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Desperately trying to uninstall ATI drivers

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 19, 2009 8:37:50 PM

I recently got a used PC (XP SP 3) that had an ATI RADEON 7500 card installed. I pulled it out and put in a RADEON 9200, then downloaded and installed the newest Catalyst drivers for the 9200. I thought that should do it. The driver installation program never ever complained about anything.

On reboot, the system hung at the XP Welcome screen. After a reset, it loaded XP but crashed after loading the desktop. After that, it booted normally, but hung after a minute or so.

In the BIOS, I adjusted AGP aperture size(?) from 64MB to 128MB (the 9200's RAM size). The random crashes *after* rebooting disappeared, but it still crashes twice after each reinstallation procedure.

Problem is, the driver is obviously not being loaded properly - the display is sluggish, even moving a simple window was slow. And although I installed a monitor "driver" for my 22", I couldn't select the proper resolution, neither in the Windows display properties tab, nor in the ATI control panel. In the ATI control panel, it still says "Standard monitor".

DirectDraw works, but the Direct3D test failed ("3D function not available" or somefink).

I uninstalled the control suite and the driver, removed the card from the hardware list and started all over again. Same results - a few crashes during reboot, then it somehow loads a FUBAR'd driver configuration.

I began hunting down all traces of ATI software on the system. There are several sets of ati*.* files in the Windows directory that I could not delete - XP makes them reappear as soon as I delete them. Also, there are registry keys for the old Radeon 7500 that I was not permitted to delete.

Also, the ATI Catalyst uninstallation tool reported a Radeon 7500 driver that it could not remove.

I tried Driver Sweeper, which is supposed to solve exactly this problem. It didn't. I re-installed everything, the files reappeared, same problems.

I downloaded an older (2005) ATI tool that is also supposed to remove all ATI software from the system. It doesn't.

I tried a tool that lets you mark files for deletion during the next reboot, supposedly before XP can get its dirty hands on them. Didn't work either.

I'm out of ideas - any help would be appreciated very much!
July 19, 2009 8:45:01 PM

Have you tried this all in safe mode?
July 19, 2009 10:58:07 PM

Isn't it easier to reinstall windows entirely? Sometimes system files get damaged or corrupted. There's no easy way to find out if this happened and if so, to what files.

I recommend a reinstall.
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July 19, 2009 11:14:13 PM

you could try and load safe system defaults in the bios, sometimes helps
July 19, 2009 11:14:17 PM

To fully remove the drivers use Driver Sweeper.
July 19, 2009 11:23:54 PM

orangegator said:
To fully remove the drivers use Driver Sweeper.


Not to be a smartass, but he states he tried that already - in vain. Perhaps you have another idea? :) 
July 19, 2009 11:30:17 PM

I dont think he did this in safe mode from his comment here
" began hunting down all traces of ATI software on the system. There are several sets of ati*.* files in the Windows directory that I could not delete - XP makes them reappear as soon as I delete them. Also, there are registry keys for the old Radeon 7500 that I was not permitted to delete. "
July 20, 2009 4:44:25 AM

I did this several times, both in normal and safe mode. The files are stored in the windows/drivercache sp3.cab archives and probably restored from there. I googled some more and found that I could probably hack the Windows File Protection system, preventing these files from being restored. But that is a pain I'm not really comfortable with. Is there a way to delete the registry keys for the old card?
July 20, 2009 4:51:07 AM

If you know exactly what youre looking for, try CCleaner
July 20, 2009 8:53:58 AM

CCleaner wasn't any help. I finally learned that you can delete keys by setting the access rights for the key. Still, it didn't help. Reinstalling the drivers led to boot crashes. I can't set the correct resolution and there is no hardware acceleration or 3D.
July 20, 2009 9:14:09 AM

Weird. I tried the MS online driver update from the hardware tab. It reinstalled some driver, but it still had the same issues. Then I unplugged the card, found that I can't plug the card into a different PCI slot because it's an AGP card (mentally I'm still in the 20th century...) and rebooted. Now it works.
July 20, 2009 9:33:42 AM

Reboot must have cleared the old driver out. Good to hear you got it going
July 20, 2009 1:29:52 PM

Angelusz said:
Not to be a smartass, but he states he tried that already - in vain. Perhaps you have another idea? :) 


Oops. Missed that. I tend to skim long posts. Plus, I've never had a problem using it. The OP can also try Driver Cleaner Pro 1.5.
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