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How to Check the Video Driver

This article was previously published under Q200435
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 314854.
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
If you are having problems loading the video driver on your computer, you may have a program that has replaced some files. Symptoms of this problem include:
  • The system continues to default to VGA mode or only boots in VGA mode from the boot menu.
  • Your video driver is not loading properly.
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
To verify exactly which video drivers that your Windows operating system is expecting to load:
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Go to the following location in the registry:
  3. The Device\Video0 value points to a registry key that has the location of the video driver that Windows is configured to load.

    For example the value may be:
  4. Go to the following location in the registry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\<video driver>\Device0
    To see what the value setting, double-click on the value InstalledDisplayDrivers. This is the driver that was loaded.
If it is set to another registry location, a third-party driver may be being loaded when Windows starts.

For example if PcAnywhere is installed, Device0 does not have the name of a file, but instead displays another registry location that gives the video driver name.

For example:
Verify the following:
  1. Verify that the file or files in step 4 is present in the WinNT\System32 folder. This file has a .DLL extension.
  2. Verify that the file or files are also present in the \WinNT\System32\Drivers folder. This file will have the .SYS extension.
If the links and values are not correct, or if the files pointed to are not present, then resolve the problem so the system starts properly.

If the links and values are correct, and the files are present, then there may be a video driver conflict. Verify that you have the latest drivers for the video card.

Below is an example of what these registry settings would be like when using an S3 video card:

The value Device\Video0 = \REGISTRY\Machine\System\ControlSet001\Services\s3\Device0


The value InstalledDisplayDrivers = s3 vga
For additional information about dealing with Video Issues, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
154754 STB PowerGraph Video VLB Display Adapter Not Detected
155681 Troubleshooting Display Problems in Windows NT 4.0
174567 AGP Video Support for Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0

Article ID: 200435 - Last Review: 02/20/2007 22:21:50 - Revision: 3.5

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