Laptop display - hardware or software problem?

calling on the collective wisdom of teh SDMB.
My laptop - a low spec compaq presario c700 is stuck on a horribly low screen resolution of 600by480. Moreover the screen image appears on the screen 6 times.

I have the latest video adater driver installed but this hasn’t fixed the problem.
I have installed the appropriate generic monitor driver for a 1360by768 display.
Attempts to change teh screen resolution only give me the one option:-600by480.
I can plug a secondary monitor in and it works fine and gives all the usual options for altering the display. This leads me to suspect that neither the graphics adapter nor the driver is teh problem.

On the other hand the screen is actually displaying all of the pixels it ought to. There doesn’t appear to be anything obviously wrong with it.

Somewhere along the line the system is not recognising the capabilities of my display which seems really odd.

This problem did not appear instantaneously. I usually sleep my computer and it has been showing the wrong resolution when starting up but restored to the proper configuration once windows booted.
The other day i (foolishly?) shut down completely. The bizarre display appeared permanently from that time forward.

Should i
(a) be playing around with drivers to find something that works
(b) get some assistance to tinker with something in the registry
© check something in the bios settings
(d) prepare myself to shell out some dollars for new hardware

Check that the video driver is exactly the correct one the Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family Video/Graphics Driver. Make sure your system is not set up to be a 2 display system under your video properties setup applet.

Done. No joy.

Go into the hardware list under the control panel > system > hardware >device manager tree and delete the graphics controller branch. Reboot the system and let it re-initialize.

If that fails use a burned Linux OS CD to boot the system. That will tell you if it’s a hardware or software issue re the graphics.

You might also DL the free hardware diagnostic Belarc Advisor. That will tell you what your system is “seeing” as the current graphics adapter.

Thanks Astro. OPtion A has already been done.
OPtion B is probably not practical with the time constraints I have at present. Besides I wuld need to download Linux first and it is not something I have used before.
OPtion C – I’ll give that a shot.

Trying Belarc
tells me that I have the following display adapter:
Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family [Display adapter] (2x)
Generic Non-PnP Monitor

Which is nothing that I don’t already know. Except for the 2x. Does this mean that it has been installed twice? Only one is showing up in the device manager. Could this be giving me grief?

FWIW it has to be a busted-wrong driver issue of some kind. Graphics adapters don’t “fail” to a low resolution state and still provide graphics capability of any kind. Hardware-wise they are dead or working. There is no in between.

BTW your native screen resolution is actually 1280 x 800 not 1360 by 768 as you posted in the OP. Have you actually forced a monitor definition for a 1360 by768 display for the machine ?

I could have sworn that I have been running 1360 by 768. When it defaulted back to the low res it pulled out a generic 600by480 driver.
I don’t have a 1200by800 driver on the list that I can positiovely identify. How can I work out which of the compaq drivers that I see I should be using?

It’s 1280 x 800 not 1200 by 800.

Of course, you’re right. However 1280 by 800 isn’t on the list either.

Astro – I must thank you heaps for the help you’ve given. Really appreciated.
Do you know how I can choose between the dozens of availiable drivers to get the one I want?

(And we’ll leave how I got into this mess for another occasion.)

When you say “driver” I’m not quite understanding where you are. There is usually an option under the display properties choice of monitor resolutions to allow the system to display or hide resolutions and refresh settings the system cannot handle. You can uncheck this box to see all the available system resolution settings. If your system has the wrong (or damaged) display driver installed (which is really what this sounds like) it will limit display of the avail resolutions to the most basic defaults.

I would un-install the current display driver via control panel, download another copy from the HP website, reboot then re-install it from scratch.

Do this from safe mode

I’ll try that, although I am not sure that it will make much difference.

In Device manager i have two tree branches that I have been playing with.

One is “Display adapters”. Undr that I have installed the latest Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family [Display adapter] which is dated 2008.
As far as I can tell it seems to be working ok. It will handle any external monitor I plug in just fine. However when I access the aplet for changing graphic properties the maximum resolution it will allow for the notebook is the dreaded 600x480. Which incidently it runs at 63Hz. The same resolution is also the limit for any cloned display. Only, on the laptop it is an absolute mess – the same screen image tiled across the screen fitting nearly twice horizontally and about three and a half times vertically. It is compressing/distorting the image which makes text very difficult to read.

The other place I am looking is under monitors. When I delete all and let it boot, Vista comes up with a generic 600x480 driver. When I ask for it to update automatically then this is the one it chooses. I can pull up a list of available monitors. There are a number of manufacturers and dirvers for many models. In the generic list it has a whole bunch of drivers with the resolutions listed. 1280x800 is not one of them. Nothing I have chosen on this list has made a difference.

I have been to the HP website and found this, but it hasn’t given me anything new.

It is nice to have astro confirm my suspicions that it is a driver issue, but I haven’t been able to crack the problem.

Per drachillix try safe mode. Also don’t ask it to update automatically you’ll just keep getting the existing messed up driver . Choose manual mode and force it to the folder where you have placed the correct driver files.

Tried safe mode. Booted to safe. Uninstalled all driver adapters. (There were two listed - looked like the same one twice). Restarted. Booted to safe again. Vista reinstalled driver automatically. Asked me to reboot again. No change.

Tried downloading driver from intel. It came bundled as self installing wizard. Booted to safe mode. Uninstalled drivers. (again two) ran wizard. Got error message saying that my system wasn’t sufficiently capable.

Tried running wizard from windows booted regularly. No such error message. Cancelled insallation because there were at that stage already drivers installed. I didn’t want to risk making things worse.

I am rethinking the hardware/software issue again. I get the crazy looking screen even when I am in low levels before windows has installed. If I go to bios I still get six screen images.

I’m pretty well stumoped at this point. (Actually I started off stumped. Now I am slightly educated and stumped.)

If you are seeing 6 screen images in the BIOS setup screen(s), then the problem is not Windows drivers since Windows has not executed a single instruction yet.

IMO, you have a fuxxored display or display adaptor. The fact that external monitors behave normally under Windows indicates to me that the display itself is the culprit.

If you’re a hardware tech kinda guy, that might be something you could replace if you could find a used laptop of the same model. If not, sounds like you’re gonna want to take advantage of Black Friday sales someplace & get thee a new box.
ETA: The fact that you see 6 images in the BIOS setup is critical info which would have been useful to include in the OP. I know it’s tough to know how much info is enough.

Thanks for your help. The conclusion that I have pretty much come to is that the screen itself has taken a hit. At the time of first posting I hadn’t looked at the bios (didn’t even know how to access it on this machine.) i just noticed that the screen issues were appearing pretty early in the boot.

The main thing that had put me off thinking that it was the screen first off was that the problem originally manifested during boot up but rectified once windows had loaded. I am guessing a clock or synchronisation issue is at the root of it all.

Which leaves me in a position of what to do now. Work policy means our personal laptops financed through a tax break are being replaced by work-owned laptops. I was hoping to keep the old one at home as a useful second machine. It is looking a bit sad at this stage and probably isn’t worth spending a whole lot of money on.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone’s help.