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Invisible Text

Posted on 2002-07-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I am running Win2000 with service pack 2.   On most days my system gets into a state where the text that should be displayed in a window is invisible.   You can cursor around as if the window has text in it, but you don't see anything.   Once this happens it effects many of the applications that I'm running - including MicroSoft Word, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Visual Studio.   Has anyone seen this before, know how to fix it, or have suggestions on how to debug this problem?
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Question by:JohnWeidner
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9 Comments
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 7165274
Unless someone is playing games with you by changing the FOREGROUND COLOR (i.e. the TEXT color) to match the BACKGROUND color, I'd suspect you have a defective display adapter driver.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 7165326
I would also check for viruses.

I would also make sure you VGA cable is connected properly.

I hope this helps !
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Nevaar
ID: 7165798
Is anything else on the screen affected?

What happens if you select/highlight the "invisible" text?
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 7165821
If it isn't a virus then the card is probably defective as jhance suggests or it may be overheating a little. Some cards have heat sinks and/or cooling fans on them. You may want to check to see if your card has a fan and if so make sure it is working properly.


The Crazy One
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Author Comment

by:JohnWeidner
ID: 7165838
I highly doubt that it is a problem with the video card because it only effects some of the running applications.  To me it seems like it is a problem with Windows 2000.  I had been running NT for a couple of years without seeing this problem once.   But after "upgrading" to 2000, I'm seeing this problem daily.  

I currently don't have any virus checking software installed, so maybe my system is infected.  Any suggestions on what virus detection software to use?
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 7165874
I prefer Norton AntiVirus.  I know that McAfee Anti is also popular but I've never had much success with it...

Hovever, I think you should rethink your statement:

"I highly doubt that it is a problem with the video card because it only effects some of the running applications"

Perhaps these applications are the only ones that use certain driver features.

And also, your statement:

"To me it seems like it is a problem with Windows 2000"

is also highly questionable.  In fact, the same argument you used above to discount a driver error could be used to eliminate W2K as a problem.

Since W2K is WIDELY used and is known to be pretty good.  I think you would be wise to check things suggested and not assume that ANYTHING is NOT the problem until you can prove that it isn't the problem.
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

by:
CrazyOne earned 300 total points
ID: 7165940
Well since you don't have a virus scanner here is break down in a recent publication by PC Magazine. Note at the bottom of this list there are two online scanners you can use right now to check your system and they are free.

Personal Antivirus
http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1474&a=26499,00.asp

Ratings range from worst 1 to best 5
 AVG 6.0 Professional
     Rating  = 2    
     www.grisoft.com
 Command Antivirus  
     Rating  = 2  
     www.commandsoftware.com  
 eTrust EZ Armor Suite
     Rating  = 3
     www.my-etrust.com
 F-Secure Anti-Virus Personal Edition  
     Rating  = 3  
     www.f-secure.com
 Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal  
     Rating  = 3
     www.kaspersky.com
 McAfee VirusScan 6.0
     Rating  = 3  
     www.mcafee-at-home.com
 Norman Virus Control 5.2  
     Rating  = 3  
     www.norman.com
  Norton AntiVirus 2002
     Rating  = 5  
     www.symantec.com  
  Panda Antivirus Platinum 6.0
     Rating  = 4
     www.pandasecurity.com
  Trend PC-cillin 2002
     Rating  = 3
     www.antivirus.com
------------------------------------

Online Scanners
http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1474&a=26557,00.asp

 Norton Web Services  
     Rating  = 4  
Go to this page and click on Scan for Viruses
http://security2.norton.com/ssc/vc_about.asp?langid=us&venid=sym&plfid=22&pkj=RKNYPJUIYCZRWEJGSSK

It needs to download a few file so as to activate the scan so you may see a message like this.

"The Scan for Viruses uses an ActiveX program to scan your computer. The download is approximately 1.5MB and can take about 10 minutes over a 28.8 modem.

The scan can take more than 20 minutes depending on the speed of your computer and the number of files that you have. Please do not browse away from this page unless you intend to abort the scan.
 
Downloading Scan for Viruses controls. Please wait...
 
During the download, you might see one or more messages asking if it is OK to download and run these programs. Click Yes when these messages appear.
 
Note: Scan for Viruses does not scan compressed files"
======================
 Trend Micro HouseCall  
     Rating  = 3
www.housecall.antivirus.com
"Trend Micro's free online virus scanner
In order to better serve our customers, we ask HouseCall users to register before scanning their computer.  By registering, you will receive virus alerts from our team of Virus Doctors. You will be able to unsubscribe when you receive your first email. You can also scan without registering"
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 7165953
>>>But after "upgrading" to 2000, I'm seeing this problem daily.

You may not have the appropriate drivers for it. Check the vendors site of the card or the computer to see if they have an updated driver specifically for Win2000.

Also just because the problem only happens periodically in certain situations doesn't mean as jhance said that the problem doesn't reside with the card or the drivers. Flaky drivers and devices aren't always consistent in the problems they can cause.

If you are really convinced that it is a Win2000 issue then you can try this.

Start > Run sfc /scannnow

and if that doesn't do it then you can try this. However I would advise at looking deeper into this being a driver and/or device issue before doing the following.

This is a in depth look at "Repair, Recovery, and Restore"
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/samplechapters/fndc/fndc_rec_uctu.asp
The download is actually a MS Word Document with the info
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/samplechapters/fndc/fndc_rec.exe

The following is from the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Differences Between Manual and Fast Repair in Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q238359
0
 

Author Comment

by:JohnWeidner
ID: 7172920
Seems like I had a virus.   Thanks all.   The Norton AnitVirus program seemed to clean things up nicely.
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