Dec 30 2012

Dell Inspiron 2330 Intel HD Graphics Adapter Weirdness

Our kitchen PC died a few weeks ago. It was a Sony All-In-One Vaio, which we purchased (refurbished) almost 7 years ago. It had a good run and worked just fine in the old home in Tesuque as well as my current home. One day Pia fired it up and it shut down immediately. Any attempt to resurrect it was fruitless and we considered it a complete loss. I still have to rip out the old harddisk to get some stuff of it, but otherwise it’s going to see the PC recycle center soon.

We started to shop for a replacement, because the PC was an essential tool in the kitchen. Netflix for Pia’s entertainment and web browsing in general for the rest of the family. I honed in on a Dell Inspiron 2330, because Sam’s Club offered it for $300 under Dell’s list price.
On 12/23 the new member joined the family and everything was fine initially. That was until I ran Windows Update. Something was installed that made the unit forget about the graphics driver. At times it would boot up and show a screen resolution 1024 * 768 (1920 * 1080 is the preferred resolution). Going to Win8’s Device Manager would either show a missing graphics driver or a “Unknown Device”. The graphics driver was partially (broken) installed and only reinstalling the driver would fix things (until the next reboot). This appeared in the System Event Viewer (“Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x800F0217: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. – Graphics Adapter WDDM1.2 – Intel(R) HD Graphics.” to make Google index the words):

winupdate

Some update was trying to install, but it did not succeed and left the system in a state where no graphics driver was loaded and were stuff was displayed “black letters on a black background” – in other words, a hard reboot was required to show something on the screen.

I just spent quite some time with Dell Support and was quite surprised how knowledgeable the other party was. We looked over a ton of things and attempted to diagnose the problem. While on the call, I realized that MS had labelled a graphics driver update as important. It’s this one:

update

This update was downloaded soon after I got the PC. Every time Windows Udpate ran, the OS tried to reinstall this driver and it failed (see Event entry above). I right-clicked on the update and selected “Hide Update” (and did the same with another AMD display driver update in the Optional section). Since then we are good: no longer does the PC lose its display driver information and it survives reboots just fine.

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