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For some reason, my crash logs aren't working, so no help there. I ran every diagnostic I could find. It seemed to be a graphics driver issue. Upgraded an old XP machine to Windows 7 and have spent almost 2 months bluescreening, crashing, suddenly rebooting, freezing, freezing with sound sputtering eternally... you get the picture.

After trying just about everything, I found that the nVidia installed isn't compatible with DirectX 11, so no driver update and no overwriting back to an earlier DirectX version, it ships with Win 7. Feh. New graphics solution is a ways off, money-wise. None of the driver update programs mentioned that, I had to try doing it manually to find out.

Been living in safe mode for a couple weeks. No audio for video tutorials on WordPress Dev, but in normal mode crashes of all varieties 10 to 20 times a day. Found someone's youtube vid (blessedly made with no audio) how to get sound in safe mode! Hazzaaaah! Only a few registry keys added and woohoo! Funny thing. Safe mode was crashing, too, before I added audio. Now, it's not. I ran it for three days day and night and it was solid. ?!?!

It's making me wish I could try swapping out some of my normal mode drivers to use the safe mode drivers. I did try disabling the nVidia driver early on, in normal mode. No joy. I grabbed the audio registry key from the normal mode driver for safe mode good fortune, so it doesn't seem that disabling that would help normal mode. It's one thing I haven't tried, though.

I've crashed so many times that upon reboot, settings were changed, things didn't work right... in safe mode, Kaspersky's greyed out, Outlook and Word don't open, etc. I'd like to make normal mode work again.

I found on SuperUser old discussions of where safe mode gets the driver list it runs on. Apparently, those aren't the drivers themselves, however.
I'd like to copy that list of drivers I see just before safe mode loads. I might be able to find them if I could study that list.

Is there a way?

Thanks, Linda Sue

And to honor a tagline from the areas of SuperUser I've searched,

"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."

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    You already use the safe mode drivers in normal mode. Safe mode doesn't use different drivers, it just loads a subset of drivers. – fixer1234 Jul 18 '16 at 6:11
  • When I disable the video card's driver and the machine still runs, I'm thinking a generic driver is used, instead, but unless I'm mistaken, there are more than one for normal mode to choose from. I had hoped to see which driver is loaded in safe-mode. It works very, very well. So, which driver is loading in this subset is of interest. – Linda Jul 20 '16 at 2:02
  • I've found this: sourcedaddy.com/windows-7/how-to-analyze-boot-logs.html and have enabled boot logging for both normal and safe-modes. ...I hope to compare the two. The normal boot log is quite lengthy. I stopped printing out after 16 pages. ** This may be my answer but may take me some time. At least, if anyone else is looking for how to SEE what drivers load in safe-mode, this method will work.** – Linda Jul 20 '16 at 2:03
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DirectX 11 has nothing to do with you having an older card. Get the lastest drivers from nV site for Windows 7 and that part should be fine. Windows 7 can work very well with older cards.

Safe mode loads the basic drivers, those W7 has included in it, none of the ones you install for specific components.

When you say: "Upgraded an old XP machine to Windows 7", did you actually update from XP to 7 or installed 7 from scratch ? If you just upgraded, you should perform a fresh install, but before that, make sure you pick-up the necessary drivers for all components (chipset, LAN, video, audio, etc). Fresh-install W7, test its stability, then install the drivers and that will make it easy for you to determine which one is the broken one.

  • nVidia's website driver update is where I downloaded the most current driver for my video card and got the warning that my video card is INCOMPATIBLE with DirectX 11. – Linda Jul 18 '16 at 16:57
  • DX11 compatibility is not relevant. What's the exact model of the card ? – Overmind Jul 19 '16 at 7:57
  • nVidia GeForce 6150 LE I can't follow your reasoning, so far. For the moment, I'm stuck with Windows 7's only option: DirectX 11. And a video card that nVidia warns is incompatible with DirectX 11. What is the irrelevant part you refer to? – Linda Jul 20 '16 at 1:56
  • Try downloading 309.08 - WHQL driver from here: geforce.com/drivers/results/82758 or even go as back as getting 185.85WHQL , then uninstall any driver you have and install the 309.08. It should work without any problem. – Overmind Jul 20 '16 at 9:42
  • Sorry, I neglected to mention this old machine is 32-bit. The drivers you found in the link are 64-bit. I tried the driver that worked in XP and the driver suggested by Dell for someone with same problem. I need a bios update but am afraid to crash during the process and lose the motherboard. Ok, I'm on the page with the entire list of WHQL drivers. Thanks! I'll try them all! – Linda Jul 20 '16 at 16:51

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