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Video card (or driver) problem

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by khaavern, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. khaavern Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


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    Well, maybe the gurus here can help, because I am at my wits' end.

    The problem is as follows: I have this 5 years old Inspiron 8200 laptop, and recently I started having problems with the video card/or video driver. what's happening is that sometimes when I load Win XP, the video driver starts drawing some straight lines on the screen, gets stuck in an infinite loop, and I get the blue screen and have to reboot. From the error messages, the driver responsible for this is disp_nv4.dll (the video card is a GeForce4 440 Go, with 32 MB of ram)

    Thinking that the driver is the problem, I went and got the newest one from the Dell site. They also recommend to flash the video bios, which I did. This seemed to partially solve the problem, however, I was not able to run my monitor at lower resolution than the maximum one (which is something like 1000x1400). If I'd try to lower the resolution, I'd get a smaller screen (that is, black bands around the edges of my screen). Games like NWN or Civ III (which normally I would run at lower resolutions like 760x1024) would crash the computer.

    Anyhow, in the last days this does not seem to work anymore, either; my computer freezes even if I keep the max resolution. Moreover, I used to be able to boot in the safe mode an use the vga driver; it was slow like hell in refreshing the screen, but it worked. Now apparently this problem started crashing the screen in the safe mode, too. So I would think that maybe the video card is fried; however, so far I am still able to boot Linux and run X on it. (granted, is an old Red Had 8 distribution, and the windows manager is not so resource demanding, but still, it does not crash).

    Any ideas would be appreciated. Also, if anybody knows how can I find out the type of monitor on the Inspiron 8200 (should be something like Dell 2100MP, or some other number), that would be helpful.
     
  2. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Hold on a sec, you said that when you run Linux the computer does *not* crash? That means that it is the driver. Even though you installed a newer version of the driver, it may not be the best. I'd flash the BIOS again and reinstall the driver one more time. :rolling:
     
  3. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    It's got to be the driver. I am running X on Linux at 1024 x 780 resolution (or something like this) with no problems. But I tried uninstalling and installing the current XP driver several times, with no success. I am thinking of reinstalling the operating system.
     
  4. Colthrun

    Colthrun Walk first in the forest and last in the bog Veteran

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    I had a similar issue with a 6600GT. For some reason, some nVidia drivers revert to the originally installed one if it's still present in the system, regardless of how many times you upgrade them.

    What I did was:

    1. Removed the nVidia utilities using Add/Remove Programs.
    2. Used each and every nVidia driver compatible with my video card, and removed them when they were selected as the driver to use.
    3. Restarted the PC. Windows was then unable to determine what video driver to use, and took a generic one. Screen resolution became 640x480.
    4. At this point, I installed the latest driver from nVidia, and the problem went away.
     
  5. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    Jesus, I cannot believe it. These darned drivers do not want to stay uninstalled. I tried using Add/Remove, as well as the Devices screen. Somehow a copy remains in the system, and the ever so helpful Windows OS decides I need them installed.
     
  6. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    There's no way to completely remove a display driver in XP (or even in Win98 IIRC). As soon as you remove them and restart the system Windows will automatically redetect the hardware and install the "latest" drivers (ie the ones you just uninstalled). Short of getting a hack that is specifically made to remove drivers, they just will not go away.

    I remember such a hack used to exist for Nvidia cards several years ago. It was called Detonator Destroyer or something similar, and can completely wipe out the Nvidia Detonator drivers. I've never used it, but have seen someone do, and it seemed to work quite well. It's one of those use-at-your-own-risk things though, as it may destabilise your Windows install if you're not careful.
     
  7. Colthrun

    Colthrun Walk first in the forest and last in the bog Veteran

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    [​IMG] @khaavern: Ziad makes a good point.

    Are you using Windows Update in automatic mode (i.e. automatically downloads the latest updates)? If so, go to the Windows Update page and check your download history. See if any driver for the nVinia card has been installed recently, as WU does hardware driver updates too.

    If this is the case, disable Automatic Updates, or tell the system to notify you of the available ones, rather than getting them all automatically.

    Also, right-click on MyComputer, go to Properties. There, go to Hardware and click on Windows Update. Tell it never to use Windows Update to look for drivers.

    Once all this has been done, remove the drivers for your video card. Reboot your PC and if the selected video card is selecting a generic driver now, install the newest nVidia driver.

    [ October 04, 2006, 13:38: Message edited by: Colthrun ]
     
  8. Otis Gems: 2/31
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    If you do the update manually, via Device Manager's Update Driver function, there shouldn't be any problems with reverting. You'll have to use the "I'll choose from a list" and "have disk" options to make sure you get what you want, but after that, XP should be happy with your choice.

    The remaining problem is that some driver install packages also install secondary utilities (e.g. ATI's tray thingy), but you should be able to identify the setups for those items and run them separately.

    [ January 30, 2007, 04:39: Message edited by: Otis ]
     
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