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Why? I have red squares/lines all over my display!


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#1
sirdanceal0t

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I currently have red squares (not really lines) all over my monitor/display/lcd. Does anyone know what could be causing this? This makes me think that it is the video card but. . . My computer has run perfectly for years and I'm not stupid with what sites I visit/things I donwload so I have stay relatively virus free but I got a virus on my computer last week and I promptly unplugged modem, updated virus definitions, restarted in safe mode, virus scanned, etc and removed all but two of the viruse(s) that I had on my system. The "eye soars" of the viruses were gone but I couldn't get the last two viruses deleted because my virus scanner said that they were IN THE MEMORY and instructed me to schedule an immediate scan upon boot. I did that and it still didn't take care of those last two viruses so they reloaded everytime I started up the computer. I believe I had a rootkit?

Either way, while researching how to get rid of these viruses and seeing if any registry keys needed to be deleted, etc, I was browsing on the internet in forums and out of nowhere my screen started showing red squares all over it. Here are example screen shots of what it looks like.

Posted Image

Posted Image
(The 2nd picture with the black background is interesting because I can see clearly that all the red squares are actually moving just a tiny bit. They are not completely stationary.)

I was thinking I would have to format because the virus I had was friggin horrible. But I was looking to see if there was a way to not format. Upon seeing these red squares appear I freaked, shut down, and used WipeDrive to format the hard drive using a Department of Defense format method. LoL I wanted it gone for good. I was hoping after the format that the red squares would go away figuring they wouldn't. I reformatted and installed Windows XP NTFS again hoping that this would help but the screenshots you see are after the format with a fresh install of XP. -=/

I see these red squares from the second that I start up the computer all the way through to the windows GUI, and even if I go into (F2) CMOS setup. The funny thing is that I tried to install my video cards drivers and after doing so my computer would boot up looking the same (with red squares all over) but after the windows loading logo/almost to the welcome screen the screen the monitor would turn to black. The computer would stay on though. After a few restarts my computer would actually load to the windows GUI, but in the biggest resolution ever and the video is all multicolored. I believe it says that I am running a 4 or 6 bit resolution at that time. SO I rebooted in safe mode, took the video card drivers back off and now I can boot to the windows GUI again but ofcourse it's still messed up. So. . . when I use the default video drivers installed with XP my monitor still displays the red squares all over, but yet I can go in and change the screen resolution (currently running 1280x1024. Is my onboard (motherboard) video messed up?

What do you guys think? Is it the video card? Is it the monitor? Onboard video instead of video card? Is it leftovers from the virus I had somehow? I've done a full system scan with every virus scanner known to man after the format by the way and it didn't find anything. Whatever it is, if it is a hardware problem. . .

I heard people saying something about flushing the PRAM or something weird like that. Anything I can try/workaround before just starting to replace hardware? If you know better correct me please! But I read that it's possible that the video card overheated and fried itself. If that's the case, is my power supply's fan okay or is it not pulling it's weight either?

I'll stop reading too much into it and wait for the experts to answer. I pose a lot of questions in here. Just kinda thinking while typing. I've got a lot of questions but hoping someone can decode this and give me a pointed answer. Thanks guys so much for any help you can offer as I have never had this happen to me before. -=)

Info about my video card:
Chip Type: GeForce 6800
DAC Type: Integrated RAMDAC
Memory Size: 256 MB
Bios Information: Version 5.41.02.17.25

Edited by sirdanceal0t, 24 September 2009 - 07:27 AM.

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#2
Digerati

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Is it the video card? Is it the monitor?

You need to figure that out and the best way to do that is to swap in a different monitor. If that monitor does it too, you know it is a problem with the computer's graphics solution. If the 2nd monitor is fine, you know the first is bad - assuming the cables are security fastened.

Onboard video instead of video card?

I don't understand the question? What are you using?

Flushing the Pram? That's something Mac users do.

I suspect your graphics solution is failing. If on-board, then your motherboard is having problems. Add a card may be needed. A failing or stressed PSU can give cause strange problems too.
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#3
Major Payne

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May I ask why you have tried to visit the malware forum? If you have root-kits or any residual virusii, it will not matter if you re-format or not. Before you blame the video card or monitor, I would be sure the computer is totally clean then work from there. The guys in the malware forum are experts and you would be better off trying there first.

Some quick checks is to swap monitor with another monitor or computer. Check that monitor scan rates are correct. Even download latest video driver from manufacturer's site if not done already.
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#4
sirdanceal0t

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Is it the video card? Is it the monitor?

You need to figure that out and the best way to do that is to swap in a different monitor. If that monitor does it too, you know it is a problem with the computer's graphics solution. If the 2nd monitor is fine, you know the first is bad - assuming the cables are security fastened.

Onboard video instead of video card?

I don't understand the question? What are you using?

Flushing the Pram? That's something Mac users do.

I suspect your graphics solution is failing. If on-board, then your motherboard is having problems. Add a card may be needed. A failing or stressed PSU can give cause strange problems too.


Thanks for your response! I swapped in a different monitor and the red squares are still there on the other monitor. I tried different DVI/VGA cords as well just for fun. Either way, the red sqaures were still there. Thanks for clearing up what flushing the PRAM was. I was confused about that. -=)

I was being retarded when I mentioned onboard video. I am using the NVIDIA video card I listed above. I was just wondering why when I installed the video drivers for my video card it seemed to screw up even worse. Yet when I uninstalled the video card drivers and just used the windows XP default video drivers I can get a 1280-1024 resolution. I was thinking onboard video for that, but was just confused.

You mentioned a failing PSU though. That's what I'm freaked about. I guess I'm going to have to buy another video card, okay. But find myself asking "what if my PSU IS failing?" I don't want to buy a replacement video card and have my power supply unit mess that one up as well. How can I test to make sure the problem is solely with the video card and that the PSU is not at fault as well?

Edited by sirdanceal0t, 24 September 2009 - 09:27 PM.

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#5
sirdanceal0t

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May I ask why you have tried to visit the malware forum? If you have root-kits or any residual virusii, it will not matter if you re-format or not. Before you blame the video card or monitor, I would be sure the computer is totally clean then work from there. The guys in the malware forum are experts and you would be better off trying there first.

Some quick checks is to swap monitor with another monitor or computer. Check that monitor scan rates are correct. Even download latest video driver from manufacturer's site if not done already.


Thanks for your response. -=) I thought about either posting this in this forum, or in the malware/virus area. I came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to post here because true, I DID have a virus and that's when I started experiencing this problem. -=/ I am very curious if that has something to do with this. If the virus is deep seated somewhere in the computer screwing this up and I just don't know about it. . .maybe? But then I reformatted, updated Spyware S&D, Adaware, Avast, Maleware Bytes, SuperAntiSpyware, AVG, the works and scanned the system and it didn't find anything so as far as I know I am left with this ?hardware? problem and no longer a virus problem. I mentioned it because I was wondering if it has something to do with it. That's why I'm asking you wonderful folks here. hehe If I need to move this post please let me know. Just trying to get help though.

You said if I have a rootkit, etc, it won't matter if I format or not and that I shouldn't blame the video card or monitor. That's why I'm here my friend! I'm trying to find out what it truly is instead of just impulsively buying a video card, crossing my fingers and hoping it fixes it.

I've done everything you said above with monitor swapping and the latest drivers from manufacturer website and still the same red squares are there. . . or it gets even worse. I.E. Black screen or almost NO resolution and multicolored squares all over the screen. How can I find out if it is just the video card, and that it has nothing to do with the PSU? Also, because the virus scans came up clean, do I have reason to possible use Hijack This and post a log for someone to look at just incase?
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#6
Digerati

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I don't think this is malware related either - it sounds like the graphics solution. Still, security trumps all so you should be certain.

How can I find out if it is just the video card, and that it has nothing to do with the PSU?

Swap in a a known good PSU. I know, that's not always easy either. That said, graphic cards can easily consume more power than current CPUs so very often a new graphics card requires a new PSU anyway.

Below are my two canned texts on PSU - the first for testing and the other for picking a new PSU:

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(electrical)""]ripple[/url] and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options that are almost as good. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

As mentioned, swapping in a known good supply is a tried and trued method of troubleshooting used for centuries, even by pros. Remove the "suspect" part and replace with a "known good" part and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply.
***

Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite to determine your power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30%, and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or Folding@Home), I recommend setting TDP to 100%. These steps ensure the supply has adequate head room for stress free operation and future demands. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:
  • Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
  • Efficiency,
  • Total wattage.
Then look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mechanic's PSU Reference List. Ensure the supplied amperage on the +12V rails of your chosen PSU meets the requirements of your video card. Don't try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply. Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. I strongly recommend you pick a supply with an efficiency rating equal to, or greater than 80%. Look for the 80 Plus - EnergyStar Compliant label. And don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation).
***
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#7
sirdanceal0t

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Alright Digerat. Cool, I will try that out. Don't have that equipment. But I have an extra healthy PSU. Heck yeah, great information! I'll update you on what I find out. Thank you very much.

Edited by sirdanceal0t, 24 September 2009 - 10:05 PM.

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#8
sirdanceal0t

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Okay, swapped in a 100% healthy PSU and the red squares are still there. So what is my best course of action now? Should I maybe post something in the virus section showing a HijackThis log just to make sure nothing weird is going on. Or should I hurry up and go buy another video card already? haha

I guess since this post is in the hardware section I can ask. . . what's a good replacement video card for the one that apparently has crapped out on me? I looked up NewEgg and eBay to find my exact card and they are around 40-50$. So, do you guys have any recommendations for me for a video card under, say $100.00? I watch Blurays, use Camtasia, Sony Vegas Pro, and video edit a lot. I play some pretty demanding games like WOW, FEAR2, Final Fantasy XI and want to check out AION. But not Crysis or anything like that. I mainly game on my PS3 and Xbox360. I like running dual monitors. I don't use my computer for watching HD TV or anything.

I checked out Tom'sHardware.com for the monthly "best card for under $100" article and they have these video cards in there: do you guys like any of these or have better suggestions? Thanks!

$50.00 - Radeon HD 4650 DDR3
$70.00 - Radeon HD 4670
$80.00 - GeForce 9600 GT
$90.00 - Radeon HD 4850 512MB

P.S. If I still should do anything before getting a video card please let me know! :)

Edited by sirdanceal0t, 25 September 2009 - 09:10 AM.

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#9
Digerati

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As I said above, security trumps all, so having one of our experts review your logs sure can't hurt - for peace of mind at least.

and video edit a lot.

Generally, with graphics cards, the more money you spend, the better the performance.

I like running dual monitors.

I will never understand how I lived with only one monitor, and will never go without two again. You should look for a card that supports two digital monitors via DVI or the newer HDMI connections (both types typically include D-Sub adapters for CRT monitors and analog LCDs). 512Mb or more of DDR3 memory would be good too.
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#10
sirdanceal0t

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P.S. Digerat. My power supply has the typical two settings; 115 or 230. I went to the link you provided me (eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite) and plugged in the components of my system with 1-2 additions for a 'lil bit into the future and it suggested that my power supply should be 504w. . . Uhm, the switch on the back of my power supply says 115. So should I have something capable of running atleast 389 more watts? Or am off here and need an explanation because I don't fully understand.
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#11
Digerati

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Uhm, the switch on the back of my power supply says 115. So should I have something capable of running atleast 389 more watts? Or am off here and need an explanation because I don't fully understand.

Yes, you are confused. The switch on the back is to set the PSU for your line voltage (what comes out of the wall) - that's volts, not watts. If you live in the United States, you set it to 115V. If you live in Europe, set it 230V. Most other countries use one or the other.

Once set correctly, that switch setting is out of the picture since the PSU then converts the line (input) voltage to the ATX standard output voltages used by all motherboards the world over: +12VDC, +5VDC, and +3.3VDC. It is those voltage values times the current supplied by the PSU that determines the wattage capabilities (Voltage x Current = Watts).
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#12
sirdanceal0t

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As I said above, security trumps all, so having one of our experts review your logs sure can't hurt - for peace of mind at least.

Ok, will do, thanks for the advice. -=)

and video edit a lot.

Generally, with graphics cards, the more money you spend, the better the performance.

Yeah, your right unfortunately, but I want something to replace my old card and I might as well spend a tiny bit more and get something a little bit better. But yet, I know that I'm gonna upgrade my whole system within 1-2 years anyway, so I don't want to get/need the best of the best. (Thus the <$100.00 mark)

I like running dual monitors.

I will never understand how I lived with only one monitor, and will never go without two again. You should look for a card that supports two digital monitors via DVI or the newer HDMI connections (both types typically include D-Sub adapters for CRT monitors and analog LCDs). 512Mb or more of DDR3 memory would be good too.


Yeah, I agree with you. It seems like most cards that I looked at had either two DVI or one VGA and one DVI and 1 d-sub. I wanna run dual monitors yes, but waht would be must important to me? I video edit in hd a lot, I have an HDTV with HDMI ports. . . trying to think about what I would need for the next two years I guess. I don't really know the difference in what a d-sub port (typical) or an hdmi port (like the Radeon HD4850 has) means to me in terms of what I can use them for. LoL
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#13
Digerati

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two DVI or one VGA and one DVI and 1 d-sub.


Umm, VGA and D-sub are different names for the same connector.

I don't really know the difference in what a d-sub port (typical) or an hdmi port (like the Radeon HD4850 has) means to me in terms of what I can use them for. LoL


D-Sub (VGA) is for analog monitors (all CRTs and many older and entry level LCDs). DVI and HDMI are for digital monitors. The better LCD monitors are digital, although digital is migrating down to entry level monitors and cards as well. The video signal in DVI and HDMI are EXACTLY the same so as far as getting the video to the monitor, there is no difference in what you see, or the performance between DVI and HDMI. The big difference between DVI and HDMI is that the HDMI interface can carry full 5.1 discrete surround sound in the same cable. HDMI came out of the home theater world and as more and more PCs are being integrated into home theater systems, and because 1 HDMI cable can replace 7 A/V cables, HDMI is migrating into the PC world, even though the audio portion is not normally being used (as most monitors do not have speakers, and those that do typically only have 2).

So, if buying a new graphics card, for most people it is best to buy a card that supports two digital outputs (either DVI or HDMI, or one of each) as they will support any future monitor purchase. Since the best CRT monitors still offer the best "precision" - especially for CAE/CAD users, DVI and HDMI will support analog monitors via an inexpensive adapter for several years to come.
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#14
sirdanceal0t

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Okay, thanks again. I'm actually kind of excited because I saw an absolute STEAL on my local CraigsList for a great looking video card that I could get by tonight! It is a ATI Radeon x1950Pro 512mb. But I am unsure if I can run it in my system. -=/ The video card has PCIex16 connectors and my motherboard does have that. But I saw that some video cards have DDR2 onboard memory and some have DDR3 memory. I know that with regular RAM sticks your motherboard has to be able to support DDR3 memory to use it. Is it the same with video cards that have onboard memory or does it not matter as long as you have the right ISA/PCI/PCIe slot that they require? I'm set as far as the PCIe slot goes.

Anyone know if the ATI Radeon x1950Pro 512mb is a nice card? Thanks!
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#15
Digerati

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I saw an absolute STEAL on my local CraigsList

Be careful, your statement may be closer to the truth than you think. :)
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