Posted 12 May 2010 - 12:10 PM
A few months ago, I started noticing some strange graphical glitches on my computer. They largely consist of random chunks of the screen going "missing" (appearing as black when they're not supposed to be), as well as images not displaying at all in various parts of my operating system, softwares I run, and even websites I visit (where images I know are supposed to be in certain places). This happens completely randomly; a black patch or a missing image may be causing problems with a certain part of some software or other for example, then the next time I load it up, a different part of that program may have graphical issues, or none at all. I've also noticed that it's more often a problem in stuff that has more graphics to deal with, such as zooming into Photoshop work and loading up image-heavy websites.
There are a couple of funny things I notice with this... the graphics issues only start appearing after a few days of uptime; they clear up completely immediately after a restart. Another thing that is probably significant, is that these issues are only visible from my end, because I have taken screenshots of some of the problematic display to send to friends and the images looked completely normal to them, as well as often when I'd view the images later on my PC (like I said, the graphics problems appear completely randomly, so whatever I took a screenshot of didn't "stick" to the image).
My earliest step in troubleshooting, which was probably a silly idea but the one I always resort to first during some major computer problem, was to thoroughly scan my PC with several utilities such as antivirus programs and malwarebytes, to see if I had some sort of malware or something, but the results actually came up completely clean. After some time I figured that maybe it was my monitor causing the issue (an old CRT I had used day in and day out for several years) so I went ahead and bought a brand new monitor (also a CRT because it was cheaper and has become my personal preference)... only to my dismay to start having the same exact issues again after using it for awhile.
Now I can only conclude this... first of all, maybe it's some weird sudden issue with bad graphics drivers? I do actually update my drivers every now and again when I happen to go thru device manager for some reason or other, and I vaguely recall I might've updated the ones for my graphics chipset (I'm not using a video card by the way; solely motherboard graphics)... so could that possibly have caused this? Another thing I thought of is maybe the chipset itself has gone bad... but before having to resort to the final conclusion that this is the actual issue and going to rush out and buy a video card, I'd like to rule out any other possible contributing factors that anyone can think of, because unnecessarily replacing my monitor was costly enough.
Here are some specs on my PC that may or may not help (the computer itself was purchased brand new maybe only two years ago)...
HP Pavilion a6530f desktop PC
Misc specs: AMD Phenom 8450 Tri-core CPU; 4GB RAM (a little less as viewable from my main OS; Windows XP Pro w/ regular version SP3, if at all relevant)
Graphics info: NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430; Current driver version: 22.214.171.12421 (apparently this version was last updated just January of this year... could be relevant?)