Video issues

August 24, 2009 at 19:15:58
Specs: Windows XP

I have a weird problem. A couple of weeks ago I was using my computer, working on/testing a 3d game I been writing. Anyways, while the program was running the graphics kinda went messed up, my computer froze and the screen started flickering.

Since I couldn't do anything because the computer was frozen, I restarted my computer. Ever since then this is when the problem started.

First of all, with the text during boot up, many of the characters seem to be substituted by other characters. I took a few pics to show you exactly what I mean.

Booting up ..
As you can see at the top.. the border characters are replaced by wrong ones. Periods are replaced by commas, "Disabled" shows as "Diqa`led", etc. Also most of those numbers at the left of screen which are 0s, aren't really meant to be 0s but are displayed as such.

I have two harddrives in my computer, each have an installation of windows on them. My dual boot screen ..

Advanced options "F8" screen ..
The highlighted option should read "Safe mode with Networking" etc.

Booting up in safe mode ..
"System32" = "Qyqtem10"
and so on.

The same problem also occurs in my bios setup. And yes.. everything is supposed to be in english. This mixed characters problem occured ever since that freeze/flicker thing happened.

Additionally, graphics during boot up, like the normal windows boot up screen, and the normal gigabyte splash screen that appears when I turn my computer on, has a pattern of pixels which are coloured wrongly.

Next, when booting into windows normally, once you are past the windows loading image/progress bar, and you actually get into windows, I get stuck with a messed up image.

The image seems to represent what was displayed last time I was in windows, as if perhaps the ram/video ram (?) was not cleared properly or something like that.

Here's an example :
In this case, you can see a messed up light blue/dark blue image. This is basically a corrupt version of the blue "Windows is shutting down" screen, since just before taking this photo, I had restarted my computer normally. The very first time the problem occured, it showed a messed up image of my game at the frame it froze at.

If I unplug my computer for a minute and then plug it back in (to wipe the ram or what not) then the image I get when I reach windows is just black and white stuff, as such :

You can see my mouse arrow is visible. I can move it around fine, and if I mouse over where I would normally click to choose my windows profile to log into windows, the arrow turns into the hand pointer thing. If I click, my computer starts loading.

However, all through this, the image is stuck exactly how it is in the photo. The display never changes except for the mouse arrow movement.

After 1-2 minutes of the computer being stuck like that, the screen will start flickering again like it did the first time the problem occured. Then after another minute or two, the computer will blue screen with the error message reading something along the lines of "the device driver got stuck in an infinite loop".

Anyways, if I boot into safe mode, I can use my computer normally, there are no graphical glitches and such in windows (although the display problems described during boot up still occur), and this is how I'm typing this right now. Of course safe mode offers much limitation on what programs etc I can use on my computer, but this works as an alternative until I can solve the main issue.

Here's a list of what I know/tried:
- In safe mode I can use my computer normally (apart from the normal safe mode limitations)

- Starting windows normally causes the problems above

- In my own opinion, the problem seems hardware related rather than software related because,

a. The graphical problems when entering windows occurs on both of my windows installations. If the problem were simply a corrupt video driver, then my backup installation of windows on the other harddrive should still work normally.

b. Whats on my harddrive shouldn't have anything to do with what happens on boot up screens, since those boot up screens would appear even without a hdd connected.

However, I am unsure if the problem is a damaged video card or otherwise.

- I was going to try unplugging my video card and using on board video to test whether or not the problem was the video card, but I discovered my motherboard doesn't have on board video - only sound and network - so that's out.

- I considered reflashing the motherboard firmware in case that was the problem, but I'm worried it will mess up or cause other problems, or won't solve my issue. So I haven't tried it.

- I tried booting up in safe mode, going to msconfig and disabling "load system services" and "load startup items", then restarting and loading into windows normally, just in case this happened to help, but the same issue still occurs.

The thing I am puzzled the most about, I suppose, is why the computer works fine in safe mode. I would think that safe mode would have the same problems if the video card was damaged or something.

Anyways, if I have to replace some hardware then that's what I have to do, but I do not wish to buy the wrong part and still be stuck with the same problem. (basically, if the issue is motherboard related, then I dont want to waste money on a video card).

These are my computer specs:

Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.090206-1234)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model: M52S-S3P
BIOS: Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+, MMX, 3DNow (2 CPUs), ~2.6GHz
Memory: 2048MB RAM
Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT (gigabyte brand)
Display Memory: 512.0 MB

I've had the computer for a bit over a year and a half, and it's worked mostly ok for this time. Although I did always get some blue screens sometimes which seemed to be either ram ("IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL", "BAD_POOL_CALLER", "PFN_LIST_CORRUPT", and kernel something intake error) or video (stuff with "nv4_disp.dll") related. Though these were kinda sporadic and I never really minded much about them.

Anyways, anyone seen this sort of issue occur before? Any advice or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

See More: Video issues

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August 24, 2009 at 20:32:40
If the computer works OK in Safe Mode then you have a corrupted video driver. Update the graphics (video) driver.

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August 24, 2009 at 20:43:30
I tried installing the newest drivers, same problems though. And remember I said both my windows installations on seperate harddrives give the same problem.

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August 24, 2009 at 22:23:59
If it's happening with the bios screen too then it's not the OS--unless you have two separate problems. Either the video card is bad or the bios is corrupted. Swap in another video card and see if the problem goes away. If not, it's the motherboard bios.

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Related Solutions

August 24, 2009 at 23:59:36
I think you should try to see if resting the mother board will do some thing on the system.

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August 25, 2009 at 00:12:58
Thanks for your replies.

@lycan20 : I tried going into the bios setup and pressing reset to factory defaults, though it didnt solve the issue. I think the problem is as DAVEINCAPS said, either the video card went bad, or the bios is corrupt and I will have to try to reflash it.

Anyways I will see if I can try another video card first, and see what happens.

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August 25, 2009 at 22:03:15
Not only the factory setting but resting the mother boards' battery will do something.

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August 26, 2009 at 06:28:01
Erm, how do you mean by resetting the battery?

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August 26, 2009 at 11:55:25

The CMOS battery on the motherboard stores your user adjustable BIOS settings when the power to the PC is interrupted.

That probably isn't the issue. I have never seen your issue with foreign words in the BIOS screens. I am not sure what to make of it.

You could try resetting the CMOS by using the jumper intended for that purpose, or simply removing the silver coin shaped battery. Both those operations must be performed with NO power at all going to the PC.

After clearing the CMOS you must immediately enter the BIOS screens and reset some values. Data & time for sure. Boot order, what integrated hardware you wish to disable/enable, etc. Possibly need to reset CPU clock speed and RAM settings.

I don't know if this will help or not but there is no harm in trying it.

You will probably need to have a PS/2 keyboard connected in order to access the BIOS screens. There is usually a setting to enable Legacy USB devices. That will allow use of a USB keyboard to access the BIOS in the future.

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August 26, 2009 at 22:30:02
Well you know the battery that install on the mother board? Remove it then start the computer then let run until to the bios post up. Then turn it off again then install the battery of the board again then run the computer. Set again the boot up priority then let run.

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August 28, 2009 at 03:31:09
Well uh somehow my computer is working normally again. I didn't even try anything yet =_=. The past 2 days it worked normal. Pretty weird/random after having that problem for around 4 weeks. But I am expecting it to come back again for some reason. Or maybe it wont. Anyways, I guess I'm lucky.

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August 30, 2009 at 23:53:49
Wel you are but to the looks of it the battery of the mother board it self might be starting to ran out of juice. since when the last time that you have replaced the battery of the mother board?

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August 31, 2009 at 03:37:46
I've never replaced it. I bought the motherboard new a bit over a year and a half ago. Do they really only last that long nowadays?

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September 1, 2009 at 01:18:52
well most of the time battery has defects but still not so sure if it's the or the mother board it's self. But you never know about batteries right? They just suddenly dies when you always need them. But still it's just my diagnosis. So problem is still not yet that solve until you observe it for a little while. just re live this forums and post if anything come up again.

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September 1, 2009 at 03:16:12

The problem here is NOT with the CMOS battery.

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September 2, 2009 at 00:38:36
Hm.. well it's just a hunch and to what i see on the problem.

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September 2, 2009 at 04:31:20

"Hm.. well it's just a hunch and to what i see on the problem".

Just what is that supposed to mean. Makes no sense to me. If English is a second language for you then you need to get some help on word use and sentence structure.

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September 3, 2009 at 05:00:13
sorry just got used on using this kinds of dialect. Well to the matters that i tried to follow on the post of this forums. I just came to some conclusions. That is why i just following the hunch which means a sense of some thing that might be good or bad. For me to use hunch on this topic i just followed thing that might be involved on the sudden changes on the bios's setup. So i tried to see if and not to over look that the motherboard's battery might be involved.

But you know you can still say that i am and share what cold be the problem about his computer. That is why they called this as forum discussions.

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September 3, 2009 at 05:28:20

The issue is this. Folks that come for help may not have any knowledge of computers. So they may take any advise given them as factual advice. Therefore if you are not sure your advice is good advice it may be better to either use words like "I think" or "maybe".

If you have a hunch about the problem then state it is a hunch.

Or better still, hang around here longer before responding. Every thread you follow will help you to understand computers a little better. At some point when you feel confident about the answer then by all means post a reply.

Don't take this to mean you need to be positive about something. Just make sure your response is worded so that the original poster doesn't take your words as fact.

On a side note I am curious about your name here. Is the 20 your age? You need not reply if that question bothers you.

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September 4, 2009 at 01:48:50
Well thank you so much for encouraging and correcting me. Well I'm just a free lancer computer technician so I just try to base my answers and comments to what i have learned after that 5 years of experience on handling computer problems. I kept on reading on some newsletters and stuffs on the net as my basis as well. Though some things in the net is not quite matching to problems that I encounter during my computer trouble shooting jobs.

That is why I kind of basing it on my hunches but still in main task on what is the problem that I'm dealing. I wish i could explain it in more clearer message but it kind long I try.

Well about the age... Yes I'm in my twenties. why did you ask?

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September 4, 2009 at 09:47:23
I asked about your age because of your login name lycan (20).

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September 4, 2009 at 10:56:06
I'm convinced it was a motherboard or video BIOS problem too; problem is pinning down the cause with any certainty.

As Dave said in Response 3 "If it's happening with the bios screen too then it's not the OS--unless you have two separate problems."

If we think about it for a moment, we know the BIOS is keeping time, recognizing hdd's, etc. In other words BIOS is retaining settings and that tells us the CMOS battery is doing its job.

So how do things like this get fixed? We bump something while we're pawing around inside the case; we change a BIOS setting; we try a different video card and "fix" a poor connection; we unplug a USB device; the list of "fixes" can be long and we might not remember everything we've done.

In addition, this particular problem wasn't serious enough to kill safe mode operation.

Although my vote currently leans toward a video card problem, I certainly have no evidence to rule out motherboard, memory, power supply issues or a combination of small issues.

And that lycan20, is why OtH wants you to be careful with your answers. Spelling and sentence structure errors can make your responses difficult to understand or misunderstood too. It's hard enough to fix something like this when we sit in front of the machine and nearly impossible the way we're doing it. Rei gave us really good information in his original post but, even with that good information and the ensuing discussion, I admit I'm pretty clueless as to the real problem.


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September 4, 2009 at 21:38:29
Well, my problem came back again.

While I was just using the computer for music/web browser and such, it didn't have any probs. Though I left it on for some days, I did restart a few times and the problem didn't occur again.

But then I was playing a game for some hours and the same thing happened. The screen flickered/computer froze, and blue screened with "the driver got caught in an infinite loop" again. And when it booted back up, same problem again with the letters in the bios screens being jumbled up, and I can only use the pc in safe mode.

As before, the letters are jumbled up in the same way as before all the time again, it isn't just random letters. But I don't know if that means anything.

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September 5, 2009 at 08:25:23
I never thought about this before but the BIOS on a motherboard has to have a native language encoded into the files. What I see in the screen shots appears to be a foreign language. Not sure what to make to that.

One thing that does come to mind is this. If the voltage to the RAM doesn't match what is required the RAM could spit out errors. This would be especially true if the voltage to the RAM were low.

I suggest you try this. Download and run SIW.exe. That utility can yeild all the information on your system. Check the type of RAM including the model of the modules and post here along with the voltage the RAM (memory) is using.

Also post any motherboard model/brand information you find.

Get SIW at the link below.

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September 5, 2009 at 16:55:20
Well like I said (or maybe I didn't) it's not a language problem, because then the words wouldn't all be the same length as in english. Just many letters are replaced with other letters. For example, S is replaced by Q. It's always the same letters replaced by the same letters, it isnt random on each boot.

As for my RAM with that program it doesn't seem to tell me much. The manufacturer and stuff is blank, though if I recall right back to when I bought them, they should be Kingston.

Being on safe mode may or may not be hindering the program though. Well it did say a warning that the program wasn't designed to be run on safe mode, but I haven't any other choice anyways.

And I'm not sure how to check the voltages.

Property Value
REIKO (Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. M52S-S3P)
Memory Summary
Maximum Capacity 2048 MBytes
Maximum Memory Module Size 1024 MBytes
Memory Slots 4
Error Correction None
Device Locator A0
Bank Locator Bank0/1
Part Number
Serial Number
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type
Speed 400 MHz
Data Width 64 bits
Total Width 64 bits
Form Factor DIMM
Device Locator A1
Bank Locator Bank2/3
Part Number
Serial Number
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type
Speed 400 MHz
Data Width 64 bits
Total Width 64 bits
Form Factor DIMM

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September 5, 2009 at 20:16:33
I don't think you ever posted any specs or model number for your computer. Boot into the BIOS (setup) screens and look for a screen called PC Health. The voltages should be there.

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