Tricky driver problem?

So, I got this “new” laptop, a Dell Inspiron 8200 with the ATI Mobility 9000 video card and everything seemed fine as I loaded my favorite programs on board. Blender worked fine, although, owing to some glitch, perhaps in XP Pro, the numlock button only toggles the LED, but has no effect on the keys themselves. No biggie, I went into preferences and switched to the no numpad option.

So I load some more software on, which in turn upgrades me to DirectX9.0b then 9.0c. The 9b programs run fine, but the 9c ones crashed. No problem. I Restore to before the 9c update.

I run Blender again…apparently I forgot to save my preferences, so I go to select out of the numpad option under system/opengl and I crash. When I recover, I find an error message from XP that tells me my vid drivers are bad.

To make this already long story short, I restore all the way back to just after my blender install, update my drivers with the best I can find (there isn’t much out there for the MR 9000), but still crash everytime I try to select the system/opengl tab in preferences.

Would re-installing Blender 2.44 help? Are there any unbroken links to good MR 9000 drivers? Any ideas?

The computer in question:
Inspiron 8200
P4-M 2.2Ghz
512M ram
ATI Radeon Mobilty 9000
DVD-ROM/CD drive

I have indeed looked around the forums and elsewhere, but none of the info seems terribly pertinent to my problem. And some of the info is very vague, e.g. “check your opengl settings” with no real follow-up as to what to actually tweak. Blender seems to run fine, and I can render just fine. As for slowing down over time -I don’t know yet. I’d be temporarily happy if I could get the numpad or numlock to work!

“check your opengl settings”

In Control Panel, Display, Settings, try a different Color Setting and, in the same panel click Advanced and TroubleShoot and adjust your Hardware Acelleration. Your Video Card may have its own panel for settings like AntiAliasing and Filter which should all be turned off.

Also, with some cards the latest drivers are not always the best choice, especially (it seems) with ATI. Noone can give you a definitive answer there as there are too many variables and you’ll just have to get there by trial and error.