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I'm using an Dell M90 Precision Laptop which has a NVidia Quadro FX 2500M graphics card and is running Windows XP.

Laptop has been running fine - but a few weeks ago screen went 'white' - restarted computer- bios and startup screens show weird green dots and stripes, normal startup only shows a black screen... only VGA mode works to display something.

I've been trying to remove and reinstall the correct drivers downloaded from Dell's website -> no solution.

I gave up and reinstalled XP - everything was working perfect again.

2 weeks later - again the white screen - tried everything again (flashin new bios also - nothing works)

Reinstalled XP - everyhting was working again, so I made a DriveSnapShot of the partition.

Today -> again the 'white screen'. Ok, no problem ...I was thinking all I needed to do was to restore the DriveSnapShot backup... Few minutes later the backup is restored ... but guess what: video driver does not work correctly...

As the DriveSnapShot restored the complete partition, as it was at the time everything was working perfectly, this would mean my driver problems are due to 'settings' in the bios or on the graphics-card itself + these 'settings' can get overridden by doing a new XP-install....

I'm out of options, can somebody help me to find a solution for this problem:

  • Is there some way to backup and restore a bios after seeing some problems?
  • Is there some way to know what is causing this problem like a bios diff utility?


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...bios and startup screens show weird green dots and stripes...

If you're seeing the problem at the BIOS and startup screens - those that appear before the drivers are loaded - you could well be looking at a hardware failure. I'd be suspicious of the graphics, power and motherboard.

Normally my next bit of advice would be to try disconnecting the graphics card and see where that takes you, but you're on a laptop so that might be difficult...

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The very first time I had this, I was thinking the same, and I have buyed a new graphics card of 250$ but this doesn't seem to be the problem - it has the same issues after some time. When I reinstall XP - all problems are gone for a while - so the installation of xp has the possibility to "clean" out all problems one way or another.... and I would like to know how they do it - it's a mystery to me... – sfonck Jan 4 '11 at 17:13
@sfonck Reinstalling probably doesn't fix anything - if the problem occurs on the pre-windows screens the problem is outside the remit of the OS - but it might (for example) give the computer / graphics card / etc time to cool down or something to discharge. If you've replaced the graphics card (especially if it cost $250) then next I'd be looking at is a power problem (either you don't have a strong enough PSU or it's become faulty) and also check for overheating (think I forget to mention that one in my answer - but get SpeedFan or something to check out your system temps). – DMA57361 Jan 4 '11 at 19:24

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