Solved: Very Annoying Hardware Issue

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MBchrono

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Dec 26, 2005
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I have been tinkering with computers since about 98, and this is the first time I have ever come up against this issue and it is driving me insane. Out of the blue, when I reformatted (Which I do every 2 months or so out of habbit) my video card would show up in my hardware manager about 8 times. This caused multiple problems including not starting up, or blue screening. If all video drivers are uninstalled, it will show up as uninstalled drivers, 8 times, but works just fine. The solution is not so simple as changing drivers or trying another format. I have formatted well over 10 times. I have even changed out my motherboard ( due to unrelated issues) and put in a D865PERL. When I installed the mobo and formatted the computer, it worked great. It recognized my video correctly and worked for about a month. Tonight after doing a registry cleaning and a defrag, it popped up the 8 seperate drivers again. Attached is what my hardware manager shows, after I have installed the newest ATI drivers. It was also taken right after a fresh format, and the only thing installed in pretty much windows updates. My main question is, has anyone ever seen this before? I have tried every driver related fix that I can think of. Help..

Thanks in advance.
 

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Nov 25, 2005
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One thing you might want to do if you're feeing really brave when you read this is to simply remove all of the entries one at a time, EXCEPT for the one at the bottom of the list, then reboot the system. Just right-click the first one below the "Display Adapters" heading, and choose the option to "Uninstall..." it. Once the first one disappears, the rest will be just as easy to get rid of. Leave the one at the bottom; if any of them can't be removed for any reason, skip it and move on to the next one.

When you've only got one showing, reboot the system. When you get back to the Desktop, open the Device Manager to see how many are being displayed. If there is more than one, reboot the system into Safe Mode and remove them the same way through Device Manager, then boot back to the Desktop and check the DM again. Odds are good, you won't see those entries for a while.

Keep in mind that depending on how we mangle it on any given day, the time of the month, the phase of the moon, and the most recent change in the weather, Windows has a habit of coughing up furballs. Don't take that personally; I abuse my Windows systems more than most, and occasionally, Windows bites back. You're not doing anything wrong (at least, as far as I can tell from over here), and neither am I. I use my computers to suit me; I hope you do the same.

You're doing the noble thing by trying to fix this with drivers, when the drivers have absolutely nothing to do with it. Time for you to grab Windows by the throat and stop being so polite, because sometimes, you can't fix Windows with Windows, you have to manually unscramble the mess, and this is one of those times.

Good luck; let us know how this turns out. Always remember that when you see a problem like this, Safe Mode can be your best friend...

Merry Christmas
 

MBchrono

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Dec 26, 2005
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Oh yeah, been working in safe mode the whole time, because usually it won't even get into normal boot. I have tried all of those suggestions before, and tried them again just now. If I go ahead and uninstall all but one, they will come back on the next boot and cause the same problems.

I have no idea whether or not this has anything to do with it, but I will go ahead and throw it out there. I bought a copy of windows xp home probably 4 or 5 months ago. When Installing after the format, it will bring up an error installing driver.cab. As the process goes on, it will bring up errors installing other files, but after retrying they will install. I still put the driver.cab in the correct place (Windows/system32/drivers) after I boot into windows the first time.

I've talked to many of my friends and we are all stumped. Just have never seen anything like this. Very odd. Apperciate the fast response.
 
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Well, when you're ready to wipe the drive clean (instead of only reformatting), download the MADBOOT program for floppy disk from here:

http://www.madboot.com/

It will provide all the tools you need to clean the drive completely, and it even has installation guides for the various versions of Windows. It uses a GUI and provides a driver for your mouse, so everything is point-and-click, unless you'd prefer to shell out to DOS...

Wiping the drive might be the best way to resolve this; when you encounter problems in Safe Mode, they can be almost impossible to resolve unless you wipe the drive (zero-fill it with MADBOOT, or do a low-level format with the drive maker's utility). I HATE to resort to that, but since you're dealing with Safe Mode now, it is something you should consider.

Have you tried removing ALL of the entries in Safe Mode, then trying to boot back into Windows? That should make the Add New Hardware Wizard kick in, and you can step through the driver reinstall... something you might want to try before you decide to wipe the drive completely.

Keep us posted; if you have questions, let us know.
 

MBchrono

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Dec 26, 2005
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Have tried all those suggestions as well. I just hooked up my old Geforce 5600 ultra, and of course windows detected ONE of them, and installed it perfectly. When I use the x700 pro, Windows won't detect it at all unless I install the driver manually. You have seen what happens when I do that.

Going to throw a few more things out there to see if any of them rings any bells. I have overclocked the card. Not just a little, but I have pushed it to the limit using some documentation to see how far I could push it. I've never had any graphical glitches, but maybe the overclocking had some sort of effect?

Also, my powersupply is only a 300W. Maybe the card isn't gettin enough juice?

Usually I can fix anything, but this is driving me insane, thanks again for all your feedback :)
 
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well ok, a couple of things, to begin with i wouldnt reinstall windows every month, that seems excessive. Your windows installation should go through clean, no problems, otherwise there is no telling what is messed up, until you get a clean install of XP you really cant do anything. If youre going into safe mode and uninstalling all entrys in device manager, do not leave any, reboot and windows should install drivers when it sees your card, if you cant do this or windows installs 8 entires, then either your card is toast, XP is toosat or both. If you can i would try to install your card on a friends pc to see if it exibits this same odd behavior, whe nyou were messing with card you may have done something screwball to the bios which is causing this, I dont know. Now to do a fresh install of XP, you d/l your hdd manufacturers utility, to wipe the drive and format for ntfs file format for XP, reboot with the XP cd and go from there, nothing will be left from previous install.
 
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yes 300 watt psu is on the light side, but at this point i dont think its the culprit, it wouldnt cause there to be 8 entrys in the DM by any mechanism I can think of.
 
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some one on TSG has a really good way of properly installing a gfx card, because we havent even touched on what version of DX you have installed, if your motherboard drivers have all been updated etc.
 
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OK, now that we know about the weak PSU and the fact that you've been able to use a different type of GPU (nVidia) without a problem, that makes me wonder how successful you've been removing the old ATI drivers each time before you installed newer ones. ATI provides a tool for that purpose, and you really have to be diligent about using it and rebooting when you monkey with the ATI drivers. I see nothing wrong with overclocking your stuff (ALL of my system CPUs and GPUs are OC'ed right to the edge of stability, 24/7), so I doubt that is the problem, but one of the cardinal rules of OC'ing is that you MUST have plenty of clean power to do it with; any marginal components, even if they were state-of-the-art at one time, can mung up the process at some stage, and you'll be at the mercy of the electrons.

I've never done this specific technique, so this suggestion is pure speculation, but it MIGHT help you get this sorted out a bit more:

Leave the nVidia card in the system, then remove the ATI drivers (if you still have that option in Add/Remove), then run Driver Cleaner (you can download it from dozens of websites if you don't have it already). IOW, do everything you can to remove all traces of ATI drivers from the system. I just did a quick check of this system (using an ATI video card); of the 445 files which begin with the letters "AT", 440 of them appeared to be related to the ATI card. Of those 445 files, 118 of them began with the letters "ATI". You might want to look for stragglers after you uninstall the X700 card; let Search do some digging. You should be able to tell simply from the names of the files, the date and timestamps, and the folders they're held in, whether or not they were installed for ATI videocards or from something else.

Don't go crazy with this; be aggressive SEARCHING for them, but don't be quick on the trigger to delete them until you're POSITIVE that they are safe to delete (send them to the Recycle Bin; don't wipe them off completely).

Then, use a program like Crap Cleaner:

http://www.ccleaner.com

to search the Registry for junk (you'll need to select the "ISSUES" option to check the Registry), and see what else can be found. Crap Cleaner will offer to create a backup of all the files it removes from the Registry; that will provide a little extra insurance if anything goes wrong when you scour the Registry. Do NOT use CCleaner to clean the FILES on the system, or it will WIPE the Recycle Bin, and you won't be able to recover anything you might have needed to restore from the Recycle Bin.

Once CCleaner has run, reboot the system, make sure everything is working properly, then try to do a fresh install of the ATI card, and see what happens.
 
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worth a try, but unless i'm not understanding poster, he is saying this happens after a reformat, there should be no drivers left if this is what hes doing, formatting drive wipes everything off
 
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until poster proves to me that card isnt toast, I'm thinking that when he messed with overclocking it etc. something went south with card
 

Rukee

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formating does not wipe everything out, writing all zero`s to the drive wipes everything out. I`ve seen virus`s make it though several reformats without being connected to the net yet so a reformat doesn not get rid of everything.
 
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Rukee said:
formating does not wipe everything out, writing all zero`s to the drive wipes everything out. I`ve seen virus`s make it though several reformats without being connected to the net yet so a reformat doesn not get rid of everything.
in the strictest sense even that doesnt wipe everything out, you can still recovery data from a zeroed drive, what i am talking about is drivers for his ati card.
 

Rukee

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brite750 said:
formatting drive wipes everything off
I was just correcting you, as formatting a drive doesn`t necessarily wipe EVERYTHING out.
 
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Rukee said:
I was just correcting you, as formatting a drive doesn`t necessarily wipe EVERYTHING out.
http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/faq/ata_llfmt_what.html
more info on what writing zeros is meant for, not for getting rid of drivers and normal reformat procedures, getting rid of BS viruses and for switching os. Rukee feel free to "correct me" all you want, I know how important it is for you to puff yourself up, I wouldnt want to get in the way of you validating yourself at my expense. Unlike you I often do make mistakes and am fully aware that I dont know everything, and dont fully explain myself at times, so thank you for correcting me....I guess.;)
 
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