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My friend has an old Compaq Presario with a defective 15-pin connector and I’m having difficulties in installing a new Graphics card on his pc.

History :

After every boot on an XP-Home SP1 Presario, display works fine for a few seconds, then the screen is filled with small gray and white rectangular cells. Screen is okay because it works properly on another pc.

I bought an ATI Radeon 9250 PCI card, figuring that the 15-pin VGA connector on the original motherboard was defective. Once the card was put into the pci slot, the pc would not boot.

I inserted the card at home on my own pc and found that in the BIOS of my Asus P4P800 MB, you have to choose which of AGP or PCI is primary. I selected PCI and got the boot started. However, at one point in time the screen froze on the Windows logo but I noticed that the boot appeared to have completed successfully (I heard the chimes from Windows).

Questions :

1. I imagine that the drivers for the 9250 graphics card should be installed while running under my current graphics card. Maybe I should also uninstall that card in the Device Manager. Then, I should change the primary from AGP to PCI in the BIOS and boot using the 9250 card. Is that how to get things running properly?
2. If that’s the way to go about it, how do I operate on the Presario where I am “blind”? How could I install the 9250 drivers if that’s where the hang-up is? How could I uninstall the VGA connector in the Device Manager?

Any suggestion is welcome


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Last Post by Gswiss
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Normally, the procedure would be as follows:

1. Uninstall the current (on-board) video device through Device Manager. You do this by hilighting the device's name under the "Display Adapters" heading and then right-clicking on the device name. Choose "Uninstall" from the resulting drop-down context menu. If the current video card software has components listed in your Add/Remove Programs control panel, uninstall those as well.

2. Shut down the computer and install the new PCI card.

3. Boot the computer and immediately go in to the BIOS setup, switch over to the PCI card in the setup, save your configuration changes, and continue booting.

4. When Windows first starts up, it should do so using the standard Windows VGA driver. It should then go into the "new hardware detected" routine, at which point you choose the "Have Disk" option and follow the prompts from there to install the manufacturer-supplied driver software.

Of course, none of that is really going to help if the current video card won't even give you a usable display at the BIOS screens (that is, before Windows is involved). Is that the case, or does the display only choke once Windows becomes part of the equation? For that matter- do you get a working display when you boot Windows into Safe Mode?

To boot into Safe Mode:

  • Start tapping the F8 key when the computer first starts up (before the Windows logo appears)
  • Instead of Windows loading as normal, a menu with options should appear.
  • Select the first option, to run Windows in Safe Mode, then press "Enter".
  • Log in to the Administrator account.
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But, the whole point of my thread is that I am unable to use any screen from the boot onwards. I am "blind", I'm in the dark. Ipso facto, I am unable to access the Device Manager. Otherwise, I would have done what you suggest.

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I am unable to use any screen from the boot onwards.

That wasn't made entirely clear in your first post, which is why I asked specifically in my last post.

That's a catch-22 sort of position you're in; from all that you've described, I don't really see a way around it.

You're indicating that you think the VGA connector is the culprit; have you looked at it yourself, or had a tech check it out? It might be worth just replacing the connector if you determine that it's really faulty. The process isn't costly or difficult if you're halfway decent with a soldering iron.

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There's a fair chance that I might get to the BIOS in order to change the primary from integrated to PCI. I could then boot into safe mode to make all the required adjustments.

I'll report back on Tuesday.

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I got the screen to work but I don’t know why.

I started by going into the BIOS where I found 2 items which were close to what I wanted to do : I enabled VGA PCI snoop and disabled Onboard VGA monochrome. When I inserted the 9250 pci card, the pc would not boot. I tried different combinations of the above enable/disables. No soap. I tried different pci slots. Same thing. The Presario MB appears to be allergic to the card.

I then removed the card, plugged the screen into the 15-pin connector and reset the BIOS settings to their original status. I booted in Safe Mode and was successful all the way through (no problem with the screen). In the Display item of the Control Panel, I selected a resolution of 640x480 pixels and colours at 16 bits. I pressed Apply.

When I rebooted normally, the whole process was successful. I had a peak at the Display item and was surprised to see that the figures were 1024x768 and 32 bits respectively!

Any explanations?

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Glad you able to get it working :)

The Presario MB appears to be allergic to the card.

It may be; you'd have to check HP/Compaq's Hardware Compatibility List to see if that card is certified to work with your particular computer.

I then removed the card, plugged the screen into the 15-pin connector and reset the BIOS settings to their original status.

Sounds like the BIOS got corrupted somehow, and the reset cleared that up.

I booted in Safe Mode and was successful all the way through (no problem with the screen). In the Display item of the Control Panel, I selected a resolution of 640x480 pixels and colours at 16 bits. I pressed Apply. When I rebooted normally, the whole process was successful. I had a peak at the Display item and was surprised to see that the figures were 1024x768 and 32 bits respectively!

That's normal. In Safe Mode, Windows bypasses the card-specific driver and loads its own basic VGA driver instead; the basic VGA resolution and color depth is 640x480, 16-bit. However, when you booted Windows, it was able (because you BIOS reset cleared things up) to detect and use the real capabilities of the onboard video chipset and configure it to its optimum settings.

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Things are nevertheless very queer. The integrated connector appears to be defective but things work fine when booting in Safe Mode. The drivers should have nothing to do with it theoretically.

Another odd thing is the video parameters which are changed "behind my back".

Thirdly, when I wrote down that I had reset the BIOS parameters to their "original" values, I should have specified "previous" instead. Just the two I had changed when I inserted the Graphics Card. SO, I reall don't understand how things apparently returned to normal without an major resetting.

We'll see how long the Presario works under the present circumstances.

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