Boot up with white screen and only Safe Mode

Acer / Travelmate 3280
August 23, 2009 at 03:04:34
Specs: Windows XP Home
My laptop was working fine for 4 years plus until the system suddenly restarted and showed me only a white screen. I turned off the system and turned it on again but again, I see the white screen. I connected it to a monitor and I can only run XP in Safe Mode. I used another laptop to scan the harddisk for virus but there is none. Please help...

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August 23, 2009 at 04:11:23
whitescreen, several thoughts come to mind. My first is a worm/trojan. Be aware that a virus and a Trojan are similar, but not the same. Many times, an AV detects one it can't clean, other times, it gets missed entirely.
If you need to clean one, Superantispyware can do the job and you can get it free @:
among other places. They have a Vista compatible version if needed.
If it turns out that you need to use it, be sure to update prior to running and disable 'restore' (restart after cleaning) so it doesn't get put back. They just released a new update recently and it changes all the time. Things are in a constant state of flux.
The restore thing is critical. May not be your deal at all, but won't hurt anything to try.
If that doesn't do it, power supply's next, but sorta doubt it.
Ed in Texas.

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August 23, 2009 at 20:21:47
Hi Ed,

Thanks for your reply. I tried SuperAntiSpyware to scan the harddisk but there is no virus / worm found.

Can I check with you what should I do next?


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August 24, 2009 at 01:42:35
whitescreen, my next guess is video card or power supply. It (power supply) generates several different voltages for several purposes. If one's amiss, your machine can do some really neat things. Prove/disprove the card with another. Same sort of thing applies to power supply, but it's not as simple. Perhaps a voltmeter would be easier?
Ed in Texas.

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Related Solutions

August 24, 2009 at 02:28:01
If you are sure that there is no virus on your laptop (I understand why a virus seemed a possibility in this case, as you say you can only start Xp in Safe mode), as Ed in Texas suggested, then if you are seeing an image when your laptop is connected to an external monitor, then it is unlikely that the problem lies with your motherboard (assuming onboard video).

A white screen usually indicates a problem with the video harness connecting the motherboard to the LCD screen, or it can be a problem with the LCD screen being defective itself.

You could try to reseat the video harness and see if that helps, as sometimes the connection has just become loose.

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August 24, 2009 at 03:19:00
Ed: Thanks for your reply again.

Acej: Thanks for helping out! I have an ATI graphic card in my laptop so it is not onboard graphic. I reseat the connector connecting the LCD and motherboard but it did not work. I am unable to unscrew the screw securing the keyboard to get to the graphic card (I believe there should be a connector inside too). The screw is so tight that I doubt anyone can open it with just a screw driver..

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August 24, 2009 at 03:39:02
I don't think the problem will be with your graphics card (whether integrated to the motherboard or not) if the image is fine when connected to an external monitor (is this what you meant when you said you can get into XP Safe Mode, or do you also get the white screen on the external monitor?)

Have you tried going into the BIOS to see if you get the white screen there too?

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August 24, 2009 at 04:02:10
I can see my XP in safe mode when I connect my laptop to an external monitor. Although the graphic seems a little weird when booting up but in safe mode, it's as per normal. Maybe my external monitor is old too.. I tried to boot up my laptop in bios but I see the same white screen. If my external monitor is connected, I can enter bios...

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August 24, 2009 at 04:22:46
If the video works fine (whether in the BIOS/ Safe Mode) on the external monitor then I would not see the video card as being faulty. As you said the graphics seemed "weird" however on the monitor, then try reinstalling the drivers and see if that helps with that issue.

If you cannot access the BIOS on your laptop, then it seems likely that either your video harness is faulty (you said the connection was not loose), or the LCD itself is defective. LCDs are expensive to replace, so I'd suggest ruling out other possibilities first.

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September 10, 2009 at 06:18:54
Hi Acej,

I connected my laptop to the monitor and booted up in safe mode. I followed your advice and remove the graphic driver. I managed to go into normal mode. But when I removed the monitor and tried to boot up with my LCD, the same white screen will appear again. I waited for a while for Windows to boot before keying my password for my user account. (I still see the white screen at this point of time.) I was able to log into my user account as I could hear the standard welcome sound. I tried Alt-F4 and hit "Enter" to shutdown and it turned off. All this while, the white screen is still staring at me.

Can we conclude that the LCD is a goner?

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September 24, 2009 at 02:28:54

Just noticed your earlier reply.

You have reseated the video harness connections at the motherboard end, and on the back of the LCD panel itself with no joy. You have confirmed that the graphics is not at fault, as you are getting a normal image on the external display. Your inverter board and backlight are not at fault, as the laptop screen is white (not dim or faded) therefore these are working fine.

From what you have said, then I would say that, unfortunately, your laptop LCD panel seems to be at fault.

You could possibly try to pick up a cheap LCD panel on Ebay or somewhere on the internet. Sorry not so cheerful news for your laptop!

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September 24, 2009 at 04:57:07

Thanks for your reply.

Anyway, I already gave up on it.

Got a new laptop as I need to use it for my studies.

Thanks for the assistance!


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September 24, 2009 at 07:57:22
No problem. A new laptop sounds like was the right route to take with this one!

For anyone else who may be experiencing similar problems, the whitescreen fault is usually down to either the video cable (whether loose connection, or faulty cable requiring replacement) or the LCD panel itself, with the latter generally being the problem in my experience. Always worth ruling out the other possibilities first though (as I said in a previous post), as the LCD panel itself is expensive to replace, and therefore not always worth doing so in an older laptop.

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