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Andrew Pollock


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Saturday, 17 September 2005

New video card and battling with Windows 2000 to get it to use it

So I ventured out to the Computer Fair at Woden CIT (my least favourite venue), and acquired myself a new video card to replace the one that had died recently.

I don't really follow developments in PC hardware, and I didn't really know what to get. Rick is violently against ATI, so I decided to stick with nVidia, since the previous card was an nVidia GeForce2 MX or something like that.

So Sarah and I set out with the intention of getting a GeForce4 MX 440, which seemed to be nice and bottom-of-the-line. I was expecting to pay through the nose for a new video card, and I really didn't need anything terribly whiz-bang.

It turned out that there wasn't anything of that ilk available, and the prices were a lot lower than I was expecting. We got a GeForce 6200 with 256M of RAM for $95. In hindsight, I probably should have used the list of supported cards that the XFree86/X.org nv driver spits out when it can't find a supported card, but I managed to get the card working under X.org with the nVidia binary driver.

Getting Windows 2000 to play ball turned out to be a far more difficult problem. What ended up being the problem was Windows, in its infinite wisdom, decided to reenable all the disabled devices when it found some new hardware. I have to disable my Fusion HDTV-Plus DVB card under Windows, because (I think due to a card/motherboard/ACPI issue), Windows gives a BSOD on bootup with the driver enabled.

I didn't realise straight away that this card been reenabled, and so I was trying to boot into Safe Mode so I could try and take stock of the situation. The problem was, I couldn't log in as Administrator in Safe Mode, and I still have no idea why. After using the extremely useful Offline NT Password & Registry Editor to attempt to reset the Administrator password from Linux, I still had no joy, and tried booting into Safe Mode with Networking instead. At least then I could log in as myself, authenticating against my domain (which is implemented by a Samba server). I could then disabled the DVB card and boot normally to install the right video card driver.

Windows is such a prat of a thing when it breaks.

[19:57] [tech] [permalink]