Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop - video tracing - characters change at random


TS Rookie
I have not been one to ask for help to get my PC out of trouble and I am new to this forum. I have built a handful or two of PC's over the years. I have a Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop which started having random video issues such as (video traces and random pixel change) then I noticed random characters flickering or appearing on the text in my BIOS (even with my harddrive removed).

I am not completely familiar with character mapping and if this could be a VIDEO CARD issue, but I suspected it was a BIOS VIRUS. SInce I could not flash the BIOS without having Power connected AND a good battery in the unit, I shelled out 100.00 bucks to buy a new battery. I flashed the BIOS to the latest ver but I am still having the same problem. I have seen video failures before but not like this. I performed a bootscan with AVAST afterwords but no dice. As far as I know the only hardware "virus's can effect" are the HD and BIOS?
Once again while I am looking at a page in the BIOS, I see letters being replaced by other characters and the longer I am on that page it becomes unreadable. (Sounds like a Virus to me)
OR could it just be I need to replace the VIDEO card?

Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop
64 Mb ATI Mobility Radeon 9700
Windows XP and 7



Helper on the Fringe
Welcome to TechSpot! Your thread is better suited to the Windows OS or Hardware forum, so I m going to ask the moderator to move it. I hope you subscribed to the thread because we don't email the reply.

If I had to give you a quick answer, I's suggest replacing the video card.


TS Rookie
thanks for your help

I am probably going to give that a shot - just want to make sure I clear up any possible virus's

? Do I have to join each thread category as it looks like you said?

Thanks again


TS Special Forces
We prefer one thread per problem so posting the same problem in multiple forums would be frowned upon. Yours has been moved to what I thought is the appropriate forum.


TS Rookie
Video random characters -Solved by replacing V-board

Replacing the Video board in the Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop cured my erratic behavior causing me to think it was virus related. THANKS for the support suggestions. Glen