1) If I were to give up on the switchable graphics driver/functionality from lenovo and use ATI's original drivers, wil lthat fix the crash? If so, anything I need to look out for when installing ATI's own drivers?
2) I'm considering changing to windows 7 if it will help the situation. Will it?
I have run ATI driver on the T61 and T400 have not had any issues.
I have seen cases where I have fought for days trying to fix the problem a particular user's machine(windows repair, ATI drivers, registry recleaning) and there has been no way I could eliviate the issue without a reimage.
Try the following before making the switch to the ATI driver.
Run a program for cleaning up behind uninstallers like
use it to uninstall the GPU driver, all registry entries and dormant files.
The issues is usually causes from a corrupted ATI file being left behind. Reinstalling will leave this file intact and you will continue to have the problem,
Windows 7 actually loads a default video card driver...in which most cases causes your machine to BSOD
but this was solved by just updating the driver. The problem can occur in 7 as well. The problem occurs in only 7 and vista due to the aero theme using 3D acceleration all the TIME! so...even if you don't play any games...you are using your graphics card constantly in direct X 10 mode just to see the start menu.