Tiny colored dots all over my desktop....

By Goofy Newfie ยท 23 replies
Apr 20, 2006
  1. ...as well as distorted images in certain windows and red 'blotches" (sorry, best descriptive term I could come up with) on radio selection buttons in menus. Just did a clean install of windows. Could it be a driver issue? I installed a newer graphics card during the install (FX5200). I didn't have this issue before the install (or before the new vid card).

    My specs:

    MSI 865 PE Neo2 mobo
    Celeron 2.4GHZ
    1.0 GB PC3200 DDR400 RAM
    WD Caviar 120GB @ 7200rpm, WD Caviar 60GB @ 7200RPM
    Geforce FX 5200 128MB Graphics card (Newest drivers from Nvidia)
    Windows XP Home w/ SP2

    Thanks in advance for any insight.
  2. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    when installing a new graphics card, you need to unsintall the current gfx card driver too then reinstall it. heres how:

    1. Unplug nic card or modem from net or disconnect. (I never do this)

    2. Disable any AntiVirus Software. If you don't disable, it could give you trouble. (This either)

    3. Uninstall current vid driver (If you have an nVidia mobo and a nVidia vidcard, make sure you only uninstall the video driver, not all nVidia drivers or your mobo will lose its drivers also.)

    4. Reboot

    5. As the reboot comes up, after the quick memory test and hard drives have been recognized, hit F8 and enter "SAFE MODE." On some boards if you hit F8 too early you will enter other utilities.

    6. On reboot into safe mode WinXP SP1/SP2 will auto detect and ask you to install drivers. You should be able to can cancel out of the auto install hardware wizard move to step #7. If you can NOT cancel out of auto detect wizard then, navigate to device manager->display adapters->highlight (nVidia, ATI, etc.) and click uninstall or remove but don't reboot. (From Driver Cleaner ReadMe, modified for clarity by Rike)

    7. Run Driver Cleaner with the filter for the driver (nVidia, ATI, etc.) you just uninstalled . Quit DriverCleaner and restart into Windows XP normal mode.

    8. Install new vid driver. Note for SLI users: sometimes the driver doesn't install for both cards. To ensure proper installation, you should check in Device Manager to be sure the driver is installed for both cards. If it isn't, you should right-click on the yellow-question-marked card and click on Update Driver. (JRd1st)

    9.. Empty the recycle bin and Reboot

    10. Redo what was undone in #2 & #1, in that order. Reboot if needed to re-establish Internet connection.

    11. Enjoy

    (source: http://www.tweaksrus.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4966)
  3. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    This is a brand new installation of Windows. I would still have to do a re-install of the driver?
  4. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Did you update your mobo drivers too? Uninstall the nvidia drivers and then the video card in Device Manager. Also reseat the card jsut to be sure. Reboot and let Windows install default drivers. Now dwnload and install latest mobo drivers and install. Reboot. Install nvidia drivers again.
    If that doesn't work try rolling back the nvidia drivers to the 77.xx release.
  5. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    That sounds more like it. I'll give it a go. Thanks to those who replied.
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Can you post a screenshot so we can see the dots you describe?

    Try what is recommended above first. If those don't work, another possibility is an overheat problem or faulty ram on the video card.

    You can test the overheat theory by opening up your case and blowing a house fan on the GPU to see if that doesn't stop the dots from showing up.
  7. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    Nothing has worked so far. I haven't tried the house fan idea yet, but I will try that too. Here's my screenshot; don't know if anybody here is a hockey fan, but Iggy isn't supposed to have spots.

    Knowing that it's hard to see the actual spots on that shot, I have uploaded a full-sized pic of the screenshot to my webspace, located at:


    Attached Files:

  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Ah, I see the problem. It is that Naslund is whooping some Iggy **** on the boards there and.....

    oh wait a minute... you're in the playoffs and the nucks sucked again... :dead:

    It's kind of hard to tell from that screenshot. Are you getting dots in EVERYTHING you do? Are the dots in exactly the same place, or are the dot locations changing?

    Doesn't look like overheating from that screenshot to tell the truth. May be a faulty card, but I would COMPLETELY remove all graphics drivers and reinstall first. Also try updating your motherboard's chipset drivers.
  9. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    If I run certain applications, such as a silly little Popcap game called Rocket Mania, the video degrades so much that the various message screens in the game are unreadable. The little colored dots are mostly on the desktop, but reappear in the game. I never had this trouble with my good ole dependable radeon 7000. Any thoughts? (I did the house fan thing. No luck.) Also, if I refresh the monitor (ie. switch windows identities and back again, it comes back clear for a while, but the dots reappear after a while.) Hope this info helps.
  10. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Well time for the TIME honoured question! What wattage is your PSU? Also 3.3, 5 and 12Volt rated amps. You should be able to read this off the side label on the unit.

    It might just be a lame card.
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Yeah, but nothing sucs more then trying to remain a Leaf fan and the *****s fire Pat like it's all his fault that he can't get 2nd rate players to play like they're league leading scorers.

    Back to the red dots. Clearly removing and reconnecting the monitor cable has no effect? Try changing the refresh rate on the monitor to 65Hz.(im looking for more clues)
  12. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    300W PS
  13. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    I've already tried varying the refresh rates from 60-85 Hz. It's clear for a while, but degrades gradually. Is it possible I have a bad graphics card?
  14. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    Latest Screen shot at 1024X768 resolution with a refresh rate of 65Hz.


    See what I mean by degraded?
  15. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Do you have another machine (or a friend with one) where you can test that graphics card?

    Chipset drivers and video card drivers are up to date?

    You have uninstalled all drivers and reinstalled?

    300w psu is also a suspect here...
    How many watts SHOULD you have? http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp
  16. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    I've jumped through all the hoops. My peak PSU usage is supposed to be 255W according to eXtreme PSU Calculator v1.3. I'm at my wit's end. The place I bought it from(card) has only an exchange policy, no refunds. Is it possible that the Nvidia drivers are conflicting with some other entity on my system? I only ask because this is the first non-ATI based card I have used in this computer.
  17. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    But you have to keep in mind that most PSUs only put out about 70% of their rated capacity. Your's is a 300w, which means it is usually happy putting out 210w, but more than that is a stress.

    I am not gauranteeing that this is your problem of course. It may be a simple driver conflict. All you can do is troubleshoot.

    But if you have completely removed all drivers, and reinstalled then you can pretty much rule that out. As I mentioned before, you should also do a chipset update just to rule that out. Then test the card in another machine, to rule out faulty card.

    No easy quick answer unfortunately, all you can do is test, test, test.
  18. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    Everything for the mobo is up to date. I've cleaned and then re-installed the drivers with no effect. I think it's time to go back to an ATI card, and return this piece of crap. I only bought it on Monday. Thanks a bunch for all the help and advice.

    P.S. The store I bought the Crap-X 5200 from is willing to take the card back. I don't want to get into another Geforce card at this point. He is offering an Asus Radeon X550 256MB PCI Express for only $30 more than the FX_5200. How is this card rated, and how does a PCI bus-driven card stack up against AGP?
  19. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Doh. Edited. See Spades post below. Nice catch spade!
  20. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    Does your mobo have PCI express? that card will not work in a normal PCI slot.
  21. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    These specs are dismal and I think we found your problem. Go here and calculate your wattage requirements: http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp#footnote2
    I did a guess it and it gave me 233Watts. Now add at least 30% for safe headroom. This gives 302W. Now take your generic crappy PSU and down grade the 300W rated power by 30-40% (this is the continuous power now, not the peak they are claiming on the label). So continuous power is <230W.
    See a problem here? Your power needs are 233W and your PSU can really only put out safely and continuously about 230W. You are always running on the edge of the PSU limits. Add a 3D game and the fx5200 is starving for power.
    Also the 12V rail ouput of 13A is just terrible and I'm very surprised you haven't been seeing many BSOD, lock-ups and crashes in the past.
    You should look for a PSU with at least 400W and it must have 18A or more on the 12V output.

  22. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    I realized that afterwards. I went with a Radeon 9600 128MB, which is working great. I wonder if my mobo just didn't want to get along with the Nvidia drivers? Anyways, thanks to all who helped.
  23. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 199

    Actually, the system has been quite stable up until this. But I am going to be picking up a new PSU soon. I'm looking at an Enermax 400W w/ 2 fans. That should do the trick. I appreciate all of your help and advice. Just reminds me why I registered with these boards.
  24. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    your computer has measles. Please innoculate.

    no.... upgrade your PSU.
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