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Display Adaptor Disabled and Now OS Won't Boot

Posted on 2004-09-13
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Ok, I have myself a computer with an onboard video card.  On friday our order of new video cards came in, and I asked one of the technitians to install it (I should note that I am part of the IT department, but a programmer not a technitian).

He tries, and he fails, but more importantly in doing so he disables the new graphics adaptor and so now any time we try to boot with it in the machine it crashes just before entering windows (we get a blue screen with a hex number and a message saying "failed to initialize display adaptor", then it quickly flashes a message about dumping the memory, then reboots).

Another tech comes in and does the same thing but to the onboard adaptor and so at no time could it boot, as it would do the same thing as when trying to boot with the new card.

They finally rolled back to a previously working setup so now the onboard card once again works, but I still have the problem with the new card.

After playing around with it we have gotten nowhere, but we have found that the computer won't boot into safe mode either, even when using the onboard card.  It seems to hang on agp440.sys, and then it crashes in a similar manner as when trying to boot with the new card.

The OS is Windows 2000 with SP 4.  The new graphics card is an nVidia FX 5200 (not sure of the model of the card itself, but it was purchased from Dell).

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the card itself.  We tried another one (we bought 5) and had the same results.

The techs have all given up saying that I will likely have to re-image my machine, but I figured I'd come here and see if anyone can offer a suggestion on how to fix it instead.

Thoughts?
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Question by:Sam_Charette
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12046930
I would try and boot into "Last known good configuration". If not I would just boot with the WinXP disc and install with a "repair".
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/options_to_use_when_a_system_will_not_start.mspx

When you do get everything back to normal I would download the latest drivers from Nvidia.
http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12046955
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by:Sam_Charette
ID: 12047005
"They finally rolled back to a previously working setup so now the onboard card once again works, but I still have the problem with the new card."

I should have been clearer.  When I said the above I meant that we went to the last known good configuration.  That configuration, though, is one in which the old card works but the new card doesn't.

There is no going back to a good configuration where the new card is working.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12047029
I would download the latest drivers from Nvidia.

http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp
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by:Sam_Charette
ID: 12047247
As would I, but how will that help me?  The computer won't even boot in safe mode with the new card in and safe mode is supposed to use only very basic drivers.

I think there is more to this than "make sure you have the latest drivers".  The card was working in VGA mode, then he disabled it, and now the computer won't boot with the card in.  That tells me that it is not a "latest driver" issue.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12047332
You will need to boot in will the old adapter in safe mode and remove the drivers that you had installed. Then you should be able to boot up with the new adapter.
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by:Sam_Charette
ID: 12047400
Could you please carefully re-read what I wrote?

"After playing around with it we have gotten nowhere, but we have found that the computer won't boot into safe mode either, even when using the onboard card.  It seems to hang on agp440.sys, and then it crashes in a similar manner as when trying to boot with the new card."

There is NO booting into safe mode even with the adaptor that "works".

More importantly we had not installed any drivers at the point where the computer started acting funny.  The card was installed, and was working in a basic VGA manner, then he disabled it, and then it stopped working.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12047828
< should have been clearer.  When I said the above I meant that we went to the last known good configuration.  That configuration, though, is one in which the old card works but the new card doesn't.>
<There is NO booting into safe mode even with the adaptor that "works".>

Ok, Let me get this straight. You can boot into the computer with the old graphics adapter in normal mode but you can not boot in safe mode.
With the new card, it will not even boot into normal or safe.

<The card was installed, and was working in a basic VGA manner, then he disabled it, and then it stopped working.>
Why did he disable the card?

<The techs have all given up saying that I will likely have to re-image my machine, but I figured I'd come here and see if anyone can offer a suggestion on how to fix it instead.>

You shouldn't have to re-image the machine. Use your WinXP disk, boot into the setup, do not go into the recovery console, when the window comes up to repair or install a fresh copy of Windows XP, do the repair. This will replace your system files with a good set of files.
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by:DanCh99
ID: 12048684
If we can get some info about the motherboard, that may help us all here
CPU - Z normally gives some good info (though mfrs can blank the ID's sometimes)
http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php

As this is a workplace pc, have any of the other cards been installed successfully to other, identical pcs?  Is all the kit Dell?  do they offer drivers for the card, rather than plain nVidia ones?  A part number of the card itself may be helpful too.  

have the techies tried re-imaging a spare hard disk, and putting that into your pc, leaving your disk alone?
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by:Sam_Charette
ID: 12048864
Crazyjoe:

"Ok, Let me get this straight. You can boot into the computer with the old graphics adapter in normal mode but you can not boot in safe mode.
With the new card, it will not even boot into normal or safe."

Correct.

As for the repair, I'd like to remind you that it is windows 2000, and NOT XP that is being used.  That said, we already tried that.

Why the tech disabled it, I don't know.  I think he was hoping that it would redetect it.


DanCh99:

It's too late.  I told them to go ahead and re-image it.  Most of the programs are already in the image, so there won't be much for me to do when I get in tomorrow to get back to where I was before.  We've spent too much time on it now, so the only good solution is to nuke it and start again.

For the record yes they are all Dells, no, none of the other cards had been installed on any other machine, and yes, the cards came with drivers for the Dell machine.  Not sure on the part number, but hopefully that's moot anyway :)
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by:DanCh99
ID: 12049953
good luck with the image, otherwise we'll still need more info on the models concerned!  Seems a shame to use a production machine to test new kit out on.  Let us know how it pans out.
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by:JohnnyCanuck
ID: 12053311
Be prepared for it NEVER to work.  A guy just brought me a computer with the AGP slot crapped out.  I cannot put in ANY AGP card (I tried four different ones).  It will blue screen if the OS is already installed and it will blue screen during a fresh install.  Everything works fine if I use a PCI video card.  I finally put in a Radeon 7000 PCI.
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by:Sam_Charette
ID: 12057046
JohnnyCanuck: I knew it wasn't the AGP slot.  It was working before the techie disabled it, and so it had to have been his act of disabling the device.

DanCh99: The image went fine, and about 5 minutes after the computer was ready I had the graphics card up and running properly.  As for testing a new kit out on a production machine, well it shouldn't have been a test.  Had the techie just done it right it would have been fine.  All he had to do was to install the drivers, and not disable the device.  There really shouldn't have been much in the way of an unkown here.  If there had, I would have insisted that it be done on a test machine first.

Lesson learned:  Don't let the techies touch my computer.... do all of the upgrades myself! ;)
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by:DanCh99
ID: 12058596
glad it's fixed.  I'm still a little unsure how it managed to get *permanently* disabled, but hey, all's well that ends well.  Personally, I'd never slap new HW into anything without a test, but I guess I'm just twitchy like that.  
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