Video problems on IBM Thinkpad A31p

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Hi everyone, this is my first visit to this forum so please be patient if I don't get it right, my Laptop has XP pro and an ATI Mobility Fire GL 7800 video card. After updating the system to XP SP2 and other updates from the IBM site I now find that I have an intermittent problem with the display. The display will freeze, on some occasions after only a few seconds after bootup or could last for days. I have tried various fixes, uninstalled and reinstalled drivers using the latest from both the ATI site or the IBM site. At present I am using the latest Catalyst driver (last resort)which is compatible with all ATI drivers. Problem is still there though not as bad. The error log shows that the file ati2mtag is causing the problem, I had thought that with changing the driver that this file would be replaced/updated. Any help would be very much appreciated.

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Hello bluebottle
I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite Pro A60 with Ati Radeon video card. I was getting Blue Screen Of Death every time I booted the laptop, and it reported an ati error. Misco suggested I reinstall all the software but it made no difference. Finally by disabling the Ati card in Hardware Manager and letting Windows (XP) use the default SVGA driver the problem stopped. Unfortunately the screen now shimmers when scrolling. I was informed that it was a hardware problem & return it back to Toshiba. Will have to wait till it comes back to see if it is sorted. Sounds like an general Ati problem to me.

Cheers
John Woolliscroft

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  • Poppaman2
    I've not experienced the issue you describe, but I can tell you that flaky or unstable or poorly written (take your choice) ATI drivers caused me no end of problems under Win2K SP1/2/3... Not quite the same, as they were throwing KMODE_EXCEPTION_ERROR BSOD's... You might want to try replacing the driver with one found here: http://www.dynamiclink.nl/htmfiles/rframes/info_sys/info_a/160.htm There is a forum about the some of the issues caused by the Catalyst drivers in general (and the ati2mtag driver in particular) here, but I'm not sure how much use this will be (lots of "me too" posts...): http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=33810892 At least one poster on a different forum states that the issue was caused by faulty system RAM: http://www.mcse.ms/archive61-2003-11-91502.html Perhaps the above might be of some assistance....
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  • DaveInAZ
    Well, if the problems only started after installing XPSP2 and the other updates, I wouldn't be inclined to blame the driver. You said "After updating the system to XP SP2 and other updates from the IBM site..." Did you mean you got the SP2 download from the IBM site, or just the other updates? If the SP2 did NOT come from IBM, it's quite likely that it's incompatible with the laptop, since manufacturer's almost always modify the heck out of the software to take advantage of specialized, and often proprietary, hardware. Usually they will also supply versions of major patches, like SP2, that are modified as necessary to work with their machines. Either way, if you can, I would back the SP2 (and the other updates, though SP2 is the likely villain) off the machine. It may not be possible to remove it entirely without manual intervention. MS has an article on doing this; http://support.microsoft.com/kb/875350/en-us. Even better would be to format the drive and reinstall the original operating system, if you have access to it. If you DID get SP2 from IBM, contact their tech support. They should support this for free if they killed your machine. If you did NOT get it from IBM, see if they have a customized version available. You may still need to remove the existing SP2 installation, in order to get the custom version to install properly. If they don't offer a custom version, I'd recommend living without it. There are known problems with SP2 even on desktop machines running pure MS XP. However, you might also want to test the compatibility of the other updates with your system. It's possible, though less likely, that one of them (or a combination of more than one) is the source of the problem. The only way to know for sure is start with a clean system and add one at a time and see if any problems occur. Sort of a side note but, didn't IBM just sell off the laptop division to some Chinese company? Just wondering about who's supporting what, and how well.
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  • INverc
    Have you tried running system restore taking you back just after you installed SP2 or even before by uninstalling SP2. Start | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore Please note: Always make a backup first and disable your virus scanner.
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  • Bluebottle
    Many thanks for the responses, it's good to know that there are others out there willing to help a fellow techie, woolysox - I'll give your suggestion a try, nothing to loose poppaman2 - Thanks for the links, yes I had read somewhere that ATI may be loosing their edge. DavelnNZ - I had SP2 as a seperate CD from MS and the other updates were done by letting the IBM site scan for other necessary updates on the Lptop. I do recall that one of them was the ATI updated driver. I wasn't aware that SP2 had specific installs for different OEM's. Thanks for the MS link and will take you advice re SP2. On checkinfg further on their site there is a service partition on the laptop that will bring it back to factory settings. I think that this may prove to be the most expedient method. INverc - thanks for your help, I had thought of doing this but as there were a quite a lot of updates I was working on the assumption that "its better the devil you know" principal and was looking for an easier option - no luck there!! Thanks again everyone and when I resolve this issue I will repost.
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  • Poppaman2
    A final note here - I work in a (mostly) IBM shop. I have seen issues with driver updates from the Microsoft site before (don't know why I didn't remember this in my previous post...): I have one system using an ATI dual-head video card, running XP SP2. After applying the Windows Update supplied new ATI driver, I lost all enhanced functionality of the card (4-bit color, 640 x 480 resolution, 60Hz refresh and no dual monitor support). Rolling back the driver solved the problem. I can state that the A31p Thinkpad **IS** compatible with SP2 (there are a couple of them floating around in a different area of the plant than the one I support)... check the driver(s) again and try to roll it back. PaulR. PS - check to make sure that the display panel is shown correctly in device manager, not listed as "default monitor", but as a notebook display panel. I know the Thinkpad T42's use a Samsung panel, but am totally clueless as to the brand of LCD in the A31's
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