GPU issues?

Hey all, so I am having something of a crisis at the moment. This morning I was playing WoW, and just as I zoned into an instance my system hard locked. Ctrl alt Del did nothing, and it was totally unresponsive for 5 minutes before I held down the power button to turn it off. It's not the first time this has happened, but usually it has just unfrozen after a minute or so.

I left it to rest for 5 minutes, thinking it might have perhaps overheated or something (though I have not had this happen before - can never be too careful), however when I turned it on again, I saw vertical red lines appearing in clusters on my screen. "Uh oh" I thought, as this seems to be a sign of a GPU problem. On the next startup screen I got a load of green dots all over the screen, and these visual artefacts continued right up until the "starting windows" screen. It did the flashy coloured windows logo thing, and all the while things seemed normal aside from the artefacts. However after this the screen went blank (a black screen to be exact) as it usually does for a few seconds, but nothing further happened. It just seemed to lock up on a black screen and after a few seconds the hard disk activity light went out and only came on again periodically for perhaps half a second at irregular intervals.

Nothing happened, so I had to hold down the power button again - this keeps happening now, so essentially the computer won't boot beyond the windows logo. I tried a startup repair, and it got to the "performing repairs" bit, but then after 5 minutes or so it said "Unable to effect repairs" and all I could do then was restart it - it still wouldn't boot.

I was able to boot in safe mode, (but I still had the red artefacts on the desktop, even in SM) and in there I disabled the video card in device manager. Now, the system will boot up normally (outside of safe mode) albeit with no video card. I still get the red artefacts however, both on the desktop (though curiously not on toolbars / over windows or anything like that) and on the bootup screens such as the Intel logo and the starting windows screen - those are covered in red dots, clusters of red lines and green dots - even with the GPU disabled.

The monitor is a BenQ 19" and less than 6 months old - it has been working perfectly up until now, and the fact that it flat out wouldnt boot until I disabled the GPU suggests that it isn't a monitor problem.

What do we think?
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  1. I've never had this problem, but what i can suggest, If you think it might be an overheating problem, get cpu-z or my personal preference "Speedfan" to watch the temps, inside your computer make sure your graphics card is securely in the pci-e slot, make sure the power connectors (6 or 8 pin) are connected well, if you have a second PCI-e slot put your card into that, because you managed to gain access to windows in safe mode but still hat the artifacts on your screen is what makes me think it is GPU related, have you every tryed overclocking it?, if so revert, or make sure those changes were reverted, if your computer has on board graphics you could try and take your card out, use the on board graphics, if you still have the artifacts then you know its not GPU related, but plain and simple most obvious answer which cures most problems is reinstall/update the graphics drivers( and your motherboard drivers if you have them) im sorry if i suggested things you have already tryed i just glanced through your story because im on my way out, hope you get it worked out
  2. Bit of an update!
    Having disabled the video card in device manager, I am left wondering what is actually powering the display. DXdiag's display section is just blank, with manufacturer blank and everything else listed as "n/a" - surely even the onboard graphics would have a make and details listed?

    I should mention the system is an ageing (circa 2005) Dell Dimension 9100 - I have literally no clue about its onboard graphics capabilities. I assume just flat out removing the GPU would force the issue? If I am STILL getting artefacts even after taking out the GPU what could this mean?

    I can't see that its a driver issue to be honest - I mean for it to go from working perfectly and then hard lock and flat out refuse to boot up unless the GPU is disabled in device manager suggests its something abit more hardware related than that. I was under the impression that only tended to appear in specific applications if it was driver related - not windows as a whole?
  3. Computers are just a hobby of mine im no professional,but the only thing that has ever caused screen artifacts for me is a graphics adapter, sorry i could not help more, hopefully someone else will have more insight
  4. Just checked, it does NOT have onboard graphics, and even with the GPU listed as "disabled" in device manager, the fan still spins up when the computer is on and it stays spinning - as if the GPU was still running. So I am not really sure - on the one hand with no onboard gfx solution SOMETHING must be powering the display, yet device manager is telling me the GPU is disabled. I can't unplug the GPU as that's the only thing that I can connect the monitor too. Looking increasingly likely that my GPU is gone I think.

    Which is a pain as upgrading a Dell is a living hell, due to case size constraints etc - single slot GPU would be ideal but they hardly make em anymore, and there's also the question of power too - Cooler master real power 550 should handle something shouldn't it? Gah I wish I had a job
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