|A, B, C green, D yellow|
"According to the Dell website, that is an undefined combination."
That's not what they say.
This is a direct quote from the Service manual:
"Another failure has occurred.
* Ensure that the cables are properly connected to the system board from the hard drive, CD drive, and DVD drive."
See my info about the cables above.
You could also try, when the AC power to the PS has been removed.....
- if you have a floppy drive installed, unplug both the power connector to it , and it's floppy cable at the mboard.
- unplug the data cable(s) to the hard drive(s) and optical drive(s) at the mboard.
If the lights (leds) are then all green in either case, your problem is with one of those cables, or if the floppy drive isn't working properly, it could be a problem with the floppy drive - e.g. make sure it can both read and format disks.
The diagnostic lights situation may have nothing to do with your video problem.
The diagnostic lights (leds) can only indicate a problem with hardware - they cannot indicate a problem with software on the hard drive.
"I'm guessing that Directx is using a command that is unsupported by the hardware."
Windows XP cannot support a DirectX software version higher than 9.x.
The onboard graphics controller supports DirectX 9.0 .
DirectX versions are supposed to be 100% backward compatible. If your hardware or installed DirectX software version is not supported by your video hardware, or software version of the program you're using, features supported only in greater DirectX versions are automatically substituted with lesser features. I haven't seen any exceptions to that myself.
If something such as a recent or fairly recent game requires a higher minimum DirectX version than you can attain because of limitations of your video hardware or the operating system, the program should still work, but certain features that require a higher DirectX version may not.
Check the minimum requirements for Skype, or whatever else doesn't display properly.
I have one system with a 1999 mboard, the Radeon 7000 video card in it supports DirectX 8.x, I have DirectX 9.x installed in 98SE, and I have never had problems with it displaying any video properly. Your mboard has technology that's at least several years newer than that.
On the other hand, I have NOT played recent games for many years.
I haven't encountered any video problems like you describe with any older mboard, some older than yours, that have XP running on them, that I have and that I have worked with for others, that have video chipsets that support 3D video ( 3D first came out in about 1997).
Your video should pass the DirectX 3D tests, no problem.
Something's out of whack.
There may be video drivers for the 845G chipset series built into XP, or there may be video drivers on the Dell web site, but if I were you, I would load the latest drivers from the Intel web site. If you haven't done that, un-install any video drivers you have installed that are listed in Add or Remove Programs, then install the Intel ones.
If the drivers were built into XP, then go to Device Manager - Display Adapters, RIGHT click on the name of the display adapter, Un-install it, but DO NOT reboot when prompted, then install the Intel video drivers
Sound and video "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 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.
It's a VERY GOOD idea to DISABLE any resident modules (a part that runs all the time in the background, looking for suspicious activity) of anti-malware software you have installed, BEFORE you install software, especially important driver software or major packages of software.
E.g. For AVG 9.x, disable the Resident Shield from loading; for AVG 2011, disable at least that - you can temporarily disable everything in it for up to 15 minutes, but that setting reverts to everything (that wasn't already disabled) being enabled after rebooting.
If you don't know how to do that, tell us which anti-malware software you have installed.
There's lots of info about your onboard 845G graphics on the Intel web site.
Intel® 82845G Graphics Controller
Intel® Extreme Graphics Drivers Compatibility with DirectX*, OpenGL*, VESA/VBE*
Desktop graphics controllers
The Intel® Extreme Graphics controllers are compatible with versions of Microsoft* DirectX* up to 9.0. They are also compatible with previous version of DirectX (8.x, 7.x, 6.x and 5.x).
There's lots of Troubleshooting info in the info about running games.
What order do I install my drivers?
These must all be installed:
(Main Chipset Drivers)
INF Update Utility - Primarily for Intel® 800 Series Chipsets
(If you're not sure whether they've been installed, it does no harm to install them again even if they've already been installed).
(Your hard and optical drives cannot run at their full rated max speed they're capable of with this main chipset without this)
Performance Software - Intel® Application Accelerator
(If that has already been installed, there in an entry for Intel Application Accelerator in your Programs list - that's where you find the info about which DMA mode your drives are running in, rather than in Device Manager. )
Latest video drivers.
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Windows* XP (exe)