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Thread: Save me from video card hell!

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    Save me from video card hell!

    I've been going through graphics hell in the last week. Long story, so bear with me.

    A couple of years ago I built a new PC. Full spec here. It included a 7900GS and Windoes XP and a 30" Dell monitor. No problem.

    A few months ago I upgraded to Vista. There was some kind of driver issue, but in the end it seemed to sort itself out. Like the XP setup: no problem.

    Last week I decided I wanted to upgrade my 7900GS so I bought an Asus Geforce EN9800GT Ultimate. When I booted my PC it worked fine on my monitor but showed up as a Standard VGA adaptor and was in lo-res. It auto-installed new graphics drivers and rebooted. So far nothing unusual.

    Upon reboot, the BIOS screen, through to the windows green progress bar worked fine. When it got to the Windows splash screen (accompanied by the jingle) my monitor lost its signal. From here I tried all manner of things to get it working:

    - Other DVI socket (no picture)
    - Older driver versions (no picture)
    - Monitor cold boot and reconnect (a corrupt image once)
    - Nvidia control panel settings (a corrupt image once)
    - Mobo BIOS upgrade (no picture)
    - Changing BIOS settings (no picture)
    - Driver install from safe mode (no picture)
    - Fresh driver install using Driver Cleaner software (no picture)
    - Different PCI-E slot (no picture)
    - Remove all unnecessary power items (no picture)
    - Original 7900GS card (no picture)
    - New ATI HD 4850 (no picture)
    - Vista Low-Res mode boot (no picture)
    - Ubuntu (only low res)
    - Safe mode (works perfectly)
    - VGA monitor instead of the Dell DVI (works perfectly)

    Things I didn't try:

    - Forcing EDID settings on the monitor (I was scared to!)
    - Another DVI monitor (I don't have one handy)
    - Using VGA mode on the Dell (it doesn't have VGA mode)
    - Another Motherboard (I don't have one handy)
    - Another Dual Link DVI cable (I don't have one handy)
    - Vista re-install (I probably should)

    I had originally blamed it on lousy Nvidia Vista support, but since the ATI card exhibits the same behavior I don't think it's the card. Since I can get safe mode, I don't think there's anything wrong with the DVI cable. Since Ubuntu boots in low res too I don't think it's a Vista problem. Since I see the BIOS and loading screen I don't think it's the monitor. Which leaves what? The motherboard?

    I type this using the old VGA monitor with the Dell DVI plugged in also (without a picture). Curious things are that Windows doesn't see the Dell monitor in device manager at all. Earlier this week I'm pretty sure it did. The Nvidia contol panel sees the monitor but fails when it tries to use it. Also curious is that I can get a picture in safe mode but not low-res mode in Vista.

    At the moment I'm thinking that maybe my monitor has gone a bit funky and Vista in normal mode somehow sends a special signal (regardless of res) which freaks it out. It could be the mobo or a clash with the mobo and video card although they're both Asus. Maybe I hurt the Northbridge when putting the card in.

    Ack! I'm all out of ideas really. I can drag the big monitor to work and start doing some diagnostics on different setups, but if anyone can suggest anything to try I'd be very pleased to hear from you.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by DavidA; 08-10-2008 at 07:53 AM.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Sounds a right nightmare

    Try some ideas from these links
    http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1109295
    and
    http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=33671

    Good luck

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    I'm not sure if you done this already since the procedure is not quite clear from yr description. What I would do in this situation is:

    - boot into safe mode
    - uninstall display driver from device manager
    - reboot the system into normal mode (signal should be available on the screen since display driver is missing and generic VGA driver is used)
    - uninstall rest of nvidia SW and reboot again
    - run driver sweeper and reboot
    - install latest WHQL driver off nvidia site

    By the looks of it you haven't uninstalled driver successfully in the first place.

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Seeing as how this is effecting both an ati and nvidia card, it's looking like the problem is vista, it seems to be detecting the monitor setting incorectly seems to be another case of good old plug'n'pray

    Is there any way to force/tell vista what settings is should be useing? actaully there was a post someware on one of the links about removering all monitor drivers to force vista to redetect it correctly.
    It's a problem that's always dogged windows, it so often squirrels away old driver flies & settings then reuses them when it redetects the hardware.

    Ahh it was in the thread you linked to before
    http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?s...dpost&p=447209
    But seems like it also causes problems . . .

    Are there any actual monitor drivers for you monitor? check the manufactors website.
    I know older LCD monitors had drivers, basically a .inf file that told windows xp what make + model + what resoultions and frequencies the monitor could actually work at so windows doesn't try incompatable ones
    We have some old ctx 15" lcd's at work that I had no end to trouble getting to work with anything other than default vga/safemode, untill I found the inf file for that monitor (I thought it was the card drivers untill I found out windows was trying to run them at 80hz)
    Last edited by Pob255; 08-10-2008 at 03:02 AM.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Thanks people. Will try some of those this evening.

    My understanding is that a DVI monitor sends Vista some information (EDID?) in order to set itself up properly. I have read that XP is less fussy about that information than Vista. What if that information coming from my Dell monitor was bad or corrupted. Might that cause a problem? Is that something I can test and fix?

    Pob, the problem with forcing a set of monitor drivers is that Device Manager doesn't even show it as a connected device. At some point in the last few days that wasn't the case and I forced the Dell drivers as you suggest. but it made no difference.
    Last edited by DavidA; 08-10-2008 at 07:53 AM.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Don't think EDID is the problem here since you said monitor was working fine. I seriously doubt EDID can be reprogrammed w/o special equipment.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Try reinstalling Vista again and turn off PnP in the Bios so the bios handles the configurations. If it still occurs then you know it's definately not Vista and must be something hardware or settings related.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Just my few thoughts...

    Well given the tests and the results. It seems to be pointing towards a problem with the monitor. Or at the very least some problem with information between the monitor and vista.

    I would say the problem is definitely software or monitor related. A clean reformat using a VGA cable might be the fastest way to sort this. Surely you know someone who would lend you their DVI monitor to test the problem and try and reproduce it with a second monitor (suggestion - do you have a Tv with DVI / VGA ports you could try?).

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Actually in all the monitors I've come across so far windows xp just detects a "default monitor" unless you've told it what the monitor is at any point.

    And this is a key thing, windows will now remember that monitor and it's settings so if you swap to a different monitor then back again it will not come up as a default monitor but the monitor you told it, it no longer bothers to check the default setting.
    So if thoes settings get corrupted it can now become a right bugger to fix as it will always refur to the corrupted settings, which it has now squirreled some ware in the registry so deleting the original inf file has no effect.

    As you can no doubt tell I've had a battle with xp over corrupted monitor settings in the past and I'll have to admit that windows won So I gave it the and re-ghosted it.
    That'll teach it!

    EDIT: here's an idea, if you have a spare hard drive kicking about, unplug all your current ones and do a clean vista install on it, that way you can test if it's vista playing silly or something else.
    By using a spare you don't lose your current install and can garanty it doesn't pick up any setting or drivers from your current install which could be the root of the problem in the first place
    Last edited by Pob255; 08-10-2008 at 03:31 PM.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Thanks all. I think a fresh Vista install on a spare hard drive will at least tell me something.

    I've found out, as is suggested above, that Vista ignores the Device Manager monitor settings and instead reads them from the monitor's EDID settings. They did this to stop people custom-making monitor .inf settings and nuking the monitor.

    So, two things I'll try tomorrow.

    1) A new DVI monitor on the current Vista install
    2) A fresh Vista install on the old monitor

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    I think I'm narrowing this down now.

    To avoid people paging up, here's what I tried already:

    - Other DVI socket (no picture)
    - Older driver versions (no picture)
    - Monitor cold boot and reconnect (a corrupt image once)
    - Nvidia control panel settings (a corrupt image once)
    - Mobo BIOS upgrade (no picture)
    - Changing BIOS settings (no picture)
    - Driver install from safe mode (no picture)
    - Fresh driver install using Driver Cleaner software (no picture)
    - Different PCI-E slot (no picture)
    - Remove all unnecessary power items (no picture)
    - Original 7900GS card (no picture)
    - New ATI HD 4850 (no picture)
    - Vista Low-Res mode boot (no picture)
    - Ubuntu (only low res)
    - Safe mode (works perfectly)
    - VGA monitor instead of the Dell DVI (works perfectly)

    Yesterday I tried

    - Fresh install of Vista on another drive using standard Windows VGA drivers (fine, but lo-res)
    - Fresh install of Vista on another drive using standard Nvidia drivers (no picture)
    - Changing the BIOS to non-Plug and Play (no picture)
    - Another DVI monitor (works perfectly)
    - Fresh install of XP using standard Nvidia driver (works perfectly)

    So I think I can rule out a bad driver install and rule out that the monitor is fundamentally broken. It seems really likely that it's a problem between Vista and my monitor. As you might imagine, I'm really reluctant to buy another 30" monitor particularly since it works fine in XP.

    Tonight I'll try a Vista install on a new PC although I expect I'll see the same problem.

    Does anyone know why Vista doesn't recognise my monitor? Why it doesn't show up in Device Manager? What does the monitor send Vista to say "I'm here and I'm working fine". It seems like Vista does that process in a way that's different from XP. I noticed some clues here.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Are there drivers for your monitor available?? Perhaps you could try installing them as I had problems with Vista correctly identifying the resolution of my monitor!!

    http://support.dell.com/support/topi...=us&l=en&s=gen

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Thanks Cat, but the monitor doesn't show up in Device Manager so there's no place to install them. Besides, my understanding is that Vista ignores monitor drivers and just uses EDID settings stored in the monitor.

    I don't think the problem is related to resolution. It works fine in 640x480 with Standard VGA drivers but not in 640x480 with nVidia drivers.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Quick update. Using Powerstrip I've established that Vista is unable to read the EDID settings from the monitor. Not sure how to fix that. It sounds like it might be the root of my problem.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    I figured since I got some help here I should probably follow up with how I fixed the problem. In short, I didn't. Here's what I learned:

    Inside all modern monitors are EDID settings. This includes things like available resolutions and refresh rates. XP had access to this data but ignored it. Modern graphic drivers in Vista force you to use it. It might be possible to get your driver to ignore it, but I had no luck with this. My problem was that my EDID data had become corrupt. It explained why XP worked fine but it baulked at Vista. After many hours of tests Dell were kind enough to give me a replacement monitor which worked perfectly.

    In my many hours of testing I tried many things. In order for all that effort not to be wasted, I made a flowchart that I hope is useful to someone.



    Larger version here.

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    Re: Save me from video card hell!

    Jesus christ, that's some hardcore troubleshooting right there.

    May I ask what your line of business is?

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