I have bought an Inspiron 530 about 2 years ago and everything was working fairly well until 2 days ago.
Vista started to crash and reboot automatically either when going to sleep mode or when I was watching videos (graphic card Nvidia 8300gs).
Now it won't boot but I managed to sometime being able to boot in safe mode. I have tried system restore to various points but nothing help.
As soon as the Dell logo appears (before the OS loads), I can see that there is a problem with the display, there are a bunch of "vertical lines" which makes the screen and characters very hard to read. I can't even go to the bios as I can't read at all what's on the screen.
I did install some software lately but I doubt that they are the cause of the problem since the computer works well with those software installed for a few days. Restoring the system woudn't change anything to the display or have vista boot anyway.
I also removed my Dell 5.1 speakers to plug in my home ausio system instead.
I might have also installed the latest Dell chipset driver for the Inspiron 530 (found on this site) lately.
My question is, before I go out and buy a new graphich card, does this sound like a problem with the graphic card? or should there be something else I should try? (other than a full Vista re-install).
I have tried to plug my older Dell monitor (vga instead of DVI) and I had the the same display problem so I know that the screen itself is ok.
p.s. Twice I was able to get the system back to normal using a combination of vista repair/restore procedures but it crashed as soon as the computer went to sleep mode.
This sounds more like a video card issue. When you first boot up, the Video card defaults to a basic VGA mode. Vista is not involved with this operation and Vista only comes into play when Vista starts and loads the Vista driver for the Video. Until that point the Video card is operating in it's "basic" VGA mode. Since it is garbling on initial power up or in BIOS display that eliminates Vista as the problem.
First thing to try is to "reseat" the video card. If that doesn't help I would suspect the card is bad.
Reseat - with the PC powered off, disconnect the display cable from the video card, then open the case and remove the video card (on PCIe cards there is an extra "lock latch" near the connector that must be released to allow the card to come out). Then reinstall the card making sure it's fully and correctly seated. Reconnect the monitor, power on and see if it helps.
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Thanks for the reply fireberd.
I am not an expert but I suspect that the fact that Vista won't boot in normal mode is related to the display problem. This is because twice when the screen appeared normal at boot time (after nunourus repair/restore), Vista booted with no problem. However, when I see the display problem when I first boot up, Vista won't boot in normal mode (but it will in safe mode). However, the screen is full of vertical lines.
I will try to reseat the card and see if it helps. If not, I guess that I have no choice but to change the card and hope that this will fix both the display and booting problem.
Should I have to do that, would you have a graphic card to recommend?
I don't play games at all so I don't need an expensive card for games. I use the computer mainly for the internet, word processing, image editing and viewing videos. What I would be looking for is a carrd which is reliable (those that exist?) and easy to install and operate.
Ok, I did reseat the graphic card and that "seems" to have fix the problem for now. I haven't let the computer goes in sleep mode yet or view any videos so I don't know if the problem is permanently fixed or not. I think I will know that pretty fast.
And I have unplugged all of my USB devices before re-starting. Therefore, I am not quite sure if it is the card "reseated", the fact that the computer was turned off for more than an hour, the unplugged USB devices or that the computer didn't go to sleep mode yet (neither did I watch any videos) that did it.
I will plug back my 2 external drives, printer, USB hub and headphone and will see (although those have always worked without any problems for more than a year) how that goes.
To me it looks clear now that the problem is with the graphic card or a combination of how (or where) I am plugin all of the USB devices.
I may still need to go out and buy a new graphic card.
Unfortunately I came back from work today and found the computer frozen in "sleep" mode. Nothing will wake it up other than turning the power switch on and off. However, the computer won't reboot and it looks like if the graphich card is stuck in some sort of low graphic mode and Vista is unable to change it to a high resolution mode when it loads. My guess is that this is why it won't boot.
I wonder if I should go out and buy a new graphic card and whihc one would fit nicely with the Inspiron 530.
I will turn the computer off for an hour or more and see if it will reboot. I just hope that the problem is not related to either the Intel Chipset I just installed recently nor a recent Windows update.
You would think that a graphic card has a longer life expectency than 2 years if that really is the problem.
Some more information on my problem.
I can boot in safe mode but not in normal mode. The screen is full of vertical lines though (I guess that this is the result of vga mode on a 22" monitor?) in safe mode. And it still crashes while in safe mode (unexpected restart) but at least the computer doesn't reboot.
Anyway, I manage to run the Dell diagnostic while booting from a CD.
I tried to run the diagnostic for the video and got the error:
Error Code: 5300119
Message: Video - Failure while writing and reading video memory.
Is this a sure indication that the video card is in fact the problem and died?
Or could it still has to do with a corrupted BIOS, Chipset software or anything else?