Dell Dimension 4500S video controller problem

March 10, 2011 at 15:19:11
Specs: Windows XP, 1 GB
I am trying to revive an old Dell Dimension 4500S that was given to me as a throwaway. I do not have any original driver or installation CDs. After giving it a new hard drive and installing Windows XP SP2, the computer only starts up with the display set at the lowest 4 bit color setting with no options available to change it. Device manager shows yellow question marks on the video and audio controllers.

After installing video controller drivers downloaded from the dell support website, the computer can't get past the Windows loading splash screen upon re-start. After the Windows load screen, various flickering, pixelated squares and pin lines appear at random all over a black screen. If the computer is started up in safe mode I can restore the computer to before I installed the drivers and it's back to square one. The video card is built into the MOBO. Is the video card just dead/damaged or is there a different set of drivers I should try installing? Thank you for any Ideas.

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March 10, 2011 at 17:51:38
It's the motherboard drivers you need. Use SIW to find out the model & then google > download ???? ( model no ) driver.

You can always just use an old video card & plug it into the appropriate slot if the above fails.
I use SIW for Licenses & Passwords.
1: Left hand column. Software > Licenses.
2: Software > Passwords
3: Top bar. Tools > Win 9x Password Cracker.

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March 10, 2011 at 19:08:56
Service Manual
Dell™ Dimension™ 4500S



System chip set: Intel 845 G

Video controller: Intel integrated AGP graphics


Architecture: DDR SDRAM

Memory connectors: two

Memory capacities

128-, 256-, 384-, 512-, or 768-MB, or 1-GB non-ECC DDR SDRAM

Minimum memory: 128 MB

Maximum memory: 2 GB

Memory type: 266-MHz DDR SDRAM (non-ECC)

PCI connectors: two

DC power supply:

Wattage: 180 W

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

Info about that for your computer.
Adding Memory

Download and install this

INF Update Utility - Primarily for Intel® 800 Series Chipsets

Download and install this second

Performance Software - Intel® Application Accelerator

Intel's latest integrated video drivers.

Download this.
You may need to install this later.

Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Windows* XP (exe)

The INF Update utility = the main chipset drivers.

Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.

The Intel® Application Accelerator allows drives to be able to run as fast as they can on this mboard.

After you have cleaned and re-installed the ram, loaded the INF Update utility, and have loaded the Intel® Application Accelerator.....

If you still have the graphics drivers installed you got from the Dell web site, is the video now okay ?

If you have installed them and the video does NOT look okay, un-install them in Control Panel - Classic view - Add or Remove Programs, try installing the Intel supplied drivers.

If you don't have them installed, I recommend you install the Intel supplied graphics drivers instead.

Other drivers.

Did you get the sound working ?

If no - sound "drivers":

Analog Devices ADI 198x Integrated Audio

Several possible Network adapters.

Several possible dial-up modems

If they're PCI cards, use SIW as Johnw has suggested if you need to.


Dell support - Home users

Drivers and downloads.
Either enter your Service Tag number

Go here for how to find the Service tag "number":

or choose Desktops - Dimension - 4500S (NOT 4500)

Sound and video "drivers" (and many other "drivers") always have associated files that must be installed properly along with the actual drivers. If you install only the actual drivers, it's likely the device, and/or the other software associated with it, will NOT work properly.

Unless the instructions for installing a device tell you otherwise....
(this ALWAYS applies to video and sound adapters )

You DO NOT install drivers for a device while booting into Windows, if the software for the device has not been installed yet - when Windows detects a generic device or New Hardware while booting, you allow it to search for drivers, it doesn't find any, and it wants you to show it the location of the drivers - CANCEL that, continue on to the desktop, and install the software for the device using the proper installation from a CD or the proper installation file that you downloaded from the web.
The same applies no matter when Windows finds New Hardware !

If you DID install drivers that way,

(The following also applies if you want to un-install previous software, or re-install the same software)

- for video "drivers"....

- go to Control Panel - Classic View - Add/Remove Programs and Un-install the software you installed, reboot, DO NOT install drivers while booting, let the desktop screen fully load.

Install the video software properly by running the proper download you got from the web, or if you have the CD that came with the video card that's in a slot, or if you have the CD that came with the brand name computer that has the Drivers on it, run the video software installation from the installation program on that.

for sound adapter drivers...

- go to Control Panel - Classic View - Add/Remove Programs and Un-install the software you installed, reboot, DO NOT install drivers while booting.

- go to Device Manager.
(e.g. RIGHT click on My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager)
If the sound adapter is still listed, RIGHT click on it and Un-install it.
If that was there, and you un-installed it, Reboot at least once.
DO NOT install drivers while booting.

Install the sound software properly by running the proper download you got from the web, or if you have the CD that came with the sound card, or if you have the CD that came with the brand name computer that has the Drivers on it, run the sound software installation from the installation program on that.

If you can't get satisfactory video from the onboard video when the specific video drivers are installed, then the video adapter built into the main chipset on the mboard is damaged.

You have up to two PCI slots available on the mboard.

You could install a PCI video card in one of those slots


- Your power supply has only a puny 180 watts capacity ! !

You can only install a minimal PCI video card that draws very little power, otherwise the power supply will be overloaded and eventually fail.

- Installing a PCI video card will probably NOT auto disable the onboard video.

You may be able to reduce the amount of ram shared with it in the mboard's bios Setup.

You will need to set Primary Video or Initialize video first or similar in the bios to PCI rather than onboard video or similar.

You can disable Windows from enabling the onboard video in Device Manager - Display adapters by RIGHT clicking on the entry for the onboard video and choosing Disable (Un-install won't work - Windows will find the onboard video adapter the next time you boot the computer).

You will probably need to install the specific "drivers" for the video chipset on the PCI video card.

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