Ati2dvag problem

By | June 27, 2007

If you ever experienced your computer freezing/crashing without warning all of a sudden, with a blue screen on your monitor saying your computer was “caught in an infinite loop”, plus there is a mention of the word – “ati2dvag”, it means your computer has caught the ati2dvag bug. This bug seems to affect ATI video cards.

I was having this problem on and off since last year, but it got really bad a few days ago. If you have not yet experienced this problem, then keep your fingers crossed and consider yourself fortunate, because this is a REALLY annoying problem that does not have a sure solution or cure, and can give you enough fits to trash your old faithful PC.

The usual symptoms of the ati2dvag problem are:

  • PC crashes without warning, sometimes the display shows weird patterns before the crash.
  • Resolution may revert to the lowest resolution settings upon restarting your PC.
  • The CPU temperature may shoot up prior to crashing.
  • PC may not be able to reboot back after the crash, unless you turn off the power supply unit of your PC and switch it back on again.
  • Your PC tells you (sometimes only) that the ati2dvag driver has failed to function.

This is a universal problem afflicting thousands of PCs worldwide and can occur in totally new or old computers; it doesn’t discriminate. Imagine the frustration of buying a new PC only to have it crash on you after a few weeks and thereafter.

There have been many hypothesis’ postulated. Some say it is a very stealthy virus, some say it is an incompatibility with Windows XP SP2 and ATI, some say it is a problem with the hardware acceleration settings in the ATI graphic card, others say it is a problem within Windows XP itself…etc.

The 2 most common “solutions” are:

  • Reinstall the ATI driver. You are advised to launch Windows in Safe Mode (press F8 before Windows boots), go to Windows Add/Remove programs and uninstall everything ATI. Remove the DAO/MDAC component as well. You can use the ATI removal tool utility which can be downloaded from the ATI website. The complete set of instructions on removing ATI can be found here on the ATI website.
  • Go to System Devices in My Computer > Properties > Hardware, and locate the option, PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge. This could under other names on your PC, so contact your PC vendor if you’re unsure. Right click, and select the “update driver” option. Manually search and install the PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge.

ATI and Microsoft have never issued public statements regarding this ati2dvag issue up till this day. There is no definitive prevention or cure of this problem also. What works for some may not work for others….I’ve reinstalled the drivers and now it only crashes while I’m playing some graphics intensive game.

If you think this is a trivial problem, look at a forum thread on this problem which has been running for 3 years with no “real” fix to date. It’s about time ATI and Microsoft consider this problem serious enough to warrant a concerted investigation into why this problem happens, and come out with the best possible fix.

Edit: I’ve published a newer page on the matter following up with a very long comment made by an ATI user here.

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