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I have a Dell Precision 450 (Win7 Ultimate x64). We were moving house, so it spend a good bit of time in a storage unit, just set it up a few days ago (hasn't worked since I got it back).

When I power up everything looks fine.. Then I get to "Press C+A+D to login", when I do it displays the usernames, login background as normal. If I try click on something (anything, even 'blank' screen (wallpaper) or sometimes just moving the mouse will cause the entire screen to go black (actually 3x monitors). Cursor is still visible and moves, will move between monitors ok.

Pressing CAD again will bring back the login screen for a second, moving the mouse etc goes back to black.

I read about DirectX updates causing similar problem so booted into safe-mode successfully (works fine for safe-mode, so in my limited experience this tells me it may be a driver issue).

Did a system restore (earliest I could), no luck. Rolled back drivers for my graphics card (Radeon Sapphire), no luck..

Any ideas/suggestions very much appreciated!

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If you're experiencing visual artifacts when you move the mouse, and they disappear in safe mode then it's definitely an issue with your graphics driver or your video card. Did you try with less monitors connected? 3 monitors could possible be causing a problem with your video card, i.e. the combined resolutions you set could not be supported by the available bandwidth on your card. First try lower resolutions and less monitors. Also update your driver to the latest version, don't roll back, the latest drivers will have the latest fixes for such issues. If these don't fix it do a clean install of the graphics driver (i.e. remove the old driver completely, google for how to do this).

  • Thanks for your reply, will try that now. Although setup is exactly as it was when system last worked so I don't get how things could have changed. But you are right, safe mode working means something is up alright :) – Amy M May 9 '16 at 19:30
  • If you have multiple monitors and connect / disconnect them in different order - especially if using multiple input types such as HDMI together with DVI - it could mess with the setup. I'm having a similar problem right now where an HDMI + DVI setup only works if I turn on the HDMI first, and even then only sometimes ! I know it's a bit ridiculous – user576053 May 9 '16 at 19:35
  • Yep, know it can be a bit finicky. Running now on a basic VGA (tried just DVI also) on a single monitor, same problem... Downloaded the latest drivers and tried installing in safe-mode. Extracted all the files ok and then got to an 'analyzing system' - 'Detecting Hardware' screen and got the message "Detection Driver Error - Contact AMD for Assistance" :/ Also strangely if I try uninstall something I get the error "Windows Installer is not present" or similar... Should I try remove the graphics card completely, use the original mobo built in VGA and see if I can get in and install drivers? Thx – Amy M May 9 '16 at 20:17
  • Check to see if your graphics card is firmly in place. Also are you sure it's an AMD and not NVIDIA? I'm not sure if you can install a driver in safe mode, did you try in regular mode? If you can't do a clean install in regular mode, than remove the driver completely in safe mode, and then try booting into regular mode and see if you still have the issue. If not, it was the driver. – user576053 May 9 '16 at 21:05
  • Hi, Yep I've re-seated the card several times now poking about. Just realised my mobo doesn't have a VGA port, can't find my original card. Went into safe-mode, removed the card and driver in device manager. Then it changed to "Generic VGA controller". Rebooted into safe-mode, updated the driver (through devmgr by pointing at folder where files were extracted since installer didn't work). Seemed to install successfully and was recognised as "AMD Radeon HD 7700" in devmgr. Attempted to reboot normally, could see resolution decreased like safemode, still login problem so can't install there :/ – Amy M May 9 '16 at 21:45

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