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Toshiba Laptop A75-S226 with Right Margin Band on Video Screen

Posted on 2010-08-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm having problems with a Toshiba laptop A75-S226 with an ATI Radeon 9000 video card.  Initially, the video screen would be all black and you couldn't see the OS load on startup.  At times, the screen would flicker and then go stable for a couple of minutes.  When I received the laptop for repair, the hard drive was filled to almost 99% capacity and was very slow to load.  Most of the files on the laptop were iTunes music files.  To make a long story short, I off loaded the music files to an external hard drive and scanned for infections.  I did find a trojan and some malware on the laptop and was able to remove them without any problems.  The computer was also running on the bare minimum amount of RAM (512 MB) for this model.  

I tried reinstalling the video driver on this laptop and this resolved the initial problem with the black screen and flickering.  However, a new video problem surfaced after I reinstalled the video drivers and now I have a dark color band on the right side of the screen and a small fuzzy band underneath the taskbar.  See attached image for details.  

When I updated the video driver again, there was no change with the video band issue.  I even tried to use ATI alternative drivers like Omega's Catalyst drivers but this had no effect too.  You can see the whole desktop but it fails to fill the whole widescreen.  Once in a while, the screen will fill the whole screen and the margin bands will go away but this occurs when I do one of the following:

Delete the video driver and try to force a generic driver in place
Change a setting in the BIOS to expand the screen under low resolution
Cleaned the computer for malware.  

The first solution (deleting the driver) seems to work the most but I can no longer force WinXP to install a generic video driver because every time I delete the ATI driver now it reinstalls the ATI driver and the bands reappear.  If I try to pick a generic driver from a driver list, it only gives me a list of ATI drivers.  With each successive attempt, the OS seems to make the band thing more permanent.  Also, I updated the BIOS and did more aggressive scans but this lead me to no where.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  toshiba laptop a75-s226 with video band issue
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Question by:EE_User12
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 100 total points
ID: 33497881
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Dr. Klahn earned 150 total points
ID: 33498078
I would personally try replacing the video card if possble.

Suggest you remove all ATI-related video driver .INF and .PNF files from the /Windows/inf directory.  This will make it impossible for the system to reinstall previous versions of the driver.  You can then investigate finding a driver that, hopefully, solves the problem.

Create a new restore point before trying this, in case of problems.

Search /Windows/inf for any .INF or .PNF file containing "ATI" or "Radeon", case insensitive.  Delete these files.  Uninstall the current video driver.  Restart the system, and on reboot it should go to the default VGA driver and have no memory of ever having installed an ATI or Radeon video driver.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 33498329
This is overscan, I don't think you'll find the graphics card is bad.
Install both the ATI chipset drivers and display driver for the 9000 from the Toshiba site dbrunton linked to above to reset it to the original drivers supplied on shipping.
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Author Comment

by:EE_User12
ID: 33511462
Thanks for the comments but I was installing the driver from the recovery CD and Toshiba's website and it was leading me nowhere.  I was caught in this endless loop of installing and reinstalling the driver.

I may have a solution to this problem and it might be security related.  I first noticed something when I decided to uninstall the Comodo firewall.  I thought it wouldn't be user friendly to the owner.  As I was uninstalling the firewall, the video just went crazy.  A lot of flickering and black screens occurred.  Eventually the whole screen went black and I had to use an external monitor for assistance.  As I installed another firewall product, Zonealarm, the video just went crazy again.  At this point, I figured something with the firewall was interferring with the video driver.  I decided to uninstall all security related products (firewall, antivirus,antispyware) and do a thorough scan with Combofix and Hijackthis because I had previous infections before.

After scanning with Combofix, it fixed several infections deep in my registry which were not detected by previous Windows and boot scans.  After the infections were quarantined, the video stretched to normal (no margin banding) and the laptop started to run smoother.  Just on the safe side, I decided to uninstall all the ATI drivers manually as Dr Klahn mentioned and then do a reinstall of the drivers without any security products installed.  After several hours of watching this, things seem normal.  I then slowly reinstalled all security products.  

Either the firewall was blocking some components of the video driver or there was a persistent infection that was interferring with the video driver.  Thanks to everyone.  If anything changes in several days, I will let you know.
 
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Author Comment

by:EE_User12
ID: 33534735
Well, I decided to keep the laptop off for several days and today when I started the laptop up, the video issue resurfaced again.  I'm getting the same right margin band as you can see in the above picture.  I'm not sure if I have to wipe out the whole system and do a complete reinstall or send it to a monitor specialist.  It's as if the widescreen functionality of the monitor is not working well.  This problem just comes and goes.  If I get it to work, then several hours later or days, the issue comes back.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 33535615
What happens if you plug in an external monitor?
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Author Comment

by:EE_User12
ID: 33538100
I have no problems with an external monitor.

It's just strange.  I can correct it sometimes by updating the driver and it will remain normal for a couple hours or a couple days, then it will revert back to the problem.  It's very moody.

I just added memory to the laptop and the video corrected itself.

I'll probably tell the owner to send it to a laptop specialist if they are bothered by the problem.  Just like Dr Kahn said, we might have to replace the video card.  It's been very hard to determine if this is a software or hardware issue.  Thanks everyone.

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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 100 total points
ID: 33538158
External monitor OK but not laptop screen.

Still could be a number of things.  Laptop screen?  Software still?  Drivers?

I'd be tempted to pull all data off this thing and wipe and reinstall and test without security software.  Works OK for a couple of days then slowly reintroduce security software.
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Author Closing Comment

by:EE_User12
ID: 33538189
If you have similar problems as this case, I would probably just wipe it clean and start fresh or send it to a laptop specialist for repair.  The owner only gave me the option to patch the problem and I didn't have all the CDs to do a complete reinstall.
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