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XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Community Veteran
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Registered: 07-03-2008

XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Hi folks!
Despite the copious posting some time ago, I have got some time to look into this problem again. I have found out one or two bits of what I hope is relevent information.
Intel have revealed that XP (& presumably XP Pro) uniquely have a built-in feature that limits the resolution to not more than 800 x 600! This seems to have been due to everyone having a CRT display  in those days. They suggest that the Display settings panel has a tick-box to remove this and allow the extra resolutions that the 82810E Controller can support (1024 x 768, 1152 x 864, 1280 x 1024 & 1600 x 1200). Mine has no such feature. available
I downloaded the recommended driver for the GeForce FX 5500 Controller (175.16 geforce_32bit_international_whql.exe) and thought that it installed satisfactorily. The "My Computer information Hardware printout" (where did I find that?) shows that the driver is actually "nv4_mini.sys"! Should I have deleted this (assuming that I could find it)  before installing the other?
Despite having the two Video Controllers installed, I find that I cannot access the twin monitor panel which should allow me to select the resolutions of either and which is to be the primary one. My son (who is in Italy right now and is somewhat of an industrial software guru) did manage to fire up this panel and, briefly, do the business and the 5500 actually displayed correctly, but he may not have pressed the "Apply" button before he left. I have subsequently flashed up the full resolution selection list by accident but cannot repeat it. So all this seems to be "under the bonnet" but where I do not know. At the time the program had crashed and so could not be played with.
Roll eyes
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Before I got my Win 7 PC I was running XP Pro with two 1680x1050 monitors. My wife now has that PC and it's running at 1280x1024.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Community Veteran
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Presumably you did have the twin monitors panel to do all that? My monitor does not support that but it does 1280 x 720 (or 800) which would be nice.
CX
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Is the monitor definitely plugged into VGA port on the GeForce card, and not the VGA port on the motherboard?
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Quote from: colintivy
Presumably you did have the twin monitors panel to do all that? My monitor does not support that but it does 1280 x 720 (or 800) which would be nice.

Yep, the I've kept the two Samsung 22" monitors and now have them on my Win 7 PC.
I've just checked and the 1280x1024 monitor is plugged in to the VGA socket on the motherboard of my wife's PC. When I had that PC I had a Sapphire X1650 VGA/TVO/DVI-I card in it to enable me to use twin monitors.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

@ CX.
No, like jelve, I have it in the motherboard VGA port where it runs OK, apart from the resolution. When I connect the montor to the VGA port, a very strange thing happens. It all appears to load Windows as far as the Windows Logo display but then stops with a couple of the little progress dots still visible. But I can hear Windows loading by the HD activity and the burps as software loads. The display itself is of good qualty and looks like an appropriate resolution. The display continues unaltered which is not a lot of use.
One thought that I have is that the machine's BIOS (Phoenix Version 05) is old but I was advised that it is not worth updating to the various later marks up to 09. or Is this a red herring? I also see that the Display Settings panel states that a Video BIOS is involved, I do not know anything about this. Another possible feature is that the computer itself is a Dell OptiPlex GX110 mid-sized tower on its side and it is possible that Dell have inserted some in-house software to modify XP Pro. for some reason. I have the main BIOS/Integrated devices set to Auto and not to On-Board which ought to work with both video cards.

Typo removed.
CX
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Quote from: colintivy
@ CX.
No, like jelve, I have it in the motherboard VGA port where it runs OK, apart from the resolution.

There's your problem. The RAMDAC hardware and/or video BIOS firmware on the integrated Intel graphics (on the motherboard) do not support the resolution that your monitor requires. You need to plug the monitor into the VGA port on the graphics card, and then you should get the appropriate resolution choices.
Just change the motherboard BIOS setting to use PCI or AGP graphics first (or however it's labelled) rather than onboard, before you move the connection over. Auto should do it too, provided that the BIOS is detecting that an external graphics card is plugged into a PCI slot and there is nothing else plugged into the VGA port on the motherboard. That way you should be able to see the POST and boot-up screens on the nVidia graphics card, AND have the choice of appropriate resolutions once in Windows.
If the motherboard is incapable of detecting PCI graphics cards, then your only realistic option is to put up with not having the POST and boot screens. At least Windows itself will work properly.
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Further to the above I have now switched the monitor (BenQ 19") from the GeForce VGA to the motherboard VGA and low and behold I can now select the full range of resolutions! This I have done and have settled upon 1024 x 768 which looks to be the most satisfactory for use. Higher resolutions only gave too small an image size for comfort. The GeForce image is stll stuck at the Windows Logo which remains to be solved!!
Just read your post and will have a look to see what needs more tweaking. I do not believe that the BIOS allows other options than are posted earlier. Perhaps we should look at later versions of the BIOS?
CX
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Quote from: colintivy
This I have done and have settled upon 1024 x 768 which looks to be the most satisfactory for use. Higher resolutions only gave too small an image size for comfort

Is 1360x768 or 1366x768 an option? The only issue with using 1024x768 on a widescreen monitor is that everything will be stretched out, but if it looks fine then fair enough.
Another option is to use the highest resolution, and then adjust things such as browser zoom level and font sizes to something higher, or change Windows DPI setting (but some applications my misbehave).
Quote from: colintivy
Just read your post and will have a look to see what needs more tweaking. I do not believe that the BIOS allows other options than are posted earlier. Perhaps we should look at later versions of the BIOS?

I'm not familiar with the motherboard in that particular model, but perhaps the BIOS just doesn't support add-in graphics. I wouldn't risk trying to update it.
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

I am utterly contused.  Do I understand correctly that you can get the resolution you want when connected to the graphics adaptor on your motherboard but not when connected to the graphics adaptor on a graphics card using an Nvidia chip?  If so
Graphics cards have their own BIOS.  It's unlikely that the motherboard BIOS can exert much influence on the behaviour of a graphics card. 
The monitor resolutions that a graphics card can cope with are usually stated explicitly in the specifications.  Specifications of old equipment can still often be found online
Dell do not modify Windows with in-house software although they may add their own software on top of Windows.  Microsoft makes Windows.  Intel builds equipment.   

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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

@ RR,
I am confused most of the time!! The onboard Graphics (82810E) can basically support 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1152 x 864, 1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1200  at most colour depths and refresh rates. The BenQ 19" can support 640 x 480, 720 x 400, 800 x 600, 832 x 624, 1024 x 768, 1152 x 870, 1280 x 800, 1280 x 720, 1440 x 900 so you can see that ther is quite an overlap there. I do not have the figures for the GeForce 5500 to hand but do not expect them to be very different.
What has caught me out is that, on powering up the Dell after lunch, I find that it has gone back to the 800 x 600 again without the means to adjust it. I accidentally overcome this earlier when I used the GeeForce to boot up and waited for the whole XP to load ( but with the frozen display of the Logo) with the monitor cable in the card port . Then transferred the monitor cable to the motherboard VGA port and found that the adjustment was available as described above. This is why I thought that there was somethings useful "under the bonnet".
PS to this, I have repeated the transferrance of the cabling and the 1024 x 768 resolution is as it was before!! All very strange.
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

If you press the F8 key when starting the computer, one of the options is "VGA mode".  That enables you to run the computer without invoking any of the higher functions of your graphics adaptor or using anything other than the basic Windows software to drive the graphics.  In "VGA mode" you will have a very limited range of available resolutions.  It sounds like after lunch you arrived in VGA mode for whatever reason.
The Dell will have a BIOS setting telling it which of your two graphics adaptors it should use.  In my experience the Auto option sometimes fails, the graphics card is not found and the computer defaults to the on-board graphics adaptor.  If you want to use the graphics card then you'll have more chance of success if you select that explicitly in the Dell BIOS.   
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

I have progressed a bit further. Clearly when using the GeForce FX5500 card Windows does in fact load correctly (which It seems not to do with the onboard Controller) and I get the resolution options that ought to be available. The problem is that the PCI card just will not display it apart from the logo.. When I looked further i found that the card is shown as not working properly with a error code of 10 (whatever that means). I do know that the card, which was new in its box, had a nVIDIA driver disk and this had a specific folder for XP. I installed the card as a P & P device and then the driver, but it seemed to be not straight forward, telling me that what I installed was older than the one on board. I had been recommended a much later driver, with the intention of solving the problem, which I installed. nVIDIA now tells me that usually an updated driver will uninstall an existing one but sometimes this fails and display problems can arise. This seems to be reflected in my experience. I hope that I can find both drivers, uninstall the old one and install the new one. Are there any more pitfalls likely to bedevil me?
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Have you tried doing a Windows Update using the "Advanced" option, then looking for the current Nvidia driver that Windows expects in the "Hardware" category ?
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Re: XP Pro display still stuck at 800x600

Hi purleigh!
I have Automatic Updates installed but looked at it now using WinExplorer (I usually do Firefox) but did not see the Advanced option. It seems that all is up to date.
I have uninstalled the nVIDIA drivers and installed the updated one that I had downloaded but I still get the code 10 error with the GeForce hardware. What next?