Microsoft KB Archive/254389

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Visio: How to Detect and Resolve Display or Printing Problems

PSS ID Number: 254389

Article Last Modified on 6/4/2003

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Technical Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Visio Standard 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Professional 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Technical 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Enterprise 5.0x

This article was previously published under Q254389


While you are using Visio or IntelliCAD 98, you might have problems or receive error messages related to the way shapes or entities appear on the screen or on the printed page. Some examples of these problems include the following:

  • General Protection (GP) Faults, application errors, or invalid page faults that occur with the video-driver file (the error message indicates a file with a .drv extension).
  • Errors that occur when Visio or IntelliCAD redraws the screen, such as when you drop a shape on the page or paste a large or complex graphic from the Windows Clipboard into a drawing.
  • A GP Fault or application error that indicates an unknown module.
  • The appearance of stray characters on the screen or a distorted appearance of shapes or entities.
  • The improper display of Visio or IntelliCAD window elements such as toolbar buttons, stencil and drawing page backgrounds, and rulers and grids.
  • The drawing looks different on the printed page than it does on the screen. For example, shapes that show a solid white fill on the screen show a black fill on the printed page.


Most of the time you cannot positively know the cause of a particular problem without some investigation. However, often the problem is the way the video driver interprets what a program tells it.

To communicate with output devices, such as monitors and printers, Visio and IntelliCAD use the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI), a device-independent standard that many Windows-based programs use. To display or print text or an object, the Windows-based program gives an instruction to the Windows GDI, and then the GDI converts it to an instruction for the appropriate output device driver. Because the Windows GDI is device-independent, all Windows-compatible output device drivers can understand the same instructions. For example, to print a shape or display it on the screen, Visio can send the same instruction to the printer and video drivers.

If a device driver does not follow the Windows GDI standard, it might not interpret instructions from Windows programs correctly. A misinterpretation can show up as an error message or as objects displaying or printing incorrectly. Visio and IntelliCAD rely intensively on the Windows GDI, so an error you get while you use one of these products might not occur in a word-processing or bitmap-editing program such as Microsoft Word or Windows Paint.


Although printer drivers cause some types of problems, generally, video drivers that do not come with Windows cause the types of problems listed in the "Symptoms" section. Therefore, this section explains how to determine if the video driver or its settings are the cause of a problem. To determine whether the problem you have is related to the video driver, try these suggestions:

  • Change the color or resolution settings in the video driver's control program or in the Windows desktop properties settings.
  • Use another video driver, such as a standard driver that comes with Windows.

    To change to the standard VGA driver in Windows 95 or Windows 98:
    1. Restart the computer.

      For Windows 95, press F8 when the "Starting Windows 95 message" appears on the screen.

      For Windows 98, press F8 when you hear a beep. This happens several seconds into the startup process, when the computer has completed its initial commands and is about to start Windows.
    2. In the Windows 95 or Windows 98 Startup Menu screen, press the down arrow key on your keyboard until you highlight Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.

      Windows starts in Safe Mode, which uses the VGA video driver. You will probably notice color differences and changes in the positions of shortcut icons on the Windows desktop.

    To change to the standard VGA driver in Windows NT:

    1. Restart the computer.
    2. The Windows NT boot menu appears, including an option to start Windows in Normal or VGA mode. Select VGA mode.

After you change the video driver or its settings, try to reproduce the Visio or IntelliCAD problem that you had before. If it no longer occurs, it is likely that the previous settings caused it.

NOTE: To return to the original screen settings after you start Windows in Safe or VGA mode, restart Windows.

If a combination of video driver settings is the cause of the display or printing problem you have, contact the video driver manufacturer to see if the version of the driver you have is out of date. In many cases, an updated driver resolves the problem. Most video driver manufacturers update their drivers frequently and make the updates available for download from their Web sites.

If changing the video driver does not resolve the problem, please contact Visio or IntelliCAD Technical Services.

Keywords: kbdisplay kberrmsg kbprint KB254389
Technology: kbVisio2000Search kbVisio500xSearch kbVisioSearch kbZNotKeyword3