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Can you help me because my laptop screen is not displaying?

Posted on 2011-09-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
The screen on my  Toshiba laptop has gone haywire.   It will display only little squares and and symbols on the desk top and everywhere else.
I have tried re-booting in safe mode - no difference
I  am desperate because I have files on it which I need for an important meeting tomorrow.
I hope you can help me.
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Question by:digisel
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by:uescomp
ID: 36525932
Couple things you can try.  Run a memory test to see if you have defective ram.  You can however pull out each individual ram module one at a time to narrow it down to see if one of them is defective.  Could be your graphics card/chip, try plugging in an external monitor and see if that comes up fine.  Listen to your hard drive and check if there is scratching noise or clicking.  Otherwise your data should be fine as long as the hard drive is ok.  Pick up a flash drive and copy your data out that you need (word excell etc) and move it to another system if needed.

Those are just a few things you can try.
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Expert Comment

by:K_Wilke
ID: 36525955
Could be that the display went south.
Connect a regular PC monitor up to the VGA port on the laptop and see if it works.  if so then you need to replace the display.  If not then there is another problem going on.
Thanks,
Kelly W.
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36526032
thanks.   I have tried plugging in an external moniotr.   No difference.
I cannot access anything becuase  just squares and half squares ?/// and dots and arrows are displayed throughout.
the computer had been running very slow and kept crashing.  it is only six months old

I ran a program called Commodo to clean the system.  
I seem to recall that there was no problem though i did not do anything on the laptop.
when i returned half a n hour later it had crashed.   I re-booted and found this problem
is there anything I can do in the boot sequence to by pass this or get it fixed??
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by:uescomp
ID: 36526105
Try pulling out one of the ram modules and powering up the system, if it stays the same, power down the laptop, pull the other one and put back in the one you first pulled to see if it is the ram etc.
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Expert Comment

by:Grant1842
ID: 36526130
If you have little squares and other artifax on your screen it is the VIDEO CHIP.

I have repaired this type of problem using the Hot Air reflow method.

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Net_Warrior earned 150 total points
ID: 36526175
I would focus on fixing the screen (which could be a great number of things) later and focus now on getting those important files you mentioned off for your meeting.  There are several ways to go about this:

1.      If you have previously set the system up for remote access, attempt to remote in using RDP or some other means (TeamViewer etc…) and copy the files over (or at least take screenshots of them.  
     a.    To access RDP type mstsc /v:<your computer’s name or IP> (without the <>) in the run or seachbox (depending on which OS you’re accessing the system from).
2.      If there is no form of HDD or TPM encryption on the disk itself, try removing the drive and installing it in a working system (such as the one you are using to type this question).  You should then be able to view the drive as a secondary (data) drive and copy off the files in question.
Hope this helps!
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36526215
thanks.   although I have been using pcs and laptops a very long time I am not very technical.  So I am limited in what I can do.   to Grant:   what do I do with the Hot Air

To Net Warrior:  I do not recall setting up the laptop for remote access.

The problem is that I cannot see text anywhere on the screen
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36526219
could this be a registry problem??
Or is it definitely the video chip??
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by:Net_Warrior
ID: 36526322
Try booting to a Windows installation disk.  To do this, insert the disk and reboot.  If the system does not boot to the disk, reboot and hit F2, F1, Delete or possibly Escape key to enter your BIOS setup (this is usually indicated at the very first (POST) screen in one of the corners).  Once in BIOS setup, set the system to boot to the CD drive and press F10 to save and exit.  The system should then boot to the disk.  While in the If you still encounter issues with the display, then it is likely a hardware problem.  If the system is only 6 months old it is likely still under warranty, I would suggest returning it for RMA.
Also, regarding the registry.  If it has anything to do with software, it is a driver issue, I wouldn't mess with the registry.  You could try downloading the latest driver from the manufacturer's website (or rolling back to a previous driver if you have recently updated).
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Expert Comment

by:shbasm
ID: 36527774
try to access the bios if bios appears this windows issue if bios doesnt appear on built in lcd pannel
and your laptop display on external monitor but dont on buit in one
this means that vga card working but you have one of the problems
-if you can see a faint display on buit in monitor this means that the interver or lamp went bad
-if cant see any thing this means that :
-the cable between motherboard disconnected
-lcd pannel went bad
-threre is no voltage reaching to pannel (motherboard problem)
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36527819
this can help you in determining the problem : http://www.lcdparts.net/howto/symptom.aspx      
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Expert Comment

by:shbasm
ID: 36528469
First try to access BIOS and tell us
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Expert Comment

by:shbasm
ID: 36530472
i think this vedio is good for you
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnkQNmKauEc
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Assisted Solution

by:shbasm
shbasm earned 100 total points
ID: 36530941
regarding your data if you need it  urgently before you repair the prolem you can extract the HDD from laptop usually you can access it from under the laptop and put in external HDD enclusores
like this
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?field-keywords=hdd+enclusore&url=search-alias%3Daps&x=0&y=0
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Expert Comment

by:thunderjolt
ID: 36532715
I think your best bet in a course of action is too look at videos similar to the one Shbasm posted. The same problem happened to my old ASUS laptop, and heating up the graphics chip seemed to solve the problem, although I did not get it hot enough and I will have to redo it. Best of luck to you!
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 36534246
for your data, you can try one of these :
-check if it boots fine from a live cd, to copy the data to an external disk (usb)
or hook your disk to a working pc as slave, and copy it

this can help also - here my laptop troubleshooting guide :
-remove all external devices
- if no display - test with an external monitor
- test if it runs from battery alone, or from AC alone
- test also with a known good battery !
- remove battery and AC adaptor, hold power button for 20 sec, connect AC and reboot --> any display ? if NO -->
- disconnect all disk and cd drives, battery , and other cards and peripherals, leave only 1 ram stick
- boot -->any display ?
- if NO remove all ram and reboot --> if NO beeps, mobo or cpu bad ; if it beeps, replace ram stick
-if you can access the bios battery, remove the battery, AC, and bios battery for a minute to reset the bios
or test it, it should read 3 V
*** you can test the disk on another pc, if you like !
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36534358
thanks to everyone for their input.  
I spoke to Toshiba technies and I was told that they had never encountered this problem before.
they said that it could be a fault in the video chip on the mother board but they thought it was more likely to be a a font issue with the display - thus a software issue which they could not deal with.
It is a display issue.   the laptop functins fine, there is a display, the mouse works, the keyboard works.
It boots fine.
the problem is that if i could read the blank little squares, the triangles, circircles and other minature graphics that present themselves on the screen instead of the alphabet i would be able to use the laptop
As it is I cannot because I do not know where to point the mouse to carry out any of the functions of a compter, i.e. accessing the internet etc. etc.
the data issue is no longer an issue because the deadline passed.  (I just put in an extra four or five hours of work to re-do it for the next time.

I have not set up any restore points for the machine so I cannot return to the last know good restore point.
I do not know whether the font issue would be rectified if I returned to the default factory setting (yes I know that I would lose all my data)
Nor do I know which F button to push to enable me to restore the factory settings.
I cannot start opening up the machine and heating various bits.
I have looked at the videos (thanks for the suggestions) but non of them helps.
I am now in the mode of trying to recover my laptop as a functioning machine.
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Expert Comment

by:sarabande
ID: 36534419
ok, let us assume it is a font issue, software related. then, i would think you currently have no windows login such that your notebook boots windows correctly, right?

if so, i would also assume that at beginning of reboot you don't have artefacts but normal bios text messages. is that correct?

Sara
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36534429
hi sara
yes that is so
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by:sarabande
ID: 36534495
then you should be able to enter bios and change the boot order such that you could boot from cd like shbasm and nobus have suggested, right?

Sara
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by:sarabande
ID: 36534528
note, if you have windows 7 or vista and did regular windows update, your system should have plenty of restore points which you could choose after booting from cd.

or, you ask a friend who has a similar windows system to do a restore on their pc and tell you for any step which item to choose of the open windows.

Sara
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36534534
i have not done that in 20plus years of using pcs.
i presume that i would connect the external cd drive, then re-boot, and hit F2.
is that where i choose to copy the boot onto the cd?
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by:sarabande
ID: 36534841
connect the external cd drive and put the windows cd into. then reboot. in many bios configurations boot from cd already is enabled and you will be asked to hit a key for NOT booting from cd, means the cd boot should be default.

if not, you need to enter bios and change to a page (mostly first or second page) where you can change the boot order. it is not very difficult and you have somewhat like a combobox where all alternative boot devices are listed for selection. make the hdd (disc) the second boot device. in modern bios you mostly can use the mouse. after changing store the bios configuration (often f10).

Sara
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36534881
hi sara
i meant to say that i needed to create a boot cd.   i do not have one for the laptop which is running windows 7.
how do i do that please, given the current circumstacnes?
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Expert Comment

by:shbasm
ID: 36534924
your problem is beyond end user Self-service
its better to take your laptop to a professional repair guy
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by:sarabande
ID: 36534955
you can use any windows 7 boot cd. ask the vendor of your laptop if they can lend you one. or buy one for little money (what surely is a good investion for future). to create a boot cd from your current system probably is not a good idea as you might copy the problem to the cd (in case it is some malware).

Sara
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Assisted Solution

by:sarabande
sarabande earned 150 total points
ID: 36534975
you told that you tried rebooting in safe mode?

at the point where you can choose the safe mode you also should have an option to open a console window only (i never tried it myself with windows 7 but with xp where you had to press f8 while booting).

Sara
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Author Closing Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36535066
thanks to all.   you might find my post helpful because of the sequence that fixed the problem.
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Author Comment

by:digisel
ID: 36535078
apologies.   thought my solution would have appeared so here it is.
i tried booting with the restore disk in the external cd drive - no luck.
i tried various options presented having held down F8 no luck
I then went into safemode and while that was loading hit and compressed F*.
this screwed everything up to the extent that after removing the power cable and then re-booting a screen came up saying the start process had been affected and di  want to repair this.  It might mean that I would lose progams that I had recently loaded.
I said yes.
After about four minutes and one other interjected query the laptop re-booted and
SUCCESS..... the squares and triangles were replaced by abc etc.
Hope this is helpful for the future.
My thanks to all of you for your time, interest and input.
Regards
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Expert Comment

by:sarabande
ID: 36535116
you seem to be a very lucky one and i hope no one will try to repeat your 'sequence'. even for windows it is not recommendable to produce a second serious issue and then trust on the self-repair capababilities to repair both problems.

Sara
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by:nobus
ID: 36535367
did you still have your data?  it *looks* like a factory reset
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