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Black screen of death and odd BIOS text coloring

By phonb · 39 replies
Oct 14, 2010
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  1. Today was very strange as I spent most of it troubleshooting. I powered down my comp last night for the first in awhile and booted up later in the day only to find something odd. During the bios boot up screens the text had an odd look to it. Every two letters would be white, then every next two letters would be brown. e.g. "press a key to continue" would be colored: WWBBW W BBW WB BWWBBWWB. Afterwards the xp loading screen would ensue yet I could still see a similar brownish color in the text throughout loading. Then after the load screen, I get no output from my videocard and I get a black screen of darkness for all eternity.

    After troubleshooting I decided to re-install video drivers and uninstalling a Windows Theme app which I expect was the cause, things seem to be back to normal. The bios text during bootup are all white once again.

    I've been unable to find anything about the bios weird coloring that indicate a system error and am wondering if yall know of anything like this. Thanx.

    Also I've got a bunch of sys errors in my event viewer that i'll try to sort through and post. Most of which I've never seen or heard of before such as:

    NVidia driver:
    The driver nv4_disp for the display device \Device\Video0 got stuck in an infinite loop. This usually indicates a problem with the device itself or with the device driver programming the hardware incorrectly. Please check with your hardware device vendor for any driver updates.

    Source 'sptd':
    Driver detected an internal error in its data structures for .
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    It appears your video drivers were somehow corrupted, i.e. nv4_disp.sys which is an Nvidia display driver. We take it that since the video card driver reinstallation everything is running smoothly, correct?

    You may want to check to see how well your card is seated.
  3. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    well it's been happening again after a day of solace. i really don't have anymore info except during bootup bios screens the text is still varying in color but sometimes it's also like there some interference and abruptly shakes or fuzzes until after the windows logo when all is lost including video output. Ive cleaned and reseated my video card also.

    I spent most of the day backing up in prep of a reformat but I am still unsure if this will be a fix. This has all the symptoms of a faulting video card, though I spent the entire day in Safe Mode and everything was fine - which makes me think its drivers corrupting though I have reinstalled them many times.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Yes, it sounds like it is the video card failing. Your description of texts of varying colors, etc. sounds like what is called artifacting meaning either the card is overheating or dying. Since this even occurs at boot-up when heat isn't an issue it appears a new card is in order.
  5. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thanx Route44 I think your right. My system has been running fine for a week or so and today I decided to run a test by loading a game, and everything went kaput again. Am currently looking into a new card. I posted a thread in the A/V thread if yall have any suggestions. Thanks again R44.
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Thanks phonb for getting back to us. One cheap way of determining if it is a video card is to install another one before purchasing. of course this means you or a friend have an extra one lying about or said friend will allow you to borrow his card for diagnostic purposes.
  7. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Sad to say I do not have an extra card to test out. Though I'm prepping to format my system to see if that helps before ordering a new card. Whats peculiar to me is that I have no troubles running in safe mode on the 'Vgasave' adapter/driver. Is that a fail safe way of a display adapter to work in case of component failure? Also am I killing my monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 906BW) by running in 800x600 while in safe mode? lol
  8. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    No, you aren't killing your monitor. Being able to run in Safe Mode is a very strong sign that the issue is driver related.
  9. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    I have suspected driver issues also but I have tried every version for my card there is. I have some minidumps that I found that may help diagnose whats happening.

    Attached Files:

  10. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    All four error codes are the same 0xEA: THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER
    A device driver problem has caused the system to pause indefinitely (hang). Typically, this is caused by a display driver waiting for the video hardware to enter an idle state. This might indicate a hardware problem with the video adapter, or a faulty video driver.

    All four cite the same Nvidia display driver as the cause: nv4_disp.dll

    Try this: Uninstall the card and check the gold plated tabs that insert in the video card slot on the motherboard. Are they "dirty"? If so take a pencil eraser and gently clean them off and reinstall.

    How is the video card's fan: clean or full of dust? (I'm sure you've already cleaned but just in case...)
  11. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    I cleaned the card again and cannot see any imperfections on the tabs. The fansink stopped working awhile ago but I've been closely monitoring the temps so I don't cook it.

    Also, I am able to boot in vga mode though if I try to up the resolution from 640x380 the system crashes in the same manner. Is there a way to make the card boot with windows drivers instead of the nvidia one? I'm more and more convincing myself that I'm having driver issues though what's peculiar is I can't up the resolution or color depth in VGA mode.

    Edit: I googled the nv4_disp.dll 'infinite loop' error and got a textbook worth of information. Most people had problems years ago and my card is dated so I'm hoping that the solutions they suggested will help. So far I updated my bios and rolled back my display drivers but no luck yet.
  12. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    The fansink concerns me.

    Looking forward to see if any of the research helps you. It may be time for a new card.
  13. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    After updating drivers for my Intel chipset the problem seems to be solved. Possibly some of the newer drivers from Nvidia were conflicting with the old chipset drivers. I'll be holding off on any 3d applications for now and see how things progress. My system is over 3 years old so myabe i'll wait until I can get a new one. In case of any problems I'll post an update but hopefully I can consider this matter closed. Thanks again R44, for now at least your help saved me from buying a new card.
  14. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Excellent! :grinthumb Good diagnostic work on your part and good summation of probable conflict between the newer Nvidia drivers and your older chipset drivers.

    So it was drivers afterall, just not the ones we thought. :stickout:
  15. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Looks like the solution was only temporary, after hours of normal computing I'm back to the crashes. Everything ran fine in the normal startup of xp though a new symptom arose which I think points to the card failing. After a few minutes of video playback (any format and resolution on any media player) the video started to flicker and shake. I found out that my video settings were set to 2 displays that are cloned. I promptly set the setting to one and the problem vanished. An hour later while simply navigating explorer, crash nv driver endless loop again. What makes me think now the card is the culprit is video playback worked fine but only momentarily. Looks like I may end up ordering a new card, bumski...
  16. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Your current card is a PCI-Express, correct?
  17. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    yes it's an MSI Nvidia geforce NX7600 gs Pci-E
  18. mayokittens

    mayokittens TS Rookie

    there is another option. bake your video card in your over. i know how that sounds, but search for bake video card.

    its a little out there, but if you are going to just throw it away why not. i have 9800 gt im probably going to try this on, ive got a little testing left to do but it seems likely mine is shot

    and i can tell you ive had 8 customers bring me OCed video cards that i tried this method on. it worked for 3 of them.
  19. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    phonb, what is your budget? It should not cost that much to replace.
  20. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    My budget is limited, but i can afford the cost of replacing the card. Though I need to be sure it is a faulty card and not something else such as a power supply, mobo, or hard drive. I've already tested my Ram and is error free thru 26+ passes. I'm still trying to diagnose why text in my Bios after the initial boot screen is half white and half orange. Just as Bios beeps can diagnose a problem I think the colored text means a certain error.
  21. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    One last minidump I could use help with. I think I'm gonna go ahead and order the new card. I'm seeing more and more drawing errors while running in VGA and safe mode.

    Attached Files:

  22. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Well now here is something out of left field! Your error code is 0xA and one of the major causes of this error is hardware.

    As per your minidump it specifically cited courrupted memory as the cause of your crash. Bad RAM will wreck havoc on a system. Why this didn't show up before I have no clue but one thing I have learned over the past 4+ years is that corrupted memory will throw out a myriad of error codes and cite other causes but all the time it is bad RAM.

    Therefore you’ll need to run memtest on your RAM.

    See the link below and follow the instructions. There is a newer version than what is listed; use the newer. If you need to see what the Memtest screen looks like go to reply #21. The third screen is the Memtest screen.

    Step1 - Let it run for a LONG time. The rule is a minimum of 7 Passes; the more Passes after 7 so much the better. The only exception is if you start getting errors before 7 Passes then you can skip to Step 2.

    There are 8 individual tests per Pass. Many people will start this test before going to bed and check it the next day.

    If you have errors you have corrupted memory and it needs to be replaced.

    Step 2 – Because of errors you need to run this test per stick of RAM. Take out one and run the test. Then take that one out and put the other in and run the test. If you start getting errors before 7 Passes you know that stick is corrupted and you don’t need to run the test any further on that stick.

    Link: https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic62524.html

    * Get back to us with the results.

    *** If Memtest shows no errors then find the voltage specs of your RAM and compare it to the voltage setting in your BIOS. Do they match?
  23. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thx R44, I had already run memtest 86+ which I mentioned in an earlier post. I think it was 27 passes with no errors with 2 sticks in slots 1 and 2. I haven't however tested each stick separately or tried moving the sticks to slot 1 and 3 as they do not share like 1-2, or 3-4 do. I'll try that and also check up on the voltages.
  24. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    Man. I'm sorry. I forgot you had done that. I think I read too many dumps in a day. :eek: Refresh my memory, you did check out the voltage settings as well, correct?

    I'm wondering if the board itself has issues or does not like the memory configuration as I believe I suggested once before.

    Again, sorry, but I am now wondering why corrupted memory came up. It is known that bad RAM can pass this test from time to time.
  25. phonb

    phonb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Voltages are set correct. As to the configuration of the RAM I consulted the boards manual and have some questions as to what kind of Ram I have and proper setup.

    The RAM I have: F2-6400CL4D-1GBPK (2 sticks) DDRII512 PC2-6400
    The MOBO I have: MSI P965 Neo-F

    From the manual, "The mainboard provides 4 240-pin non ECC DDRII 800/667/533 DIMM slots (notice 512 absent) and supports up to 8GB of system memory." Does that mean my DDRII512 is incompatible?

    Next, is my RAM single or dual channel? The manual indicates acceptable placements for each stick of dual channel RAM in slots 1/3, 2/4, and 1/2/3/4. Currently each stick is in 1/2 as it was when the computer was shipped to me years ago.

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