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Black Flashes on screen

by a50 / August 8, 2008 11:34 AM PDT

Hello. I am having an odd problem with my computer that seems to be worsening. I am using someone else's computer to write this entry because my computer won't function long enough to allow me to use it. Here are the details.

After booting up and I click on the icon to log on, a black screen pops up for a couple seconds and then the regular screen comes up. Once on the internet, clicking on a window to enter in data, a web address, the "Back" button, etc., causes the screen to go black and then it goes to the appropriate screen. After a minute or so of being on the computer, the pauses to get from the current page to the next page (and passing through the "black screen" along the way) takes longer and longer. The computer can actually freeze for 10 seconds to over a minute. It eventually gets to a point (now in about 3-4 minutes) where I can't type in any information and the screen continues flashing black on and off, over and over.

Another thing that occurs is that there are colored broken lines (that look like parentheses, etc.) and sometimes colored boxes on shortcuts and links that appear on the screen in different spots.

I have run Spybot Search & Destroy which didn't find anything. I also ran my antivirus program (AVG) which didn't find anything yet either. I am using Windows XP. I did install a new mouse a couple weeks ago (Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000).

I searched this forum and the net but didn't find any similar situations. Does anyone have any ideas on how to solve this problem? Thank you.

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Seems like..
by jeniesis1 / August 8, 2008 7:11 PM PDT

.. you have a vga problem and not a viral one. Do you have a on-board video or a add-on one? your video adapter could be damaged or over-heating. you could try re-installing your video card driver or change your video card if you have an extra. Hope this helps

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by a50 / August 8, 2008 10:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Seems like..

Thank you very much for your reply. I have a separate video card, not integrated. If the black flashes allow it, I will try to download and install a driver.... How long should a video card last anyway? This computer (and video card) are not even 3 years old.

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2 years.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 8, 2008 11:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I'm now of the mind that most gear is being designed for 2 years until it needs service. I'm seeing SLEEVE BEARING fans used all over and they last only a few years. More at

Also, no one in the industry is telling you to perform that all important YEARLY cleaning such as you see from CNET:
Desktop ->
Laptop ->

Your issue could be something as simple as the refresh rate is a tad high. Many owners can't find that setting.

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by a50 / August 10, 2008 2:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Seems like..

I did uninstall the video card (NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS), downloaded the driver from NVIDIA's website, and reinstalled the card. The same black flashing problem persists. Interestingly enough, without the card installed, my display at least works, but it seems really bright. (I didn't think my computer would even work without the video card driver installed!)

Do you recommend taking the video card somewhere to have it repaired?

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There is no place that can repair video cards.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 10, 2008 11:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Update...

And even if they replace the heatsink and fan the cost will exceed that of a new card.

Given the story it appears to center around the card. BUT I can't tell if you lowered the refresh rate one notch. Did you?

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refresh rate
by a50 / August 11, 2008 5:30 AM PDT

I read how to change the refresh rate and lowered mine from 85 to 75. However, there was no change in the performance of the computer -- still have the constant black flashes. Now, the screen sometimes goes black and never returns to the page. Twice, it (I assume the display adapter) has actually turned the monitor off (green power light to yellow standby light) and I have to restart.

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85 seems very high.75 may be out of range for older monitors
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2008 5:52 AM PDT
In reply to: refresh rate

Now bottom it at 60 Hz for the last hurrah.

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Does this..
by jeniesis1 / August 11, 2008 10:09 AM PDT
In reply to: refresh rate

..happen regardless of the program your running or just when your browsing the net? what browser do you use? what version? sorry for asking too much. anyway, i just had this problem the other day while i was surfing the net (i'm using firefox 3.1) after a minute or more my browser would freeze then turn black and although the monitor's led light is still green nothing is showing on the screen. after a lot of trial and error, i isolated the problem. it wasn't my vga card but my browser. fast forward.. i uninstalled firefox. downloaded the most recent version. ran it. and hadn't come across the same problem so far.

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by a50 / August 12, 2008 4:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Does this..

The black flashes sometimes begin immediately when I click on the logo to get into windows after I boot up. I don't think it's just the browser. However, I am using Internet Explorer 6.0. I wonder if the latest version 7.0 would help.... But, nevertheless, thanks for describing your situation!

I have still to try the lower refresh rate (60). I'll let you know what happens.

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Possible easy fix
by aliendogstar / September 23, 2008 3:33 AM PDT

Have you tried the data cable from the monitor to the video card? Had one here at work acting kind of the same way.

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