Screen suddently turns into garbage

Normally I'm pretty good about diagnosing and fixing problems that arise with my own computer, but this one is beyond me, and I really need your guy's help. During times when I am casually working on something, without any warning the screen will suddenly turn into garbage.

<A HREF="http://""" target="_new">Screenshot</A>

This problem has happened so many times in the last 2 days that I've lost count. First the screen goes white, then it turns into this pattern of colors. The colors are different each time the glitch happens, but there is always a small square patch that is different from the background.

<A HREF="http://""" target="_new">Close-up</A>

A couple times, the square patch actually moved as I moved my mouse, as if it were the mouse cursor or something. But in every instance, the only way out of the screen is a hard restart of my computer by pushing the button on the tower.

One time I was actually able to recreate the glitch with a specific sequence of steps that I took inside Photoshop. It occurred at the same point every time, and allowed me to capture <A HREF="http://""" target="_new">this video of it taking hold of my screen</A>.

Here are the steps I have taken to try to diagnose this problem:

1. The first time the glitch happened I had just recently made some changes to the Registry, leading me to think that it must be because of a Registry bug I had just introduced. So I reformatted my hard drive and did a clean install of Windows. But, after about a half hour of reinstalling all my applications, it happened again and before I had even touched the Registry.

2. Then I thought it might have something to do with my video driver (I was using the latest NVIDIA 61.77 driver from So I did a roll-back to the driver that Windows had chosen for it initially. But even after that, the glitch happened again. Furthermore, I don't think the problem has to do with my video card because one time the glitch happened while I was watching a movie, and in addition to the screen turning to garbage, the audio from the movie glitched as well: it kept repeating the same second of sound over and over, exactly like a broken record. In fact, I have a <A HREF="http://""" target="_new">video clip</A> of that happening. If the problem were the video card, I would think that the rest of the system would continue to operate normally behind the scrambled screen.

3. Next I thought it might have something to do with my memory. So I booted up with a Memtest86 floppy, selected to run all of the tests, and left it running overnight, but 8 hours and 19 passes later, it had still not found a single error with my memory. However, what's interesting is that one time I killed all killable processes in Windows and left the computer sitting idle at the desktop for a few hours. When I came back, it will still at the desktop, and the screen was fine. Yet, if I were actually working and doing things on the computer, the glitch would have happened within a half hour at most. So the problem only happens when some sort of computation is actually happening, but it does not depend on which application I am using.

Finally, here are my system specs:

<b>OS</b>: Windows XP Pro SP2
<b>Motherboard</b>: ABIT KG7-RAID
<b>CPU</b>: AMD AthlonXP 1800+
<b>Memory</b>: 2x256MB Crucial CT3272Y265
<b>Monitor</b>: Samsung SyncMaster 21GL
<b>Video Card</b>: Gainward CARDEXpert GeForce3
<b>Sound Card</b>: Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum
<b>Network Cards</b>: 3Com 3C905CX-TXM, D-Link DWL-520+
<b>Hard Drives</b>: Maxtor 5T06H6, Maxtor 6Y120P0, Maxtor 6Y200P0
<b>CD Drives</b>: Toshiba SD-M1502, Ricoh RW7200A

As you can see I'm trying to document this glitch as thoroughly as I can, mainly because it's got me so confused. Any insight you might have into this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  1. Go edit your links, you forgot the address.

    I had this happen on a Dell Notebook. It was video card overheating. Try checking temps and or running with a large fan blowing through case and see if this resolves it.

    Try everything...
    Do not be afraid of failure, for this is how we learn and grow...
    Live life to the fullest...
    Do not regret what you have not yet done!!!
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