Random shutdowns and blank screens

I am trying to help out a friend with her Compaq Presario laptop. She complained that she could not use the computer because the screen would go completely white after the POST screen.

I attempted to diagnose the problem by running a Knoppix live cd to see if the problem was coming from the Windows OS or hardware. Usually, the screen will show Knoppix loading and then go black randomly before the GUI comes up. At times, the screen will go black or blue, no error messages, just hangs. I did get the Knoppix GUI to load during one of these attempts, but the computer is also shutting off at random, which may be due to overheating, as I noticed the fan was running continuously and the laptop is rather warm. I am able to get into the BIOS, and ran a memory test and hard drive test both of which passed. The monitor is fine when in the BIOS (no black or white screens). I've also tried using an Ubuntu cd (which I have used successfully on my own system) that will not load and causes the screen to flash and flicker.

I also got a c000021A stop error and a page fault in non paged area STOP error at one time, along with a CMOS bad checksum error.

She had a clean install of Windows 7 put on the laptop a few months back, but the laptop came preinstalled with Windows Vista.

I'm not sure what to do with this thing. I wanted to do a clean install of Vista on the computer, because I've heard about compatibility issues with 7 on older laptops. But if there might be a major problem with the hardware (i.e, motherboard, CPU, or RAM), this would be a complete waste of time. I cannot seem to install any operating system on this machine due to the screen going blank (black, white, or blue) during the installation process. I will include the BIOS specs of the machine below. Thanks in advance for any help you all can give.

Compaq Presario C250-215NR

AMD Athlon x2 (Dual Core qL-60)
NVIDIA Graphics and Chipset
1900 MHz Processor Speed
2048 MB Total Memory
BIOS Version F.31
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  1. Hi,

    sounds like the cpu to me, with overheating etc, if you have tested the RAM and HDD and both passed.
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