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Monitor Screen Distortion


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#1 strangedays

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:42 AM

Hey guys,

My OS is Windows XP Pro. The computer with the problem is a Dell Precision 360 Desktop.




This is the problem I'm having:

Posted Image



It happened just a few days after downloading and installing a new screensaver. Everything seemed fine at first, but then after a few days I started getting this distorted "prison" bar thing flickering on my screen. I removed and deleted the screensaver program, but the problem with the screen has since remained.

The severity of the problem on my screen varies from barely noticeable artifacts, to the bars like seen above, to a thick pixelated haze that distorts the entire screen. Sometimes it gets so bad I have to restart the computer because I just can't see what I'm doing anymore.

A few times during startup, before the windows screen, I have gotten a black screen with about 5 - 10 rows of multi-colored characters. The characters range from letters to numbers to symbols like arrows and other things. The characters are one color while the immediate square of space behind it is another color. It's difficult to accurately describe... I've tried getting a screenshot, but so far no dice. I've been having this issue for about 3-4 weeks now.



Here's what I've tried so far to fix the problem:

1. Checked the monitor connection to ensure it wasn't loose

2. Checked the pins on end of monitor cable for any damage

3. Replaced monitor with the working monitor of another computer (distortion remained even on new monitor)

4. Plugged in a second monitor into second monitor port (distortion then showed on BOTH screens)

5. Re-installed display driver

6. Ran a registry repair tool that fixed about 463 things within the registry

7. Changed the Hz for monitor in display settings (this at first actually cleared it up, but the problem returned later - and now doing it tends to just make it worse)



None of these things worked, unfortunately. I'm suspecting that screensaver did some damage because it is the only thing I've really installed recently and the problem started almost immediately after.

I previously posted this on Bleeping Computer's "Am I Infected?" Forum and we pretty much ruled out any kind of malware issue. That's when it was recommended to post my problem here and see what your take on it was.

If you'd like to review what happened during that trouble shoot you should be able to access it from this link: Screen Distortion Old Thread



I really just want to know what's causing the screen distortion and, if possible, how to fix it. I know you guys are busy, so I will patiently wait by for a response. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions of me, feel free to ask.
All the best.

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 01:43 PM

To put your mind at ease, I am going to attempt to assist you.
Thanks for posting that link to your other thread so I can read it and see what has been tried so far.
In case its not mentioned in your other thread, I will need to know what video source you have.
I need to know if you have on-board video, if not what type of graphics card is it, IDE, AGP or PCI-E?
I also need to know the video cards manufacture, is it Nvidia, ATI?
I also need to know where you got the video cards drivers from that you say you re-installed.
And lastly, does it do this in safemode?

Thanks.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 06 February 2010 - 01:52 PM.

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#3 MrBruce1959

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 02:14 PM

Ok, I just read your thread you posted in the other forum.
Below I pasted a few lines you posted in that thread about your graphics card's discription.

(Quote from strangedays other thread):
The driver being used is "ATI FireGL X1" version 8.163.1.0 - that's what it shows in the device manager. That's the same version I've been using for the last 4 years or so and never had any problem like this til now. I go straight to "ati.com" for any updates.

After the distortion problem had already appeared (but before coming here), I did try to install a newer version from the FireGL X1 list of the website, but the installation failed due to "no compatible drivers found" within the installer. I just looked at the install file name now and it had "FirePro" in the name instead of "FireGL" like my older ones. Perhaps it was the wrong driver. It didn't seem like anything was installed or changed, though. And if I look at the driver being used right now it shows the same old version as always.

(End of quote)


Ok I see you have an ATI brand video card and your getting your drivers from ATI.com, so that answers 2 of the questions I asked in my last post to you.
Answer my other questions please.
I also would like to add another question about this screen saver. Can you tell me a little about it if you can, so I can see if it was capable of damaging your video card in any way.
Also are you sure that any drivers related to this screen saver (if it is the cause of the problem) have been removed. Not all program's uninstall.exe remove everything, many times when you uninstall a program, it still leaves a folder behind along with some files left in it.

Get back to me with the info I asked for and we'll see what can be done. But make sure you tried booting into safemode using the F8 at boot up and tell me if this problem goes away.
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#4 strangedays

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:10 PM

Thank you for offering your assistance. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.


"does it do this in safemode?"

Yes, it does it in safe mode as well.


"I also would like to add another question about this screen saver. Can you tell me a little about it if you can, so I can see if it was capable of damaging your video card in any way."

Well it's a newly released screensaver. Around late december to early january. I had considered that maybe there was a compatibility issue because it was so new and the graphics card driver was so old. That's why I tried updating the driver (as you saw in the old thread) in the first place. I was lost on a James Cameron kick so the screensaver was basically a slideshow of background stills from the movie Avatar. I went through hell to find it. It also had music, which I believe was midi based. Pretty geeky stuff.

I wish I could give you the name and location of the site I got it from, but honestly I don't remember where I downloaded it from. If that's information that you feel would really help I may be able to do a google search and relocate it, but can't guarantee anything. That said, I do still have the install file itself.

Almost never do I actually download and install something onto the computer that has this issue, so that's why I'm suspicious of this screensaver (though I guess there's always room for coincidence).


"Also are you sure that any drivers related to this screen saver (if it is the cause of the problem) have been removed. Not all program's uninstall.exe remove everything, many times when you uninstall a program, it still leaves a folder behind along with some files left in it."

When I removed the program I used Windows Add/Remove Programs. And I checked just now in the Program Files folder and couldn't find anything relating to the screensaver (as far as I could tell). But I'm hardly a computer expert so if you know a better way to confirm that nothing still lingers, please let me know.


Hopefully that covers everything for now. Any other questions just let me know. And thanks again for your efforts.

#5 MrBruce1959

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 12:34 PM

Ok I went to ATI.com and found this version number for fireGL x1 version 8.583 for use with Windows XP Pro.
Click the link below and download Firepro_8.583_xp32_77157.exe to your desktop.
Uninstall your old drivers from control panels add or remove programs.
Double click the file you downloaded from ATI.com. install the Catalyst driver software.
Come back and let us know how it went.

http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/fire...mp;lang=English
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#6 strangedays

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:29 PM

Alright I uninstalled the old driver and installed the new driver from that link.
But as far as I can tell, no change in behavior from before..

Hmm... Any other ideas?




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