Let me start by saying I am not exactly Technically inclined, but I do follow directions well.
Dell Studio xps
Windows Vista Home Premium
Intel Core2 Duo CPU T9900 @ 3.06GHz
8.00 GB RAM
I believe the Graphics card is AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670
I've had this computer for a couple years and the performance has been degrading over time, and recently has declined quite a bit. Since nothing else helped I decided to reinstall windows for a fresh start. Windows reinstalled just fine. Using the factory utilities and drivers disk, I loaded and installed all the drivers that were on the disk.
Everything except the video card seems to be working fine. Device manager labels it as "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter" and in properties gives a (Code 10) "This device cannot start." After some research I found that most likely the drivers did not install properly. So I tried to remove and reinstall them from the disk again and get the same thing.
I thought maybe windows didn't load right after all, so I reinstalled windows a second time and repeated the process. The problem persists.
QUESTION 1. I have seen in some posts that another possiblity is that the video card itself is bad. So is there a way to tell if the card is bad without having the drivers installed? Preferably without ripping apart the computer.
QUESTION 2. Assuming the graphics card is good... How likely is the possiblity that the drivers on my utilities disk would not work? or install correctly for that matter?
Although there are probably more questions I need to ask, this is all I can think of for now, please help me.
If you have a spare USB stick, or a CD/DVD blank, you could burn an ISO of some version of Linux that contains support for your graphics card. AMD does have a driver for Linux, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find one.
Then you'd be able to tell if the problem was Hardware or Software.