Nothing on screen until Windows boots

Dell / 8600
February 18, 2011 at 03:23:23
Specs: XCP Home, 2.0/1gig
Laptop shows nothing on the screen until the XP Welcome screen appears after which it's fine. Never really thought about this before but I now need to do a clean install so I can pass it on. Attaching an external monitor shows the boot/BIOS screen etc. so at least I can do what I want to but has anyone got any solutions as to why it doesn't display anything until the Windows drivers take over?

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#1
February 18, 2011 at 03:52:44
if you can see it when attaching a 2nd monitor you have your 1st plugged into the wrong connection, switch to the other.
or check your monitor settings and revert to only 1 monitor.

i hate computers!
but cant help myself....


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#2
February 18, 2011 at 05:09:19
Umm, it's a laptop, so only one connection & multiple monitors normally only supported by the appropriate Windows drivers - usually up until Windows takes over a second monitor will only duplicate the first, hence the slight peculiarity here.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#3
February 18, 2011 at 08:29:03
OK, now I'm getting nothing on the main screen, but an external screen is working so I'm guessing it's a problem with the inverter or backlight, but how do I tell the difference?

Some sites say that you can still see a faint image if either the inverter or the backlight fail, but I cannot see anything, even under a bright light. So does this mean it's more likely to be the inverter has gone (hopefully) or the backlight (hopefully not)?

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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Related Solutions

#4
February 18, 2011 at 09:41:41
There are three common causes for your problem on the built in display - the third one is damaged wiring. If this laptop has been used a lot, the most likely is your backlight (CCFL) is failing - many voltage inverters will auto switch into a mode that results in much dimmer video when it "detects" somehow that the bulb is failing, so usually replacing the voltage inverter does NOT fix the problem.
In the earlier stages of the CCFL bulb failing, sometimes you have normal video, sometimes you don't.
If you have noticed an overall colored tint on the built in display for a while before this happened, the CCFL is probably definitely failing - a faulty voltage inverter probably can't cause that.

Laptop no video (or video problems), and battery, AC adapter, power jack T shooting.

See response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

DO NOT plug in or unplug a monitor's video cable into / from a video port while the computer is running. Doing so can damage the monitor's circuits and/or the video adapter's circuits.

Some laptops will display on an external monitor without you having to do anything.

If you get no video on an external monitor, some laptops have a key combo that you must press to toggle the display to external video only / built in display video only / sometimes both - see the Owner's or User's manual for the model.


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#5
February 18, 2011 at 10:22:25
Thanks for reply. The screen is totally dark, but there is a brief flash as the laptop is powered on. Image is fine on an external monitor - checking the display settings in Windows it recognises there are multiple monitors but only one is identified (second screen greyed out) and using the key combo switch reverts immediately to the external monitor each time it's toggled. Prior to the problem the image was fine and the only advance notice was the original problem on nothing showing up until Windows actually started. The laptop hasn't been heavily used as far as I can tell & has spent most of its life on a desk.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#6
February 18, 2011 at 11:41:29
What is the brand & model of your laptop. Your BIOS settings may include a fast boot option. You could try tapping F2 or maybe f10 repeatedly as soon as you start the laptop.

Are you sure you are even shutting down? Sounds more like you are hibernating.


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#7
February 18, 2011 at 11:46:57
If the laptop has been used a lot, as in, it has been opened and closed a lot, you could also have the damaged wiring between the built in display and the video adapter problem.

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#8
February 18, 2011 at 11:58:28
Thanks for replies again. No settings in BIOS that I could see. It's a Dell Inspiron 8600. Definitely shutting down - as I say, I can run an external monitor off of it so accessing everything isn't a problem - just makes it a little less portable ;-)

I did think about a wiring problem but the fact that we had the initial issue of it only displaying under Windows, together with the slight flash at start-up means that at least something was getting through - if it had been the boot screen that was visible and Windows not appearing that would have been more logical... in my mind at least.

I've ordered an inverter anyway as they are fairly easy to replace in this unit, but I'm still open to other constructive suggestions.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#9
February 18, 2011 at 12:46:49
There was no disable fast boot option?

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#10
February 18, 2011 at 14:05:43
Sorry, I meant there was no BIOS setting that was either relevant or made any difference. Tried resetting the BIOS to defaults/disabling fast boot/disabled LAN boot, disabled/re-enabled anything I could try but still nothing on main screen. The BIOS settings on this machine are actually quite detailed - 7 pages of them - but nothing that had any bearing/effect.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#11
February 18, 2011 at 14:15:33
Do you see a splash screen with the name of the motherboard manufacturer? If so, then disable all logos in the BIOS.

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#12
February 19, 2011 at 00:23:06
Already disabled - I can see the boot process going on using the eternal monitor.

Just going back to my original question - I get absolutely nothing on the screen after an initial small flash - no ghost image of XP booting, so does this imply that it isn't the inverter or the backlight?

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#13
February 19, 2011 at 07:30:07
I would think that if the cause was hardware that everything wouldn't be fine in Windows.

What do you mean by the following? "no ghost image of XP booting" Isn't that what you are seeing on the external monitor? "I can see the boot process going on using the eternal monitor"

That would indicate to me that the external is set as the primary display. The initial flash must be the point where the BIOS hands off hardware control to Windows. Check the display settings.


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#14
February 19, 2011 at 08:34:05
Initial problem was limited to being 'outside of Windows', but in post #3 I mention that nothing now appears on the main screen.

By 'no ghost of XP booting' I mean that I cannot see anything on the main screen - from reading up elsewhere on the problem, if the backlight or inverter fail then it is still possible to see the (booting) image, especially under bright light.

The external screen is now recognised as the primary display, but the secondary display is greyed out, though the system does still say that it is 'attached'. Trying to toggle between them it immediately reverts to the external display.

The initial flash is immediately upon pressing the power button - well before Windows takes over, There aren't any display settings in the BIOS and the Windows display settings are as described in the previous paragraph.

Coming to the conclusion that this is a definite hardware problem that developed from the initial errors, and looking on EBay it doesn't seem I'm alone with having this unit with similar problems.

Thanks for responses anyway.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#15
February 19, 2011 at 08:41:07
OK, I miss interpreted that comment to mean you didn't see anything until Windows started.

If you can see any image on the LCD display that would indicate the screen itself is OK. That would eliminate the cable to the display. Conversely, that would be the first thing to check if nothing is on the screen at all.


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#16
February 19, 2011 at 08:50:16
Yes, I agree that as nothing is seen on the display then it's some connection - the fact that it initially worked with Windows implies that something gradually failed, rather than an immediate (cable) break. I shall put it to one side at the moment - don't like dismantling laptops at the best of times - and shall wait until I have a boring wet afternoon.

Thanks again.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#17
February 19, 2011 at 10:01:04
Just to note, the cable that passes though the hinge gradually breaks. You can usually tell by fiddling with the amount of opening on the screen. May work in certain positions.

It doesn't sound like that is the problem though.

You may want to start a new thread with a more defined question. Like what is wrong with my laptop display. Then describe in detail the behavior. Someone more familiar with laptops in general, and your model in particular may be of more help. Be sure to include the brand and model.


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#18
February 19, 2011 at 12:26:22
There's no need for him to start another thread / Topic.

His video works fine on the external display.

He could try replacing the wiring between the video adapter and the display which might cure the problem, or replacing the voltage inverter which will probably NOT fix the problem, both of which are relatively cheap and easy to do, or he could find the proper CCFL which is inexpensive and might fix the problem but you have to be very careful about replacing and placing it properly and doing that requires more dis-assembly and a proper service manual or other more detailed instructions, or he could buy a new or refurbished (the ad info says the CCFL has been replaced) display assembly.
Only the last choice, and possibly replacing the wiring between too, is likely to cure this problem for sure, no matter what.


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#19
February 19, 2011 at 23:58:16
Thanks for replies. Looking on EBay there are a number of identical models ranging from £90 complete down to £20 needing a drive & battery so I think that's going to be the cheapest & easiest option.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#20
February 20, 2011 at 07:49:45
If you buy a used laptop, or a used display assembly that has not had the backlight replaced, the lcd display will have a reduced useful life.

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#21
February 20, 2011 at 08:37:46
Yes, but at least I'll have a spare that I can swap the screen from/to & get a working decent one in the end - cheapest option, job done.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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