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FIX: Solving ATI Black Screen Problems in Vista
I've mentioned in my previous post about remotely restarting Vista with RDP that my switch from the finally fully working but oh so slow nVidia Quadro FX 550 card to the very fast (Aero Graphics: 5.9, Gaming Graphics: 5.5) and affordable XpertVision ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT Super didn't work out because of the many sleep/hibernate problems in Vista.

To explain the situation a bit more, here's what my problems (and some early solutions) looked like.

  • The system (sometimes) boots normally and the ATI card performs fast and stable.

  • Putting Vista into Sleep mode or Hibernation mode always works.

  • Shutting down Windows Vista also always works.

  • Resuming from Sleep or Hibernation, or powering up sometimes works, but other times this can lead to this:

    1. Boot or resume works but with black screen syndrome: Windows is running but the ATI card appears not present and thus you get no picture whatsoever. You can however log in remotely using Remote Desktop Client.

    2. Boot or resume fails during the BIOS POST routine, and after some 30 seconds you get two beeps indicating your machine is tired of waiting on the video card to come alive.

    In the first case, it is enough to shutdown your pc remotely, and then retry the whole routine.
    In the second case, it only helped (in my case) to eithe remove and reinsert the ATI card, or to remove the power while your pc is hanging in the BIOS routine. Both solutions reset the video card and should get you going.

  • Note that this happens with the ATI Catalyst 7.7 drivers, as well as with the beta version (RC3) of Catalyst 7.8.

However, while checking the very limited ATI/AMD support site, I decided to try some of the few solutions they had for similar but not identical problems.

To my big surprise, one of them actually worked... I've been able to put my workstation to Sleep, Shutdown, Restart for several times and not once did it fail.
Here's the solution:

  1. Open the Start menu and type services.msc, then press Enter:

  2. You'll now see the list of services. Select the ATI External Event Utility service, then press Enter:

  3. This brings up the properties window. You'll notice that the service is started but that you can't stop it.

  4. Change the Startup Type dropdown list from Automatic into Manual.

  5. Close this window by pressing the OK button, then reboot your machine (with a proper restart via the Start menu).

  6. Test the Sleep, Shutdown, Restart and Hibernate functions... it should work now.

I hope this really solves it, and that I don't need to revise this post or write a follow-up.

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  Posted by oVan on Friday, August 10, 2007 | PermaLink | 5 comments
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