How can I fix these display / video problems with my desktop computer?
July 12, 2013 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Initially, I was having issues with Flash in Firefox, fixing that caused problems with my video drivers breaking. Partially fixing that caused problems with Chrome. Is there a way to fix all of these things?

I spend most of my day with both Chrome and Firefox open and running multiple tabs. For a very long time (about a year or so?) I was having increasing difficulties with Flash crashing in Firefox -- I would upgrade Firefox and upgrade Flash and none of it would help. Eventually, googling this issue suggested that if I upgraded my video drivers to the most current level, that would help. So I did.

It seemed to help, for a total of about 24 hours, and then Flash went back to not working in Firefox, same as always. Plus, it introduced a new problem, multiple times a day, my screen would go black, and then it would come back and there would be a Windows error message indicating "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered." Most of the suggestions I found for solving that problem suggested upgrading my video drivers, but upgrading my video drivers appears to be what caused the problem in the first place.

I found another solution that suggested that I "Increase the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) processing time by adjusting the Timeout Detection and Recovery registry value". I did this, and while it has significantly cut down (but not eliminated) the Display Driver Stopped Responding moments, now pages with Flash on them crash several times a day in Chrome, and more annoyingly, when I open something in a background tab, and then switch to that tab, Chrome continues to display the tab I just came from until I switch away and switch back again.

This is a middle-aged desktop, as you can probably guess by the fact that it runs Windows Vista Home Premium, Service Pack 1. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E7300 at 2.66GHz and the display adaptor is Intel(R) G33/G31 Express Chipset. The system has 4GB of RAM. It's hooked up to a Samsung SyncMaster P2770 monitor, and although the monitor is moderately newish relative to everything else on this computer, it predates the start of the Flash problems by about 6 months or so.

I would prefer solutions that would involve things like changing registry values and updating drivers and other things that are free, but if adding more RAM or getting a separate graphics card and installing it in the computer would be very likely to help, I am not adverse to spending minor amounts of money on this.

If fixing it with hardware is likely to cost more than about $100, though, we'd probably be getting dangerously close to "just give up and buy a new computer" territory.
posted by jacquilynne to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I've had the same problem with Firefox and Flash in the past. It went away after some update. I don't think it is a hardware problem.
posted by gjc at 3:29 PM on July 12, 2013

Any reason why you haven't updated Vista past Service Pack 1? That'd be pretty high on my list of 'things to try', given anecdotal experience with early versions of that particular Windows.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:44 PM on July 12, 2013

I'm extremely suspicious that upgrading to windows 7 would solve this problem. you could try out an un-activated copy of win7 legally for up to 30 days, but you don't even need that much time to just test this theory.

One of the systems at my office is still running vista business and regularly has odd hangs and issues like this that lead to similar errors or a black screen for 30 seconds while the video driver spazzes out. A friends system i was working on(and solved similar issues with a win7 upgrade...) was also displaying similar errors.

A core2duo is not slow or crap or "horribly outdated" despite what responses you may get in troubleshooting threads here or on other sites.

Try win 7, then buy a really cheap but decent GPU like this.

I also never would have screwed with the registry. I would have done a clean install long before i tried that. Those kinds of fixes are usually a "close the door, the window pops open" sort of thing that limits the potential efficacy and more importantly verifiability of any future troubleshooting steps.

Honestly though, i bet just not using vista will solve this.(god i hate the stuff like this i've dealt with on vista)
posted by emptythought at 3:44 PM on July 12, 2013

Any reason why you haven't updated Vista past Service Pack 1?

To be honest, I wasn't aware there was further updates to be made there. I have Windows Update turned on, and I assumed that if Service Packs were released for Vista, Windows Update would have installed them automatically.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:51 PM on July 12, 2013

I'm having similar Firefox/Flash issues. It keeps giving me an error saying a script is busy asking if want to quit or continue waiting. It happens multiple times per day and always when I am using multiple tabs.

I haven't found a solution that works, sadly.
posted by tacodave at 4:01 PM on July 12, 2013

This should help you make sure that your computer receives the latest updates.
posted by destructive cactus at 4:05 PM on July 12, 2013

Whoa, I didn't realize anyone else had this problem. I have this problem on Windows 7 and Firefox & Flash. My solution has been to avoid Flash.
posted by Monochrome at 7:57 PM on July 12, 2013

The Service Pack upgrade seems to have (knock wood) solved the display driver issues, and possibly the Chrome tab switching issues, which leaves just the original Firefox/Flash issues.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2013

Alas, no, it turns out the Chrome tab switching thing started back up almost immediately after I made this post.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:04 AM on July 13, 2013

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