Nvidia 8800 GT driver problem

Dell Xps 420 desktop computer ( core 2 q...
November 6, 2010 at 00:42:51
Specs: Windows 7, quad core 2.4 ghz
i have a dell xps 420 . it originally had vista 32 bit on it. now i installed windows 7 64 bit

i have nvidia geforce 8800GT 512 mb ram video card installed( it came with the desktop)
when installed windows 7 64 bit everything was fine.
now i cant have the nvidia driver installed.several days ago the screen froze with white symbols all over the place.

now if i reboot into normal mode with ANY nvidia windows 7 64 bit compatible driver for my 8800 gt, the screen is all messed up with what can only be described as a black background with lots of green and/or red dots almost puffy and cloudy.only way to get rid of it is to reboot.

the only thing i can think of is rigth before ( a few days before) this happened, i access the nvidia control panel.it had been set to allow nvidia to control the settings. i used manual override and i chose to lower the contrast a little. everything was ok for a day after . then it started acting up..

the problem is if i uninstall the driver and then reboot windows automatically connects to windows update and installs a new version( if memory serves wddm 1.1)then it asks me to reboot. once it does i get the same red and green distorted patterns.

i had to fix it each time by rebooting into safe mode, then uninstall the driver then reboot.
the windows boots up normally then but during that windows session windows update once again automatically downloads a driver ( which then it asks for a reboot)

the only temporary and limited fix i figured out was to install it. BUT disable it in memory( so i wont auto download the driver again) i tried driver sweeper hoping it would clean out my registry of the problem so i can reboot cleanly. no good
the windows works fine then, videos,music web, email,etc BUT i cannot play any of my games..

can someone help me? its obvious its the problem with the video card-software
becuase safemode looks fine.... as does windows when u use normal mode with a disabled BUT installed nvidia driver
any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you

See More: Nvidia 8800 GT driver problem

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November 6, 2010 at 05:05:56
Don't let windows install the driver from windows update. Download the correct driver from NVIDIA and run it's installer. When it is installing it should offer you a custom option, if you choose the custom option, there should also be an option for a 'clean install' and a warning for this that it will not keep your prior settings but load defaults. This should get you back to where you belong. Look here for your driver:

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If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 6, 2010 at 08:30:59
ok heres what happened. i did exactly what you asked. i installed nvidia geforce 8800gt windows 7 64 bit driver.... it was


while running under normal mode i ran the driver file. this time it looked alot different than the other ones nvidia driver install files.. i chose custom and then clean install... it asked me to reboot....( but i did choose everything including 3d driver and nvidia physx driver and 3D driver

i looked in programs and features. this is what is installed:


then when it rebooted. the NVIDIA driver installer said INSTALL CANNOT CONTINUE FOUND DEVICE WIZARD OPEN( or detected or something) but it really didnt open YET or so it appeared...)
then it started to install all by itself... it appeared like it was going to work
it says restart in 60 seconds. or i could click restart now..
when i restarted , for about 2 seconds the street looked normal - then the same thing happened the screen was white and fuzzy)

so once again i rebooted into safe mode.. disabled the display driver, rebooted into normal mode and
i was able to get in fine( but still cant play any games) then i tried to do another install using just the display driver( choosing NOT to install 3d driver
and nvidia physx driver) and i once again chose custom and clean install. same thing happened
there was slight difference this time. this time i saw "NVIDIA control panel" in windows control
panel AND i was able to run it this time( before i couldnt while the driver software was disabled)
in the nvidia control panel ,i reset it to defaults and i also chose ( let nvidia choose- there were
some preferences that selected that i should choose)

i then tried to reinstall.
this time installing the display driver and just the 3D VISION DRIVER . i rebooted. same thing

just for your info it looks different every time. the screen is covered with pixelated clouds of red, yellow green and blue all over.

im at a loss here. every time i Disable nvidia( but leave it installed) the computer boots into normal
mode fine.( but i cant play games)
every time i reinstall it still happens.

Could this be a registry setting of Nvidia? how about a file on the computer with the configuration
settings( when i adjusted the contrast)? could it be a problem with the accelerator in the video card itself ( hardware) or perhaps the power supply???

throughout the years ive noticed nvidia seems to be buggy alot.

UPDATE i just ordered a GIGABYTE ATI RADEON 512 mb ram video card online i checked to see if it guarantees compatibility with my dell XPS 420) i wanted to see if the video card died-
to see if its the card( or at least the nvidia video settings that are at fault here)... i still want to get NVIDIA to work.. but if i cant.. at least i want to see if the ati radeon card fares any better...( processs of elimination to see if its the power supply or not) but it will take a week to arrive.

and i can always use the card as a backup. is there any way i can fix this problem in the software?

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November 6, 2010 at 11:29:59
try an older driver.
check the temps on the gpu.
make sure the fans are spinning up on the 8800, this sounds to me like your gpu is overheating..
have you also tried another monitor?
another cable?
the win7 nvidia driver is usually quite acceptable for game play...

i hate computers!
but cant help myself....

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November 6, 2010 at 11:31:59
how do i install another driver? can i do it in safe mode?. i was looking in the wizard.. i didnt see anything in the display driver for NVIDIA that windows 7 came with...
i opened up the desktop- the fan is spinning on the GPU... i used a IR thermometer. the gpu is about 138-140 degrees F.

when i let windows automatically install the driver( it does this whether i want to or not) i even click ont he box to say skip but it installs it anyway..

in fact the first time i downloaded it. it doesnt download it anymore.it appears to just reinstall the previously downloaded whites update nvidia geforce 8800gt driver. is there a temporay driver cache folder that i can claer or or something?
becuase before it would dl the 100MB file
now it doesnt dl. it just tries to connect to windows update.. after a minute it goes right to installing. ..even with i try to disable automatic windows update( in Computer, Properties,Advanced System settings,Device Installation Settings,

. i have not tried another monitor. the geforce 8800gt is DVI ports only. i have only 1 monitor that works with DVI a DELL LCD. my older monitor is VGA only. but after uninstalling or disabling the driver and seeing the computer working fine... led me to believer it was not a monitor problem..

the thing is i can easily and clearly view the web,
youtube videos, clips and movies on my computer, and even make posts on here. the quality looks totally fine ...

didnt try another cable yet. i might do that. but id like to know how to install an older NVIDIA driver...

any help would be great...

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November 6, 2010 at 21:06:11
Are you sure that it is the correct driver and you selected the correct card from the list? The 260.99 is the same driver I just loaded on for my GTS 250 card, windows 7 64bit. For my system it works, in fact I then went to system tools and downloaded the performance options which will allow OC'ing later if I like. Unless Dell did something unusual as far as the motherboard or PCIe16x slot is concerned.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 6, 2010 at 21:31:20
windows update automatically installs nvidia 8800gt. im starting to think it might be the cpu- maybe i need more thermal paste, or possibly the GPU needs to be replaced.or the PSU

i found a link that showed a imagine of the same distortion that i have been seeing a few times

these are white symbols,. most of the time it shows up red green yellow and blue( mostly red and green)

the thing is i replaced this PSU becuase of problems last year. i had a 400watt with my dell XPS 420 and i have a quad core
the only thing thats changed on this is i added more ram and i installed another hard drive . but when i got the new PSU it was a 500watt one.i wonder if i need more power...we will find out once the video card arrives.. ive had nvidia problems before . i heard ati radeons are alot less buggy

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November 7, 2010 at 02:58:37
i would ask freinds if any of them have a 600 watt PSU you can try for an or two, i had a very similar froblem when i installed my gtx 8800, although the psu runs ok in standard use, it simply could not cope with the power needed to run full games,
i also took off the cooler and repasted all the parts that required thermal paste just to sure of good connections,
you can check your cpu and gpu heat temps with loads of proggies, the psu would appear to be a possible culprit here though..

i hate computers!
but cant help myself....

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November 7, 2010 at 13:44:56
Update: i just tried something ..if you right click on the desktop...Screen Resolution , Advanced settings, Troubleshooting tab, the hardware accelerator dial was on FULL. if i chose Disable ALL accelerators, or Disable all BUT basic accelerators, and if i reboot into normal with nvidia driver enabled the reboot seems to work... for a very short time. but it woudlnt work at all before.

if i goto the nvidia control panel and if i mess with the 3d settings it freezes and looks exactly like this


with the white patches across the screen
if i attempt to run ANY 3D game it wont work. freezes.

i already ordered the ati radeon video card.. ill give it a try. if it turns out its the PSU or CPU need of thermal paste ill try that as well.

what i dont get is my old power supply was i think either 400 or 450W it died and i replaced it with an antec 500w from staples. that was only a year ago..

i calcuated how much wattage i use with this currently

and it came out to only 350 w the only thing i added to the computer since i got it was extra ram( 3 gig to the max 4) and a 2nd internal sata HD)

everything else works fine. the unit appeas to have decent air flow it doesnt look dirty, the GPU fan runs fine as well as the CPU fan..

if i have a 500W psu thats nearlya year old. how could i need a new one so soon?? and it was never taxed that much of power?

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November 7, 2010 at 15:30:47
You can look up your power supply you own at places like Tigerdirect.com, Newegg.com, and Tomshardware.com (or google) to see other consumer's experiences with the product. Maybe someone else has a problem with it that might give a clue. For that matter, you can do the same with the video card and see if your problem is not unique.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 7, 2010 at 22:32:20
you have stopped your video card doing extreme work and it worked well for a couple of mins and then stopped with the same problem.
That tells me.
video card overheating.
not enough power
damaged video card
damaged PSU
even if all your kit was brand new, i would be looking at these as a primary cause of your issue.Not all PSU's are created equal,and things do die.
the nvidia card do use a lot of power when running games at high res and all aspects turned up high, thats why my gtx8800 has two extra power supply cables from two different rails.
i needed a 650watt unit cos my 500 watt psu was not good enough.

if you check them by using a card the same to prove the psu, or a psu to prove the card you will them be able to cancel out these two causes and look for another cause.
trouble shooting is a step by step process,

i hate computers!
but cant help myself....

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November 7, 2010 at 23:54:42
makes sense

its probably one of those things


i turned the computer off, and removed the video card. i looked at it. the fan and all around the vent and heat sink of the card it looked pretty clean. to make sure i used a can of compressed air duster. to blow all over it( this of course has a cooling effect). a little dust came out of it but it wasnt what i would call alot. i checked the temp right before i removed it. 138 degrees.

after i rebooted i was able to get into safe mode then enabled the nvidia driver then i rebooted into normal mode. it appeared to boot up ok now.. i checked the NVIDIA settings. i was able to look in that without it intially freezing... then i attemped to run a 3d game. it worked for less than 10 seconds. before freezing with the same screen distortion so i disabled it again...

so,,unless the thermal paste in the gpu is bad.. its starting to sound like you are correct about 1 or 2 things.. a bad GPU or a bad PSU.

we are going to find out once the video card aget gets delivered.
hopefully within the next several days...
that should eliminate some options there. ( however i ordered a Gigabyte ati radeon card that appears to use less power than the Nvidia did) so even if it works it could still be the power supply.. ill just have to keep an eye on it in that case

i might just get a PSU later to be on the safe side..what brand of power supply(650w) did u get?

ill keep you updated... thank you all for your input.

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November 8, 2010 at 04:32:38
If 138 degrees is Fahrenheit, then that is OK, but if you are talking about Celsius then it is much too hot! My GTS9600 reports 53 degrees Celsius in SpeedFan which is 131 Fahrenheit and can run all day.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 8, 2010 at 08:30:47
yes,138 degrees F

Update: i picked up some Arctic 5 Thermal paste
I took the heatsink off and cleaned both it and the CPU of the old thermal paste and just about all dust around the fan+ heatsink and inside the desktop itself.there was some dust but it didnt appear to look like it would overheat the CPU..

the old paste looked light gray and a little dry..
i installed some new paste and turned it on
and then i enabled nvidia again. and then rebooted into normal mode. same thing happens when i run 3D games,,,

i used core temp 64 bit to check my CPU temp:
it says

31,37,37,40 degrees C
and this was after turning the computer on and heavy web browsing for 15-30 min

i also decided to encode a avi film to dvd. took 20 min and the temp didnt rise above 54 degrees.

so it doesnt look the CPU overheating is the problem at all

so now its definitely either a bad GPU or a bad PSU.

and ill find out once the video card arrives which is it...

another update i did a newegg wattage calculator and it says my desktop would need 508 watts. and i have a 500 watt PSU. but onc i get the video card it will be just about 410 with the new ati radeon 4350.so now i have a choice. use the new gpu with the old power supply( if that indeed does work) or use my nvidia with a 650W PSU.

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November 8, 2010 at 19:54:05
Sounds like you are on the right track.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 10, 2010 at 17:52:33
i got the new card it. it seems to work fine it doesnt require the addition plug like the nvidia geforce 8800gt did. seems to work fine to me. it appears that this new card doesnt need as much power as the old one.

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November 10, 2010 at 18:10:53
Most likely you were pulling too much juice from your power supply. You were correct that you either needed a heavier weight power supply or a video card that would draw less juice. The ATI card or one of the newer energy efficient NVIDIA cards would probably have done it. If it gives you no more problems, you are done (if you ever replace the power supply, you have another option).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.

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November 10, 2010 at 20:03:17
well i ordered a corsair 650W PSU now becuase im afraid that the PSU is damaged anyway and is producing less wattage. and if this if this is the case . then im gonna need one sooner or later. so might as well do it now.
so now i got a choice. use either GPU with the newer power supply or keep the new PSU or old video card as a backup just in case

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November 16, 2010 at 12:34:52
Update i got the corsair 650w PSU in today. i installed it

i tried the old nvidia and new ati ideo card. the nvidia 8800gt still malfunctioned during games

so the old psu was fine- ill keep the old (PSU as a backup and chuck the NVIDIA out..problem solved. thank u all.

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