"Black screen of coma"

By monton
Nov 29, 2006
  1. I have a baffling problem with an older computer and XP pro.
    ASUS motherboard, AMD 1200 Thunderbird, 256MB RAM, ATI AIW Radeon VIVO video card.
    After installing XP a standard VGA driver was loaded. I downloaded the ATI AIW Radeon series driver. Before installing that Windows installed its AIW version video driver. I could not change the display from 640x480 4bit color. Windows alerted me that the resolution was low and would fix it for me if I clicked on the ballon. I did and the screen immediately went black. Crt+Alt+Del ineffective. On restart I must enter menu to select "last config that worked" which gets me back to where I started. I uninstalled the MS AIW driver and installed the ATI provided drivers. I was able to set the resolution to 1024x768 32bit color. On reboot I get the Windows logo and then a black screen. On reboot using "last config that worked" It starts normally but then I get a warning from the Catalyst software warning that there is a problem with the hardware, software, or the phase of the moon, etc. If I click okay it functions normally. In video properties it states I am at 640x480 and 4 bit color while actually at 1024x768. If I cancel out I'm fine if I click okay it changes to 640x480 4bits. I then have to use "last good config" to access the normal desktop.
    Using either set of drivers I cannot change any settings for refresh rate, resolution or color depth. Display is 1024x768 and 32bit color depth but is reported incorrectly as 640x480.
    Upon installing software that requires a reboot (Avast for example) I get error messages because I have to use the last config that worked and not a normal boot sequence.
    My guess is that the pre XP AIW card is the problem.
    Any thoughts out there?
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