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I have been asked by a relative to have a look at her Fujitso Siemens Amarillo 32-bit Vista laptop, which recently started to act strangely. I do not have reliable information about the exact sequence of events which caused this.

When the machine is booted the display starts up in a "show the screen with a few missing pixels here and there, 2.5 times". Please see illustration from inside Windows runing Windows Update:

enter image description here

When running the nvidea driver, the machine blue screens at start up as the initialization timed out. Without the nvidea driver or in safe mode it comes up as expected. I do not right now have the opportunity to attach an external display.

My theory is that a driver update has left the GeForce GO 7600 graphics card in an incorrect state which the normal driver software does not expect and cannot handle so more "drastic means" are necessary but this is not something I normally do, so I would appreciate an evaluation of my theory, and perhaps even pointers to a suitable tool for fixing this. Again, this is not only in windows but straight from startup.

Suggestions on how to fix this?

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2 Answers 2

Just a very late response for whomever found this post through some kind of search. I had a different problem with my Geforce Go 7600 but I recognize the vertical 'dotted' lines in groups of three or four that already show on the BIOS screen. There would be no way to get the machine to load the GeForce drivers or it would blue screen. I found that I could load Linux with the video set to VESA (=nomodeset on kernel line), but when I later edited a xorg generated xorg.conf file to load the nouveau driver (accelerated GeForce driver for Linux) with the NoAccel option set to TRUE, it would run as normal which meant I could also use my non-vesa screen resolution of 1280x800. But now the interesting part comes. After I ran it in Linux using the nouveau driver with NoAccel "true", I found that the problems with the card had been resolved. It would also run as normal under Windows and the stripes on the bios screen disappeared. My theory is that the overheating of the GeForce Go may not actually destroy the hardware but just set some eeprom registers to invalid values, and that the Linux nouveau driver resets these registers to valid values. Have been using the laptop ever since without problems (problems appeared during a heatwave...). Could be that quite a few laptops have been dumped a little too soon! Btw my laptop was a Toshiba Satellite A100. Regards.

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Forgot to add that after the VESA ('nomodeset') experiment I booted Linux on runlevel 3 (non-graphic multiuser, Fedora) without the nomodeset and only then did the xorg.conf editing. This just to avoid confusion. –  Alex Aug 27 '13 at 19:58
    
I have now found that getting Ubuntu 12.04 Server to boot (using "help" enter, enter) and then install will then do something to both the GPU and the Ethernet chip - the GPU gets slightly better and can boot to VGA graphics but the cabled Ethernet controller can get a DHCP answer after quite a while but not get a route to the internet - so I could boot again into something looking almost normal. I am now trying to get a new Windows 7 trial installed so I can get the latest nvidea drivers applied when the GPU is in a good mood and see if it helps. –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Oct 4 '13 at 22:06

Not terribly clear from your post what you mean "not only in windows but straight from startup", but if this appears in the BIOS screen at all it likely a issue with the hardware of some sort.

Possible things that can cause the symptoms:

  • Bad motherboard
  • Bad GPU
  • Cable connecting display to motherboard is not seated properly or bad

If your system has been knocked about or dropped, gotten wet, or overheated for any reason it could cause the above.

If it is not occurring at the BIOS screen, the possible things to try before thinking it is a hardware issue would be:

  • Remove your system's battery and disconnect it from power for 10 minutes.
  • Reset BIOS to defaults
  • Boot into Windows and use the System Restore feature to roll back the system to a date before you updated the video driver
  • Try booting off of a Linux live CD or Windows PE disc to see if it is related to the Windows installation in any way.

Regarding your theory: all video cards have a BIOS ROM extension that runs before Windows starts. I've never heard of a driver update modifying this BIOS ROM, not to mention modifying it incorrectly. I don't even know if nVidia video cards have flashable BIOS ROM like PC's. While I think it is extremely unlikely and still would bet on hardware failure, you might try downgrading your video drivers or trying different ones and see what happens.

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This appears in the BIOS screen. I do not think this is a driver problem that can be corrected by rolling back and how would a Linux Live CD fix this at bios time? –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 4 '12 at 14:38
    
Thank you for clarifying that it occurs at the BIOS screen. I'll edit my post to be more clear. With that now established, it's very likely a hardware issue and you are looking at replacing the motherboard, GPU, or cable that connects the screen to the motherboard. –  ultrasawblade Feb 4 '12 at 18:48

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