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Video Cards - Troubleshooting | Tech Info Home Page | Video Card Info | Troubleshooting |

Troubleshooting Win95, General Troubleshooting, Hardware Related, Specific Problems, Links


Troubleshooting Windows 95 Video Problems

The following items can cause video problems.

General Troubleshooting

In troubleshooting video problems, always start out by checking the obvious causes. Check the power cable to the monitor, make sure its plugged in at the back of the monitor and to the wall outlet. Then make sure the switch is on. If you have the monitor properly connected to power and turned on then you will have some kind of light showing on the front of the monitor.

Following that, check to make sure the data cable is properly connected on the back of the monitor and also on the video card connector on the back of the computer unit. This sounds obvious enough but it never hurts to isolate the problem one step at a time.

Next, check to see if the basic connection is working and that the computer sees the monitor. This step is very simple. If you see text when the computer is turned on then your video card is operating and the monitor is responding. Normally when the computer is turned on, information about the computer such as memory and at times device information is displayed as the computer is booting. If you see clear text during boot then the connection is fine.

During the boot cycle of windows 95 you might have the computer hang (lock up) immediately after the message "Starting windows 95...". This can be caused by either incorrectly set hardware or by some software that is not operating correctly.

For video problems, you just need to see if you can get past the lock-up problem by pressing the F8 key right after you see the message "Starting windows 95..." and selecting the entry "Safe Mode" from the list presented to you. If you can not get into windows with the safe mode selection there is a good chance the video card is bad. If you are successful in getting into windows in the safe mode the video card is most likely working good but there might be problems with the video card driver.

At this point it is assumed that the computer is able to go into windows 95 in some form but there is still something wrong with the video.

The first place to check is the the device manager . Open the control panel, then open the System icon and press the Device manager Tab. If any devices are not operating correctly they will have a small yellow icon (exclamation point) in front of the device name.

If there are no yellow icons present then there is a good chance the devices are working properly, including the video card and the monitor. There is a possibility that a device other than the video card (i.e. display adapter) is not working properly but is still affecting the video card.

In this situation, since you assume that the video card and monitor are working properly, you need to try to further diagnose the system. Since there are no errors and you can see the screen clear enough to view the device manager, then the problem you are having must be one of the following:

To troubleshoot, the video card driver, you can change it by selecting the standard VGA driver.

To troubleshoot the color depth, change the colors to 16

To troubleshoot the resolution switch the resolution to the 640x480

On all 3 of the above, you of course have to reboot the computer after the change.

If all of the above dos not make the video work better try to reboot the computer and select the "Safe mode" after pressing the F8 keep right after you see the "Starting windows....." message.

Additionally, you can select a lower level of acceleration by.
Select Start, Settings, Control Panel,
Double Click on the System Icon
Click on the Performance Tab
Click on the Graphics button
Move the "graphics acceleration" slide button towards "none" to the left.
Shut down the computer and go back into windows

When you select a lower level of acceleration (or none at all) there is a slight decrease of video speed but the system can be much more stable and is a good troubleshooting tool to set the acceleration to 'none' for testing.


If there is a yellow icon in front of the video card device name then you found your problem. The card could be bad, or even more likely is the possibility that a resource such as an IRQ or a memory address is not properly set.

Hardware Related

1) The Plug-N-Play configuration of the BIOS or of Windows 95 does not properly set the IRQ of the video card. Many times the video card will use IRQ 2 or IRQ 9 in a cascade fashion. This is fine if the system is working properly but could cause problems at times. Read the User's manual to see if there is a way to change the IRQ setting to a different one.

Try to change the PnP BIOS setting of the computer from auto to manual and change the setting in BIOS of any Legacy cards to ISA for the appropriate IRQ line that they use.

2) The video card is a PCI style card with Bus Mastering but for some reason the PCI slot on the motherboard has problems operating with that video card.

This is a simple fix. Just remove the video card and plug it into a different PCI slot. If all the slots are filled then try to swap the video card with another PCI card close by.

3) There is another video card on the computer causing problems.

This can be caused by the computer having on-board video capabilities. It's easy to check for this, just look on the back of the computer to see if there is a video plug other then the one you know you've installed. If the motherboard has integrated video, you must disable it.

The computer User's guide will have a section detailing how to disable the on-board video and it is usually done by changing jumper settings on the motherboard. Some systems have the ability to perform this in BIOS.

Specific Problems

System Hangs when turned on

Try the following

While in Windows 95, the screen is twisted and almost unreadable.

The video mode is higher than what the monitor can handle. Go back into windows using the "Safe Mode" and change the monitor setting to "Standard 640x480", shut down the computer and reboot into regular windows. If the monitor can not handle the higher mode like 800x600 or higher then you need a better monitor.

This same problem can also be caused by selecting a refresh rate which the monitor does not support. Check the User's guide for the proper settings.

Problems starting Windows

If you can get into windows but are having strange operating problems try the following:




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