I am so glad you posted this. Last week my Dell M1330 (after working fine for
6 months) started to freeze randomly, then the screen goes black,. Once this
happened, I would have to press the power button to first turn the machine
off, wait then press the power button to turn the machine on. However,
instead of re-booting the laptop screen would put of vertical lines of all
different colors and a smudge pattern across the screen. One out of ten times
the computer would manage to re-boot. The other nine times, I would have to
power down, and try again, often 15 times in a row before the machine would
boot up VISTA.
After spending considerable time on the events log (when the computer was
running) I noticed an error nvlddmkm - display driver stopped responding.
I spent a day on the phone with Dell and they assured me it was a software
problem and I would have to wait till Microsoft put out a fix. After going
over all the diagnostics tests, even ran the long 2 hour full test, they all
passed. The gfx card has never installed properly on the laptop, and when I
try to install the latest driver, I get a warning saying, "VISTA has not been
detected, driver will not install". I get this error message from both the
Dell driver downloads and the NVidia driver downloads. This computer only
Since Dell assured me that my problems were software issues, I made sure all
my driver updates and VISTA updates were current from the Dell website and
Microsoft website, and any other update that I could see necessary, only the
NVidia driver and the BIOS flash (too scared to do in case the computer
freezes while doing it) were done. This did NOT fix anything.
I have gone through and uninstalled drivers, in an attempt to get back to
the date where the computer was working, even though the log indicated no
updates had happened since the first crash. This did NOT change anything.
If my problems are due to overheating, how do I know if it has damaged the
How do I convince Dell that this is a hardware problem (since it passed all
the hardware tests) and not a driver problem (if it is)?
Dell XPS M1330
VISTA Home Premium
Intel(R) Core 2Duo Processor T7100
NVidia 8400M GS
4GB (2x2048MB) 667 MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
> I've had the same issue appearing suddenly on a Dell M1330 with a
> NVidia GeForce 8400M GS, after 5 months of use : The computer would
> freeze randomly (usually after some minutes, depending on the
> applications open), then the screen turned black, and vertical lines
> would started appearing, progressively filling the screen with white. It
> often happened also when rebooting the machine afterwards, and sometimes
> even the BIOS screen would appear wrong (e.g. some blue patterns instead
> of the usual black background).
> THIS IS MOST LIKELY *NOT* A DRIVER PROBLEM, BUT A HARDWARE PROBLEM
> (the messages from people having reinstalled windows or changed drivers
> without success should confirm this if there is any doubt left).
> I've called the Dell support, and we came to the conclusion that it was
> NOT a driver problem, since I've had issues when running on the VGA
> driver too (although without freezing the machine), and the BIOS screen
> corruption also indicated that windows wasn't in cause.
> So they started by replacing the motherboard, since it has the gfx card
> embedded in it. Unfortunately, this didn't change a thing, so the gfx
> card was out of cause too. Next thing, we changed the RAM modules and
> the heatsink, and there bingo ! No more freezes and weird screens after
> that. I couldn't say for sure which one was the culprit, it could be the
> memory that took a hit (that's rather common after all) or the heatsink
> that didn't work as good anymore, or even a combination of the two.
> Anyway, since I haven't found any information myself about this problem
> when I was googling for it, I thought this could be useful to others.
> First start by checking your gfx card and the heatsink, it's possibly
> just a overheating problem. If you have shared memory, try changing the
> RAM modules if you have any at hand. Finally, if your computer is still
> under warranty, make sure to get the support to replace the gfx card or
> the RAM if you have any reasonable doubt they're in cause (and if you
> have a good support...).
> Hope this helps, good luck !
> nb1: Oddly enough, I did run all the diagnostics tools provided by
> Dell, including a 2-hour full memory test that passed. So no matter what
> the tests tell you, they're not 100% reliable.
> nb2: one tips: if you need to use your machine while waiting for the
> support to replace the hardware, try switching to the standard VGA
> driver or run in failsafe mode. This way the graphics engine is greatly
> limited (no more Aero, less memory, etc.) but then it puts less strain
> on the machine and makes it rather stable. That's how I've done while
> waiting for the replacement pieces, as it's my work laptop. I did see
> some strange patterns on the screen occasionally, but no system freeze
> at least.
> Posted via http://www.vistaheads.com