Screen Time

I work in an NHS hospital and use a small-form-factor Dell OptiPlex 755. As this was running slow, a technician recently replaced the hard drive, complete with a fresh image of XP Professional and the necessary drivers. The speed’s fine again, but now the monitor’s got a dreadful flicker. The refresh rate was previously 75Hz, but currently I can’t set it above 60Hz. Matters improve if I reduce the resolution (from the ‘proper’ 1280 x 1024), but then text becomes blurred and difficult to read.

A technician has visited again and installed the latest drivers for the GMA 3100 graphics adaptor (built into the Intel Q35 chipset), but this hasn’t helped. I just can’t understand it. As the only thing that’s changed is the hard drive, and as all the software seems to be set up the same way as before, why is this happening?

If you can offer a solution, I’ll let the IT department know, and hopefully they’ll be able to Implement it.

Terry Baker, Gmail

Are we talking about an LCD monitor,

Terry, or an old CRT? An LCD monitor
doesn’t have a refresh rate as such, but Windows does indeed usually fix it at 60Hz. That’s irrelevant, though. A rate of 75Hz wouldn’t reduce flicker, and a rate of 1Hz wouldn’t increase it. The only part of an LCD that can induce flicker is the backlight. A backlight normally operates at around 200Hz, but if yours is on its way out, headaches are a certainty Realistically, you’ll need a new monitor.

If we’re talking about a CRT (I’ve doubts, as you say text becomes blurred at a reduced resolution, which simply wouldn’t happen on a CRT), you could simply be missing a monitor driver. Generally, such a thing isn’t required, but if XP experiences difficulty in determining a monitor’s capabilities, it’ll limit the refresh rate to a conservative level (60Hz). Driving a CRT at a rate higher than it supports can damage it. I don’t know which monitor you’ve got, but if you install its driver, all refresh options should then show up.

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PS – I’m sure your IT department is aware of this, Terry, but after 8th April, Microsoft’s support for Windows XP will cease. There’ll be no further updates, not even critical ones. If your PC’s
completely isolated from the internet, you should be okay, but otherwise, even it’s running up-to-date real-time antimalware software, you could be wide open to attack. For help and advice on this subject, visit the Micro Mart forums:

 If you’re a younger reader, you may never have actually used one of these (or even seen one!)

7Review earns Amazon affiliate commissions from qualifying purchases. You can support the site directly via Paypal donations ☕. Thank you!
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