Hi all -
I have an update that may be of some help to others here.
After I downloaded and installed the new Synaptec drivers for my touchpad the system was booting great and I thought I had found the problem. While the drivers could have been the cause of the video card drivers not loading on a cold boot I think I've found the *real* cause for all this, and it doesn't even concern drivers. I thought this might be the issue some time ago but really didn't go with it thinking - as I always have - that it's a driver conflict or something incompatible. So 2 nights ago I tested this idea I thought of and I think I have it.
I don't know if anyone else here has the Gateway P-173XL FX laptop but it's a discontinued gaming machine, all cutsy black with bright orange on the lid and it has an orange trim around the keyboard. Up top there's a multimedia section that has lights you just slide over and that causes them to work - sorta like a VCR and also where the volume control is. When the system is turned on the Power Button lights up orange as does the multimedia section and the lights near the bottom of the touchpad (Ethernet, Number Lock and the HD activity flashes while it's booting). Once I get to the desktop these lights all stay on except for the HD activity which will stop flashing unless I am doing something. Here's the kicker...........
When I was turning off the system - even when Vista 64bit Ultimate was on here (the OEM OS) - I'd hit Start>ShutDown, wait for the screen to go black and close the lid. The lights always took longer to go off but I never paid attention to them because I had no video card driver problems then. I've had the system since August 2008 and have been shutting it down the same way ever since. After I put Windows 7 on I started getting this sporatic boot-up issue where the video card drivers weren't loading, had to reboot and then all was ok. I've been trouble-shooting this for months and then tried something 2 nights ago.
The boot-up video card driver issue started again about 3-4 days ago and I was on the verge of going back to Vista (NOT liking that idea at all) and when I turned it on this past Tuesday morning the video drivers didn't load - had to reboot and all was ok. When I shut the system down Tuesday night I *waited* for all the orange lights to turn off before closing the lid. Evidently something is still running until those lights go off (I have hibernation disabled and also any kind of 'sleep mode' on all my computers) and by my shutting the lid I was doing something - what, exactly is unknown. When I booted the system yesterday morning - cold and watching for the video drivers to NOT load, they did load perfectly and the system ran fine all day. Last night I waited for the lights to go of again and just now the system booted up fine again - no video card problems at all. I have also deliberately shut the lid before the orange lights went off and upon boot-up the video card and touchpad drivers do *not* load. The entire fix for this problem was for me simply to wait for the lights to go off and let the system completely shut down before closing the lid.
What has me confused is I've got the settings for the lid to "do nothing" when the lid is closed so by doing so prematurely shouldn't - imho - have anything to do with the system shutting down. I store it under my bed at night and was thinking the system was off even when the orange lights were still on when I closed the lid. Obviously something is still running until the lights go off and since starting to WAIT for the system to completely shut down I've had zero problems with the touchpad or video drivers.
I have no idea what is going on between the time the screen goes black and the orange lights turn off but I would guess it's at least 15 seconds before the lights go off. Something is still running at that time.
Is there any way to find out what it is that is running? Not that I want to stop it - certainly I can wait for the lights to go off - but I'm curious to know what was causing the boot-up problem. When the system would boot properly during the day I was leaving the lid *open* no matter where I kept the laptop at that time. It was at night - when I shut down completely for the night - that I'd close the lid before the lights went off.
Strange problem - took me months to figure out what was happening - and I have no idea what is going on for those 15 seconds!
If anyone has any ideas I'd really appreciate the comments.
Thanks for ALL your previous help!!