You may wish to consider physically removing the Creative hardware and returning to the original integrated sound - providing that it worked in Mint previously, that is. In relation to your post on saving your /home partition and reinstalling Mint, it sounds like you are considering doing this method. I am not sure if you will have any hidden folders in in your /home partition, but you may wish to check so the new install does not have configuration settings for the old install. That might cause issues. Sometimes you have go back to the beginning and start over. That is always a good option to fall back on. Good luck, and have fun!