Ok, Let me preface this by saying that I'm fairly savvy when it comes to technology. I've done my share of reformats, had viruses (that I've fixed). However, This issue has me stumped. Completely and utterly.
I was playing EVE online yesterday morning, and decided I wanted to see how far my machine could go with forced settings in the Nvidia Control Panel. It crashed after a few minutes and I thought 'Well, thats the limit. I'll turn them down to where they were.' I did, everything worked fine, and I shut the computer off.
Last night, however, I went to boot up the machine and During the initial dell loading screen (the BIOS load screen), There were wierd color glitches all over the place. After this, During the Nvidia RAID controller load screen, there were DOS charecters occuring at random intervals on the screen, interrupting the actual text (and these charecters werent normal charecters, one looked like the Delta symbol).
After Windows began to load (again, with bizarre color glitches), I would get a BSOD attributing the error to nvlddmkm.sys and it was conducting a physical memory dump. It would restart, go into system repair, wouldn't repair, and the loop would continue.
I COULD get into safe mode, however. After doing so, I tried uninstalling nvidia drivers, (and again with driver sweeper), and reinstalling. I would get a dialogue saying that Server Stereo wasn't installed properly.
Going into DXdiag told me that the machine no longer recognized the graphics card (all the fields were blank or listed as N/A under the display tab).
I decided to just go balls out and reformat using the XP disc that came with the computer. Again with the DOS charecters, which made navigating the windows setup screens a real pain (I did them by memory, mostly). As I went to bed, the reformat went, and even THAT screen was plagued by these mysterious charecters. It looked like a 1980s computer virus on my machine!
This morning, I awoke, led the windows installer process through what it needed (all the while enduring the color glitches that plagued safe mode). I left for work this morning while the Horribly designed Dell Installing Applications window was flashing. I'm currently still at work, so I can't provide super detailed explanations, but I hope someone can get me a prognosis.
Things on my list to do are:
Reinstall graphics drivers.
Reseat the Graphics Cards.
Test cards on other machine.
If anyone's encountered this problem and a solution, please please PLEASE tell me. It would save me a great deal of stress and chain-smoking.