WinXP updates breaking video displays?

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This question is regarding a laptop using an Nvidia Geforce4 420 and WinXP

Recently started developing some strange display problems.

Intermittingly, the display (LCD) will:

- "garble up" (everything on screen would become "skewed")
- blank out, black screen accompanied sometimes with thin and flashing lines
only several pixels in width
- revert to the standard 640x480, 4 colors screen
- lock up completely, after rebooting WinXP complains about "Recovering from
a serious error"

Each occurance generates logs in WinXP Event Viewer with the following

- Error code 000000ea's
- The "infinite loop" error with the Nvidia hardware

Initially, I suspected the Nvidia drivers to have been corrupted.  I
uninstalled and re-installed current Nvidia drivers -- trying both the
current drivers from Nvidia and the ones from Toshiba.  (Toshiba recommends
using the Nvidia drivers they put together for laptops.  I had been using
Toshiba's with no problems for a year.)  Same problem continued.

I then suspected hardware.  I completetly disassembled the laptop, checked
and ensured all the connections were solid, removed what little dust and
debris was inside, checked the fans, checked the voltages from the power
supply, ect.  Everything looked great.  All the fans are working properly,
P/S was fine, ect.  Powering up and going to the BIOS screen, and allowing
it to stay in the BIOS for an extended period of time, doesn't produce any
display errors either.

I then removed the Nvidia drivers, but did not re-install them -- electing
WinXP to revert to just using the standard VGA (VGASave) drivers.  Slow
refresh obviously, but works just fine, even at 1024x768, 32bit.  Using just
this driver, I pushed the laptop hard by having Microsoft Flight Simulator
2004 (and SETI crunching in background) run over night.   It ran for nine
hours with no problems at all, besides the driver being slow.  With the
Nvidia drivers, it wouldn't had even made it nine seconds.

I just got a new HDD for the laptop.  (Not related to above problem, just
wanted a larger HDD.)  Unfortunetly, I no longer have the "System Recovery
CD" for the laptop, so wasn't able to test a fresh Toshiba install.  I did,
however, install Linux on it (along with Linux Nvidia drivers) and it worked
just fine.

So -- it seems the problem with WinXP has to be software/driver related.  If
it were hardware, then the laptop should be crapping out in the BIOS screen,
in WinXP with the standard driver, and in Linux with the Nvidia drivers.  It
is not.  Its only crapping out with this WinXP install.

For several reasons, re-installing WinXP from scratch is essentially a non
option.  I want to track this problem down and fix it so I can then ghost
this HDD over to the new HDD.

I installed no software right before this strange display problem started
occuring, with the exception of a couple Microsoft WinXP Updates.  I'm
wondering if these WinXP updates might have done something. (?)

There is also one more clue that comes up in Event Viewer and this is the
strangest of all:

"The description for Event ID ( 108 ) in Source ( nv ) cannot be found. The
local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message
DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use
the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for
details. The following information is part of the event: \Device\Video0,
display, nv4_disp."

Ran Norton Antivirus, Adaware, and Microsoft Anti-Spyware program against
the laptop.  All are current and came up clean.

At a loss now as to what to try next.  Thinking maybe try re-installing
DirectX.  Don't expect that to much good though.

BTW: Toshiba recommends using their packaged NVidia drivers, which are now a
couple years old for this particular piece of hardware (NVidia Geforce4
420).  NVidia has more current NVidia drivers for WinXP on their website.
Both are resulting in the above display problems, but wondering which should
lean more towards getting up and running again since this a laptop.
Toshiba's compiled Nvidia drivers or Nvidia's most current?  I'm using
NVidia's most current Linux drivers with no problems.

Any help to get this WinXP back and working again so I can ghost it over to
the new HDD will be most appreciated.  Out of ideas to try next.


Re: WinXP updates breaking video displays?

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It isn't. When running with Windows XP VGA drivers, there was no
chipset specific acceleration enabled so basically alot of the graphics
card chipset was going unused and probably ran alot cooler too.

Its a hardware fault caused probably by overheating.


"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." O.Osbourne.

Re: WinXP updates breaking video displays?

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Thanks for the reply!

Hmm.  Now that does make perfect sense.  (I thought accelleration was
enabled under Linux, but perhaps it wasn't.)  Guess I'll be opening this
laptop once again, major PITA!  :^)

Hmm.  Now that you have me focused on overheating, I just thought of
something else that may have contributed.  While all the fans seem to be
working fine, I remember playing with a couple "heat sensoring" programs not
to long ago -- i.e., such as "hmonitor".  I changed the "give warning at x
temp" values in "hmonitor".  I was under the impression that hmonitor does
nothing except monitor the sensors.  (?).  Do these onboard sensors have
some sort of "memory" that these programs write to and "program" them when
to fire up the fans?   My BIOS has nothing in it regarding the sensors
(there are both CPU and HDD thermal sensors) so figured that all they do was
just put data out. (?)  In other words, using "hmonitor" (or other such
programs), is it possible to "screw up" how the sensors will run?  I no
longer have any of the heat monitor programs installed/running.


Re: WinXP updates breaking video displays?

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Linux typically defaults to framebuffer ("fbdev") or a very basic
nvidia driver ("nv") and certainly doesn't have any acceleration
enabled either. You have to install the driver from nvidias website to
get the acceleration.

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No. Its only when you start running programs that control fan speed and
even then it requires the hardware to support that.


"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." O.Osbourne.

Re: WinXP updates breaking video displays?

If you installed the latest driver from nvidias site, you're getting
hardware accelerated graphics. A sure way to test this is to run the
Atlantis screensaver under Linux ( This should be under OpenGL screensavers
under Gnome or just listed under KDE). If it runs smoothly, then you have
hardware acceleration. If  it runs at a single frame every few seconds, then
there is no acceleration.

If it works under Linux, 'tis some sort of software problem. Also, I've
never owned a laptop, but do you need AGP drivers for the laptop's
motherboard? You normally do for desktop machines. Without these you
basically can't play games or suffer lockups as soon as you start a game up.

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Re: Thanks!

This is a collective post to all that replied.  Thanks for the info!  I took
the laptop fully apart once again, including breaking down the fans this
time.  Found a lot of gunk around the fan "axils".  Some sort of a (cat?)
hair and other nasties.  Cleaned them out fully and applied some oil.  Broke
other areas of the laptop down even further, including a "matting" found
formulated in another vent area.  Also seemed to be (cat) hair.  "Peeled"
that out and also blew compressed air (using scuba tank and regulator, lol)
threw rest of laptop.  Got it 100 percent clean and debris free.

Must've been been air flow and heating causing problems caused running at
100 percent again!  (Including graphics accelleration using Nvidia drivers
under WinXP).  Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 ran all night with no


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