Windows 7 Graphical Glitches and LockUp

By SMGallagher
Mar 10, 2010
  1. Hello!

    Today my Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop started giving me problems. While playing Eve Online and even while simply working in Microsoft Word once, I start to get graphical artifacts and my computer locks up, forcing me to hard reboot. The glitches are neon colors and sometimes only last a few seconds before disappearing, leaving me on a locked screen that's otherwise normal. Audio glitches also sometimes accompany the problem, skipping and repeating the same noise over and over.

    Upon hard reboot Windows looks fine, but when I try to do anything, the problem happens again. I thought it might have been dust in my heatsink so I opened up, removed the heatsink, and cleaned around the CPU and heatsink. Nothing, the problem persists.

    I then cleaned off the thermal paste that Dell put on there between heatsink and CPU (an abysmal job) and reapplied a fresh layer of ArcticSilver to no avail, the problem persists.

    Only two times out of a total of 10 today have I got BSOD. The first time it was a crash from Eve Online and the screen read something like "Hardware Malfunction, contact manufacturer." No error codes. The second BSOD was more in depth and it gave me the following codes:

    "Stop: 0x00000116 (0x869c7008, 0x8E4F1A30, 0x000000000, 0x00000002)
    nvlddmkm.sys - address 8E4F1A30 base attempt 8T413000, Date stamp 460764B5"

    Sometimes when I reboot it just sits at a black screen without ever even showing the DELL logo/loader. I have to hard reboot and turn the laptop on again, hoping that it will load Windows.

    I'm now in Safe Mode with Networking and only browsing the internet; the problem hasn't arisen while in safe mode.

    I've scoured the internet about the nvlddmkm.sys problem and it seems to be incredibly prevalent with Nvidia users. There are tons and tons and tons of suggestions and "solutions," none with a tremendous or reliable amount of success. Some people swear it's a hardware problem and nothing software related, others swear just the opposite. Some claim it's a registry problem, but most people who have the problem haven't found any solace or solution from this affliction.

    I'm on a fairly fresh CLEAN install of Windows 7 (about 4 months old).

    Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS, driver set
    Intel Core2 Duo T7300 2.00 Ghz
    Windows 7 32 bit

    Any ideas/suggestions?
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Is your video integrated or do you have a dedicated graphics card? If the latter your symptoms sound like artifacting, i.e. the card is dying.

    However, since it runs okay in Safe Mode that is a strong indicator of drivers because undere Safe Mode only essential drivers are utilized.

    I don't know if you tried the following but if not...

    1. Download Driver Cleaner Pro or Driver Sweeper (both have free versions; make sure the version will work with your OS) to your desktop screen and install.

    2. Download the latest diver(s) for your video card but don't install them.

    3. Uninstall your video card drivers and reboot your PC into Safe Mode. Run Driver Cleaner Pro or Driver Sweeper. If it doesn't find any video card drivers that is quite okay.

    4. Reboot and install new video card drivers.

    * By the way, Nvidia's latest drivers are causing serious issues.
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