Microphone problems/HP dv9005us w/Conexant HD audio

I searched these forums but did not find any posts with a similar
problem, so here goes:

I have an HP Pavilion dv9005us laptop running WinXP. The laptop has
embedded microphones, as well as a mic jack, but neither seems to work
well. When I try to record sound it is very faint unless I am almost
yelling, and there is a lot of background hiss. I have done everything
I can think of including:

- I updated the drivers from HP for Conexant HD audio
- I made certain that the mic volume was boosted to full
- I checked the external mic on a different system and it worked fine
- I DO NOT have any trouble with the audio, just recording

One thing I have NOT been able to do is to activate the "Microphone
Boost" feature that some KB's suggest, because the path to get there is
grayed out on my system. I've posted this problem on some other forums
and found that there are others with both Pavilion/Presario laptops and
HP Special Edition laptops with a similar problem, and while it seems to
be a common problem, it is not a universal problem.

Does anyone have a clue how to get the microphones working? I have to
believe that it is primarily a software glitch since the audio is