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Windows 7: Display produces artefacts and crashes at start up, maybe corrupt OS

01 Apr 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
Display produces artefacts and crashes at start up, maybe corrupt OS

Hi all,

This is not the first time I am posting regarding my current problem, though this is more directly related to the graphics card.

The short version of the story is that a few weeks ago my hard drive probably sustained some light damage and the laptop wouldn't boot up in any way. After a check disk was done from another computer Windows could load again. However, it critically failed (and forced a 1min restart) during the start up. After running SFC, I manually replaced some corrupt files (though it still says they are problematic) and somewhere there normal mode stabilised again.

For the last week or so it has been working ok except from some sporadic BSODs (all with nvlddmkm.sys at fault). Some artefacts would show up on the screen and some times they would go away and other times the system would deteriorate and crash. A reboot or loading the last known working settings seemed to do the trick when the problem persisted. However, as of yesterday it has all gone to hell. No matter whether I clean installed two versions of the graphics drivers or various system fixes the problem is still there. Mind you, it doesn't seem to result to a BSOD anymore. If I try normal mode, after the Windows logo I get white and black vertical lines, then artefacts show up everywhere and the laptop restarts. On the other hand, safe mode displays no problems whatsoever.

Now, ideally I would like the whole problem to be fixed without having to reinstall Windows. Part of it is that I am wary of the hard drive and I worry a reinstall will not result to a working system (which I at least have in some form now). I have gained more confidence in the matter though seeing how I managed to once stabilise the system from an inoperable state. So maybe before attempting any solutions it'd be wise to consider whether a format would make all the problems go away in less time and effort. Or maybe even reinstall Windows on top of it as is. In the meantime, I am open to suggestions how to go about fixing this problem otherwise without resulting to such extreme measures.

Things I've tried:
Before the problem escalated
- I ran chkdsk /f /r /x last week after the system stabilised but I didn't see any reported errors.
After the problem (in safe mode)
- I uninstalled, restarted and reinstalled the graphics drivers. I tried two versions (314.07 and 301.42) but the problem did not go away.
- I uninstalled the graphics drivers, restarted and let Windows install some basic drivers. Then I tried to load normal mode but it failed again.
- From the advanced starting options, starting with a low resolution (640x480) I could actually start normal mode up, but with serious artefacts. It lasted less than a minute and it BSODed.
- The repair mode using F8 at start up reported that a driver was possibly preventing Windows from starting normally but couldn't fix the problem.
- Last known working settings don't seem to have any effect and all my system restore points are gone.
- SFC is singing the same old song (iTVdata.dll, msv1_0.dll and mstsc.exe are corrupted) though I had manually replaced the first two files straight from the installation disc.

- Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
- HP Pavillion dv6853ea Notebook
- Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.10 GHz
- 2GB RAM (only one of the two memory slots works, the other got damaged years ago and will result in quick and random BSODs if any RAM is present)
- nVidia GeForce 8400M GS
- WD Scorpio Black 750 GB

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

If the machine boots into safe-mode with no issues then I would say your issue
is most likely driver/software related. (With the exception of the graphics card)

To test please disable your GPU, then re-boot into normal mode.
To disable GPU navigate to:
Start>Computer>system properties>device manager
Locate>Display Adapters and expand
Select your Graphics card
Right click and "disable" and it will ask you to confirm and reboot the system into Normal mode.

Observe the reboot for any of the isses you mentioned (lines, artifacts etc) and use your computer as normal with the exception of Games/ graphic related programs.

Also you could try the 306.23 stable nvidia driver, this may at least stop your BSOD's:
Driver Fusion.
Reboot the computer in
Advanced Boot Options, safe mode. Search Driver Fusion in your start menu,
and remove all components of your nVidia display driver.
If it says the the free version of Driver Fusion cannot remove all the elements, stop there and follow
Drivers - Clean Left over Files after Uninstalling
Boot normally now. Go to:
Drivers - Download NVIDIA Drivers, Drivers > Beta and Legacy; search there with your cards particulars for:
GeForce 306.23 Driver, dated 13.9.2012 and install it.

Did you run SFC from boot?

Hope this helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

Thanks for your input Dave.

Disabling the GPU worked like a charm (phew). Does this mean the normal error is due to faulty software or hardware?

Unfortunately removing and reinstalling the drivers was a disaster. I noticed the 306.23 drivers you suggested did not support my card (8400M GS is for notebooks, 8400 GS seems to be different). So I went with the latest version, which is 314.22.
- Uninstalled the drivers and rebooted to safe mode.
- Driver Fusion indeed could not remove all items and even after Driver Sweeper, Driver Fusion still reported some items which it couldn't remove (I selected only nVidia Display and not nVidia Chipset).
- I threw a CCleaner in there to be sure.
- Installed the latest drivers and rebooted.
The installation apparently enabled my graphics card again and during the reboot I got the same black/white vertical lines and a forced restart.

I'm not sure whether I actually performed a SFC from boot. I put the installation disc in and when it loaded the files I was greeted to a slightly different screen compared to the instructions in the link. It asked me straight away to choose a hard drive to install Windows and I had none of that. Going into repair mode from the advanced starting options, I launched the prompt command and followed the instructions (disc still in the tray). I doubt it even accessed the disc since it didn't spin at all. SFC reported no errors, but when run from Windows, it does report corrupt files. Surprisingly though, looking at the log any complaints about the two files I had manually replaced in the past have now disappeared.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Apr 2013   #4


Artifacts and crashes are the most common result of GPU running at higher(too much)-than-stock clock speeds. Make sure you have your GPU running at stock clock speeds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Professional 64bit


By disabling the GPU it has now showed the fault lies with your Graphics Card, now whether it is
hardware or software remains to be seen.

Regardless, please install the 306.23 following my prior instructions.
(no other drivers are working for you so this is worth a try)
if this stable driver fails to clear your issue then I would lean towards damaged GPU.

You can test your GPU to be certain:

Let me know the outcome/results

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

Nilank, I never changed the clock speed of my GPU. Where can I see these values? In my opinion, the problem was initially in the software. After the hard drive failure, the chkdsk might have reindexed any bad sectors but it still resulted to some corrupt files and system instability. If this in the long run resulted to my card's hardware failure remains to be seen.

Dave, unfortunately I couldn't install the drivers due to incompatibility. I couldn't get much out of OCCT either. The GPU test was disabled and the memtest instantly resulted to a 'user abort' message. Maybe because my GPU is disabled? Will this run in safe mode if I enable the GPU?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2013   #7


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Reti43 View Post
...Where can I see these values? ...
Use GPU-Z: Download GPU-Z 0.6.9 -
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2013   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

Unless I am doing something wrong, it doesn't give me any values for the GPU clock with it disabled. Unfortunately, it's impossible to run Windows with it enabled at the moment and the utility won't even start up in safe mode.

OCCT gives similar results in safe mode. Having enabled the GPU and restarting in safe mode, I still can't select GPU test and the memtest returns a user abort message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2013   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

You most likely wont be able to test in safe-mode im afraid.

Are you able to install a different Graphics card to test?

Try reinstalling the stable driver, it has worked for many others with no issues?

Or you could try the following suggestion:

Try this method. It seems complicated, but is quite simple and takes less than 5 minutes.
Download the latest driver for your card from Nvidia and save it to the desktop.
Drivers | GeForce
Go to C:/Nvidia (The usual location for Display drivers.) Open the folder and there will be a folder for display drivers, open it. Inside will be a folder for every Nvidia driver you have installed. They will be named 306.23, 310.90 etc. Delete all of them but do not delete the display driver folder itself.
Disconnect from the Internet to keep windows from installing a generic display driver. It will install a display adapter, but that's OK.
Go to Control Panel > Uninstall programs and find Nvidia. Important: If you have an Nvidia chipset DO NOT uninstall the chipset driver. Uninstall the 3D driver, PhysX driver, HDMI Driver and all other drivers. IMPORTANT: Uninstall the Display driver Last. After uninstalling the display driver you will be prompted to reboot. Do so. When you come back, Windows will install the display adapter, It's OK.
Begin installing the driver you downloaded from Nvidia on your desktop. Select the language, accept the agreement and select Custom Install. Make sure the 'Clean Install' box is checked. Uncheck all drivers except the Display driver and the Physx Driver. Do not install any of the other drivers unless you have a particular need for the 3D driver. Complete the install and reboot.
Connect to the Internet again and you are done.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2013   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

I don't have any other cards and the stable driver you suggested can't be installed. The installation itself checks for compatibility and halts when it doesn't find it.

I tried the other method you mentioned but it didn't work either. It did show the Windows logo (no white/black lines) but it froze there for a minute and then restarted. I tried this twice but no luck. The second time a couple of thin horizontal artefact lines also showed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Display produces artefacts and crashes at start up, maybe corrupt OS

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