"Dell logo with poor graphics, series of vertical dots across screen" tells me of a possible hardware failure. The Dell logo I see is before the OS loads and no driver is required there. It sounds like the machine has other issues.
The 8300 GS I know of can be replaced. I'd try another video card.
OS:Vista - Service Pack 2
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 8300 GS
Start up sequence:
- 1 beep after 3-4 sec
- Dell logo with poor graphics, series of vertical dots across screen
- Microsoft Corp loading bar - approx 25 sec
- Black screen - approx 20 sec
- Detecting display - power save mode - 5 sec
- Blue screen comes up but only for 1 sec or so
"attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout
STOP: 0x00000116 (0x8869B330,0x97B15D28,0x00000000,0x00000002)
nvlddmkm.sys - address 97B15D28 base at 97A03000,
- Computer restarts
- Safe Mode prompt
In device manager, tried to update the Display Adapters driver for NVIDIA GeForce 8300 GS; got a "Driver is up to date message"
(while running in Safe Mode with Networking mode)
Driver info displayed:
Driver date: 23/03/2010
Driver version 188.8.131.5228
Tried to manually install latest driver (341.81) - renamed previous nvlddmkm.sys.old in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\ and replaced with newer version. Doesn't seem to be picking up
Blue screen other info:
OS Version 6-0-6002
Service Pack 2
So I'm thinking, boot up sequence can't find the display hardware\drivers so it's shutting down and then restarting in safe mode?
Any info on how to fix this would be great