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Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?

GUEST,DWR 14 Jul 10 - 02:00 PM
Bernard 14 Jul 10 - 02:35 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Jul 10 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,DWR 14 Jul 10 - 07:25 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Jul 10 - 07:56 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Jul 10 - 12:27 AM
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Subject: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 02:00 PM

I tried putting this post at the bottom of Ebbie's malware thread, but as it was nearing the end of its life, my comment slipped away without being noticed.


I have three machines, the 4 yr old laptop that I am working on at the moment, which thankfully has nothing wrong with it other than a bit of age induced slowless.

Then there's the 6 or so yr old desktop right behind it which is infected with the malware mentioned in Ebbie's thread. Thanks to you all for the information which I am sure I'll be able to put to good use later.

But my immediate concern is my 2 yr old Vista machine which may or may not have something similar. The problem is this: I cannot see the screen to go anywhere to fix anything! What comes up is what I can best describe as a series of plaid patterns for lack of a more technical term for what I see. I have tried the f8 key, but without knowing exactly where I am or am headed, it is a crap shoot at best. ONCE I did get to safe mode, but unfortunately, I was due to head out with family in about five minutes, and so turned off the machine without rescuing anything.

BIG MISTAKE! That was several days ago, and I have not been able to get back again in maybe 30 tries. Once I did get to a screen that gave me a series of choices, one of which was go to a restore point. I thought this might do the trick as I figured it to be the best of the choices given. Wrong decision, as it just led to one of the plaid patterns, forcing yet another shutdown.

So, hitting the f8 key a random number of times, then using the up arrow keys or the number keys has led me pretty much nowhere. I suppose that it would be nice if I had the disks that came with the machine, but some fool put them somewhere that they cannot be found at the moment.

I'm guessing that it's a display driver problem of some sort, but what do I do next when I can't see what's on the screen? While there are things on there that I am not happy about losing, most of it is replaceable or backed up. What is gone if I have to reformat will just have to be accepted.

I hope you all can come up with something that will magically restore my primary machine to working order without too much for my limited skills to assimilate.

Again, thank you so much. Dale


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Subject: RE: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 02:35 PM

It sounds more like a hardware issue, I fear...

Is the video card on the motherboard, or PCI Express?

If it's on-board you need to disable it and try a new add-on card. If it's already an add-on card, you need to try swapping it.

A cheap way of checking it would be to borrow an 'ordinary' PCI video card just to establish where the problem lies.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 03:41 PM

Swapping monitors to make sure the problem isn't there might be something to try, but I agree with Bernard that it sounds like a video card is likely to be what you need.

If you've had the monitor disconnected, it wouldn't hurt to inspect the connector and be sure that you haven't bent a pin when you reconnected. Many of those connectors have very fragile pins, and if one missed its hole or is just bent enough to make intermittent contact it might need to be straightened out, but usually that makes a fixed problem that doesn't do something different on successive attacks.

If you have a separate card now, just reseating the card might help. Video cards tend to run pretty hot, so contacts oxidize; but the heat also makes video card failures fairly common, especially with old style vacuum tube (CRT) monitors.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 07:25 PM

Thanks for responding, fellows.   My computer is an HP m9040n with a nVidia GeForce 8400 GS card. The case has never been opened, but it would be my guess that this is a separate card rather than integrated.

It is not just the monitor. In a way, I wish it were as that is easily fixed. One of the early things I did was to attach another monitor, but with the same result.

Since I read your suggestions, I have done some reading and studying, and have decided this is not too big a stretch for my expertise level (low). One thing I did read that caused a bit of consternation was to uninstall the drivers before the changeover. That makes no mention of how to do so without being able to see the screen!

It does seem to me that exact duplicate replacement would mean uninstallation would be unnecessary, but that is just an educated guess. I have checked and a replacement nVidia is available from Amazon for about $50.

Well, that is how far I have progressed with my thinking at the moment. What do you think?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 07:56 PM

"One thing I did read that caused a bit of consternation was to uninstall the drivers before the changeover. That makes no mention of how to do so without being able to see the screen!"

From my vague memory of Ancient Windoze (I stopped at WIN98!!!) there is a minimalist default level monitor driver set - you rely on using them in VGA mode which should work on all screens - someone more up to date can clarify this and if you have to manually set this up before you uninstall, or you need to start in safe mode (I think this uses them anyway) etc. You may be able to work this out for yourself by a little bit of help file searching though now that I have mentioned it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Display/Video Driver problem?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 12:27 AM

If there is a separate video card in the computer, the monitor often will be hooked up to a connector on the card. A series of "slots" in the back of the machine are provided so that a card can have a connector sticking out if needed, and "slot covers" should be in place where there's either no card or one that doesn't require an external hookup. A card that needs an outside connector will have a metal strip like a slot cover, but attached to the card, with the connector on it.

When the video is built into the motherboard, or is one that's just a "chip" (or mini card) that plugs directly into the motherboard, the connector for the monitor more often will be mounted directly to the back panel of the main case.

The nVidia 8400 GS is apparently "obsolete" since the nVidia site doesn't offer anything other than a list of specs, but it probably looks similar to the 8800 GT but a little less fancy.

The "nVidia 8400 GS" designation actually refers to the chipset used on the card, but is used pretty much interchangeably for a card with that chipset and for the chipset itself. With most such, nVidia (and others) may offer the chips in a form that can be directly incorporated into motherboards, so just the name doesn't really tell you which you have - integrated or separate card.

John


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