Acer video not working except in safe mode on external monitor

Here's an odd one:
A partner's husband asked that I look at their Acer Aspire 3680 laptop.  It boots up fine but no video, even on an external monitor. But it will come up on the external monitor in safe mode. The laptop display does kind of flicker a little during boot up if external display isn't attached.
I've tried resetting BIOS to defaults, and updating the video driver - both a no-go. I originally thought it may be refresh rate but I can't even get to where I can change that.
I did uninstall the display via device manager and got to come up normally on the external monitor and am now creating factory disks.

I'd say it's the LCD, but there's no video output even on the external monitor unless in safe mode of when "faked out" like I just did.

I'd appreciate knowing if anyone has seen this before and would have any recomendations.


kmurphyAsked:
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nobusCommented:
try to boot from a live cd to check if the video stays on; if it stays, it is a software problem - not hardware:
here a good Knoppix one :  ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.4.4CD-2011-01-30-EN.iso
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Lordy123Commented:
Have you tried boting normally, wait for the HDD LED to stop, then pressing Fn + whichever number key activates another display?
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kmurphyAuthor Commented:
Lordy123,

   Yea I did. also a no go.  It  also doesn't cycle thru those choices (one, other, both) with the external LCD plugged in either.
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jamietonerCommented:
Boot to safe mode and completely uninstall the video driver, then restart and see if you are able to boot into normal mode, if so then install the latest video driver. If the issues still comes back after installing the driver the video card is probably bad.
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kmurphyAuthor Commented:
I booted normally into the BIOS can barely see the screen, but can tell its there because of the light background. It looks as if the video backlight is gone.
I did strip out the video driver and boot and tried installing the latest driver.  No go.
But I am thankful to have another good tool to check out (i.e. Knoppix).
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nobusCommented:
you can also use it to backup data from non-booting pc's, or surf the net,..it also suports usb..
you can practically test the whole pc hardware..
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