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04-26-2022, 01:28 PM   #1
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PC troubleshooting, video issues

I'll make this as brief as possible. A few weeks ago Windows decided it didn't want to use dual monitors any longer. At first I thought the second monitor finally died as it was old to begin with. Swapped monitors & then cables, same results. Display control panel wouldn't detect a second detect a second monitor. Buuuut.... if you look in device manager, both monitors are listed. This is using a stand alone video card and not what's built in to the main board.

Thinking maybe the video card is starting to fail I started pricing other cards. That's an option but I'll get to that later. For fun, I enabled the onboard video and hooked the second monitor up to that. Dual monitors are back. That's not really a practical solution as I've read where some photo editing software doesn't like that. So that's a band aid fix for now. I hooked the second monitor back up to the video card and start doing the usual troubleshooting: making sure drivers & software are up to date, which everything is, removing from Device Manager, turning the monitor 3 degrees and offer a sacrifice. No updates were installed around the time this started except a .net update, which shouldn't affect this. I removed it anyway and it made no difference.

Playing around I found that if I select duplicate displays, the second monitor will work (that's with both plugged into the external video card). Toggle it to extend desktop and it works as it should until the computer goes into standby or reboots, then you have to do the dance again. However if you tell it to identify or detect monitors, it still says there's no second monitor on the system. In addition, I've had issues where one of my monitors gets snowy on occasion if plugged into the HDMI port in question on the external card. It's only done that with one monitor, so not sure if that's a sign of a bad card or just a flakey screen.

I'm not sure if this is hardware or software. I tend to think the latter. Haven't found anything similar online. Ideally the solution is replace the card with another one that has at least two DisplayPort outputs. I would go with two instead of DisplayPort/HDMI like I currently have to eliminate the snow problem in the future (current card, 4gn AMD Radeon RX550 is 1 DP, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA).. That pushes the price up considerably & lessens the field of what's available (about $400 is the cheapest option I've found.) I could leave the onboad video enabled and use that for the second monitor, but the refresh rate for that is limited to 30hz at 4k resolution. If I replace the card, that also could mean replacing the power supply as I'm sure a different card (would draw more power than the current card and I'm pretty sure the current set up (I've done other upgrades to the pc) is probably pushing the power supply as it is. The card I'm looking at (AMD 8gb, 3 DP outputs) pulls 130watts, not sure what my current one pulls as I can't find the specs for it. That's starting to get into more money than I really want to spend. The pc itself is 2 years old and I really don't want to start replacing half of it just for a second monitor. Win 10 (I don't want to put 11 on it), 3.2gHz i7, 1tb & 2tb SSD;s, 32gb ram. Both monitors are new (about 3 months old and current model) 28" Samsung 4k.

So, anyone have any ideas what's causing my video problems? Really acts like software, though there are some hints of hardware failing (which would p**s me off since this card is only 8 months old, but not really worth the hassle of trying to do a warranty claim on.)

04-27-2022, 06:28 AM   #2
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Sounds like a weak power supply, or driver issue, as well as Windows bugs.

1. Start with checking for a BIOS update from the manufacturer of the motherboard/PC.

2. Check for device driver updates -

Intel has a utility that will check for that sort of thing:
Intel® Driver & Support Assistant

If it's an AMD based machine, they have one too:

Nvidia has something called GForce experience that can check the video card drivers if it is an nvidia card.

I don't have a handy link.

3. Run Windows Memory Diagnostic, or Memtest86 to test your system RAM.

4. Check the Windows OS for corruption:

Open a Command Prompt with Run As Administrator.
SFC /scannow
That will check for system corruption and fix files.

5. There is another windows utility called DISM. You'll need to google that - a bit too involved for me to give you a quick command line.

6. Run Windows Update multiple times. Reboot after it installs any updates.

There was an issue with windows not resuming video from standby properly, and they fixed that as far as I know.

7. If the PC power supply is more than 5 years old, it might be starting to fail. That's usually a worthwhile next step for a replacement, as they are a lot cheaper than video cards.

Good luck.
04-27-2022, 07:13 AM   #3
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It's an AMD Radeon RX 550 card, Intel i7 processor, HP Envoy desktop (don't remember the exact model). It started getting worse last night as the monitor connected via HDMI would just display solid green then go to all snow then the whole pc would lock up. I kinda got it working by rolling back the Windows drivers for the Radeon card, which in turn made the Radeon software not run. The Radeon software is basically useless so I don't care it (I'm not a gamer and the software is mainly to tweak for gaming.) I tried installing an older version of the Radeon stuff but it wouldn't install (probably detected remnants of the newer version.) We'll see how long it goes until Photoshop starts throwing fits about video drivers being out of date. Prior to this all drivers & software were up to date including Adobe that decided it was a good idea to update Photoshop to the newest version, something I've purposely been avoiding. That has nothing to do with the monitor issue but did break alot of other things when it updated.

I've ran scan now and it hasn't found anything as well as a few utilities that check drivers that sometimes Windows Update seems to miss. Bios was updated a few months ago and no new updates since this issue started. The pc is about two years old and the video card was added last fall (wasn't a used card). Given the age, it's a little early for stuff to start failing but obviously possible. I think if it were a power problem I would have started seeing problems after i added the video card but that is a concern as I'm sure the power supply is probably just enough to power the pc without add ons. I need to look it it's a proprietary supply or if a generic would work. If it's proprietary find a different might be a problem.
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Last edited by cdd29; 04-27-2022 at 07:30 AM.
04-27-2022, 08:37 AM   #4
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update: with some deep diving, I found where people have complained about HDMI failures with this specific card, about the same time frame that I'm experiencing. Time to go shopping.


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