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

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



Posts: 16,314   +36
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.
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


Posts: 7,647   +755
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.
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