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After noticing odd events occurring on my desktop computer, which led to not being able to boot normally, I did a scan for viruses on multiple levels (Initially failed scans from the OS in safe mode, so then I ran some scans from a Live Ubuntu CD, and then again in safe mode with some success). The scans found and deleted/quarantined a few things. However, I still could not get it to boot in normal mode. It would always hang up before the log in screen appeared.

I was starting to think there was an issue with my graphics card because; After opening it up to check for dust, I realized that in all my previous dust cleaning sessions, I missed cleaning out the graphics card fan! Some 4 years of dust was caked on... I suspect this led to over heating. I couldn't be 100% sure it was my graphics card, and I didn't want to shell out the money for a replacement so quickly. So I decided to cut my loses, wipe my hard drives and attempt a re install.

During the installation, it hung up on the "detecting graphics" screen, which supported my idea that my graphics card over heated.

I feel certain now that the viruses are gone, but I wanted a second opinion before I bought a new graphics card. How can I check to see if I need to replace my graphics card? I can't think of anyone willing who would let me "borrow" their graphic card to see if I can continue installation.

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Any down-voters care to explain? I'm willing to take some constructive criticism. –  Ben Oct 3 '12 at 11:55
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A very basic test... boot up to the live CD, do something that you think might push the graphics card a little, periodically try to feel the GPU. if it is too hot to touch, then the card is having overheating issues probably related to the dust locking up the fan (if it's locked up). The easy way to see if it's a GPU problem is to put in a cheap GPU to see if it will now install/boot.

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Ok, but since I've cleaned out the dust from the GPU, will it still get hot to the touch? –  Ben Oct 2 '12 at 20:28
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Possibly (probably) not, BUT if it DOES get extremely hot, then it's still an indicator that it's fried. It's like the memory testers you see in hardware labs... throw a stick of RAM in it, if it says it's bad, IT'S BAD! If it does not say it's bad, that does not mean it's good. It just means it didn't find an issue. –  UtahJarhead Oct 2 '12 at 20:40
    
Good point, I'll try this. –  Ben Oct 2 '12 at 20:46
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