How do you tell if the video card in your PC is going bad?

I am a major dunce when it comes to computer insides so please layman terms in all the answers :D

My husband's computer (an HP Pavilion, about 2 yrs old, runs Vista) has in the past few weeks mistaken itself for an old Nintendo cartridge game. Sometimes when we turn the monitor on, it looks like when the original NES cartridges wouldn't work. Lines all over the screen in all sorts of colors. The mouse and keyboard are useless. So we have to do a hard restart. We KNOW that isn't good for it, but that's the only thing that clears it up...for a little while. Other times, it'll be just fine and then it says something about a Page in a non page area and restarts itself. No blue screen, no option to restart. The computer just takes it upon itself to do it. A friend of mine in the computer biz said that it sounds like either a memory issue or the graphics card could be going bad. I just want to see what anyone else thought.
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  1. It might be the monitor also.
  2. I think that if the monitor was an issue, then the peripherals would still work. When this happens, nothing works. All cables and connections are good and tight to the back of the case so that can be taken off the table.
  3. find another computer to check the graphic card
  4. Don't listen to the idiots ok as that can be a costly mistake. Chances are that the gpu has become faulty and that the driver in windows has stopped working as the physical device isn't responding ot loading the driver properly. If you random lines and dots on the screen and very very poor colors ect then that is a bad card. To rule out the monitor use it on another pc or a mac and if the image looks normal then it is fine. As for the card it is either on integrated gpu or an dedicated card. For the given age of the machine it is likely to be pci-e which is good news as it is cheap and easy to swap out the bad card with a new one. Think of it as taking out a poptart out of a toaster and putting in a cold one.

    5450 if you want to be low cost and simple. Don't use the cd just put it aside and go online to the website of the company that makes the gpu for that card and download the driver package there. It is very easy to install.
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