Screen Distortion

Help please!
I loaded Peppermint 3 onto a very old desktop Packard Bell that had had Windows XP running and have not been able to get rid of screen distortion. It all seems to be fine but for this issue. I have attached a screen shot. The area around the cursor also appears to “stick” to the cursor arrow - a bit like a kids online painting game. I have tried different monitors and the problem is the same on each.
Is this an easy fix?

Were the graphics OK in Windows (recently) ?

Do you see those lines ALL the time … even during the boot process … or only when you reach the desktop ?

Can you open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run:

sudo lshw -C display

and post the output back here

Thanks for your help in advance!

I will post back terminal stuff in a second. Have attached link to little video of start up - as every screen has distortion.

I can’t remember if the XP had problems as it has been so long since I used it. It crashed/froze so often it became impossible to use and we tried rectifying it with no luck. I am sure we had the previous Peppermint running on it with no problems though - otherwise it would have been chucked out long ago!

emily@olddesktop ~ $ sudo lshw -C display
[sudo] password for emily:
description: VGA compatible controller
product: NV17 [GeForce4 MX 440]
vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
version: a3
width: 32 bits
clock: 66MHz
capabilities: pm agp agp-2.0 vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
configuration: driver=nouveau latency=64 maxlatency=1 mingnt=5
resources: irq:16 memory:de000000-deffffff memory:d0000000-d7ffffff memory:ddc80000-ddcfffff memory:dfee0000-dfefffff
emily@olddesktop ~ $


After watching your video … as the card is displaying scrambled graphics right from the POST (Power On Self Test) page … I’m pretty sure the graphics card is dying/dead … the graphics card is displaying problems before the OS is loaded, so it’s not a Linux issue, it’s a hardware issue.

Have you got another AGP card you can try … or does the motherboard also have a built in graphics card ?


If you go to:-

menu > Preferences > Additional Drivers

Are you being offered an drivers to activate … if so, which ?

NVIDIA 96.43.23

By any chance ?

am offered : NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (Version 96) [recommended]

it says it is not activated

You have to activate it using your login password. I don’t know much as a newby but I know that.

You can activate it if you want, but it may make the graphics issue worse … this is a hardware issue, NOT a software one.

In my previous posting I’d requested that info before seeing your video … that’s why I made the edit to the top :wink:

Have you got another AGP graphics card you can try … or does the motherboard also have a built in graphics card ?

I was keeping my fingers crossed that you could work your code magic! :slight_smile:
I have nothing to use as an alternative. Do you think it may finally be time to send this desktop to the professional recyclers? :cry:

Hi emily

Do you think it may finally be time to send this desktop to the professional recyclers?

It may be worth checking if you’re using a separate graphics card that it is firmly inserted into the motherboards AGP slot I once had a similar problem and that’s what it was,

As for sending it to the recyclers I suppose that would depend on the rest of the spec ie Processor/RAM etc.

I have a few spare AGP cards lying around you can have one if you want just let me know


Hi Graeme,
thank you very much. I will have a look and see if anything is loose first and will let you know how I get on. You never know, I may even begin to understand how computers really work one of these days!
best wishes,

I may even begin to understand how computers really work one of these days!

understanding how they don’t work would be much more useful :slight_smile:

Are you absolutely sure there isn’t a spare one of these sockets on the back of the PC ?
(it may be covered with a plastic cover)

If necessary … take a pic of the back of your PC

Then go here:

Click “Select Files”

Select the picture file from your PC that you want to upload.

Select “Family safe content”

Click “Upload Now”

Copy all the code from the “BB-Code” window, and paste it into your response on this forum.

When I upgraded to Ubuntu 12:10 the screen changed with slight distortion, though not as much as yours, I looked at the screen resolution and changed it which cured the problem. You could try that.

This is NOT a screen resolution issue … the screen is scrambled even during the POST screen … it’s a hardware issue.

It’s possible that Emegra’s solution of reseating the graphics card may sort it out (if it’s just a bad connection), but usually messed up graphics at the BIOS/POST screen means the graphics card is buggered.

I REPEAT … this is NOT a software issue.

Hi all,
I just saw these posts as have been out all day today. Really appreciate all the advice offered.
I pulled the computer out and there are two of those connections on the back so I will post back when I have had the chance to follow Mark’s advice. Hopefully this evening . . .
thanks again

Here is the code from the imagebam website

ha ha. Now that is clever . . . I hope my rookie manners are amusing those of you who understand how these forums work!
(. . . it was not a code - it was the picture!) ::slight_smile:

Hi emily

It looks like from the image that you do have 2 graphic cards one is onboard (integral part of the motherboard) and the one nearest the bottom of the picture is an AGP card (removable), so whatever socket you had the monitor lead connected to try connecting it to the other and post back with the results.

Good luck


The onboard adapter will be disabled when an add-in card is present … so to use the onboard graphics card, you’ll need to physically remove the add-in card (then the onboard should spring to life).

Obviously, only remove the add-in card whilst the PC is switched OFF :wink: