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Article ID: 127139 - Last Review: May 7, 2007 - Revision: 3.2

This article was previously published under Q127139
If this article does not describe your hardware-related issue, see the following Microsoft Web site to view more articles about hardware:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/w98?sid=460 (http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=http%3a%2f%2fsupport.microsoft.com%2fdefault.aspx%2fw98%3fsid%3d460)

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SUMMARY

This article describes how to troubleshoot video display problems or error messages relating to the video display driver when you are starting or using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition (Me).

MORE INFORMATION

Video problems that occur when Windows is started normally, but do not occur when Windows is started in Safe mode are usually related to the display driver that Windows is attempting to use. To determine whether you are using a Windows 3.1, or Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me video driver, follow these steps:
  1. Use any text editor (such as Notepad) to open the System.ini file in the Windows folder.
  2. In the [Boot] section, search for the "Display=" line. If this line reads anything other than the following line, the driver you are using is designed for Windows 3.1 (or an earlier version of Windows):
    Display.drv=Pnpdrvr.drv
    					
If you are using a video driver designed for Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, go to the "Advanced Graphics Settings" section in this article. Otherwise, continue with the following section.

Windows 3.1 display drivers

If no Windows 95 or Windows 98 display driver is available for your video adapter, try using the Windows 3.1 drivers available from the adapter's manufacturer. Consult the documentation included with that driver for information about how to install the driver.

NOTE: If you use a Windows 3.1 display driver in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, you cannot use new Graphics Device Interface (GDI) features such as:
  • Animated cursors. For additional information about using animated cursors, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    123334  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/123334/ ) Requirements for animated cursors
  • Dynamic resolution changes. In many circumstances, you can change the video resolution in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me without restarting Windows. If you change the color depth or the video driver you are using, you must restart Windows.
  • VGA fallback mode. If Windows detects a problem with the video card or video driver, it restarts with the VGA driver.
  • The Windows 95/98 virtual flat frame buffer device (Vflatd.vxd). Vflatd.vxd provides a frame buffer that can be up to 1 MB in size. Windows 3.1 video drivers are limited to a 64K frame buffer that affects your available system resources.
If the Windows 3.1 display driver does not work properly in Windows Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, use the standard VGA driver included with Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me. To do so, use the appropriate method for your operating system.

Windows 95

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. Click the Settings tab, and then click Change Display Type.
  3. Click the Change button in the Adapter Type section, and then click Show All Devices.
  4. In the Manufacturers box, click (Standard Display Types).
  5. In the Models box, click Standard Display Adapter (VGA), click OK, and then click Close.
  6. Click Close.

Windows 98 and Windows Me

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. Click the Settings tab, and then click Advanced.
  3. Click the Adapter tab, and then click Change.
  4. Click Next, click Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location, so you can select the driver you want, and then click Next.
  5. Click Show All Devices.
  6. In the Manufacturers box, click (Standard Display Types).
  7. In the Models box, click Standard Display Adapter (VGA), click OK, and then click Next.
  8. Click Next, click Next, and then click Finish.
  9. Click Close, click Close again, and then click Yes to restart your computer.
If you continue to experience problems, continue with the following section.

Advanced graphics settings

Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me has a built-in method for troubleshooting video problems. There is a slider you can adjust to change the way Windows uses the video card. It is a good idea to start with the setting on the right (the Full setting) and move the slider one setting to the left until you find the setting that works best. To use the slider to change the way Windows uses the video card, follow these steps:
  1. In Control Panel, double-click System.
  2. Click the Performance tab, and then click Graphics.
  3. Note that the Hardware Acceleration slider has four settings (Full, Most, Basic, and None). Each of these settings is described below.

Full

This is the default setting and allows for full hardware acceleration.

Most

This setting adds the following items: SWCursor=1 to the [Display] section of the System.ini file.

Setting SWCursor to 1 disables the hardware cursor.

NOTE: This setting is similar to using the /Y switch with some versions of the MS-DOS-level Microsoft Mouse driver.

The Most setting applies to Western Digital (WD) or S3-compatible drivers. If you have problems with the way the mouse pointer appears on the screen, try this setting.

Basic

This setting adds the following items:

  • SafeMode=1 to the [Windows] section of the Win.ini file.

    Setting SafeMode to 1 allows for basic acceleration only (for example, pattern bit block transfer [bitblt] and screen-to-screen bitblt).
  • MMIO=0 to the [Display] section of the System.ini file.

    Setting MMIO to 0 disables memory-mapped I/O for S3-compatible drivers.
  • SWCursor=1 to the [Display] section of the System.ini file.

    Setting SWCursor to 1 disables the hardware cursor.

    Try the Basic setting if your computer seems to stop responding (hang) randomly and you have an S3-compatible video driver.

None

This setting adds the following items:
  • SafeMode=2 to the [Windows] section of the Win.ini file.

    Setting SafeMode to 2 disables all video card acceleration (for example, the GDI calls the device-independent bitmap [DIB] engine directly for screen drawing, rather than using the display driver).
  • MMIO=0 to the [Display] section of the System.ini file.

    Setting MMIO to 0 disables memory-mapped I/O for S3-compatible drivers.
  • SWCursor=1 to the [Display] section of the System.ini file.

    Setting SWCursor to 1 disables the hardware cursor.

    Try the None setting if your computer seems to hang randomly, you have an S3-compatible video driver, and the Basic setting does not resolve the problem.
If you continue to experience problems, continue with the following section.

NOTE: If you reduce the graphics acceleration, and the problem no longer occurs, you can generally leave your system on this setting. The Basic or None setting is more compatible than Full in most cases. However, for best performance, or if you have programs that require full acceleration, contact the manufacturer of your display adapter for updated drivers. Some high-performance games require full acceleration.

Problems changing color depth

If you experience problems changing color depth on your computer, for example, cannot select anything other than 256 colors, there might be a problem with your display adapter driver. To ensure that you are using the correct display adapter driver, contact your hardware manufacturer.

Monitors

Use the following steps to verify that your monitor is selected correctly in Windows.

WARNING: It is possible to cause damage to your monitor if you select a monitor type that exceeds the capabilities of your monitor. Consult the monitor's documentation or manufacturer for specific information about its capabilities.

Windows 95

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. Click the Settings tab, and then click Change Display Type.
  3. Click the Change button in the Monitor Type section, and then click Show All Devices.
  4. In the Manufacturers box, click the manufacturer of your monitor.

    NOTE: If your monitor's manufacturer is not listed, click (Standard Monitor Types).
  5. In the Models box, click the monitor you are using, click OK, and then click Close.
  6. Click OK.

Windows 98

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
  2. Click the Settings tab, and then click Advanced.
  3. Click the Monitor tab, and then click Change.
  4. In the Manufacturers box, click the manufacturer of your monitor.

    NOTE: If your monitor's manufacturer is not listed, click (Standard Monitor Types).
  5. In the Models box, click the monitor you are using, click OK, and then click OK again.
  6. Click OK.
If you continue to experience problems, continue with the following section.

NOTE: If the monitor occasionally or continually redetects during startup, it is possible that it is not securely plugged in. Turn the computer off, disconnect and reconnect the monitor to the box.

Eliminate memory conflicts

Determine whether the problem is a result of a conflicting driver in memory. For additional information about how to do this, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
136337  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/136337/ ) Troubleshooting Windows 95 startup problems and error messages
If you continue to experience problems, continue with the following section.

Verify valid driver files

To verify that the display adapter driver files are valid, use the appropriate method for your operating system.

Windows 95

Run Windows 95 Setup again and choose the Verify option when you are prompted. The Verify option causes Windows 95 to check all files and replace any that are missing or damaged.

Windows 98

Run the Windows 98 System File Checker tool. To start the System File Checker tool, click Start, click Run, type sfc.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.

For information about how to use the System File Checker tool to extract a file, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type system file, double-click the System File Checker topic, click Using System File Checker and then click Display.

If you continue to experience problems, continue with the following section.

Contact the Manufacturer of the Display Adapter

If none of these troubleshooting steps correct the problem, contact the display adapter's manufacturer for information about obtaining an updated Windows driver.

Unable to Adjust Display Settings


If you are unable to change your display settings, the display adapter may be corrupted. Try the following steps to resolve this issue:
  1. Open System Properties in Control Panel and click the Hardware Profiles tab. Highlight the hardware profile that is marked (current), click Copy, then enter a name for the new profile such as "Test."
  2. Restart the computer in Safe Mode. To do this, click Start, click Shutdown, click Restart, press F8 when you receive the "Starting Windows" prompt, and then click to choose Safe Mode from the Startup menu.
  3. When you receive a prompt to choose a hardware profile to boot into, click the Test profile and allow the computer to boot into Windows.

    NOTE: This hardware profile will allow you to make changes to Device Manager without damaging the original hardware configuration.
  4. Open System Properties again and click the Device Manager tab.
  5. Click the plus sign ("+") next to Display Adapters to view the list of device drivers.
  6. Click the display adapter that is listed and click Remove. Click OK when you receive the "Warning: You are about to remove this device from your system" prompt.
  7. If there are multiple display drivers listed, do the same steps for each device.
  8. Close System Properties, then click Start, click Shutdown and then click Restart to restart the computer.
  9. When you receive the Hardware Profile prompt again, click Test. Windows should detect a display adapter during startup and you will receive either a prompt to restart the computer to complete the device installation, or a prompt to provide a manufacturer disk to install the drivers.
  10. When you restart again, click the Test profile again and try adjusting the display settings from the Settings tab of Display Properties in Control Panel.
  11. If your issue is resolved, then you may delete the Test hardware profile from System Properties and perform the same set of steps to remove and redetect the display driver when you restart into your original hardware configuration.
  12. If these steps do not correct the problem, then remove the Test hardware profile and see the section in this article entitled "Contact the Manufacturer of the Display Adapter."

REFERENCES

For additional information about display adapters and switches that resolve some display issues, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
124267  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/124267/ ) Display adapter information and useful switches

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
Keywords: 
kbdisplay kbfaq kbhardware kbinfo kbtshoot KB127139
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