Dell Dimension 4600 video card problem Nvidia GeForce 5200

A weird situation here?!  A Dimension 4600 with NVidia GeForce FX 5200 video card, windows XP Pro connected to a dell LCD display.

Won't boot normally - you get the windows splash screen, then screen goes to sleep (yellow light) and screen is dark.

Boots / runs fine in safe mode

WOund up uninstalling the fx 5200 in hardware.  Machine then boots up in normal mode... windows detects the 5200 and then the screen starts blanking out or going completely asleep.  

I disabled the device completely and now it boots up in normal mode with no screen blanking (sometimes it would wake back up, most times goes dark completely).

Downloaded the dell drivers rom their webiste dated from 2004 for the machine and try to install it.  It says the card is disabled, do I want to enable it (you have to to do the install)... once you enable it the screen starts going black before you can finish the install.  Tried installing in safe mode and you get some errors and back in normal mode, if the card is enabled, it keeps blanking out.

So with card disabled, things seem fine, although refresh is a bit slow and some web pages seem like they aren't displaying correctly.

Some questions:

So the card is disabled... but I am still connected to it and still using it (and actually, can still change resolution under display properties).  I would have thought the screen would be black since the card is disabled?!

It seems like a software problem?  Boots in safe mode OK, boots in normal mode with video card disabled in hardware properties, but it is still supplying the video OK

How do I get back to using the card!?  Or how do I use the DB-15 / analog video that's integrated on the motherboard?  There's a connector there, but it came from Dell with a black cap on it (since you are supposed to use the better video card, not that one?  I don't see it in windows hardware devices and I don't see a setting in Bios to enable it....

Who is Participating?
Instead of using Dell's drivers, go to and get the latest Forceware drivers for the 5200.  Once you have working drivers for the card, you should be ok.
LookingForITHelpAuthor Commented:
As much as the card was running good under safe mode and when it was disabled under windows hardware, and I was thinking it's a driver issue (if the card was bad, wouldn't you have problems in safe mode too?), I wound up opening the box and looking at /. removing the video card.

a) 2 capacitors were bulging at their tops and had a dried crudon them (looking like the card was bad)


b). that was enough to get the integrated video card to activate - I just plugged the monitor into the integrated video port, it detected it and I was all set.  It seems like (part of) the video card was defective.

thanks for your help!

I replaced the card with an identical one as well as installed the latest forceware from nVidia. The problem still persists.
I have the identical problem.
yes same problem...only when i disable video card does it boot ok.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.