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I've gotten this error repeatedly, just a day after installing this game. The day I installed the game and ran it, there were no issues or errors up to this point.

Before the error occurs, while doing the Punch Challenge in Basic Braining, the game will freeze but the computer will still be running. If I wait a little (around 3-5 mins) the game resumes running as if nothing had happened. If i continue to play, it will freeze again. At around the second or third freeze the game will cause the error:

"The atkdisp display driver has stopped working normally. Save your work and reboot the system to restore full display functionality. The next time you reboot a dialog will be displayed giving you a chance to upload data about this failure to Microsoft. "

which causes my display to revert to the most basic settings (ie. 640x480 resolution and 6 bit graphics). If I try to change my display settings back to a larger resolution, the screen goes black with a blinking underscore a the top of the screen. At this point I just hard-reset.

I have never had this error happen before. Ever.
It only occurs with Psychonauts.
I've tried changing the processor affinity, which did not work.


Win Xp (SP3)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
3.5 GB RAM
MSI Radeon 4870 1GB
This definitely sounds like a graphics problem. Do you have the latest graphics drivers for your card? I have heard that some ATI cards have problems with Psychonauts, so looking around the internet or these forums for ATI-related problems in Psychonauts might be a good idea. I usually heard about the problems manifesting themselves as slowdowns rather than crashes though. Has anyone who played this on an ATI card experienced something similar?
Earlier in the day, I uninstalled all the drivers having to do with atkdisp.dll. This did not fix the issue.
When the freeze occurs, I am able to Alt+Tab out of it if I do so quickly. I can then proceed to end the process (Psychonauts.exe), thus avoiding the 'atkdisp display driver...' error.

When I try to re-enter the game, all that appears is a full screen window titled "Psychonauts" but no graphics are shown; the mouse cursor is not visible either. I can hear the sounds and music in the background and the controls work as if nothing is wrong.

On an unrelated note, I noticed too that after the above scenario occurs Winamp ceases to play mp3 files; all the information is displayed in Winamp but the file itself will not play.
I uninstalled Winamp and used CCleaner to clear up any residual files then reinstalled it and the program worked as if nothing happened (mp3 files played as they did prior to this issue).
Just now I uninstalled Psychonauts and then reinstalled it to see if I could get past the 'no graphics but audio and controls work' scenario but that didn't work, however once again, Winamp ceased to play mp3 files.

I believe a reboot should clear this up. I'm rebooting now and will see if I can:

- enter Psychonauts with graphics showing
- play mp3 files

and then post back here as soon as the restart process is complete

I will also check ATI's website for help with Psychonauts.

-after reboot-

- winamp can now play files
- Psychonauts works

I came across a post on the steamforums that said that turning off the shadows in Psychonauts stops the crashes. I've done so and now I've been able to complete the Punch Challenge completely with no errors or issues to report whatsoever.



"The atkdisp display driver has stopped working normally. Save your work and reboot the system to restore full display functionality. The next time you reboot a dialog will be displayed giving you a chance to upload data about this failure to Microsoft. "


I will post back again if this same error occurs. If I don't then that means this issue was solved.
Post edited January 28, 2011 by wildhind
Bad news - I exited the Psychonauts just now to edit the above post but when I tried to reopen the program the same issue occurred: "Psychonauts titled window; no graphics, sound music and controls functioning properly.

I'll play around a bit to find a solution. If I do, I'll edit this post.

On the plus side, I can still play mp3 files so I believe that issue is linked to the "atkdisp" issue.
Post edited January 28, 2011 by wildhind
wildhind: Earlier in the day, I uninstalled all the drivers having to do with atkdisp.dll. This did not fix the issue.
Can you elaborate on this? Which drivers did you uninstall? How did you know they were related to atkdsip.dll? It still sounds like a display driver problem to me, which might be fixed by either getting the latest ATI display drivers or possibly using a specific older version of the drivers that will work with Psychonauts.

Since the shadows setting seems to fix the game, but then you ran into problems again when re-launching it, I wonder if something got messed up when you uninstalled those drivers. I would make sure that you have the latest ATI graphics drivers and that you have shadows turned off, and then see if you can run the game reliably. Alternatively, could it be that for some reason the shadows setting didn't "stick", i.e. it reverted to having shadows on when you re-launched the game?
My investigation went like this:

- This website:

mentioned ASUS smart doctor causing issues and generally being unreliable in many circumstances. I never really use it and have no memory of installing it so i resolved to uninstall or delete it.

- Entered Add/Remove Programs and did not find smart doctor listed so I searched c:\ for 'atkdisp.dll' and found it in the 'system32 folder. Hovering the mouse over the file it displayed it's version number.

- Remembering it was 'display driver' I entered Device Manager and looked in the listing 'Other Asus Devices' (or something similar it is no longer listed so an exact title cannot be found). Listed there were two items and checking their properties I found that they both shared the same version number as the atkdisp.dll file I had found earlier. I uninstalled them and was asked to restart. No issues after restart.

- Checking the Psychonauts folder myself and having a general knowledge of the purpose of .ini files (that being to store game settings) I opened the DisplaySettings.ini file and looked at the listed settings.
This post:

(The entire original thread is here:)

indicated that removing shadows helps with some issues so I edited the .DisplaySettings.ini and set Shadows to false.

That particular setting is still the same.

I still cannot re-enter the game with displayed graphics. It looks like I'll have to restart the computer in order to play the game once.

DirectX is up to date. Ati drivers are not the newest because the new one caused framerate issues with another game (COD5 FYI). I deem updating the ATI drivers unnecessary but not out of the question.
Post edited January 28, 2011 by wildhind
More news:

I installed the newest ATI Catalyst drivers since I noticed they were released 2 days ago.

This did not help. I was able to play the game for a good period of time but unfortunately the game from in the same fashion as described in the first post.

The only difference is that the file 'ati2dvag' was the 'display driver' that stopped working.

Seems as though nothing has changed at all. I have to restart now since my settings ahve reverted to 640x480 resolution and 4 bit colors.
Are you using a desktop or a laptop? Is your motherboard made by ASUS? It sounds like the atkdisp.dll file is related to ASUS and is a display driver, which makes me think that it is related to onboard graphics on your motherboard (i.e., what your computer would use if you didn't also have that ATI card in there). If you have either an ASUS motherboard or an ASUS laptop, this would make sense in your case.

I found a thread discussing a problem with atkdisp.dll, which suggests that some of the weird extras that came with the ASUS motherboard were to blame, specifically something called ASUS Splendid and ASUS OSD:

Maybe try looking for those and uninstalling them. They also suggest removing any "ASUS Enhanced Display Drivers" and replacing them with the standard ATI drivers.

It is quite possible that you don't need the latest ATI drivers for the game to work, but it's also possible that you DO need them, so if nothing else works you may want to try it. Remember that you can roll back your drivers again in order to play COD5, although I realize that will be annoying.

Here's another thread that says removing the ASUS drivers solves the issue. There's more info about how to specifically remove them also:
I have the M2N-E motherboard from ASUS. It is a desktop computer.

'ASUS Enhanced Display Drivers' was one of the two listings I remember being in Device manager. I uninstalled both of those in the beginning.

I'm going to reinstall the new ATI drivers since i didn't do the recommended "remove all previous drivers first before installing new ones" step. I'll report back if I get the new. Error.
wildhind: I'm going to reinstall the new ATI drivers since i didn't do the recommended "remove all previous drivers first before installing new ones" step. I'll report back if I get the new. Error.
Yeah, from what I saw on those other threads, one needed to uninstall the ASUS drivers first, before installing any other ones. I hope it works!
No joy. It froze again but I didn't get the error because after waiting a little it unfroze. I just saved and exited at that point.

I just re-entered the game too. so that's a good sign.

Maybe now all I'll have to deal with are momentary freezes. I can deal with that but not with driver-breaking crashes.

I'll post back again if anything different than what has already happened happens.

For the record, I'm trying to find a definitive answer for this problem, hence my style of posting.

Thanks for sticking with me Waltorious.
So does your computer have ASUS OSD on it? Google is starting to run dry but I did find someone who said that updating the OSD instead of disabling it was what fixed the problem for them.
Well I was able to play for a good while there (for the last 20 mins a new internet connection was being implemented so I couldn't post). The only thing I noticed was a little graphical slow down but that subsided. I was able to complete Basic Braining completely as well as accomplish some exploration of the Camp Grounds.

I couldn't figure out if it did have OSD on it because all I could find in relation to that was the 'atkdisp.dll' and some thing like 'atkCLdisp.dll' listed in "Other Asus Devices" in Device Manager. I actually did try to update but it was through Device Manager. It had said that there was nothing to be found.

As of right now I'd say I don't have OSD on here. I just did a file search to confirm that fact and nothing came up.

However after exiting the game to update all of this information here (and because I had to wait for my internet connection to be reestablished) I tried to re-enter the game but it did the same thing as before (no graphics + sound + controls).

I don't know what to do so I guess I should resign myself to playing only on my single core laptop or something. Quite weird that the graphics would just STOP after one use.

I wish there was some way to properly debug this thing...
for what it's worth here are my settings as it is in 'DisplaySettings.ini:

Post edited January 28, 2011 by wildhind
That is quite weird. I wonder if the atkdisp.dll problem has actually been solved now and you're having a different issue. One thing I wonder: does the rest of your computer function properly if you've played Psychonauts for a while and then exit the game? Have you tried running different games after Psychonauts, and if so, do they work properly? You mentioned earlier having problems with Winamp, are those solved?

It seems that running Psychonauts causes something to change, such that it can't launch properly the second time. If other programs are also affected, maybe we can figure out what it is.

EDIT: When you start up the game and get no graphics, can you ALT+TAB out and back in, and see if that fixes it? Apparently that was a workaround for some people. Also, try running it in a window:
Post edited January 28, 2011 by Waltorious
I tried that. It doesn't work for me however I can Alt+F4 out of the game so it's really just the graphics of the game jerking around.

Funny enough I actually haven't tried any other games other than Psychonauts today. I'll try out BF:BC2 to see if anything 'occurs' there. I'll edit this post if that crashes too. After all I still need to test out these new drivers.

Oh yea, the winamp issue disappeared too. It only occurred around the same time Psychonauts started errorring so I assumed it was related. Plus I was able to reproduce it.

Get ready for this.....

NOTHING WORKS! It's the same for every graphic-intensive game will play the sound but not the graphics.

I just got an error report from VPU recover after exiting Duke3d (with the 3d mod installed). So it most definitely is my drivers. I'll need some time to sort this hell storm out. This is insane. Nothing changed from yesterday to today and now all this.
Post edited January 28, 2011 by wildhind