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HELP! "could not load OpenGL subsystem" error

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Apr 13, 2001
I just played Star Trek Elite Force yesterday and it worked fine. Today I get this error every time I try to start it. I get the same error with Quake3. I have a Geforce 256 SDR in a K62-560 system running Win98SE with all updates and Direct 8.0a. Everything has worked fine for as long as I can remember until today. I tried reinstalled 7.52 video drivers (been using them for months without problems). I then switched to the official 6.50 Nvidia drivers. I tried reseating the Geforce card itself. I reinstalled Elite Force and even reinstalled Direct 8.0a. That's everything I can think of short of reinstalling Win98SE.

Ok. This is the part that has me worried ... my PC is dual bootable to another disk also running Win98SE. Elite Force won't run from that disk either. That seems to point to a hardware problem, doesn't it? Could my Geforce be damaged? I'm NOT overclocking it.

Here is the startup console log for Elite Force with the latest V1.2 patch applied:

ST:V EF v1.10 win-x86 Oct 26 2000
----- FS_Startup -----
Current search path:
C:\GAMES\Star Trek Voyager Elite Force\baseef\pak2.pk3 (794 files)
C:\GAMES\Star Trek Voyager Elite Force\baseef\pak1.pk3 (67 files)
C:\GAMES\Star Trek Voyager Elite Force\baseef\pak0.pk3 (19069 files)
C:\GAMES\Star Trek Voyager Elite Force/baseef

execing default.cfg
execing efconfig.cfg
couldn't exec autoexec.cfg
...detecting CPU, found AMD w/ 3DNow!

------- Input Initialization -------
Skipping check for DirectInput
Joystick is not active.

------- Force Feedback Initialization -------
...inhibited, not initializing

----- Client Initialization -----
----- Initializing Renderer ----
----- Client Initialization Complete -----
--- Common Initialization Complete ---
Working directory: C:\GAMES\Star Trek Voyager Elite Force
----- R_Init -----
Initializing OpenGL subsystem
...initializing QGL
...calling LoadLibrary( 'C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\opengl32.dll' ): succeeded
...setting mode 3: 640 480 FS
...using colorsbits of 16
...calling CDS: ok
...registered window class
...created [email protected],0 (640x480)
Initializing OpenGL driver
...getting DC: succeeded
...GLW_ChoosePFD( 16, 16, 0 )
...23 PFDs found
...GLW_ChoosePFD failed
...GLW_ChoosePFD( 16, 16, 0 )
...23 PFDs found
...GLW_ChoosePFD failed
...failed to find an appropriate PIXELFORMAT
...restoring display settings
...WARNING: could not set the given mode (3)
----- CL_Shutdown -----
RE_Shutdown( 1 )
Shutting down OpenGL subsystem
...wglMakeCurrent( NULL, NULL ): success
...shutting down QGL
...unloading OpenGL DLL
Q_strncpyz: NULL src
Just an update ... Direct3D games seem to work ok. It seems only OpenGL games are broken. Has anyone else come across this problem with modern drivers? I don't know how long I can live without Elite Force :(

Any suggestions at all?
This looks very unusual, and maybe you will have to reinstall Windows, but maybe you could check the game's website for any patches or fixes.
PowerProtein (May 07, 2001 01:25 p.m.):
This looks very unusual, and maybe you will have to reinstall Windows, but maybe you could check the game's website for any patches or fixes.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm at the latest version of Star Trek Elite Force. But anyway, the problem seems to affect ALL OpenGL games. I've tried STEF, Q3, even Quake 2 doesn't work.

I may just have to try a reinstall of Windows or maybe first a 'clean' install of the Nvidia drivers (where you delete all the old driver files first). But I'm not really confident any of this will work because it seems highly unlikely that the same thing could get corrupted on two entirely separate disks and installations of Win98SE and the 3D games in my dual boot PC.
Try downloading a new OpenGL setup and see if that cures your problem, a change in graphic card cause me the problems you state ( Elsa Gforce 256 ), for what reason i dont know.. but downloading the setup again cured it for me, hope it works for you

Ohh yea i forgot the NEW: Beta GL setup seems stable ive been using it for a while, and post back the outcome, as you and I both have Gforce 256 it will be interesting if this solves your problem as well, and dont forget the latest drivers from nvida :)

Duron 800 @ 1050 with Global Win FOP-32 (140 x 7.5)
Abit KT7A-Raid Mobo
512 mb (133 mhz Crucial Stuff)
Hard Drive Cooler
Elsa Gforce with Blue Orb (modified to display as a Quadro and overclocked http://www.tweakhardware.com/guide/quadro/ )
Sound Blaster Live
Full Tower with 5 (120 mm) case fans with seperate PSU
pauldogg (May 08, 2001 12:39 a.m.):
have you tried to delete all the config files?

What config files are you referring to?

UnseenMenace, I'll give GLSetup a try but I'm not too optimistic at this point. I reinstalled Win98SE last night (over my current installation without reformatting the hard drive) and now I can't even change my desktop resolution to anything above 640x480 with 16 colors at 60 Hz. If I try, after a reboot Windows tells me the video settings are incorrect for my hardware. Its as if my GF256 is fried or something.

I did take the card out again to examine it. I noticed a huge amount of dust in the HSF which I cleaned up. It was still spinning fine though. Again, I wasn't even overclocking the card. It was running at stock 120 core & 150 memory.

Another odd thing I noticed is that even though the 6.50 reference drivers are installed (after a total old driver cleanup & removal BTW) I don't see any of the specialized GeForce tabs in the display properties. You know the ones that have the specialized Direct3D & OpenGL settings. They are just not there.

I was wondering ... is it possible that the video card contacts (the part that slides into the AGP slot) could get corroded or something. I looked at them and they looked golden colored and I couldn't see anything unusual. Would it be ok for me to just clean the contacts? What should I use to clean them? Rubbing alcohol? Acetone?

REF: -- Another odd thing I noticed is that even though the 6.50 reference drivers are installed (after a total old driver cleanup & removal BTW) I don't see any of the specialized GeForce tabs in the display properties. You know the ones that have the specialized Direct3D & OpenGL settings. They are just not there.

In my settings I dont actually have specialized Direct3D & OpenGL settings but get these features and more in a bit of freeware called NVMax which is available from www.tweakfiles.com which as as it happens also downloads the latest drivers in both standard and beta formats.. take your choice, but the beta drivers are unstable on my system.. I have had personal experience of problems with the 6.50 reference drivers and screen resolutions when I was running Win2k the only drivers that I trust and work well on my card are the Detonator drivers which are the ones downloaded by NVMax.
This sounds a lot like a hardware problem. Do you have another Video card that supports openGL? If so, try swapping. BTW, reinstalling Windows without reformatting rarely fixes anything.

If you have two hard drives, you could use an imaging program like Norton Ghost or Drive Image to save an image of your hard drive on your second hard drive....don't put it in a partition on your drive 0, put it on another physical drive. Then, you can easily reformat your drive and install windows clean to see if that fixes the problem. If that doesn't fix it, you'll be pretty sure it is hardware. You could go get another Video card and then restore the image. This will save you a ton of time reloading. BTW, you should revert to the basic VGA driver prior to creating your image so that when you put in another Video card it will work with the image.
I just tried a few more things. I tried switching back to standard VGA, removing the actual Nvidia driver files and registry entries and removing the 'Geforce 256' device from device manager. After rebooting, Windows reinstalled the GF2 but this time I gave it the 7.52 drivers. Still no help.

I also noticed that ever since reinstalling Windows my SBLIVE! has been disabled by Windows because it hung when trying to initialize it. Again, worked fine before. I tried removing the SBLIVE! card. Windows got rid of it from device manager but the video problems remained.

I also checked for IRQ conflicts. GF on IRQ 11. No conflicts. I ran out of time. Sigh, I'm making zero progress on this.

I don't have another video card to try.
My Gforce is on IRQ 11 also and I also run a Sound Blaster live with no problems.
All I can suggest now is taking your card to a local store and getting them to try it which they may do for a small fee.
Sorry I can't be of any more help, but i would be interested in the outcome
I appreciate all the help. I'll let you know if I make any progress.
Update: I borrowed a friend's TNT card and had the same problem so I don't think its the video card. I reseated the RAM and removed the NIC and SBLIVE leaving ONLY the video card. No help. I reduced my BIOS memory timings from 'Turbo' to 'Normal' and from Cas2 to Cas3. No help. I even reflashed the BIOS with the same version.

I now wondering if it might not be the motherboard. I'm really running out of things to try. I was thinking of maybe clearing the CMOS with the jumper on my FIC 503+ motherboard. I'm not even sure the CMOS can possibly get corrupt but, like I said, I'm running out of ideas.
You might call this progress: I erased Windows from my hard drive and reinstalled. The only new drivers I installed were for my SMC NIC and Nvidia 6.50 reference drivers. Now, the PC will lock up (mouse freezes) either during the boot (sometimes very early) or after the desktop has come up. But most of the time it will hang within a few minutes max.

The interesting thing is that if I boot it in SAFE mode it will NOT hang at all. Does this mean that there is hope?
I had a similar prob. The only thing that worked was a format and fresh install. I tried deleting windoze and registry files first as you did and it just kept getting worse. My suggestion is start fresh......
Tried a complete reformat and reinstall of Win98SE with no cards installed other than the Geforce 256. The PC booted fine every time. But as I soon as I install the video drivers I start to get fairly frequent hangs during boot and I'm still stuck at 640x480 with 16 colors. I tried both Nvidia 'official' 6.50 and beta 7.52 (which I was using without problems prior to this problem).

I'm seriously bummed. The problem has to be in the motherboard, video card (unlikely since I tried a different one), RAM (Kingmax, only a couple months old) or maybe the power supply(quite old). This really stinks because I was planning on building myself a new DDR system and passing this PC down to my son. I don't really won't to spend even more having to repair this old K62 machine.