Author Topic: Zig zag-patterned screen  (Read 5466 times)

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Offline erutter

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Zig zag-patterned screen
« on: June 27, 2009, 03:24:22 pm »
Twice today my screen has turned into a gray and black zig zag pattern and my computer has become inoperable. Both times I have turned the computer off and then restarted it and the problem is fixed. Does anyone have any ideas what may be causing this to happen?



Offline PCBruiser

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 03:45:55 pm »
Your video card is probably shot.  And, I am moving this topic to our hardware forum.  What you are seeing is not malware.
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Offline erutter

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 06:14:20 pm »
Thanks for the information. Can anyone in the hardware department give me advice on fixing my video card?


Offline Mister2

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 02:04:58 am »
Hi erutter, and Welcome to us! ;D

Unfortunately, fixing a video card is not practical.  Depending on your system you have the following choices:

1. If you are running the onboard graphics built in to your motherboard, simply drop a new graphics card into the AGP or PCI slot on your motherboard and disable the onboard graphics chip through the BIOS.

2. If the faulty graphics card is separate and your motherboard has onboard graphics, remove the faulty card and enable the onboard graphics.  This should be adequate for most purposes apart from playing games or editing video - it will not be powerful enough.

3. If the faulty graphics card is separate and your motherboard has no onboard graphics then you will have to swap out the graphics card for a new one.

If you are unsure about how to proceed, download Belarc Advisor and run it.  Post back the exact make and model of your motherboard and your current graphics card (the motherboard type is shown in the 'Main Circuit Board' section, the graphics card in the 'Display' section) and we can run through it with you.

Please do not post the whole Belarc report as there is information in there (such as software license keys) that should not be made public.



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Offline erutter

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009, 09:54:33 pm »
So, the problem is getting worse. I can only stay on the computer for short periods without the screen changing into a crazy pattern and freezing up. If I restart, it works for a little while before it happens again. This is the information from Belarc:

Processor a         Main Circuit Board b
1.80 gigahertz AMD Sempron
128 kilobyte primary memory cache
256 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Not hyper-threaded         Board: First International Computer, Inc. K8MC51G PCB 1.x
Serial Number: C3S6217865
Bus Clock: 201 megahertz
BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG 01/13/2006

Controllers         Display
NVIDIA MCP51 Serial ATA Controller
Primary IDE Channel [Controller]
Secondary IDE Channel [Controller]
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller         NVIDIA GeForce 6100 [Display adapter]
NEC FE991SB [Monitor] (18.0"vis, s/n 3600396YA, May 2003)

Thanks for your help!

Offline Mister2

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2009, 12:48:02 am »
Great stuff - thanks!

I can't find much technical info about that motherboard but I suspect it doesn't have onboard graphics.  Check that out by looking at the back of your computer.  You will see a rectangular panel full of connectors - USB, 3 round sound connectors (probably red, green and blue), a square network connection, a parallel port and possibly others.  If these is a connector there for a monitor then you have onboard videa, but I don't think there is one.

So, this is what we need to do.

If there is onboard video, unplug the system and open the case.  Disconnect your monitor from the graphics card (the plug should be fixed into the socket with 2 thumb screws).  Take out the old graphics card - there will be a screw holding the card to the case, there may be a power lead for the fan and there will be a little clip at the end of the socket on the motherboard.  Close the case and connect the monitor to the onboard video socket.

Switch the computer on and you should see a message telling you which keys to press to access the BIOS (it will only show for a second or two).  For your BIOS it should be Ctrl + Alt + Esc or Ctrl + Alt + S.  Press these keys together when the message is on screen and you should be taken to the BIOS screen.  Explore through these screens to see if you can find a setting for enabling onboard video or for disabling a video card.  There is sometimes no option for this so don't worry if you can't find it.  Foillow the on-screen instructions to Save and Exit and allow the system to boot normally.  You may find the onboard video as suitable for your needs and you don't need another card.

EDIT

I have to run off to work now but I just had a thought - you may be running with the onboard video at the moment.  Can you let me know if your monitor is plugged somewhere in that rectangular panel of connectors I mentioned above?  If so then we definitely need to pop in a card to get up and running properly.

I will research a bit more when I get back.
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Offline erutter

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 12:52:51 pm »
Thank you for your advice and instructions. My monitor is plugged in to a port on the rectangular panel on the back of my tower. How should I proceed? Should I follow your instructions for disabling the video card?

 

Offline Mister2

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Re: Zig zag-patterned screen
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 02:10:59 pm »
You are running with onboard graphics at the moment, and it seems this has died and you will need to fit a separate card.

The two main choices of card are ATI (Radeon) or NVidia (GeForce).  Unless you are pushing the limits in gaming or video editing you will find either make adequate and you can really spend as much or as little as you like.  Personally, I would go for NVidia as I have never had a problem with these cards, and even the cheap ones offer good results (my current card cost less than 30 and runs Photoshop perfectly under Windows 7).

What you need to look for is a PCIe card with a decent amount of RAM, ppreferably 256MB or 512MB.  I'm not sure where in the world you are but your local computer shop will have a selection, or else check out these examples on the net:

In the US - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187037

In the UK - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/121152 or http://www.pcnextday.co.uk/products/ProductDetail.asp?ProductCode=1512-2065&GroupCode=PCE950

Newegg is well recommended in the forums, while the 2 UK suppliers are the main people I use.

When you get your new card, install it as described here .  You will probably find that the onboard graphics are automatically disabled when your system detects the card.  If not then power down, get into the BIOS as I described above and see if there is a setting to disable onboard graphics.
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