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ATI Graphics Crashing


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I rebuilt my machine with a different motherboard last year, and have managed to get Windows 98SE running on it pretty well.

I've ended up using two graphics cards, with an old ATI X850 card for Windows 98 compatibility, and a current nVidia card as well mainly for use on Windows 8.1. The latter is in an x16 PCIe slot, the former in an x4 PCIe slot.


The problem is that the ATI graphics driver on Windows 98 seems to crash or something when I do any intensive things like moving large numbers of files with Windows Explorer.

The monitor will suddenly black out with an "out of range" indication, and the only way I've found out of that other than forcibly rebooting is to use the "sleep" button on the keyboard. This has the effect of resetting the driver, but it comes back as shown in the picture, with a strange looking mouse cursor and a square of shash up in the top left hand corner.

I can use it quite happily like that, and it never crashes again until after the next reboot.




The only way I've found to stop it crashing at all is to put the hardware acceleration slider down two notches (one is not enough) but this results in not being able to use large fonts and/or having poor colour depth.


The strange thing is that the old motherboard had an AGP slot, and I was using there the AGP version of the X850 card, with exactly the same driver (Catalyst 6.2, the last version that works on Windows 98) and it was perfectly stable.

The card I have now is simply the PCIe version of the same card, with the same driver, and it crashes!


Anyone any idea how to troubleshoot this, as it's very annoying!

Cheers, Dave.


Edited by Dave-H
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Does your x850 card work OK under the other OSes? Perhaps the card is faulty.


Did your AGP card and drivers also used a HD resolution monitor?  Perhaps this card or those drivers don't cope well with that resolution.

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Thanks Oldbie!

Sorry, I should have mentioned of course, but forgot, that I use the same card (but with a later driver) on Windows XP, and it always works perfectly.

I can use it on Windows 8.1 as well, although I don't normally, and it's no problem there either (different (64 bit) driver again of course!)

I've therefore no reason to think that there's anything physically wrong with the card.

The monitor resolution (1920x1080 60Hz) is the same now as it was with the old motherboard, so that hasn't changed either.


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Here's a silly question - How about a Monitor INF? I assume you've installed one for that monitor?

One for an NEC AccuSync 90 specifically states -



Is that the same monitor you had hooked up to the AGP card?

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Actually no monitor INF was ever supplied with my monitor, which is an ASUS VE278Q.

It's never used one before so I'd be surprised if it's the cause of the problem now, and it is the same one I was using before I changed the motherboard.

I had been thinking it was maybe some sort of memory issue, although it's only a 256 MB card, and I thought that it was only 512 MB and higher cards that Windows 98 really struggled with.

I did get a 512 MB AGP nVidia card working very happily with Windows 98 with my old motherboard.


Edited by Dave-H
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Actually it's showing up in Device Manager as ASUS VE278!

Where Windows is getting this from I don't know, as there are no INF files with that string in them anywhere.

I guess it must be getting it directly from the monitor's embedded hardware information.

In Windows XP it just appears as a generic Plug and Play monitor!

Yes, using the VGA connector.


Edited by Dave-H
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It's possible that the resources occupied by the other video card could force the board to put the ATI in a nonstandard position that 9x cannot fully cope with. Or maybe you were just missing the monitor driver that I linked to in a PM. ;)

Install that driver, reboot and check again - you might get lucky.

Otherwise, if there's other free PCIe x4 slot, try to move the ATI card there, maybe it will get other resources assigned.

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I am really sorry to hear that you are experiencing this issue. 
Our LCD monitors is Plug & Play in Win2K / Win XP / Vista 32bit / Vista 64bit/Windows 7/Windows 7 64bit. So it doesn’t need LCD monitor driver.

Seems that you *might* be able to get the INF information from the Registry (the PnP one) and create a Win9x INF (that it seemingly recognizes) from the information. I have my NEC INF installed and it has everything needed to allow for proper resolutions/refresh rates. I could provide you with that INF and the relate REG entries (but they're already in the INF).


That is, unless the one Drugwash provided works. :unsure:


edit - GHAK! This is stupid!


Asus VE278 - 19mb Zip, inside is another Zip (9mb) for... Windows 8! The dang thing is *exactly* like any other Driver! (e.g. my NEC)! Provided it works, all you have to do is change the ID inside and "mod" it for 9x.

Note: the EDID is "ACI27F6"

A couple of references -



Oddball (does your Win9x ATI CCC do this?) -




ATI CCC will let me override EDID on a VGA connection
Edited by submix8c
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Those poor guys in India or somewhere else, wherever ASUS outsourced their Help & Support, have no idea what they're talking about.

There is a monitor driver and it's right on their own web page! But being that they threw everything in there just to get rid of the task...


So, to get to the official driver:

- open the monitor page here http://www.asus.com/Monitors/VE278Q/

- click Support (top right)

- click Driver & Tools in the top bar

- in the dropdown list where it says OS select Windows 8 32bit

- select Others from the three categories below

There you'll find two downloads. First one is ASUS_VE278_Windows_7_WHQL.

Click Global below and you got the driver. It has %Chicago% signature, it should work in all 32bit Windows.

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Edit - and here's some nifty stuff. Not really sure if this is considered warez. If so, some Mod may remove the link if necessary.


It pertains to creating your own INF files, etc.


Good find, Drugwash! Surely that should work!


EDIT! Erm you may still need to mod it. "Excludefromselect.nt" and a "SERVICE"??? Is that supposed to be there for 9x? Attached is my NEC one. Use it as a reference.


Edited by submix8c
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Sorry for the long delay in replying again.

I did manage to get  the Asus ICM driver to work in Windows 98 after a bit of a struggle, but it didn't affect the problem I'm afraid.


I've been experimenting with other earlier driver versions, but all the ones I've been able to find either have the same problem, or don't contain any hardware IDs for the card. I've tried manually adding the necessary information to the INF files, but without success.

Catalyst 4.3, and possibly 4.4, are supposedly the last "proper" Windows 98 ATI drivers, but the card post-dates them.

Catalyst 5.2 is a driver for ME which does support the card, but also crashes.


I'm now working on the principle that it isn't actually a problem with the driver itself.

It does install fine and works fine until you try something taxing, at which point it decides to switch spontaneously to some other output standard, which unfortunately my monitor can't display!

It passes all the DirectX tests with flying colours, so it can't be that unstable.


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In the mean time grab 'Quick switcher' from my repository and set it up on first usage.

You get three hotkeys per display where you can set your preferred resolutions. Primary display should work with Ctrl+Shift+F1/F2/F3.

When the driver crashes (or changes resolution), use one of the hotkeys to change resolution back to an accepted one.

Please let me know if this works as intended.

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Yes it does indeed, thanks Drugwash!

Actually after I used it I realised that in fact the ATI Control Panel has a hot key function which will do exactly that same thing, so I'm actually now using that!


Now when the display suddenly vanishes to I don't know what, I can just hit Ctrl+F12 and bring it back again, albeit with the square of digital rubbish in the top left hand corner, and a big blurry mouse cursor in a grey square box, as per my original screenshot!

I've no found any way of returning it completely to normal apart from a reboot, but at least I can finish what I was doing easily now before rebooting.


I'm still no nearer to finding out why it's doing what it's doing though.

It would be a help to find exactly what triggers the problem!

I have a program called Registry Workshop, which has a pop out menu that allows you to select favourite registry locations.

Getting that to pop out and double clicking on any of the entries crashes the display pretty reliably!

The other crashes seem to happen quite randomly after using Explorer for a while to move files around and that sort of thing.

I've never managed to provoke a crash by using any other program (so far!)


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