Troubleshooting a Video Card

display screen artifacts

Troubleshooting a video card is relatively straight-forward. While it’s easy to assume a video card is bad because there is no video displaying on the monitor, there are several reasons why that might be happening. So how do you narrow it down to the video card itself? When troubleshooting a video card use techniques to use to determine if a graphics card is bad, such as noting a steady degradation of performance, artifacts jumbling the screen and even failure to boot while hearing a string of beep codes. You can also swap in another card if you have a similar PC. Process of elimination is sometimes the key, as well. If you do not see the BIOS splash screen and eliminate all other possibilities, such as the cables, the power supply, the monitor and the motherboard–then your computer likely has a bad video card.

Troubleshooting a Video Card In Your Computer

Troubleshooting a Video CardIf you power on the computer and there is no video, take notice of any unusual beeping from the computer. Depending on your BIOS manufacturer, you will hear a string of beep codes to indicate a video adapter failure, such as one long and two short beeps. If you hear any unusual beeping, look on the motherboard and find the BIOS manufacturer’s name on the BIOS chip. You can then refer to a BIOS beep code chart to determine the affected hardware.

If you see artifacts on your screen or other types of pixelation, your graphics card is probably going bad. Try re-seating the card and check the video card’s fan to make sure it is spinning fast and is clear of dust and other debris.

Troubleshooting a Video Card – Rule Out The Monitor

To rule out the monitor, make sure the brightness is turned all the way up and disconnect the monitor cable at the PC side. Most modern monitors will display a diagnostic screen if it is not receiving a signal. If the monitor displays this, then the problem lies with the computer and not the monitor.

If you DO see a BIOS boot screen when the PC begins to boot, but the monitor then goes blank as Windows loads, then you probably have a problem with your settings or driver. Try booting into Safe Mode by tapping F8 when booting. From Safe Mode, you will be able to correct any driver or display issues that are causing the screen to go blank in Windows. If you have questions about troubleshooting a video card, join our forums or read more hardware tutorials.

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