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Windows XP Black out screen, messed up colors

by stardreamer / January 25, 2006 12:18 PM PST


A couple of days ago I got a system error message during XP's startup. It told me to proceed. I clicked yes, and it looked like it entered Safe Mode (4 bit, 640 x 480). There were no messages. I reset the color setting to normal and reboot. XP loaded but said Win XP encoutnered a serious error. But everything seemed normal except for my wallpaper that had patterns as if it were in "halftone." (The problem went away when I reapplied the wallpaper.) I ran the usual aps, checked for viruses and spyware, none found.

Today I was using IE, MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player when I heard a beep sound and everything froze for about a minute. Then the screen went black for a few second then went into Safe Mode with the low res colors. An error message said there had been a device failure and that I should save my work. I restarted the computer and it was fine.

I just replaced my monitor a few days before any of these happened. I also notice a loud sound and light coming from my floppy disk drive after it is used, as if the computer is still reading it.

Could it be a hard disk faailure? But shouldn't there be an error message about it? With Win98 I could tell when the HD was conking out because it always ran a scandisk at the start. Could it be the video card?

256 RAM, 64 vid card 20GB HD WIN XP PRO. p 1.4ghz


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video card
by Amos16 / January 25, 2006 6:49 PM PST

Hi - sometimes this sort of failure occurs when you have an AMD processor; you did not say what make you have. The cure would be to check if you video card is the latest. Try for a free check. Good luck - Amos.

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Pentium 4 Intel 1.4ghz
by stardreamer / January 25, 2006 8:58 PM PST
In reply to: video card


Thanks for replying. Sorry I forgot to mention that the processor is a Pentium 4 Intel 1.4 ghz.

My video card is an NVIDIA GeForce2MX 64MB. Pretty old, I know, but it never gave me problems before, and I've been using XP for a couple of years without any trouble.

Could it be the floppy drive? It's old (obviously) and when I use it it's noisy. If a drive (floppy, CD or CDRW) conks out, will XP go into "Safe Mode"?

Thanks again,

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video card
by Amos16 / January 25, 2006 10:53 PM PST
In reply to: Pentium 4 Intel 1.4ghz

Hello again - since you changed your monitor recently, how about trying the radarsync link anyway? They could have a better driver than the old one you used. When a drive goes - floppy or otherwise - it usually dies quietly on you, that is it cannot be accessed any longer. Drives can best be assessed if dismantled and tried on another comp. I say again, though, try all the software solutions before going into hardware problems. The latter are first and foremost overheating (apparently not in your case), dust accumulation, etc., and in rare cases motherboard problems or hard disk failure. You still have a long way to go before you need to worry about those. All the best - Amos.

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video card
by Whitecougar / January 26, 2006 11:08 AM PST

Try the newest driver from the nvidia site, also check for device conflicts in device manager. If this fails to correct your problem then my best bet would be videocard failure. Sounds to me like windows may be using the vga save driver.

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