(This is a day later - sorry, I hadn't looked at this forum for a day.)
The "incomplete installation" is something I had occur on many generations of Creative Soundblasters across all varieties of motherboards. Sometimes, "doing it 2-3-4 times" solved the problem without any changes in MY processes.
There's also an issue that Windows and its various updates can strangulate some service updates, too -I have many applications that I install, for example, before XP's SP3, or only after Win7-SP1. It's like a hopscotch game, apparently. Grrr.
As for no shutdowns... I wait for a certain "stalled out" period - 10 minutes? 5? 15? - and then I'll do a power-down myself, grumbling the whole time, and try to re-install whatever I was doing prior to this point. "If you don't succeed at first, try learning more cuss words." I think that's how the saying goes...
Next, see if you have ANY Soundblaster Control Panel applets installed, and see if you can use their "auto update" via the Internet. Sometimes this works.
You shouldn't need a lot of applications loaded onto your computer to get 5.1 or 2.1 speakers enabled. The Basic Driver should do that. The other extraneous apps that Soundblaster offers have different media players and "effects" toolboxes, but really don't affect the basic functions of the 5.1 or 2.1 speaker setups.