Twice this got me. Used Windows Update to keep all the drivers updated. It tells me there is a new driver for my nVidia Geforce 6100 card. Great.
I install all the updates and restart the computer. All seems good, getting upto the Windows XP splash screen. Then, the screen goes blank. Not completely blank, just 99% blank. I can see a thin sliver of the background color of the desktop at the top of the screen. Ouch. Here comes a lost hour or so...
Even though I'm on computers all the time, and have multiple PCs running at a time, I rarely need to troubleshoot anymore. Probably because I don't mess with lots of junky programs. I get the system working the way I want, and leave it alone. Except for updates. I always patch Windows, and keep all drivers updated. No problems for a while now, so I forget basic troubleshooting.
This particular computer is a Gateway GM 5084, with an AMD Athlon something or other. The GeForce 6100 video card is integrated, so that tends to mean proprietary settings. Whoops. Now I remember I did this same mistake last year.
To fix, I first had to search for some solution. I can't do much with a blank screen. I tried restarting, hoping I would get a Windows Restore screen. Nope. I did see an option for 'Recovery' which I keyed for, but that brought me to the Gateway Recovery screen where it would reformat everything. I don't want that.
Then I found a post somewhere that said to install the old driver, 94.24. And in another post, someone reminded me about Safe Mode. Crap, I forgot about Safe Mode. Tap Tap Tap F8 for booting into Safe Mode. Select Safe Mode with Networking. Download the old driver from nvidia: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx?lang=en-us
I search for the 6100 series, for XP, and scrolled past all the newer drivers released over the last couple years, down to 94.24 from May 2006. Crazy, eh? Download, install new driver. Allow installation to write over 'newer' files.
I had to reboot a couple of times, but everything came back again. A few adjustments to the resolution and I'm back to normal.
I needed to post this fix for myself next time I have this issue. Hopefully I'll remember to check my own notes here before I kill another hour when I forget next year.
- New nvidia driver blanks out screen.
- Reboot in safe mode with networking. (tap F8 at boot)
- Download old driver from nvidia site (94.24)
- Install, reboot, adjust.
- Hopefully everything is back to normal for you quickly.