Odd computer glitch question

So a friend’s computer has started acting oddly recently. When it boots normally, the startup screens (the white text on a black background stuff, not the windows boot screen) will have random text be different colors or in rare cases be the wrong character altogether.

When windows xp finishes booting up, it seems fine at first. However, attempting to do anything will cause the screen to periodically refresh, it will lock up (sometimes only seemingly - other times it will do whatever you told it to but the screen will not actually show such). Eventually it will stop responding altogether.

I took an attempt at uninstalling and reinstalling video drivers, just to see if it would affect anything - the system acted the same whether drivers were uninstalled, and as well after being reinstalled. I haven’t pulled the card out to see if it that would fix anything.

Attempting to use a windows xp cd to repair windows doesn’t seem to make a difference - the text when booting off the cd actually has the same problem.

In other words, I don’t have a clue what I’m dealing with. I don’t want to fuck anything up worse than it already is.

Anyone have any useful advice on what might be causing the problem, or how to troubleshoot it?

Since this is happening pre-Windows (IE, pre-driver), changing the drivers wouldn’t effect it. Methinks there’s something wrong with the videocard, imminent hardware failure is probably likely.

Try a different videocard and see if that fixes the problem.

Yeah. Now you can get an awesome 8800GT!

Any random dots?

Also, if you’re saying that there are randomly wrong characters in the POST text (post = power on self test) then I’d suspect something other than the video card if they’re correctly formed characters. I mean, if it looks like a typo.

If you’re seeing something like:

Pre1s DEL tg enter Setup.

Then your bios chip is going buh-bye

Aszurom, I saw both when I rebooted his computer, random dots and random characters.

And unfortunately I have no way of testing it with other components, because my pc is old and needs replacing. Can’t test his pci-e since my motherboard uses agp.

Nothing’s compatible with what I have.

Sounds like either the video card or a RAM DIMM is going bad.