DirectX redux

So, I've got that DirectX Acceleration Not Available problem again. DirectDraw Acceleration, Direct3D Acceleration, AGP Texture Acceleration; all Not Available. Direct3D was available until I tried turning it off in dxdiag, then ran dxdiag again to see if all of the options were back.

Nope, that trick doesn't even work once, any more; now they're all gone. Again. Graphics card allegedly has "n/a" memory on it, et cetera et cetera.

The last time this happened I tried all kinds of things, not a one of which worked, and ended up reinstalling Windows. But somebody mentioned that this was exactly the kind of problem that Windows XP's System Restore (which I of course did not have turned on) was created to solve.

So in this Windows installation, I left System Restore turned on. And when DirectX screwed up yesterday, I used System Restore to roll the system back to its status of about a week ago.

And hooray, the problem was solved!

For about twelve hours.

I'm not crazy about the idea of restoring my system to that save point once a day for the rest of my life. I can see no other option, though, unless I get a whole new computer. I know for a fact that cleaning out all of the drivers and DirectX files before reinstalling will not help at all; all that does is take a long time and require a large number of reboots.

Perhaps a new video card would do it. This GeForce 7800 GT is pretty old and dusty; perhaps the problem does in fact have something to do with the video card failing some kind of obscure internal test, as when hard drives drop back into PIO mode.

The graphics card does still work just fine, as far as I can see; 3D mode is A-OK when DirectX is, you know, working, and OpenGL 3D is A-OK even now. I just ran OpenGL Quake 2; everything's fine, and the video card fan ran up to higher speed as it's meant to.

But perhaps the card didn't give Windows the right password yesterday, or something.

I could try digging up another graphics card, but I haven't another PCIe card in the house, and this computer's too young to have an AGP slot. So I'd have to find some ancient PCI card, and I think the only one of those I've got is in the file server.

God damn it.

16 Responses to “DirectX redux”

  1. m56 Says:

    Obviously your first problem is that you don't have nearly enough spare parts. You can tell your significant other as much; I'm sure she'll understand. Of course, it's too late now, pci (and vlb...? I guess I could probably get rid if that one now.) video cards aren't the sort of thing you should be seen buying these days; they're just supposed to accumulate, like memories. Fond memories. Which take up space in the apartment. Or so I heard.

  2. evilspoons Says:

    You could always just pick up some cheapo PCI-E card - an 8400 GS can be had here for just over fifty bucks, and CAD-AUD is close to on-par. Great for testing and lowering your power bill. (Stupid 8800 GTS...)

  3. Doormat Says:

    Yeah, but c'mon Dan. I spy an excuse to buy one of those perfectly reasonably-priced 8800GTs which are so hard so find (and I guessing when you do, they're covered in dribble from rabid reviewers). When you think about it, there really isn't a choice.

    And you're a smart guy, you probably know that. So...

    Oops - nearly let the cat out of the bag!

  4. Jax184 Says:

    You need to find a place like Free Geek. They're a volunteer driven computer recycling program. I volunteer at the one in Vancouver. Mounds of motherboards, piles of processors, lumps of laptops, all sold cheap. Even cheaper if you're a volunteer. I picked up a snazzy USB wacom tablet for $1, complete with the pen. If I needed to borrow a PCI-E video card, it would just be a matter of asking.

  5. Daniel Rutter Says:

    There are places like that in Australia, but I don't know of any that're closer to me than Aus PC Market, where I could drop in to borrow a video card just as easily. Which is to say, it'd be a three hour round trip :-).

    Instead, I've just joined the queue for an 8800 GT. Even if it doesn't solve the problem, I'll still want it for the next computer I build. This could indeed be an excuse to join the quad-core cool kids.

    And in the meantime, I've done the Windows Enabler shuffle to turn Direct3D on again, which means I'll probably be able to play my copy of Forged Alliance when it (probably, finally) turns up today.

  6. lemming Says:

    Maybe try doing a "repair" install of windows Dan? We do them all the time at work ( They actually work surprisingly well. Don't use the recovery console. Wait till windows looks for the installed copy and then choose to repair it instead of installing a fresh copy.

  7. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I did that last time, and it didn't help at all.

  8. Changes Says:

    Free Geek sounds like the stuff of my dreams. I don't care much for old ordinary computers, as I find they're more useful for their fans and PSUs (and screws...) than for their ability to actually compute anything, but old laptops are tremendously useful. Wish I had a place like that around here... *sigh*

  9. RichVR Says:

    No Free Geek in NYC? That sucks a large quantity of moose.

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I just got the new video card (and Forged Alliance), and yes, it's solved the problem! All aspects of DirectX are working again.

    Of course, Direct3D - which one would think is a little more demanding than just scaling video - was working anyway. So who knows what the heck the problem actually was.

    I am inclined to think it had something to do with the card, but I'm buggered if I know what, since I know that if I reinstalled Windows from scratch again and kept the same video card I'd have had perfect Direct3D again... for a while.

    There's been one updated version of the GeForce 7-series drivers since the last time I updated, so I tried installing that yesterday; it did nothing.

    (The 8800 GT, of course, needs the eight-series drivers; Nvidia no longer provide every possible driver in the one package. The 8-series and 7-series driver packages are so suspiciously similar in size, and obviously share so many files, that this Division of the Drivers looks like marketing bulldust to me. "Look how amazing your new 8800 Whatever is! It needs a whole new driver package!")

  11. Ziggyinc Says:

    I had a similar issue, DirectX detects no problems, but the 3D component is completely dead. 2D still works and audio is fine. Tried driver roll back and was given the finger on 3D again. Let me know if you solve it, for some reason my PC also gives me grief when i try to reinstall, booting from the XP CD just sends my puter into a black screen.

  12. Changes Says:

    RichVR: NYC? Where did that come from? I'm in Italy. (if the post wasn't directed to me, disregard this.)

    Dan: I'm happy you finally got it working, and I'm very very envious of your video card.
    Or, to say it more correctly, DO WANT!

  13. twoflower Says:

    Was a newer BIOS available for the card with the problems?

  14. RichVR Says:

    My NYC comment wasn't directed at anyone. It was directed at the fact that I would love to volunteer at Free Geek in my home town and can not. Sorry for any confusion.

  15. Joe Bloggs Says:

    Isn't the move to 8-series drivers much more likely to be caused by the Vista DRM-based bullshit that makes it impossible to make unified drivers again?

  16. Daniel Rutter Says:

    No - there are separate 8-series driver packages for WinXP, as well.

    And there's not really anything very "unified" about the driver packages from Nvidia or ATI. They're just big packages of separate drivers for different cards, so people don't have to look for a special (though smaller) individual driver for whatever they happen to have.

    Until recently, the one 40Mb or so Nvidia driver download contained drivers for everything back to the TNT. When you run the installer, it just installs whichever of the numerous separate drivers available suits your video card.

Leave a Reply