My IBM T40 is not an old PC. Well, it may be three years old but it’s still a perfectly capable machine. One of its great features is the S-Video display output – perfect for watching films from the computer on a TV – at least it would be if I could get it to work under Windows Vista.
The trouble is that the T40 has an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics chipset. The Windows Vista setup routine had installed the standard VGA graphics adapter driver (v6.0.6000.16386) but there is no supported Windows Vista driver for this chipset. I could rant on about how this lack of device support is a terrible way for ATI to treat customers and how it’s not as if I have any option to upgrade the graphics in a notebook PC but that won’t get me anywhere (and my blood pressure is already high enough). Nor will it sell me another PC, which is what hardware manufacturers really want, rather than developing modern drivers for old products. Instead, I spent far too much time today trying to get it working:
- I found a forum post that suggested the Windows XP drivers would work (at least on pre-release versions of Vista) so I downloaded the latest available drivers from the IBM website, extracted them to a folder on my hard disk and let Windows Vista look there for updated drivers. After a successful installation (v126.96.36.19947) Windows reported the correct adapter type and provided support for multiple displays. So I was half way to my goal but without ATI-specific device options to enable advanced features (like the S-Video) connection.
- Next, I tried running the full installer for the XP drivers and all the associated bloat but all I got was a blue screen of death (ati3duag.dll PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA)… not a good result.
- So I downloaded and installed the latest version (v7.5) of the ATI Catalyst Control Center (CCC) – except that it ignored my graphics adapter completely and just gave me some Catalyst Install Manager (CIM) links for updating/uninstalling CCC. At one stage, I was even dumped back to 4-bit 640×480 graphics and had to roll back my driver to the standard VGA before reinstalling the XP driver that had previously been working in Vista.
- I tried running individual installers from within the extracted CCC package (e.g. ccc-graphics-full-existing.msi) and something happened to make a desktop right-click option for ATI CATALYST(R) Control Center appear (I hate excessive capitalisation in menu items!) but CCC still doesn’t load, so I guess it doesn’t like the XP display driver.
- After reading Koroush Ghazi’s ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide, I tried Ray Adams’ ATI Tray Tools but these just produced memory errors on Vista, even when run as Administrator.
- Finally, I went back to my extracted driver package and ran the ATI Control Panel (v188.8.131.52.1-061116a0949984C) setup (from the CPANEL folder, rather than the top level CIM installer). Even though Vista informed me that “this program has known compatibility issues” and that “ATI Control Panel is incompatible with this version of Windows”, it gave me access to all the advanced display settings but I couldn’t get it to recognise that the TV was connected.
Now it’s the end of the day and I’m giving up. I guess I’ll have to go back to XP to use my TV-out (or watch videos on the laptop display). Grrr.