Laptop won't recognize my video card.

I reinstalled Windows XP on my Dell laptop (Inspiron 9300) and now it won’t recognize my graphics card. Instead it uses drivers for a generic graphics card. I figured out that I have an ATI Mobility Radeon X300 and I installed drivers for that card but they didn’t work.

I can’t check my video card from system properties because the laptop won’t recognize the device. Programs made to identify video cards don’t work either.

What I did was check the laptop’s service number on Dell’s website and this was the video card that was listed. I also checked other video card drivers for possible video cards that could have come with a Dell Inspiron; nvidia geforce go 6600 was the only other card listed and its drivers did not work.

What should I do now?

This site says you have a nvidia geforce go 6800.

Can you open the case and see which card you have?

Here’s the download page for the driver for the Radeon.

There lies the problem runner pat. I’ve tried using both those drivers and neither of them work.

I might eventually have to resort to finding a way inside my laptop to check the video card. For now I want to see if there is anything else I can do. I’m fairly certain I have a Radeon x300 because that’s what my service number brings up on Dell’s website.

Since you were using the laptop’s service tag, I’d go with what the Dell support site says over a third party site. Dell’s pretty good about knowing exactly what went into a machine when they sold it.

Did you flash the video BIOS with the BIOS update listed? It’s possible that the current driver requires the current BIOS. Or, you can look here for older versions of the driver and try those.

Installed properly but now you have no video, or complained you didn’t have a matching card and you’re still using the generic drivers?

Notebooks are notorious for not working with the grapic card maker’s generic drivers. This is because the cards are frequently modified to use the notebook maker’s PCI ID.

You should be using one of the Dell drivers from here, assuming this is an Inspiron 9300. Click the “Video” dropdown and try “ATI - Driver applies to MobilityRadeon X300” and “nVidia - Driver applies to GeForce Go 6800”.

If that doesn’t work, do this:

On your desktop, right-click “My Computer”. Select “Properties” from the drop-down menu. Click on the “Hardware” tab. Click on the “Device Manager” button (location varies depending on which XP SP you have). One of the items in the list is “Display adapters”. Double-click on it to expand the list. Right-click on whatever shows up (mine says “ATI Radeon X300 Series”, yours may say something like “Generic video adapter”). Select “Properties” from the drop-down. Click the “Details” tab in the new window that pops up. Select “Hardware Ids” from the drop-down list of details you can view. You’ll get some gibberish in the infobox that won’t make any sense to you, like this:


Post that here and you will receive further instructions, including where to drop the briefcase with the money. :smiley:

I have video, but very slow and lagging video. I’m not sure I understand the second part of the question, but here are the error messages I get when I try to install the video card drivers:

For MobilityRadeon X300: “Setup was unable to complete the installation. Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver before running setup.”

Now that I look at this, maybe I need to find some standard VGA driver? I thought that the laptop was using one already, but maybe I need to install that first?

For GeForce Go 6800: The nividia Setup program could not locate any drivers that are compatible with your current hardware. Setup will now exit.

That is the website I linked to in the OP. I tried both video drivers on the list and I also flashed my bios.

I don’t have the item “Display adapters” listed.

It’s a long shot, but you could try installing the Intel chipset drivers first. I’d also check to see if there’s some BIOS option that is preventing it from being detected.

Ok. I don’t have a system with that hardware, so I don’t get that far.

It seems to be using the default driver that comes with Windows, which only supports a bare minimum of functions (limited resolution and color depth, no hardware acceleration).

Ok. You may have a yellow question mark on “Other devices” or some such. If all else fails, expand each group until you find something that looks right.

Here’s a way to force it, once you’ve found it in Device Manager: Right-click on it to get the Properties item and select that as above. Click the Driver tab. Click on “Update Driver”. Say no to letting Windows Update look for new software. Select “Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)” and click Next. At this point there are two ways to go:

  1. Leave “Search for the best driver in these locations” selected and check the “Include this location in the search” checkbox. Browse to where you’ve unpacked the ATI driver download from Dell (C:\Dell\Drivers\R106547 if you took the default when you tried installing it). Now browse to the “Driver\XP_INF” subdirectory (should look like “C:\Dell\Drivers\R106547\Driver\XP_INF” in the box) and cleck Next. If you get a “The wizard could not find a better match for your hardware than the software you currently have installed” error, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, it should have installed the software and asked for a reboot.

  2. Select “Don’t search. I will choose the driver to install” and click “Next”. Now, click the “Have Disk” button. Use Browse to get to “C:\Dell\Drivers\R106547\Driver\XP_INF” and click “OK”. You should now have a list with two items that both say “ATI MOBILITY RADEON X300”. Select the top one and click “Next”. At this point you may get a long-winded warning that starts with “Installing this device driver is not recommended…”. I assume that this is a new re-installation of Windows and you don’t have anything critical on the drive yet, so in that case you can choose to proceed. If you don’t get the warning, it will just go ahead and install the driver. In either case, it should end with “The hardware you installed will not work until you restart your computer.” When you exit out of the menu, you’ll be prompted to reboot.

NOTE: If you install the wrong driver, the computer may fail to reboot successfully. In that case, reset the computer (turn power off and back on) and when Windows starts to boot, press the F8 key to start in “Safe mode”. In Safe Mode (which is incredibly slow - that’s normal), you can repeat the above procedure, but select “Roll Back Driver” to get back to the previous one, or “Uninstall Driver” to have Windows start over and look for a new driver again.


The hardware that I had to update was under “sounds, video and game controllers.” I just followed your method with something that sounded like it rendered video graphics. It was something that had the word “game controller” in the title.

Thanks to everyone that helped out.

Great! Glad to have been of service…