Really strange issue w/ display!

April 13, 2009 at 21:46:40
Specs: Windows XP, 224 MB RAM
It all started this morning when I was about to log on the computer to research some info on a math project, and I noticed that the startup screens were completely disoriented. It's literally almost as if the screen were rearranged into one of Picasso's works. The 1st quadrant of the screen was where the 3rd should have been, the fourth at the seconds and so forth. Nothing was in the right place. And on top of that, bits and peices of the startup screens (and even remnants of what appeared to be a previous session's Myspace visit) remained on the screen. Also, some unresponsive and uncomprehensive patterns are fixed onto the screen as well.

The bootups run successfully, and everything works just perfectly as it did before, the only difference now being the screen can be likened to that of a Pac-Man game, where the mouse pointer exits through the left side and enters from the right, up and down and vice-versa.

The only notice of error I ever recieved in reasons to this dilemma was a regular Microsoft error message stating that the process "NvCpl.dll" could not be run, because it was already being used by another person or program. You know, the standard error message. So I researched what that was all about and I discovered that this NvCpl.dll is actually a Microsoft Windows XP NVIDEA component, important for graphics and the like, and could only be a virus threat if it were instead "NvCpl.EXE", as would be any other executable process. Possibly involved with the overall appearance of a computer screen? VERY possible. This is NOT just the desktop, it stays no matter what I open, even when I start up or shut down, the Myspace and bootup remnants and the "uncomprehensive patterns" stay on-screen. Even weirder, I took a screenshot in curiosity to see if it would also come up like the way I saw it, and to my surprise, the screenshot looked completely normal, as if nothing had happened at all. No hindrances, nothing. I don't know whether there's a virus or anything, but really, anything you could possibly offer me would be very helpful, regarless.

I provided links to some photobucket pictures of this problem, and what my screen always looks like. It's incredibly hard to function with this issue in effect, and there's a whole lot that I haven't been able to do because of it. Therefore, any help that I could possibly scrape up from any of you is terribly needed and would be immensely appreciated. Thanks so much!!!

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April 13, 2009 at 23:25:51
Try upgrading your video drivers. It sounds like the problem may have something to do with the NvCpl error you got. Is the display fine on POST and during the display of the XP logo on bootup?

WinSimple Software
CompTIA A+ Certified

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April 13, 2009 at 23:29:19
Which graphics card you are using ? I would suggest you to uninstall graphics driver and re-install it again. Hope this would help.

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April 14, 2009 at 00:31:02
I would suggest trying to start into safe mode(where only reference video drivers are loaded), if the problem is still evident in safe mode I would be quite suspect of the graphics card itself.

It is worth uninstalling the current and installing the latest drivers for your card. nasty file remover may be of some use after uninstalling the old drivers although it hasn't been updated for a while.

Another idea for testing might be to use a linux live cd. Knoppix would probably be a good one for this as it will push into higher resolutions/colour depth by default(where issues with the card may be triggered). Just be aware that cheat codes may sometimes be needed for certain cards/displays.

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April 14, 2009 at 09:29:01
Thanks to all of you, Rayburn, gladiator and Judago for your quick replies.

All anwers were extremely helpful... But I'm afraid there's really nothing I can do now. The issue is still there, but it's stuck on the startup trying to find some missing important startup information. I can't even get to my desktop to try your helpful suggestions.

I'm beginning to believe that this is all just the aftermath of a virus of sorts, one that directly attacks the NvCpl.dll file and some/all important related graphics files.

I have actually been experiencing pop-up difficulties recently, before any of this took place. But could a simple virus really tear apart your graphics rendering like that?

On the other hand, tha grapics card is indeed pretty old. It hasn't been upgraded since I got the computer years and years ago. It could have very well been the issue to start. I would absolutely love to switch it out for a more recent one, except I can't even boot up in safe mode. As I said earlier, my startup files aren't being recognized...

To Rayburn in particular... No, the display of the XP logo on bootup was never fine since all of this happened.

Should I forget all hope and get that laptop I've wanted for so long? Or is there still a possibility that everything could turn out okay if I upgrade my graphics card and/or video drivers?

Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to help me with this issue.

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April 15, 2009 at 02:31:02
"I would absolutely love to switch it out for a more recent one, except I can't even boot up in safe mode. As I said earlier, my startup files aren't being recognized...

I don't mean to condescending but do you know how to boot up in safe mode? - if you don't it's easy enough. Simply tap the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts up, before windows is loaded, right from when you turn it on. You will be greeted with a text menu. If it doesn't stop at a menu check to see if your keyboard has a f-lock key, if it does hit it, restart and try again. At the text screen you should see an option "safe mode" select it and hit enter. You may also be asked to select your os which will obviously be xp. It generally takes quite a bit longer to boot into safe mode and you will see things like "multidisk partition(0)" this is normal. If it will boot into safe mode and everything displays fine you should be able to run a virus scan and uninstall the old drivers via add or remove programs in the control panel.

"Should I forget all hope and get that laptop I've wanted for so long? Or is there still a possibility that everything could turn out okay if I upgrade my graphics card and/or video drivers?"

That is a personal choice, if the problem is caused by software you may be able to reinstall windows if you have the cd or a restore partition, but this is a matter I can't help with as I haven't used any of the screwy compac/hp/dell recovery methods(I avoid all of the said brands, hearing the "I can't install from x recovery disk" is enough for me). With that said it could be a hardware issue that may turn out to be unresolvable - it's hard to say.

If you think it is time for an upgrade anyway and your happy with it that is your choice.

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