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Screen gets colorful and computer crashes


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#1 knichols

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:27 PM

Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me with a problem my computer has been having lately.

This all started today, a few random pixels on my screen suddenly turned random colors and my computer completely froze. I restarted windows and there were still a bunch of graphics glitches from the very first screen. I couldn't use my computer at all so I turned it off again. Windows tried to repair the problem at startup but the repair failed but the weird colors went away so I just used my computer as normal and it was fine for about an hour.

Now my computer keeps crashing after around an hour of use. It doesn't seem like it happens for any reason.

Sometimes the screen just has a bunch of weird lines down it, sometimes it looks like a checkerboard, sometimes all of the colors get really screwed up. I'm not sure how to describe how it looks and I can't get a screenshot since its unusable once the problem starts.

I haven't really run any tests yet except for MBAM which didn't help at all.

I don't think I've recently run any updates or updated any drivers.

 

I need this computer for school work and stuff like that and I don't have enough money right now to buy a new one. I would really appreciate any help anyone can give me.

 

Thanks a lot!


Edited by hamluis, 03 September 2013 - 09:20 AM.
Moved from Win 7 to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 noknojon

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:45 AM

Hello knichols
I am by no means an expert in this area, but I would start with Power Supply Unit .....
Many of the problems you list are often related to this, if your screen has no problems -
 

Please list the Make and Model of computer, if known.

 

Also post a snapshot with Speccy for more system details -
How to Publish a snapshot with Speccy <<-- Full Directions Here (only post the link)

 

Thank You -



#3 chrisd87

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:07 AM

Like Nok said it's either psu unit going bad, or video card is going bad. According to what you're saying, sounds like you have a laptop, so the psu is a different question. Can you take the battery out of the laptop, and run it straight from ac power? Also you can try to change out the ac power brick, as it may be going bad. Laptops are typically powered by a rechargeable battery that is charged using an external power supply, which outputs a DC voltage typically in the range of 7.2– 24 volts. The power supply is usually external, and connected to the laptop through an AC connector cable. It can charge the battery and power the laptop simultaneously; when the battery is fully charged, the laptop continues to run on power supplied by the external power supply/brick.

 

If it's the video card going bad, it will involve taking the laptop completely apart to be able to access the motherboard. Then from there you will have to see if you can replace it yourself *most laptops have it built into the motherboard.*

 

Now having said all of that, if you have a desktop then ignore what I posted. :thumbup2:


Edited by chrisd87, 03 September 2013 - 09:23 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#4 knichols

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 04:51 PM

Hi, thanks for the response.

Yes I do have a laptop, a Dell Studio 1558. Its about 3 years old.

The battery has been broken for about a year (ie when it warns me that I should replace the battery and it runs out very quickly). Other than having almost no battery life, there haven't been any other power related problems for the past year except I noticed the light on the power button has  been flickering when I move the screen.

So if the problem is with the psu would running the laptop straight from ac stop the problem? I'm pretty sure that every time my computer has crashed it has been plugged in and fully charged.

 

I'm pretty sure the video card is built into the motherboard. Is there any way to test if the video card is faulty?

 

Also, just to check, does this mean that the problem probably isn't with the hard drive? I just want to make sure that I won't lose all of my files. I already backed up the most important stuff just to be safe.

 

I'll work on publishing a speccy shortly. Thanks again!



#5 knichols

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 04:54 PM

And here's the speccy:

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/1v6ilDvq5X3alC4s44BGiUB



#6 knichols

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:18 PM

Alright it just happened again for a second and then the colors went away for a minute and it seemed fixed.

There was a message that said something like "Display driver ATI Radeon Family has stopped responding and successfully recovered" or something like that.

Does this mean that the problem is probably the graphics card?

If so, does this mean I'll need to buy a new laptop?

 

Also note:

The problem didn't go away, it just seemed fixed for about a minute and then started again. I had to reset my computer a couple of times before it was usable again.


Edited by knichols, 03 September 2013 - 05:20 PM.


#7 chrisd87

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:08 PM

Not necessarily that the video card is going bad. It could be that the laptop isn't supplying enough power to your video card which could be tested with another ac adapter that you have or can get if found necessary.. Also on a sidenote, you haven't tried overclocking the video card have you using the ccc software?


Edited by chrisd87, 03 September 2013 - 09:09 PM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#8 noknojon

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:22 PM

Direct reply from DELL on the same problem, if it is worth reading - (quite common it seems)

Chris will give you a better idea than I can -

 

Since the screen display is distorted, you can run the Dell diagnostics to determine any hardware failure.
To perform the diagnostics, follow the steps:

 

1. Turn off the computer; press and hold the <Fn> key, push the power button and release the keys simultaneously.
2. A blue screen will appear stating Pre-boot System Assessment.
3. A screen will appear with a message 'Were color bars displayed? (Y/n).
4. Press 'Y' key if the color bars are displayed properly.
5. If you get any error code, make a note of it and continue testing.
6. Please share the error codes if any.

 

To ensure that the LCD screen is not the cause of screen distortion, please run the LCD test.
1. Turn off the computer; press and hold the <D> alphabet key, push the power button and release the keys simultaneously.
2. This will initiate a grey screen, then Red, then Blue, then Green then White, to allow you to inspect the entire LCD.
3. If there is no distortion in the screen during the test, the LCD screen is functioning properly.

 

If the test completes without errors, try the BIOS update from this link: http://dell.to/POL3wO.

 

Before flashing the BIOS please check the following:
* No external devices(except the keyboard, mouse and monitor) should be connected.
* All other programs should be closed and documents saved
* The AC adapter should be connected during this process. The battery should be 10% or more than 10% charged .
Click on 'Download File'>> click 'Continue'>> Click 'Yes' on User Account control if prompted>>
Click 'Continue' on the Application prompt>> Click 'OK' on Select the folder where you want to unzip the files to (make a note of the folder location)>>
Click 'Yes' on the next prompt for folder does not exist>> Click 'OK' on All files were successfully unzipped. >>
If the installation wizard does not appear, go to the folder location>> select the Setup file >>
Right-click and select 'Run as Administrator'>>
Follow the installation wizard instructions. The laptop should reboot after this update.

At times, the distortion on the screen could occur due to a corrupted driver.
Moreover, the AMD drivers that you installed could be generic.
The drivers available at Dell support site have been tested with your computer.
You can install the drivers mentioned below and observe the computer.

 

Hence, uninstall the graphics card driver.
To do so, go to Start>> type 'devmgmt.msc' in the search box without the quotes and press Enter
Expand the list for Display Adapters. Right-click the driver and uninstall it. Reboot PC.
Hereafter, download and install the dell drivers from this link: http://dell.to/QFniEN
Reboot PC

 

Regards -


Edited by noknojon, 03 September 2013 - 06:22 PM.


#9 chrisd87

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:06 PM

Hence, uninstall the graphics card driver.
To do so, go to Start>> type 'devmgmt.msc' in the search box without the quotes and press Enter
Expand the list for Display Adapters. Right-click the driver and uninstall it. Reboot PC.
Hereafter, download and install the dell drivers from this link: http://dell.to/QFniEN
Reboot PC

 

Regards -

 

I would also recommend to do a full wipe of the drivers. Simply uninstalling them that way still leaves traces in the registry and file structure. Please follow this

link.


"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#10 knichols

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 11:06 AM

Alright, thanks a lot for all your help. Right now I'm having trouble turning the computer on at all.

I press the power button, fans start whirring, but but the screen just stays completely black.

If I can get it working I'll run these tests.

 

So basically, if the problem is with the AC adapter would simply buying a new charger make all of these problems go away?



#11 chrisd87

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 11:30 AM

If the problem is with the AC adapter then yes purchasing a new adapter/charger will fix your issues. Someone with more experience may be able to assist you more in that area. Nok seems pretty smart in this area and may be able to provide some insight on this.

 

When you try to power on the laptop, does it come on completely, but nothing is displayed on the screen? If so, can you try to use an external monitor and see if it displays on the external monitor. You may have to do a key sequence like ftn + <key> to switch to another monitor. If it powers on completely, and the external monitor doesn't work. I would lead more toward a dead video card.


Edited by chrisd87, 04 September 2013 - 11:33 AM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#12 knichols

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 04:30 PM

Alright, it's been acting really strangely lately. I was turning it on and off a bunch of times to see if it would eventually show anything on the screen. Just to check, I plugged it in with an HDMI cable to my tv, and suddenly both the tv and computer started working. Is there any reason for this or is it just a coincidence? I'm assuming its a coincidence since there were still some display problems. I didn't have time to experiment much, so I'll play around with it a bit more and update you later.

 

I think I know someone with the same type of computer as me. I'll try it out with his charger. Would it just immediately start working normally if the problem is with the psu?

 

The LCD screen is definitely working properly, the test ran exactly as you described.

I'll run the other test later if possible, I didn't have time to run it earlier.

 

As for the BIOS update/full wipe, could you please tell me what that would accomplish?

 

 

Thanks again!

 

Update: I was running with the screen on an external monitor through HDMI and the other screen got the same graphical issues.

I'm honestly almost ready to buy a new computer. Will disabling the graphics card driver make my computer usable for long enough to put everything on an external hard drive?

Is there any test that will check if my graphics card is failing just to make sure?


Edited by knichols, 04 September 2013 - 05:38 PM.


#13 knichols

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:18 PM

Just an update, I disabled the graphics card driver and there haven't been any more crashes/screen problems, just really bad resolution and I can't really do much on it.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to test it out with a different charger.



#14 chrisd87

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:02 PM



As for the BIOS update/full wipe, could you please tell me what that would accomplish?

 

 

BIOS updates can fix alot of issues that may be present on the computer. If there is an update for the BIOS then 9 times out of 10 it is fixing problems that users are experiencing. Be careful flashing an update to the BIOS as if done incorrectly will render the PC useless. As far as wiping drivers out is to ensure that there are no traces of old drivers still floating around somewhere. Following the guide that I posted will ensure there is no traces left behind, and will ensure that the new driver functions correctly.

 

I also see that you have Norton installed as well. Can you please remove this to see if it helps with issue. If found to not cause the issue, it can safely be reinstalled. You also have outdated versions of Java. Please remove these as well, and update to the latest version of java which can be found here

 

Yes if the problem is with the AC adapter then a new one will immediately fix the issue. When you test it, take the battery out and only run it on ac power and see how it acts. It's going to be one of these trial and error processes I believe.


Edited by chrisd87, 05 September 2013 - 02:10 PM.

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver ɹoɹɹǝ."

 


#15 knichols

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 04:41 PM

Alright, this sounds a bit complicated, so I'll try out a different AC adapter before I do anything else.

Then I'll start working on the other stuff.

Is it okay if I have my graphics card driver disabled while I do all this other stuff? Disabling the graphics card seems to prevent the computer from crashing. Otherwise I'd be afraid to do anything major like a BIOS update when the computer could crash at any moment.






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