/N I entered ("more than 500 hits, please narrow the search" and back to the beginning we go yet again) - bearing in mind that I'm having to turn a plugged in, running laptop upside-down in order to find the label on the bottom of the machine, while I'm currently online and on the HP website trying to get help on the issue - I gave up looking for a BIOS update. My question is this: Is there any solution to the problem other than sending the machine in for repairs? And if there is a BIOS update, is there a direct link that doesn't involve surfing in circles on the HP support site, which seems to have been deliberately coded with the single purpose of driving innocent people insane?
Thanks.

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