Laptop Monitor won't work in Windows

Dell Inspiron 1526 laptop (amd athlon 64...
September 13, 2009 at 12:24:27
Specs: Windows Vista
My grandfather gave me a laptop explaining that it wouldn't work any more so he bought a new one. Said he took it to the "geek squad" and they told him it was a bad motherboard.

I plug it up and it will boot fine, does POST, but the video on the built-in LCD display stops after POST.

I plugged in an external monitor and it works just fine displaying everything on the external, so it isn't the video card.

I did the Fn-Power test and it displays on the LCD just fine. At the moment, it is actually running the diagnostics and hasn't failed anything so far. It has been running diagnostics now for 40 minutes with no LCD display problems.

I generally don't work on laptops because their tiny parts don't work well with my big hands. Can someone tell me what is broken so I can fix it? I can use it hooked up to my external monitor, but that's annoying.

Oh, and the audio doesn't seem to work either. Made sure nothing was muted and made sure drivers were loaded, but no audio. This is a secondary issue, want the video problem covered first.

Thanks in advance

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September 13, 2009 at 12:39:07
There should be a Fn+?? key to change the display back to the laptop screen...sounds like it's currently set for the external VGA port only.

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September 13, 2009 at 16:47:46
Negative. I hit the Fn-F8 key multiple times, waiting a good 30 seconds between button-presses. No display after POST, even when there was no external monitor attached.

I am wondering if it might be related to the audio problem. There are two headphone ports on the front and neither puts out any sound. Some sort of driver issue?

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September 13, 2009 at 17:13:32
Boot the computer into Enable VGA mode
(or Enable low resolution mode in Vista).

(Press F8 repeatedly while booting to pop up the boot choices screen, choose Enable VGA mode, or Enable low resolution mode in Vista).

That loads the same things normal mode loads except the video is forced to use default VGA drivers built into Windows that all video adapters support. The resolution may be low, the icons larger, but if the LCD display works fine no matter how long you use the computer, your problem is related to the video drivers being loaded in normal mode, or the settings being used for the monitor in normal mode are not supported by the display (e.g. if you're using Plug and Play Monitor driver, it can be set to settings an LCD display cannot support).

Safe mode loads the same default VGA drivers, but it doesn't load a lot of other things normal mode loads, you often can't un-install video drivers in Safe mode but you can in Enable VGA mode, and you can't change or reload the monitor drivers in Safe mode.

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September 13, 2009 at 17:34:36
I attempted to load in low-resolution mode, no dice. I didn't see an Enable VGA Mode listed and the low-resolution mode was closest. No LCD video, external was fine.

I also loaded in Safe Mode, no video to the LCD screen, but the external is fine.

I tried them both with the external plugged in and without it being plugged in, no change.

The time I ran the diagnostic it ran fine on the LCD screen.

I tried reinstalling the OS, and the screen went yellowish, then blank after the installation bar went to full. The external monitor (which was not plugged in) does not work at all.

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September 15, 2009 at 12:19:12
Please do not tell me I have stumped everyone. I could really use
a hand here.

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September 16, 2009 at 18:11:03
I opened it up and checked the cables and nothing is pinched, cut, or otherwise damaged. Looks perfect in there.

I decided to try to change the environment. I took it into a dark room, shone a light on the screen, and cranked the brightness on the LCD to maximum. I could BARELY see the Windows Logon on the screen. The backlight appears dead on the LCD.

How do I fix a backlight on an LCD screen?

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