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Blank screen anytime.

Posted on 2007-07-25
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Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I have a WinXP Pro system that the screen continually goes blank. It doesn't shutdown, but I have to restart to get things back. When I first start it up, it may take 2 or 3 starts to finally get to my desktop. The screen will go blank at various stages of the bootup each time. I have tried another monitor, but it continues. So it isn't the monitor.

Could this be memory, videocard, drivers, etc.?? Any other suggestions??

Thanks

PS this is a Dell. One of the thinner than normal types. It only has 2 PCI slots.
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Question by:Blinkr
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by:andy195
ID: 19565911
Could be a driver problem, or maybe something in the startup that is kicking in after boot.

I'd check my drivers first
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andy195 earned 2000 total points
ID: 19565937
Thinking about it, Is it OPTIPLEX GX270?
We have 5 here that all have Mobo faults, and were doing similar things.
Just wondered if yours is the same model? Just randomly shuts off, but looks lilke it is still on.
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by:dragonjim
ID: 19565939
Blinkr... being a Dell does the device have a diagnostic partition (I believe pressing F12 on Dell during boot will provide the option to boot to diagnostic partition).

Run a diagnostic and report back. (focus on Motherboard, video, memory).

--> Without this, my next instinct would be:
   1) Reinstall video drivers
   2) Try another video card

A full height card will work -- you just won't be able to put the case back on during testing.
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by:dalton1976
ID: 19566048
Do you have an old monitor?   Some old monitor don't understand well the wake up signal of new video cards!
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by:andy195
ID: 19566118
If it's a Dell small form PC, i'm going to put my money on it being a hardware fault as i previously stated.

It's a wierd one as most of the time it won't boot and if you do get to windows it will operate for a while then the screen just goes off.  The machine stays on and looks like it is operating normally, as the fans are spinning and the lights are on, but it is pretty much dead.

As i said previously, we had 5 of them here in the office and each one went down with the same fault, i hardware tested each one of them and after some further research it turned out to be a motherboard fault.

Your problem is pretty much identical, why is why i think your machine will be joining my pile before long.
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by:Blinkr
ID: 19566283
Thanks andy195,
I'm not in front of it now, so I don't know the model. But the way you describe it, it sounds like the same thing. It will go off in the middle of an application (email, word, etc.) or it won't boot all of the way to the desktop. There is nothing to indicate that it's a driver as it can go blank before the windows logo comes up.

So you are saying that you had to replace yours then??

I may try the video card route for giggles & grins, but I think it will probably be going south with yours.

Thanks
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by:andy195
ID: 19566323
Nay problem mate, I couldnt understand what the problem was either. I went down the route of trying different graphics cards, memory etc, but when the second one went down with the same fault, i suspected the mobo.  Apparently its one of the transistors that causes the problem if memory serves.

Hopefully i have saved you day's of testing as i had to do :)
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by:dragonjim
ID: 19566689
Yeah, from what it sounds like with Andy195's experience... you'll find it the motherboard...

I'd just try the video card... Granted I work with Platnum support or Enterprise Support -- but with Platnum - a diagnostic code really will speed the chat session // call.

{Give information} "Yeah, got this sympton; ran Dell diagnostic and it returned error code 1x3rt45 on internal bus..."

Ironically -- I had a PowerEdge with NEAR same problem... never shutdown on its own, but it would refuse to power up with video display to desktop... Dell replaced the board, processor, memory, powersupply. (not sure if any common capacitors are in common between PowerEdge and Optiplex).

They'll look it up and go right to dispatch parts or tech (pending on your warrenty level).
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by:Blinkr
ID: 19568073
dragonjim,
I ran the diagnostics from their utility partition & everything past fine. So I wouldn't have any code to talk to them about. I am trying a new video card now. We'll see what happens, but I don't expect any improvements.

BTW, andy, it was an Optiplex GX270. Great call. And you HAVE saved me some time & a good excuse to get this person a new PC. Their boss usually goes with what I suggest, but what you have told me will make it look a little more concrete.

EE has been really great with helping me find solutions!!

Thanks again for the help!!
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by:andy195
ID: 19572652
No problem Blinkr, glad to have helped and saved you some time!

There is some info on the web somewhere about the issue, it is related to capacitors on the board that have tops with a 'K' on them.

Downside is good old Dell want something stupid like £160 for a new motherboard.  Other alternative was to buy individual capacitors and solder them onto the board, hoping you replace the damaged one in the process!  

Farce...

:)
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by:dragonjim
ID: 19576393
No warranty on the machine??
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