Video gets scrambled

Dell / DIMENSION 2400
October 10, 2010 at 10:39:19
Specs: Windows XP, 2.8mh 1gig
When I try to view video or use Skype my monitor goes scrambled. I'm using Win XP pro. I'm up to date on drivers. DirectX is 9.2. The lights on the bark seem to be an unknown combination. A,C,D are green and B is amber. The graphics is the onboard 82845G. Any Ideas?

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October 10, 2010 at 11:54:29
Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.

The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site and loading a program they have available.
For Dell computers, they have a Service Tag number - the specific model can be determined by using that on their site, or can often be determined there automatically by you downloading some software. The Service Tag number should be on a label on the outside of the case, probably on the bottom on a laptop, on the back on a desktop, and is often also shown in the bios Setup.

The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.

The model is often also displayed on a logo (graphical) screen early in the boot, but it's often not as specific as the specific model number.

The mboard and video chipset do not need drivers before Windows loads in order to display basic VGA video.

If your video is screwed up while booting up BEFORE Windows starts to load, your video problem cannot be caused by any software problem on the hard drive - in that case, you have a hardware problem - with your video chipset, or with your ram, or possibly with your power supply.

"The graphics is the onboard 82845G"

If the video is fine for a while after the computer has been started up after having had a chance to cool to room temp, then the video becomes corrupted, you have an overheating of the video chipset problem. Remove the AC power to the case, open up the case, and clean off any accumulated mung - dust, lint, etc. - on the one main chipset chip that has a heatsink and or fan - but DO NOT use a a vacuum cleaner to do that. While you're at it, remove any accumulated mung on the CPU fan and CPU heatsink.

If the main chipset chip that has the onboard video built into it has a fan on it, it MUST spin, after the AC power is restored and the computer is booted. If it doesn't spin, you need to replace it, or in some cases you can install a heatsink made for cooling that chip that does not require a fan (e.g. Zalman has such).

If the video is always corrupted.....

Assuming you have not changed which ram you have installed since the video last worked properly...
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's or Service manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.

If that doesn't help, and if there's nothing else wrong, the video corruption of the onboard video cannot be fixed. You may be able to get a video card that installs in a mboard slot, from which you can then get proper video, but the onboard video problem cannot be solved unless you replace the mboard.

"The lights on the bark seem to be an unknown combination. A,C,D are green and B is amber."

If your computer is a Dell model, some of which have 4 diagnostic leds / lights, you can find info about what the pattern of leds / lights means, by searching on the web using : (Dell model) Service Manual, e.g. "Dimension 3000 Service Manual" which will produce at least one "hit" on the Dell site, then you look for the info about the diagnostic lights in the troubleshooting info.

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October 11, 2010 at 06:05:33
My bad. I'm talking about a Dell Dimension 2400. Service tag is 97XPB51. The video controller is the onboard 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV with a driver version of The bios version is version 1.10 A05. The chipset is Intel 845GV. Directx is 9.0C(4.09.0000.0904). Windows XP pro service pack 3 Version 5.1 build 2600. The monitor is a Philips 170S but I have swapped it with another monitor and had the same results.

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October 12, 2010 at 15:40:17
Searching using: "Dimension 2400 service manual"


Dell Dimension 2400 series

HTML documents
Service Manual - View
Advanced Troubleshooting
Diagnostic lights

A, B, C green, D yellow

Another failure has occurred.

* Ensure that the cables are properly connected to the system board from the hard drive, CD drive, and DVD drive.

Unplug the case/power supply, or switch off the AC power to it otherwise.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left side panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

Some Dell cases have a latch you must push one way rather than screws you must remove at the back of the case.

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

As for your video problem, see my response # 1.

Supply comments about whether specific things I mentioned apply to you.

It never hurts to try re-seating the ram, making sure you don't have too much accumulated mung inside the case.

Sometimes a video chipset has been damaged such that it works fine in plain VGA mode - while booting before Windows loads, and in Windows when no specific drivers have been loaded for the particular chipset, and in Safe mode and Enable VGA mode, but it does NOT work fine when the specific drivers for the video chipset are being used.
There's nothing you can do about that, except to try using a PCI video card in a slot (see the info about your power supply capacity below) , unless you replace tthe mboard with one with onboard video that does work fine.

If you ONLY have the problem with a game or games, then the problem is with the game or games , not the video chipset. Games are well known to NOT work properly on all systems they're supposed to work properly with.

I've looked up your model before.

Technical specs

It's a minitower and has onboard AGP graphics - you have only 3 PCI slots, max, no AGP slot.

Your original power supply has either a 200 watt or 250 watt capacity.
Typically minimally sized capacity wise, as is the case with most brand name systems.
I looked it up - It is not proprietary - it's a standard wired, standard (PS/2) sized ATX power supply.

It's possible your power supply is failing, which could account for the video symptoms.

You could take a look in your bios to see whether the current voltages are reported there, however, I have found that many mboards that come with Dimension models DO NOT have the hardware monitoring circuitry and sensors built into the mboard to do that, and in that case, there is nothing like that in the bios, and third party hardware monitoring utilities you can load in Windows (e.g. SpeedFan) can't find the voltages either, because the sensors are not there.

If the voltages ARE reported there, what is supposed to be +3.3v, +5v, and +12v should be within 10% of the nominal value.

NOTE that because your system has a small capacity power supply, if anyone has installed a video card in a slot that requires the system has a GREATER THAN 200 or 250 watt capacity power supply, doing that will eventually DAMAGE the power supply, and may cause it to fail completely.

If you use a video card with a really OLD video chipset (one that first came out longer ago) you'll be okay with your PS capacity, but otherwise you'll probably have problems because of your inadequate PS capacity.
E.g. a card with a Radeon 7000 chipset would be fine with a 250 watt capacity PS, but maybe not with a 200 watt capacity one.

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October 19, 2010 at 04:27:47
The power is not an issue. I had replaced the power supply with a 550 watt supply. The lights on the back are A,C,D green, B amber. According to the Dell website, that is an undefined combination. I had also tried a different motherboard of the same type and the results are the same. This not game specific. The problem is easily reproduced by running the 3D tests provided by DXDIAG. The undefined light combo seems to be key. I'm guessing that Directx is using a command that is unsupported by the hardware.

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October 29, 2010 at 19:32:06
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

DirectX* support


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)

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