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Old March 19th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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I Killed My Computer with a Video Card

And I was fully complicit with the video card in this crime. I'm hoping it can be kept out of the recycling bin for several more years. To put it simply, in the process of trying to install an NVidia GeForce FX 5200, I mistakenly removed the video display drivers that my computer needs to run its monitor. I followed the instructions on NVidia's database of questions and answers about uninstalling old drivers, which I thought I needed to do, after three failed attempts to install the new drivers. They explicitly described which one to remove and which to preserve. But, it was the wrong one. If I was more experienced in this sort of thing, I would have known better.

As you can imagine, without a monitor, I can't run the restoration DVD. I have Windows XP Home. I figure that I have three options:

1. Buy a new computer (I could use a faster one for HDV)
2. Take it to a computer repair shop
3. Hope that someone here can suggest a way to run a restoration program without a monitor

Any comments would be appreciated. Most likely, I will be out a bit of money, but will certainly be wiser.

Does anyone know why the installation process for the GeForce card seemed to go through successfully three times, but after logging off and rebooting, there was always nothing registered and the card and its outputs were still unknown to the computer. I know it was fully plugged into a PCI slot, as Windows and Microsoft logging-on images came through the card's DVI, VGA and S-Video ports to monitors during rebooting procedures. Also, at points during logging-on and logging-off, the card's ID came on the upper left corners of the screens.

By the way, I knew I'd be glad that I maintained my account for this little WebTV-----a most handy device, in a time of need. I'm now walking (limping?), rather than running online, but I do get there.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 10:40 PM   #2
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You should still be able to boot and see an image without the correct drivers. Have you tried booting in Safe Mode (booting machine and pressing F8)? Try continuously hammering f8 as the machine boots up and you should hopefully get to select Safe Mode.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 01:56 AM   #3
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no problem, it seems...

aaron's right...

if you can see a windows logo on boot then windows can be repaired, if you can see any bios info on boot, then the machine can be repaired.

hammer f-8 before,during and after the moment when the windows logo first appears during bootup.

once into safemode, uninstall all video drivers and try to use windows built in 16 color/256 color vga drivers...

from that point on you will be able to work with drivers to repair things....

if all else fails, find a good consultant... don't toss the machine...

-raza
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Old March 20th, 2006, 02:40 AM   #4
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Thanks for the help. Unfortunately, I can't see anything at any point, on any monitor, now that the NVidia Display Drivers are uninstalled. There's no visible response to any manner of pushing the F8 key, so no Safe Mode possibilities. My computer starts up and even though the monitor was blank, I was able to enter my password and log on, by knowing just where the cursor would be. I put in a CD, waited a minute for the auto WMP pop-up, then left-clicked and it played.
Do you think I'm the first one who's made this exact mistake?
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:52 AM   #5
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hardware

If you can't see anything at all from the point that the computer turns on forward then the problem is hardware, either you have a card that fried shortly after connection, or a connection is loose, or a cable is loose, or your monitor is dead...

try reseating the card, recabling the monitor, and opening up the control panel on the monitor... if you can see the monitor's control panel, atleast thats still working... hopefully reseating the card and the cables will solve the hardware bunk... if not, you have to move to the next step...

if after the reseating you are able to get bios on startup, win logo etc. then you can move forward with safe mode, driver uninstall and reinstall etc.

you mentioned the card was pci.... if all else fails try a different pci slot...

i should mention, sometimes the top part (where the screw goes in) for pci slots runs perilously close to the case, i.e. the top of the card hits the case but the base still hasnt gone in fully yet... make sure that the gold strips at the bottom are plugged all the way in comfortably into the slot...

with all hardware work, there is a fine line of the amount of force to use, generally things should fit comfortable... a firm nudge should be sufficient, don't get carried away or you could crack your motherboard.. (this has never happened to me but i've been told its.... inconvenient... :D )

good luck...

-raza
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:49 AM   #6
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Raza, thanks for all your attention to my trouble. But, the video card hasn't been connected to anything, for the last day. It isn't a part of the hardware loop. My monitor is still working alright, as the control panel lights it up and when it's turned on and unplugged, it shows a pop-up notice that it is disconnected. It's plugged directly into the computer's own port. For a day after I unsuccessfully tried to install the video card, I had left it in its PCI slot and all my systems were still working fine. Up until one second after I pushed the confirm button to proceed with removing the NVidia Display Drivers program, everything was working, including the monitor. I think it's just a matter of no longer having the program installed that ran the monitor. It may come to where I'll need to take out the HDD and have it reformatted by a computer shop and re-loaded with the program bundle on the Restoration DVD that came with it.
For the next few days, I'll just be shooting video and playing with my WebTV online. Thanks again.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #7
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again

That could also be part of the problem, seeing as how a PCI video card is connected, the motherboard may be overriding your onboard or AGP video card output... disconnect it entirely and try again...

anyway... its all your call, but i think if your OS is booting up (you said you could get a cd to play), then a reformat is completely unnecessary, find a geek, it definitely sounds like a glitchy something, not a major problem...

-raza
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Old March 20th, 2006, 06:20 AM   #8
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I agree. This isn't a driver issue. I always uninstall all NVIDIA display drivers from the Windows Control Panel before installing the newer driver (as instructed here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/driver_...ion_hints.html) without a problem.

I would follow Raza's advice.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 06:45 AM   #9
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Even with no drivers, you should have a very basic 640x480 resolution. If there is nothing showing on the monitor, that means there is no signal to it.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #10
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couple of things....

Raza:

A couple of things come to mind, but with some confusion so lets see if we can clear some stuff up.

1. What was the configuration before you attempted to install the new card? Was it A) Computer has video built into the motherboard and that is where the moniter plugged into. B)Computer has video built into the motherboard, but there was a seperate video card already installed that the moniter was attached to. C)The mother board has no built in video, the moniter was attached to a video card.

2. Where is the new card now, inside the computer or not?

My suggestions would be:
If A or B above apply then you should remove all video cards, remove the BIOS battery overnight, reinstall the battery, plug the moniter into the onboard VGA port and boot the machine. These steps should revert the bios back to using the on-board VGA port and give you the screen. From there proceed as though you had just bought the new card and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
If C applies, remove the old card and insert the new card. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the new card and disreguard any instructions to delete old drivers. (It seems that they are already gone anyway but it should not matter.)

In either case you should take the moniter to another computer and verify that it is good. I have seen one or two that locked into a high resolution and would not unlock to the lower default resolution without a valid video signal so you might try using a known good computer to set the resolution to 640x480 at 256 colors. Then disconnect and return to the problem computer. While your swapping monitors it might be a good idea to use the known good moniter from the other computer to try to recover your computer.


If all else fails there are ways to run the restore DVD without a screen. You would need another computer to run the DVD from and then using only the keyboard, make the needed selections. Make sure you write down every keystroke you make. Make certain that you stop short of reformating the good computer though so be careful!!!!

As others have mentioned, all graphics cards and moniters are built to respond to a 640x480@256(800x600 is quickly becoming the standard though so you might try it too.) signal for this very reason so if it is not responding correctly the problem is hardware based.

One last suggestion, do you by any chance use any sort of remote desktop software? Either Win XP's remote desktop or VNC or even Gotomypc.com? If so you might could log into it that way and tinker with the settings.

Good luck and continue to let us know how things are going!

Randy
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Old March 20th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #11
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forgot....

One last thought.....if you have to restore the system you can still get your files off the computer before you do it. Take the hard drive out and place it as an additional drive into another Win system. It will appear as an extra drive and you can copy/move/archive/etc. your data files to that computer, DVD, CD, Zip....you get the idea!


Randy
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Old March 20th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #12
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errrr....

confusion #1: not me, i think the dude's name is steve...

-raza
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:17 PM   #13
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Is this a new card you are trying to install?

I have had a bad card that was brand new before where it would not show any video...

I would try another video card and see if that will work for you.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #14
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obviously you are a total newbie about computer.
My best advice is do nothing more than having a real specialist looking at your computer.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #15
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errrr.

without sounding obnoxious, i would agree with the fella up there... it seems to me that there are a number of factors at play in your particular situation, and while i don't beleive that any real harm has been done to your machine, you might have a hard time troubleshooting it. you need to find a good consultant... not a geek squad or a local apathetic store... see if you can find someone who knows their stuff well and has the interest in their work to see the problem through...

tough to find people like that i guess.. if you wanna foot the airway bill i'll fly out to oregon for a day :D

-raza
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