So you’ve made the move to Office XP, but now you’re getting an error message caused by your 3dfx Voodoo3 video card. Because 3dfx is no longer in business, Voodoo3 video cards are no longer supported.

Let’s discuss your troubleshooting options if you’re still supporting Voodoo3 video adapters and have migrated to Office or Windows XP. I’ll also provide you with some additional information about Voodoo video adapters and the Windows XP operating system.

The 3dfx error message explained
Nearly every application has its share of bugs and other issues, and Microsoft Office XP is no exception. Problems due to Voodoo3 video adapters are an example. If you have one of these cards in your machine, you may see an all-too-familiar Windows error message stating:
This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor.

When you click the Details button, you’ll receive a message similar to the following:
EXCEL caused a general protection fault in module 3Dfx16v3.drv at <memory address>

These error messages are displayed when you’re using the Office XP applications listed below.

  • Microsoft Word—WINWORD
  • Microsoft Excel—EXCEL
  • Microsoft Power Point—POWERPNT
  • Microsoft Publisher—MSPUB
  • Microsoft Office Personal Portfolio—WKPPE
  • Microsoft Visio Professional and Standard—VISIO
  • Microsoft Visio Network Central—VISIO
  • Microsoft Visio Equipment Online—VISIO

These messages will look like the one in our example, except the application and memory address will be different. Although this particular error message is generally displayed in the format you’ve seen, when you’re using Microsoft Visio, the module can also be 3dfx2.dll, 3dfxGlide2.dll, or 3dfxGlide.dll.

Correcting the problem
This error is due to a conflict between the Microsoft Office XP application and an outdated video driver that is used for the following models of 3dfx Voodoo3 video adapters:

  • Voodoo3 2000
  • Voodoo3 3000
  • Voodoo3 3500 TV

To resolve the conflict, you must update the video driver for the appropriate model of Voodoo3 video card that you’re using. You can download the new files from the VoodooFiles Web site. As its name implies, this Web site is dedicated entirely to providing software for Voodoo video adapters and other 3dfx Interactive products. When downloading the new software, be certain that you’re getting version 1.02.18 or later; anything earlier may not solve the problem, or it may even cause other conflicts. After installing the new driver, you shouldn’t encounter this particular problem any longer.

Additional information about Voodoo3 video adapters
In addition to the device driver conflict, both versions of Windows XP have driver conflicts or other display problems related to various models of Voodoo video adapters. Even though this brand of video cards was quite popular for many years, 3dfx Interactive went out of business late in 2000 and no longer provides updated video drivers to Microsoft. This is no doubt the root cause of the problems Windows and Office XP have with Voodoo cards.

Although Nvidia Corporation purchased all assets and intellectual property from 3dfx, apparently they don’t openly support any 3dfx video adapters. The following quote comes directly from the Nvidia Web site:

“NVIDIA acquired certain graphics assets, technology, patents, and intellectual property from 3dfx; however, we did not merge with 3dfx nor did we purchase the company. All liabilities, including drivers, warranties, and customer support for 3dfx Voodoo, Voodoo TV, and STB products, are still the responsibility of 3dfx. For more information on 3dfx, please check their press releases under their stock symbol tdfx.ob.”

Obviously, this doesn’t bode well for those of us who still support Voodoo3 or other 3dfx video adapters, because both Windows XP and Office XP have various conflicts with older device drivers for these adapters. In addition, Microsoft doesn’t support any hardware produced by 3dfx Interactive. However, they do provide a driver update through their Windows Update Web site that they claim might resolve some issues that can occur when using Windows XP and Office XP on a machine equipped with 3dfx cards.

Final thoughts
If you currently have a Voodoo3 or other 3dfx video adapter and are experiencing display problems when using Windows XP or Office XP, you have a limited number of options for fixing the problem.

First, you can download an updated video driver from the VoodooFiles Web site mentioned above. If you’re unable to find a driver for your particular adapter, you can search the Internet for other sites that may have the appropriate video drivers posted. You can also visit the Microsoft Windows Update site and install the Windows update, which may or may not resolve the problem. Finally, Nvidia offers its only solution to this problem, which might be your only recourse: You can purchase a new video adapter and eliminate the problem entirely.