Blank screen BEFORE Login - Can't see POST

Sparkle Sparkle geforce 8400 gs video ca...
July 3, 2010 at 08:54:54
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 3 GHz / 1983 MB
NOTE - The post apparently labels my card PCI-Express, it is NOT PCI-Express. Just PCI.

Here's the problem - when the computer starts up, the monitor remains black and the LED light on the monitor stays amber, as though the computer is off, until the login screen.

Note that my boyfriend and I have experience dealing with different facets of hardware, operating systems, etc but we're both kinda new to the game at installing video cards (part of why we wanted to do it). We added a Sparkle GE Force 8400 GS PCI card. At first it wouldn't work after several different tries. After messing around with it for hours and constantly getting a blank monitor (LED light amber) on the video card but perfect display using the on-board, we hooked up a 2nd monitor to the video card our main to the onboard. Finally we discovered that it was merely an issue with the computer recognizing it as a dual monitor setup with the video card's hookup "inactive" (clicking "Extend Windows Desktop to This Monitor" made the 2nd monitor's screen light up, which was attached to the card). Although we've removed the 2nd monitor I could not get the computer to recognize this monitor as "1", even while both were still attached. After everything finally was installed and working, I disabled the onboard video - the VIA adapter ("VIA/S3G UniChrome Pro Video Adapter"), and the monitor went to a single monitor setup.

Throughout the entire time that the new video card has worked, it never shows POST. I'm afraid to attempt to get it in Safe Mode through MSCONFIG fearing that it won't show up and I'd be stuck in it forever unless I switched back to the onboard again. Though, I'm not sure if switching back to the onboard would work right now because I have "Monitor 1" (we only have a single monitor plugged in though) inactivated - and "1" uses the VIA adapter.

As I mentioned in spite of our combined experience we're both pretty dumb with the video card situation. How do we get past this though? I did read where someone put: "In general, if your monitor screen is black and its LED stays orange instead of green until the OS loads then the video controller isn't supporting 640 x 480 as that's the resolution of the posting screen." But how do I resolve that? Switch to the onboard anytime we needed to see POST/BIOS?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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July 3, 2010 at 09:59:06
I believe u can't use both onboard video & v-card @ the same time.
Did u set initial display to pci in bios? 640x480 is supported by any v-card. Did u un-install onboard video driver?
u have wasted $ buying crappy pci card.

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July 7, 2010 at 14:01:10
The quality of the card is completely irrelevant unless this specific card was literally insufficient at its task. We don't have the PCI as an option in the BIOS. It doesn't really have anything referring to the onboard VGA where we can just "disable" it. Disabling the card through Device Manager just makes it see a single monitor setup but doesn't help in any other way.

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