Can't upgrade ATI Radeon driver: "Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver..."

My Latitude D600 includes a Mobile Radeon 9000, and is running SP.
I've downloaded and attempted to install the latest video driver, in an effort to address perf issues.  Each time it gives the error message:
    "Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver before running Setup."
I have tried the following remedies:
  • Trying to install Dell's published 12/05 version of the drivers (OEM version 8.20).
  • Trying to install ATI's published v 5.12 version of the drivers.
  • Trying to install the version of the driver recently published via Microsoft Update ((OEM version 8.20)
  • Running ATI's driver clean-up tool, which is distributed with the driver, and re-installing.
  • Using MSConfig to enable 'base video' and rebooting before uninstalling the driver or running the clean-up tool and re-installing
  • Doing the clean-up in safe mode
  • Rebooting at various points in the process
  • Attempting to install a generic VGA driver (which appears to be impossible anyway, since no such driver is listed in the update driver UI)
  • Cancelling the 'Windows has detected new hardware' notification, so as to leave the default base driver (the driver windows uses when there is no driver installed) in place when installing the Radeon driver
  • Deleting any stale drivers from device manager explicitly (at this point such drivers are usually disabled or "not working properly")
  • Installing the driver using 'Add New Hardware', or the Update Driver button, and loading the .inf directly from the driver installation instead of using the ATI setup.exe
  • All imagineable combinations of the above.

All of these paths resulted in the same class of error.  Sometimes it throws in an 'INF' error of some kind just for good measure.

I have seen so many posts on this issue all over the net, offering all the tips and tacks above, and at least one of the steps above have fixed it for every post I've seen.  But in my case, nothing has worked. 

Does anyone have any further suggestions? 

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5 Replies

Re: Can't upgrade ATI Radeon driver

Welcome to the forum,

From all that you have outlined above, it looks like you have covered all your Video bases.

You mention perf issues and it may be a corruption in your system causing this problem.

Dell Tech will likely have you "Reinstall Windows" but you might first try an install/update
(new version just released) of your Chipsets and Dell Notebook System Software.

The (also newly released) DNSS seems to be short about 85% of its files on the Download and
I would install the November 2005 version, which seems to work well. {LINKED Here} <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>

Speaking of "Previous Versions" I would also give a try on the Previous release of your
Video Driver, linked below:

Release Title: Video: ATI Mobility Radeon 9000, Driver, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Multi Language, In...

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Re: Can't upgrade ATI Radeon driver

The 3-D perf issues weren't comprehensive, they were actually only intermittent;  sometimes it was fine, and sometimes it was very poor, and it seemed unrelated to load.  I didn't have the impression that there was anything systemically wrong, just that a driver update might have fixed a bug or two; I was using a driver from April '04.  Otherwise, I was able to function with this driver.  (Of course, now I don't even know how to go back).
In attempting the update, I have now tried both the latest and the November version of the DNSS, and the latest chipset release, with no success.
Some more observations:
  • Ever since I started running the driver clean-up tools, the computer now boots up, using only a 640x480 portion of the screen, even during the POST and BIOS initialization process.  This POST process used to boot up in a full-screen VGA mode.  What on earth does this have to do with the Windows device driver?
  • When using the 'Update Driver..." approach in device manager, it loads all the drivers, then says "Windows was unable to install this hardware." in big letters and "The file could not be found." in smaller print at the bottom of the dialog.  If that message was true, and I could somehow determine which file that was, I might have something to work with.  But I know of no logging being done.
  • At one point I got the driver to think it was installed (no warning or disabled icon in device manager).  But when I brought up desktop display properties, it brought up an error like (but not exactly) "one of the files your device driver is using is intended for an older version of windows...".  I wanted the exact text but I neglected to note it at the time and I doubt I'll ever be able to reproduce it.
  • Every time I do the "update driver" trick, it also detects 4 display devices:  2 Default Monitors, an external and a TV Out.  It fails to install drivers for those, also, most of the time.  The next time I boot up those devices usually vanish.

I've also tried the Omega radeon drivers, and apparently they support everything, and those haven't helped either.

I'm running out of things to try, and I may be left with no option but to re-install windows.  I'd like to try to figure out what the 'missing file' is, though.  If there is a log of some kind that would be ideal, but otherwise maybe FileMon can provide a hint.

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Re: Can't upgrade ATI Radeon driver

I got it working. 

Looking back, I had actually gotten to the point where I was going to re-install XP, but my XP cd said "your version of windows is too new...", so essentially it would have required a clean install.  Not acceptable.  My windows installations are a legacy that I will pass down to my children, and they to theirs.  Besides, I simply hate re-installing all the applications.  As such, I will patch the registry with surgical tweasers and a bowie-knife before I have to reinstall from scratch; in fact, this is the only reason I still chew gum.  So I resigned instead to try to roll back to the old drivers, using the Device Manager property's roll-back button.

Roll back.

After the 20-odd times I tried to install the new drivers, I figured I'd have to roll-back pretty far to get back to the drivers I had installed before the mess began.  That was probably correct.  In fact, I didn't need to, so I will never know.  I rolled back once, rebooted once, rolled-back again (not sure if I even really needed to do this), and re-enabled the drivers.  And they worked, right then and there, no reboot required:  version 8.20.   The latest version from DELL, which I had tried so hard to install pro-actively, only worked when I tried to punt them from the system in defeat.

All the monitor devices were reported working (all 4 of them) as well, and desktop acceleration performance was back to par.  There remained one anomaly with the LCD screen only utilizing a 640x480 section when booting to BIOS or displaying a full-screen DOS prompt.  This worried me for a bit, but I found an option in the ATI advanced display options to 'Stretch video to fit display', and once I enabled this, all was right with the world, or at least it was so along Latitude 600.  And so it remains.

Some other things I learned in the investigation:

  • FileMon reports a lot of errors during a normal driver install.  This makes it confusing to identify a 'culprit'.  It didn't appear to identify any missing files which weren't eventually copied later in the process anyway.  I did try to copy one .inf file which was complained about to c:\windows\inf, though I didn't think it would help, and I was right. 
  • FileMon also revealed that driver installs are logged to %SystemRoot%\SetupApi.log.  On the issue at hand, it offered no especially useful information beyond "Error 2:  ... file not found," which I already know.  Still, SetupApi.log makes a lovely, if somewhat dry, read, when you have an easy afternoon.

This setup process is probably the most frustrating I've ever experienced.  There simply must be a bug in ATI's setup, perhaps an implicit dependency on a stale file that "Roll-back" was able to somehow recover. 

But at least now I can breathe deeply and sooth my lungs with the ozone emanating gently from what I know to be a machine that isn't entirely broken.

Smiley Wink


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Re:receive error for update"Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver..."

i get the same error when i try to install the update for radeon 9000.
i have inspiron 5150, running on widows xp.
i am currently trying to play the game "Rollercoaster 3" but the game crashes in between my play time.
i don't have much computer knowledge so i don't know what program to delete. my driver version is at 6.14.
Please let me know what i need to do so that i can play the above game smoothly!!
Thanks in advance.
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Re: Re:receive error for update"Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver..."

Did you ever find a solution?  I have tried everything but can't get past those errors in the setup.
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