sound in VMware

I don't know if this is the right newsgroup, but here goes.

I downloaded the (no-cost) VMware Player, and a (no-cost) blank virtual
hard drive image, and installed (definitely for-cost) Windows XP in it.
But, whenever I play a sound (take e.g. "Windows XP Error.wav") I get an

| Windows cannot play the %SystemRoot%\media\Windows XP Error.wav file.
| The file may be damaged or may use an unrecognized compression format.
| To resolve this problem, replace the file or use Add/Remove Programs
| in Control panel to install Audio Compression.

The file's not damaged (aplay takes it), shouldn't use an unknown
compression (it's a fresh install of XP), "%SystemRoot%" expands to
"C:\WINDOWS", and I see no "Audio Compression" in Add/Remove Programs.
I think Windows is grasping at straws, and the problem actually lies
with VMware.

So has anyone solved this? VMware's virtual sound card is an ES1371,
regardless of what I actually have. I use neither ESD nor aRts, BTW;
either the driver or the card handles multiple simultaneous streams.
I'm pretty sure I have OSS emulation:

eben@pc:~$ lsmod | cut -f 1 -d ' ' | grep oss

Actually, "mplayer -ao oss" works, so I'm pretty darn sure I have it.

Is there a LiveCD with sound support I can try, to rule out VMware?

I firmly believed we should not march into Baghdad ...To occupy Iraq
would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world
against us and make ... a latter-day Arab hero assigning young soldiers
to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator[.] -- GHWB