I'm using a Dell D830 laptop, and over the last few weeks it's been developing a very irritating screen flicker problem that leads to the system slowing down almost to the point of unusability.

At seemingly random times (no commonality between how long the system has been running, what I was doing, what applications were open, etc.) my screen (I use two external LCD's with the laptop closed in a dock) flickers for a moment, then the system becomes incredibly slow. The screen redraws painfully slowly--almost like what you might expect to see with generic graphics drivers installed--and the entire system is maddeningly unresponsive. The only thing that seems to be able to correct the issue is a restart.

I've checked the event logs and nothing out of the ordinary is there, and definitely nothing that's common to all of the events.

I'm running XP Pro SP2.

Any ideas?

  • Have you tried it with the screen open to get some better heat dissipation? – spowers Mar 6 '10 at 18:00

Use SIW's Sensors to check the temperature of your CPU and/or video card. If you have an nVidia video card, the latest driver update (196.75) is reported to be causing overheating, and you should probably roll back to the older version (196.21).


I had the exact same issue on a Dell D830 running Linux. I probed the CPU temp sensors and they were in the 70°C range. I placed a small fan next to the laptop to blow air under the docking laptop thru the docking station, the temperature dropped, the display flickered again, and everything sped up.


It's probably overheating; try opening the lid or adding an elevated base to ensure good air circulation. I'm partial to the one by Griffin Technologies.

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