Pavilion dv4 screen dark, but external display shows windows is loading

I figure this is a hardware issue, possibly a bad connection, or bad video card. But before I assume that I wanted to ask you guyz advice.

On a Pavilion dv4-2160us laptop, all the lights come on, the windows welcome sound plays, and I can see the desktop if I connect external monitor. (Or I could - it worked once, but I'm having trouble maknig it happen again.) But the laptop display shows nothing. During the boot process the screen goes from all black to dimly lit black a few times. When I use the dimming/brightening keys, the black screen slightly lightens and darkens. If I use the F4 key to cycle through the external display / laptop display combo settings, it never comes on, even when set to "both" or "no external".  I tried opening the upper half to all angles.  I removed the battery, unplugged and held the power button for 30 secs.
dgrrrAsked:
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KimputerConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Press a flashlight ON the screen (of course, don't damage it, just look off the side near the light to check for details, move flashlight around the screen, see if you can recognize icons and such, also try to find your cursor, see if it moves along the defective screen).
If you can see some vague display (your desktop, if you let the computer finish booting), the backlight  or inverter is blown, and the repair costs are moderate.
If you can see totally nothing, the whole panel has to be replaced (and backlight might also still be blown), the cost will be somewhat higher.
Costs for backlight or inverter should be somewhere around 50 euros, the whole panel could range from 100 to 200 euros.
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Dan CraciunConnect With a Mentor IT ConsultantCommented:
Get a flashlight and point at the screen. Can you see your desktop/icons?
If yes, your screen is damaged, but the repair is not expensive.

If you can use an external display then the video card is probably fine.

HTH,
Dan
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nobusCommented:
if you can't see anything on external, and primary screen - probably you have a bad video card.
in most laptops, this means a new motherboard
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dgrrrAuthor Commented:
With the flashlight I can't see any icons (or safe-mode type text) so I'm going to tell the owner probably the whole panel needs replacing.

thx!
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nobusCommented:
i know this is not what you wanted to hear "if you can't see anything on external, and primary screen - probably you have a bad video card.
in most laptops, this means a new motherboard "

but if this is the case -  replacing the screen won't help !

***why not wait for the outcome before closing this ??
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KimputerCommented:
It was already stated in the original question there is a working external monitor, hence the bad video card and motherboard replacement wasn't ever an issue.
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nobusCommented:
Kimputer - that sentence is followed by "(Or I could - it worked once, but I'm having trouble maknig it happen again.)"
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