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Monitor only working in Safe Mode (Win7)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 26, 2012 4:50:10 AM

Hi everyone,
The issue I've been having for the last few days is really starting to frustrate me. Here's my specs.
Intel i7 920 Processor (x64)
EVGA GTX 560
Dual Monitors (24" ViewSonic - 19" Hannspree)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

The story goes like this. I removed my gpu (the GTX560) the other day, just to clean it and remove some dust. I was wearing a static bracelet, and was pretty careful with the compressed air duster. I put the card back in after my cleaning and made sure everything was secure. Then plugged the pc back in and rebooted. The pc went through BIOS and POST just fine, and through the windows loading screen. However, when it gets to the login screen both monitors lose signal and go black. I can hear the Windows login chime through the speakers, but I cannot see anything. I've unplugged and discharged the monitors to no avail. I can boot into safe mode, and the monitors work fine, so I know they are not the issue.

Here's what I've tried.
- Removed and reseated the GPU
- Booted into safe mode, uninstalled all Nvidia drivers and all display adapter drivers in the device manager. Rebooted and let windows reinstall them. Also re-downloaded and installed Nvidia drivers.
- Unplugged and tried both monitors in both DVI ports of the GPU, with reboots.
- Thinking it was possibly a corruption of the source drivers in the Windows folder, I restored to an image from March (Acronis). No dice.

Not sure what else to do here. I don't have another GPU to try at the moment, but I can get one from a friend later this week.
Also had a question about safe mode; if the GPU was bad, should it be working in safe mode? What I mean is, the monitor is still plugged into the GPU, but is working in safe mode, just not when booting normally. That seemed weird to me. I figured if it was fried, then I would have had to use the onboard GPU port, in order to see anything, even in safe mode.

Any help you guys can give me would be appreciated. I'm a little confused at this point. Thanks!
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
April 26, 2012 6:11:01 AM

if the system works in safe mode its generally a software issue causing the problems in normal mode.

have you tried booting and selecting "Enable VGA Mode" this is just like normal mode but with no video drivers loaded.
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April 26, 2012 3:39:15 PM

Hugostiglitz,
Thanks for the reply.
VGA Mode and Safe Mode are essentially the same thing (boots up without video drivers). So yes, I have tried that. It starts up in Safe Mode just fine, and from there I uninstalled the display adapter drivers, and any other drivers related to the video card. Upon restart, windows re-installs them automatically (which makes me think the source drivers are corrupted), and then the same problem occurs on restart.
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 4:00:31 PM

Hi,

Was it working fine before: if so try a system restore,

If not, boot in safe mode and try uninstalling your video card driver. Maybe the screen resolution is not compatible with your screen therefore, you lose screen when in windows.

if you then boot in windows after driver was uninstalled, and it's fine. reinstall driver and inform yourself on what resolution your monitor support.


good luck
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April 26, 2012 4:20:51 PM

Dextermat-

I've actually tried all of your suggestions already. I've restored to a previous known working image. I've booted into safe mode and uninstalled the video drivers, and I've double and triple checked the resolutions. None of these fixes have worked.

Thanks anyway.
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April 26, 2012 4:34:54 PM

Have you tried hitting it? haha but seriously have you been able to try a different monitor on the setup? I have never heard of anything like this, but perhaps your monitor could be the issue. Also while you are trying to boot into windows are both monitors hooked up? Try only booting with one to see if that helps.
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April 26, 2012 4:40:53 PM

Eggbrook,
Yea, I'm pretty close to hitting it. I don't think it will work, but it might make me feel better. I have a total of three monitors, only two of which are ever plugged in, the other is in the closet. But yes, I've tried all three of them individually. Booting up with only one of them plugged in doesn't seem to matter. Thanks for the reply though.
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a c 205 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
April 26, 2012 4:44:23 PM

what happen is not software but hardware. the pc mb and windows now think the gpu card is the second monitor. go into the bios and look for first video device and see that it says pci or peg first if it says auto then the mb is booting to the onboard video first. you can tell if you swap the video cable to the onboard port when your screen blacks out.
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April 27, 2012 8:30:04 PM

Ok, I had a chance to test some things and this is the update.

I snagged a GTX295 to replace my graphics card with, and tested that. It worked for the most part, although all the shutdowns and freezes caused some other issues and I ended up restoring back to factory. My wife also has a GTX560, the same as the card I replaced, and the exact same setup I do. So to satisfy my curiosity, I pulled her card out and swapped it into my pc. It failed again. Same symptoms as before. I thought that was weird, since those two cards have pretty much the same requirements for power, etc. So I swapped the 560 back into my wife's pc again, and it fired up no problem.

So essentially what I'm left with is this:

- Both GTX560's will not run in my pc (although I've been using one for almost a year) now, but a GTX295 will.

- Both GTX560's will run in my wife's pc with no issues. The GTX295 works in her pc as well.

What the hell could cause this to happen. It's clearly not the cards, and I can't for the life of me understand why the GTX 295's would run, and the 560's wouldn't. They even use the same drivers. Anyone have any ideas on this? I am completely stumped. I've tried everything that you guys have suggested in this thread so far to no avail.
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a c 205 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
April 29, 2012 8:54:24 AM

take a look at your pc power supply and hers. you just want to know the max output of each and the 12volt rail. in amps. and it rated output. if the ps are the same it could be one of two issues. your ps has a faulty 12v rails or somthing not to speck and under load it fails. your wife ps 12v rail has a higher amp rating then your ps does.
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May 6, 2012 12:07:41 AM

*Solved*
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions, but I finally worked out what the deal was. During the removal/reinsertion of the GTX560, some subtle damage was caused to the contacts on one side of the PCIe x16 slot. More specifically, it bent one side of the contact so that it was under the video card when I reinstalled it. This caused all of the problems that I referred to above. I suspect the reason that the GTX295 worked, was that it's possible that some of the contacts on the slot are redundant/unnecessary for a connection with that model of video card. That's why both GTX560's worked in the other identical pc, but not in mine. Once I was able to identify the issue, I repaired the contact with some micro-tools, and everything has been fine since then. To be honest, I didn't realize the my BIOS was switching over to on-board video drivers during startup, as I don't have an on-board external port for VGA or DVI on the back of the pc. Had no idea that the BIOS was capable of switching that during startup, and then sending the signal through the video card.

So the short version is, that a closer visual inspection of the PCI slot could have saved me a a lot of hassle. But it acted a bit like a driver issue to start with, so I didn't double check my hardware first. That was a mistake on my part.

Thanks again for the suggestions all. You can mark this as solved.
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