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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, Second Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Troubleshooting Video Adapter Problems

If you experience video problems, first check the obvious things—that the monitor has power and is connected properly to the adapter, that no one has changed settings on the monitor, and so on. If you have another monitor handy, try connecting it to the problem system to eliminate the monitor as a possible cause.

Once you eliminate those possible causes, the next consideration is whether you’ve made any recent changes to your video hardware, software, or configuration. If so, that is a likely cause. Sometimes, problems caused by such a change doesn’t manifest immediately. We have, for example, seen an updated driver function perfectly until one particular program was loaded or another piece of hardware was installed, which caused the system to crash and burn horribly.

That means the next step is to change video drivers. If a later driver is available, download and install it. If no later driver is available, try reinstalling the current driver. If problems manifest soon after installing an updated driver, try re-installing the older driver.

Once they are installed and running properly, video adapters seldom fail, short of something like a lightning strike or abusing the adapter by overclocking it. Over twenty years’ experience with hundreds of systems, we remember only a few instances when a functioning video adapter just died. Hardware failures are more likely today, not because newer video adapters are inferior to their parents, but because ...

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