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How to Determine Which Video Driver Is Loading in Windows XP

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q314854
For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 200435.
This article describes procedures that you can follow to troubleshoot difficulties with video drivers when you start your computer in Windows XP. Specifically, the article describes how to find out which video drivers are loading.
If the video driver is not loading correctly, another program may have replaced some files. These symptoms point to that cause:
  • The system continues to default to VGA mode or only boots in VGA mode from the Boot menu.
  • The 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 you expect your Windows operating system to load, follow these steps:
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Locate the following key 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. Locate the following key in the registry:
    To see what the value setting is, double-click the InstalledDisplayDrivers value. The setting shows the driver that was loaded.
If the setting shows another registry location, a third-party driver may be being loaded when Windows starts. If, for example, Symantec pcAnywhere is installed, Device0 does not have the name of a file. Instead Device0 has another registry location, and that location gives the video driver name. For example:
Verify the following:
  1. Verify that the driver file or files that are displayed in the registry key are present in the WinNT\System32 folder, where WinNT is the name of the folder that Windows is installed to. The relevant file or files have a .dll extension.
  2. Verify that the file or files are also present in the WinNT\System32\Drivers folder. The file or files have a .sys extension.
If the links and values are not correct, or if the files that the registry key points to are not present, correct the links and values so that the system starts properly.

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

The following example shows what the registry settings are if you use an S3 video adapter:

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

Article ID: 314854 - Last Review: 08/06/2002 09:00:00 - Revision: 1.3

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • kbdisplay kbhardware kbinfo KB314854