CCC Was Partially The Culprit
Like many fools in history, I just had to give the card yet another try. No, I don't seem to learn my lessons too well. I guess I always believed in giving everything a second chance.. or a third.. okay, even a fourth.
Like a condemned man out to face his fate, I set forth to give the Catalyst 7.3 driver set another shot. But this time, I intended to a little smarter. Still a fool, but hopefully a smarter fool. Instead of installing both the driver and CCC, I installed the driver first.
The installer hung halfway during the process but when I rebooted the system, it loaded up with the driver. And NO BSOD! I tried reinstalling the driver again... and this time, it successfully did so. W00T!
But I just don't learn my lessons... I had to install CCC. Well, you know the ending. It's a really ugly four-letter word, starting with B and ends with D.
So, we have confirmation, Houston. It was the Catalyst Control Center. I had to go through the entire manual restoration process again... after first giving the uninstallation routine another 2-3 tries. What an utter waste of time.
The Other Culprit Was The Visual C++
Unfortunately, the removal of CCC did not completely solve the BSOD problem. Whenever I reboot the system or cold-boot the system, it would result in a BSOD. It takes another reboot or two to successfully load Windows Vista. Evidently, CCC was not only to blame for the BSODs.
Just to be sure, I searched the hard drive for any CCC files but found none. I also scanned the registry for any reference to CCC including the Run and RunOnce sections. No signs of CCC in the registry either. So, the CCC was definitely not the cause of these BSODs.
Still, it was better than not booting into Vista at all. All I had to do was restart the system after BSOD. I would usually get in after 1-2 reboots. It's not fun, but at least it works.
However, after we completed testing the Radeon X1950 GT, we switched to an NVIDIA card and discovered that we were still getting hit by the BSODs. Again, it took 1-2 reboots to get into Windows Vista. Looks like it isn't the driver. Curiosity piqued again, I set out to find out the actual cause.
We ran the Catalyst Install Manager and set it to uninstall all ATI-related components. It found nothing (as we expected) but also uninstalled itself in the process. Then we ran through the registry and removed all references to ATI or ATI Technologies. But we were still afflicted with BSODs. Weird.
Thinking back about the installation process, I suddenly remembered that the Catalyst Install Manager also installed the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 redistributable package. Now, that remained in the system even though we set the Catalyst Install Manager to uninstall everything related to the driver. Evidently, it didn't quite understand the command.
Anyway, we decided to see if the Visual C++ 2005 redistributable package was the cause of our BSOD woes. We duly uninstalled it and rebooted the system. Wow.. No more BSODs! So, we confirmed two causes of BSODs with the ATI Catalyst 7.3 driver - the Catalyst Control Center and the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 redistributable package.
After a whole day of tangling with the Catalyst 7.3 driver, I finally got it to load, sans CCC and the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 redistributable package. I wish all newbies the best of luck. If you are not comfortable swapping cards or editing the registry, then you will be in quite a bit of a mix. At this stage, your well-meaning friends may ask you to reformat the hard drive. Please ignore them.
There's no need to do that. Just boot up in Safe Mode and delete the ATI and ATI Technologies folders under Program Files. If you are comfortable editing the registry, scan for and remove everything related to ATI. Trust me, this is not only the easiest way to get rid of CCC, it will also be a truly cathartic experience for you.
You will also want to uninstall the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 redistributable package that the Catalyst driver set automatically installs. Otherwise, you will have to live with BSODs and reboots. You have to manually uninstall it by going to Control Panel -> Programs and Features. The Catalyst Install Manager will not remove it... ever.
After ridding your system of all BSOD-causing ATI components, please do every ATI user and fan a favour and write in to ATI. Thank them for the experience they put you through. Let them know, in your strongest words, just how fulfilling it was to spend the entire day installing a driver. You can even suggest that they send the driver to the US military for use as a weapon of mass destruction.
Questions & Comments
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