TechSpot

Blue stop screen and suspected video card driver problem

By groovycat
Apr 12, 2013
Post New Reply
  1. Hi Techspot!

    I am having some problems with the blue stop screen, which I suspect is being caused by my video card driver. I have noted some details, here below, and would greatly appreciate anyone's help, if possible.

    The system:
    Laptop: Sony Vaio VGN-FE31Z
    OS: Xp MCE 32 bit
    RAM: 2GB - memtest86+ with no errors
    video card: nVidia GeForce Go 7600
    System defrag approx 4 weeks ago

    The problem and symptoms:
    1. My laptop will not boot to Windows in normal mode (I get the blue stop screen) when my video card driver is installed.
    2. Whether my video card is installed or not and I boot in safe mode or normally (only when the driver is not installed, as above), there are numerous short horizontal lines across the screen, which increase in number as I drag windows around the screen/scroll pages. Some of these lines flicker while others are temporarily still; if I refresh the screen, most of them disappear.
    3. Whether in safe or normal mode and I scroll a page or drag a window, this is slow and jumpy.

    The context:
    A few days ago, I was watching a full-screen video on Youtube, but did not have any other programs or browser windows open (so I assume the problem is not memory related, which is possibly confirmed by the memtest86 result of no errors). During the video, the laptop screen went black for a few seconds (as if it had been turned off, not just a black fill) and then I received the blue stop screen. Unfortunately, I do not remember the full stop message, but I did take a note of the file (nv4_disp), which I assumed to be the nVidia driver given the circumstances and the filename. Assuming this, I simply restarted the machine. On reboot, and after the XP logo and green loading progress bar had completed, the machine went to the blue stop screen again with the error 'PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA'.

    Things I have tried/done:
    a. Assuming the video card driver to be at fault and thinking that it my have been as a result of a background update, I tried to roll-back the driver, but there were no other versions available.
    b. I then tried to get the latest driver from the Sony website (apparently, only available from Sony as it is a laptop card and not supported by nVidia), but was only able to download the original driver pack that came with my machine. I did this and updated the driver, but the problem persisted.
    c. I then searched for another driver on the www and came across laptopvideo2go where I downloaded a later version based on the PCI/VEN and SUBSYS numbers of my card. Unfortunately, this made no difference and the problems as per 1, 2 and 3, above, persist.
    d. I uninstalled the video card driver and tried to boot in normal mode, which did work, but did not solve problems 2 and 3, above.
    e. approximately 3 months ago, I opened the machine casing to repair the WiFi switch and gave everything a clean even though it was already very dust-free.

    I would greatly appreciate any advice or potential solutions/further testing to try.

    Many thanks,
    James.
     
  2. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,982   +909

    Run memtest a few more times and see if it gives you errors. The unfortunate thing here is that if it was a video card issue, we cannot update the drivers to cure this if they are the problem since Sony doesnt allow 3rd party drivers (in your case it would be an nVidia driver) to be installed on their machines. The ones on their site are not up to date 99% of the time. I cannot even find a display driver on Sony's site. I only found your model under the UK site. Under the US site, typing in the model VGN-FE31Z does not yield any results.
     
  3. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,982   +909

    Well after a bunch of research, there is a way to modify the driver to work on OEM PCs. But it is nothing a normal user should try.
     
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,872   +166

    This is a pretty old laptop by now... The video chip may be dying
     
  5. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,982   +909

    Yeah, that is what I was also thinking.
     
  6. groovycat

    groovycat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Many thanks, both.

    Yes, this is a UK laptop that I have had for about 7 years, so support is dwindling, no doubt. With regards the comment re the video chip, is there any way of testing that thoery any further?

    JC713,
    The modification you talk about, is it a modified .inf file or is there more to it?

    James.
     
  7. groovycat

    groovycat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Update.

    I managed to find another driver and install it, with the following results:

    1. I can boot to normal mode without the blue screen appearing.
    2. There is no change to the appearance or functionality whatsoever I.e. points 2 and 3 from my original post persist.

    In addition, I ran memtest86+ for 8 passes in one session, which brings me to a total of 13 passes with no failures.

    At this point, I'm thinking it is the video card hardware as you suggested and will now look to replace it, which is likely to be difficult as it is a relatively old laptop and, I understand, these things are soldered to the motherboard. Any advice in this respect would also be gratefully received.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,872   +166

    You will probably have to replace the whole motherboard, and decide if it is worth the effort and cost to do so
     
  9. groovycat

    groovycat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    In the end, I took my computer to a workshop specialised in diagnosing these types of problems, which turned out to be a burnt-out connection on the video card and had to be repaired with some specialist Surface Mounted Device (SMD - a glorified soldering iron I think) equipment.
     
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,872   +166

    So what did they charge you?
     
  11. groovycat

    groovycat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    € 121 including VAT/IVA
     
     
  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,872   +166

    Cool, thanks:)
     


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.