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Windows 7 Display Driver Stops Working At Login

Posted on 2012-09-12
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Last Modified: 2012-09-17
I have an Acer laptop that is running Windows 7 and which is refusing to show the display correctly. The login screen shrinks to only take up about 2/3 of the whole screen and when I login the screen flashes black a few times and a message says that the Intel display driver has stopped unexpectedly. The machine then locks up.

Here is what I have tried so far:

Removed the drivers in device manager and rebooted. The laptop boots ok with default drivers but then installs the Intel ones (2 instances in fact) and then on the next reboot is back to square one.

Tried Guru3D Driver Uninstaller and Revo Uninstaller to try and remove all traces of the existing drivers but they are just reinstalled.

Downloaded the latest drivers from Acer (which are slightly earlier than the ones that were delivered via Windows Update. Still no change.

Works fine in safe mode or in default driver mode when starting normally.

I have tested the system with PC Check and found no display or any other errors.

I have booted from live distros like Knoppix and Bart's PE without issue.

So, I am now stumped. Could it be a graphics chip that can't run at higher resolutions or just Windows reinstalling a corrupt driver each time?

Any idea's what to try next?
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Question by:alfaro
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12 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38391664
I forgot to mention that if I am quick I can right click and select SCREEN RESOLUTION and see that it is set to 2 monitors but it freezes before I can do anything. I have tried connecting a second monitor but then get no output on either screen..
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Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38391894
I think I may have found the answer. I tried running a distro of Linuxmint but after starting to boot the screen just goes blank. I think it must be the graphics chip..
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38393629
don't be too quick to attribute it to a graphics chip problem.  It works in safe mode.  So how does your graphics chip *know* it is in safe mode?

I would try a different linux distribution, one that is specifically mentioned to have drivers.  I would go with ubuntu desktop on a usb stick, just to make sure.
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Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38394388
I'll give it a go..
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 38394618
To date I have had three WRONG drivers pushed by Microsoft as Windows Updates and one was an Intel Graphics update.  The fix was to rollback the driver in the device manager; but, I am afraid you may have clobbered that option.
I would download the drivers from Intel's website as they tend to override exixting drivers.
What is the video chip in question?
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Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38395578
It does seem to be a graphics chip fault. Trying Ubuntu it starts to boot then the screen just goes black.

It seems to work well in a less demanding setup such as safe mode but also in normal mode but with the default Windows driver which I'm guessing doesn't stress the graphics as much as the normal driver.

The customer won't stump up for a Reflow or Reballing so they are going to put up with the lower resolution, which is 1024 by 768 although I have told them it will most likely fail sooner rather than later.

The laptop is in a bit of a state despite only being a couple of years old. Both USB ports are broken, the keyboard is missing keys so it's safe to say it hasn't exactly been pampered over its short life.


Incidentally, it was an Acer Aspire 5732z and the graphics spec is this..

Mobile Intel® GL40 Express Chipset with integrated 3D graphics, featuring Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M (Intel® GMA 4500M) with up to 1759 MB of Intel® Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0 (64 MB of dedicated video memory, up to 1695 MB of shared system memory), supporting Microsoft® DirectX® 10
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38395675
Then most likely problem is with memory (in video card, not system). Logging in typically puts screen at much lower resolution and number of pixels.  A fix MAY be to set the graphics card to 640x480 with absolute minimum number of colors.  If it works, then slowly crank up resolution till you find the one where it dies.
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Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38395683
I've tried starting in low res which is 640 by 480 but the screen goes blank with that..
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38395805
You might get lucky and the laptop uses a graphics daughterboard that can be bought rather inexpensively.  Go online and look at the engineering/repair manual buried at the acer site.

If the graphics is embedded on the main board, then you will just have to weigh cost/benefit of repairing vs buying a replacement, assuming there is no warranty left.
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Author Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38395827
I'd say this laptop is worth about £150 - £170 in good condition secondhand. It wasn't much of a laptop when new..
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

by:
Davis McCarn earned 2000 total points
ID: 38396949
Paste this ( Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M ), here ( http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Default.aspx?lang=eng ) then download and install the version for your O/S ( x86 or x64).
If it doesn't fix it, you may have a GPU which has cracked solder joints from a shock; but, I have never seen one warp and break the balls like the NVidia fiasco.
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Author Closing Comment

by:alfaro
ID: 38406670
The Intel drivers has exactly the same effect, so it looks like a graphics chip fault. The age of the laptop means the owner doesn't want to spend much on it so will use it with the default driver at 1024 X 768, hopefully backup everthing and use it until it gets worse..
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