Tecra M4 Video problem?

Toshiba / TECRA M4
December 29, 2008 at 09:11:08
Specs: Vista Ultimate, 2.14 ghz, 2GB
Recently, my Tecra M4 tabletPC booted with strange charaters on the screen that looks for a PXE network boot. Basically it's full of characters that look like this--> Â
Vista will not boot to a screen where i can enter my password, BUT the next time around I can boot to SafeMode and everything displays and works like it normally should under SafeMode.
I've found very few posts after extensive searches that indicate it's probably the integrated video on the motherboard. Which means I need a new motherboard or this tabletPC becomes a very expensive paperweight. I've had it for over 3 years, so it's outside any warranty period.
Can anyone verify this as the problem? Can the nVidia video chip be swapped out or have the bios flashed?

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#1
December 29, 2008 at 13:19:36
If you'r fairly techie and can open the laptop case i would attempt to run it with it all opened up and see if the video chip cooling fan has died sounds like it could just be over heating and yes your model had a cooling fan for the videochip one is onsale at ebay ---> See Video Cooling Fan

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#2
January 2, 2009 at 10:46:28
I was able to do as you suggested, and the fan does not run...but, how do I know that is the problem? The fan may not run until a certain temperature is reached or a certain number of cycles/sec are detected. Also, if the fan truly is not working, how would replacing it fix my problem? Does a working fan somehow tell the video chip to start working again?
Because I can run my laptop in safe-mode, it almost seems like certain areas of the video chip are damaged and other more basic areas are not. I am still confused as to why the power-on screen does not work....but safe-mode does.
Laptop Angels (ebay store) has the motherboard for around $150, far cheaper than a new laptop but risky too. It seems this could be my only option since the video chip is soldered to the motherboard permanently.

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#3
January 4, 2009 at 10:39:08
Interesting, I have the same Tablet, and presumably the exact same problem. It started about 2 weeks ago, and I've sort of worked around it by renaming the Nvidia display driver so that windows can't load it on startup. This allows me to use the computer, but most advanced display functions/sleep, and other options won't work. I at first thought it was a corrupted driver except that I get the strange characters and some display coloration before the OS even loads. Strangely it started about the same time as a Vista upgrade, though I don't think they are related.
Have you had any further success or thoughts? Any calls to toshiba?

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Related Solutions

#4
January 4, 2009 at 21:14:09
I just upgraded to Vista too, but this has happened to me while using XP Tablet edition as well.
What driver file(s) did you rename and where did you locate them?
No futher luck yet, and no calls to Toshiba yet, still deciding what to do.

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#5
January 5, 2009 at 07:41:02
The driver is in c:\windows\system32\drivers and is nvlddmkm.sys, at least that was what was being used by my card under the manage devices option. I went in to safe mode, renamed it to nvlddmkm.sys.old, and rebooted and I've been able to run with most functionality since then.

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#6
January 5, 2009 at 16:56:45
Thanks for the info!
I can now use the laptop much better than I could in SafeMode.
I'm going to try installing some version(s) of the nvidia driver updates from Toshiba to see if maybe can get back to normal. I had Vista on this laptop over a year ago (pre-sp1) and since then went back to XP, The display driver I had worked just fine at the time. I wonder if installing that older driver may not patch things up. It looks like all of them are available at Toshiba's site.

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#7
January 5, 2009 at 19:45:23
Success---I think:
Went to Toshiba's site. There a few display driver downloads available to you.
I was using version: 7.15.11.5663
I downloaded version: 7.15.11.5616, which came out on the same day, but has a different version number for some reason.
1. Boot into safemode, or regular mode with the nvlddmkm.sys disable/renamed.
2. Install version 5616
3. Reboot
4. Still Bios Screen jumbled junk on boot
5. green "Matrix has you" like lines during vista warm-up screens, but still readable
6. Black screen...let it sit for a good 3-4 minutes...never get to a vista login screen
7. Turn off machine
8. Power on machine
9. Bios boot screen is now READABLE!
10. All is good from here on out so far.

If I continue to have this problem...this is the 2nd time its happened; (The first time, after booting into safe mode, the next boot was good in regular mode) I will uninstall all nVidia stuff from safemode and try another reinstall.

The only pattern of misbehavior I see here, is that it happens when I shut-down my tablet. If I just shut the cover and come back later, it is fine.

I guess my original thoughts on a bad motherboard may not be true; it appears to be some sort of driver issue with nVidia.

Note to self: Don't shut down

-Todd2000


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