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Laptop crashes w/ BSOD when Nvidia drivers installed -- unsure if hardware or software is to blame

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#1 lwt103


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Posted 23 March 2010 - 08:34 PM

I've got a Dell Inspirion 9400 with an Nvidia GeForce 7900 Go and Windows 7 Pro 32-bit. The computer runs fine after a fresh install of the OS, but at some point it will lock up and every subsequent boot will result in a blue screen of death during the "loading" splash screen and a "page fault in nonpaged area" message on that blue screen.

I've narrowed the issue down to what I believe is the video card as the issue. I can boot the computer into safe mode and run it indefinitely with no problems. Also, when I uninstall the Nvidia drivers I can boot into the full OS with no problems using the generic VGA adapter drivers that get installed automatically. The problem occurs when I install the Nvidia drivers. After those are installed the laptop will BSOD every time. I've used the drivers that Windows Update installs and I've also downloaded the 179.48 beta drivers from the Nvidia site.

I'm not sure if the hardware or the software is to blame, though. My thoughts are that when the generic VGA adapter drivers are installed the laptop is running from onboard video, not the Nvidia card. I'm not 100% sure of that, though. If that's the case, when the drivers get installed, both the hardware and software come into play simultaneously. So how do I tell which is to blame? Being this is a laptop, I can't really swap out the card for a new one. Does anyone know of a different set of drivers I could try and where to get those drivers or if there's a way I can test to see if it's specifically a hardware issue?

The only thing I have not done is install another OS (windows xp or vista) to see if the problem exists on either of those OS's.

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:00 AM

Well...my advice would be to use the drivers that came with the system.

I don't allow Windows Update to provide me drivers, nor would I suggest that anyone use beta drivers (beta means "not ready for prime time").

I'd let Win 7 load defaults which work, if there are no solid drivers for Win 7.


#3 MrBruce1959


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Posted 24 March 2010 - 12:08 PM

Hi lwt103!

Regarding the beta driver version

Version: 179.48 BETA
Release Date: 2009.02.11
Operating System: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Language: English (U.S.)
File Size: 122 MB

There is a notice below the download tab that states

This is a reference driver that can be installed on supported NVIDIA GeForce notebook GPUs. However, please note that your notebook original equipment manufacturer (OEM) provides certified drivers for your specific notebook on their website. NVIDIA recommends that you check with your notebook OEM about recommended software updates for your notebook. OEMs may not provide technical support for issues that arise from the use of this driver.

That being said I am going to point you in the right direction by linking you to your Dell recommended drivers. I do not see a driver for windows 7, however I am hoping the Windows Vista version 97.46 A01 driver dated 1-19-2007 will work for you.

Here is the link below, on this page you need to choose Windows Vista on the "Refine your results" tab, then a list will show up for Vista which lists all drivers and software, just click the arrow next to the Video tab and it will expand the list of drivers, the Nvidia driver is the last one on the list, download it and install it.


It is my hope that after this install, everything is back to normal again, if not, please let us know, and if this does work, please come back and let us know your problem has been resolved. Thanks!

Edited by MrBruce1959, 24 March 2010 - 12:53 PM.

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#4 lwt103

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:07 AM

I followed up yesterday but apparently I forgot to hit submit after previewing the post. Basically it said thank you for your responses. I was aware the Nvidia site drivers were beta, but I didn't see an archive or any way to download older, stable drivers. The default Win 7 drivers also were crashing.

[The Solution] I found a post on the Nvidia forums that was very similar to the issue I was having. In it, a user suggested taking the card out and baking it in the oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Doing this will "reflow" the solder on the chip. As crazy as that sounds, I know a similar trick works for fixing Xbox 360's with a red ring of death...it's called the towel trick. So, I cooked my card and it works now! Imagine that.

Important: After you cook the card you have to let it sit in the oven and cool down slowly and naturally as the oven cools. I stuck a pot holder in the crack of the door at the top to open it a couple of inches and then I just let the oven sit and cool down slowly over the course of 30ish minutes. Also...no one mentioned this, but PEEL THE BLACK PLASTIC "STICKER" OFF THE VIDEO CARD. I thought the black stuff was a thin foil of some type...nope, plastic. It shriveled up and smoked, creating quite a stench. But after the card cooled I was able to peel it off.

I also recommend removing the heat sink prior to baking. If you don't and then you fail to prop the heat sink up properly it could fall off or be moved into a new position. You'll need a size T8 star-shaped screw driver to remove the four screws holding the heat sink on.

I don't know how long this fix will last. If it fails any time soon I will try to remember to come update this post and let you know if another round of baking fixes the problem again.

Edited by lwt103, 26 March 2010 - 08:00 AM.

#5 cryptodan


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Posted 26 March 2010 - 02:12 PM

Your video card in your laptop is the issue. It is not being cooled. My wife's laptop the same as yours had the same issue, and the video card was to blame.

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