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How I fixed a maddening Code 43 in Windows 7 (no firearms involved)

Gatermann talked me into trying one last time to re-install Windows 7, and if it didn’t work, he’d help me go Office Space on it.

Those of you who’ve been following me for the past week will know I started installing and trying to use Windows 7 on Saturday, and it didn’t go well. Among other things, my video driver constantly died with a Code 43, and I could print anywhere from 0-1 documents in between reboots. Basically, the computer became less useful to me than a Commodore 64. And given all the hype about how this was the best Windows ever, I wasn’t happy.

Before I did anything else, I went to Intel’s web site and verified compatibility. Not only was this particular motherboard compatible with Windows 7, it was certified for it. So that gave me something to go on.

So I plugged in my bootable USB media and waited, answered its questions, and waited some more. I selected a clean install, rather than an upgrade. I didn’t want the possibility of migrating my old problems over into the new installation.

The reinstall didn’t do any good at first. I still got the horrid-looking video with late ’90s Riva or Rage-level performance at best. Not wanting to relive 1997 again, I wasn’t happy.

The typical advice to fix Code 43 errors is to reinstall the drivers. I’ve done that dozens of times now. It didn’t make any difference. Several forums have some elaborate voodoo you can go through, but since they involve turning off driver signing, I’m not all that interested. One of Windows 7’s selling points is improved security, and turning off driver signing negates some of those security improvements. Seeing as I make my living by caring about security, I’ll switch to Ubuntu before I do that.

So I went into the BIOS (F1 in this case, this being an Intel board) and played with the video settings. Nothing I did made any difference, so I rebooted again, went back into the BIOS, and just loaded the defaults. Out of curiosity, I looked at the defaults afterward. I didn’t see how they’d make any difference, but I humored the system. I saved the defaults, rebooted, and crossed my fingers.

The logon screen looked better, so I held out hope. The desktop looked a lot better. Aero did whatever you want to call what Aero normally does on Intel integrated graphics, but it looked better when doing it. I quickly changed the visual settings to fastest performance and started installing software.

I could install the latest drivers off Intel’s web site, but all I can see that doing so might accomplish would be to give me memory-hogging tray applets. It’s working, so I’m inclined to leave well enough alone.

Why loading the BIOS defaults helped, I don’t know. But I’ve seen that kind of behavior before; even if you haven’t messed around, or have changed things very conservatively, sometimes reloading the BIOS defaults fixes strange problems. Then usually you can go back and change settings back, one by one, to get the system the way you need it. Maybe something in my CMOS was corrupted and causing problems, and loading the default settings erased it.

I seem to still have a printing problem, so I wouldn’t say all’s well with the world just yet. But I’ll take even a little progress at this point.

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1 thought on “How I fixed a maddening Code 43 in Windows 7 (no firearms involved)”

  1. Well this is more encouraging. I am going to start using Win7 64 in the next few weeks, to make sure that some new software I’m writing will work on it fine. Just in time for SP1 😉

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