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blank screen at boot up


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#1 rhoadesb

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:32 PM

I have an Acer Aspire 5315-2326 laptop ... 1 gig ram running Windows Vista Home Basic.

I have had it about 3 years. No really serious trouble until now.

It will boot completely through to Windows, as far as I can tell, quite normally. The problem ... I cannot keep the screen image on screen for more than about 7 seconds before the screen goes blank. No cursor, nothing. To see the screen again I must hold down fn (function) and depress f6. At that point I get a part of a second to 6-10 seconds of the screen appearing normal. Then it goes blank again until I once again depress fn+f6.

Interestingly the PC manual indicates fn+f6 "Turns the display screen backlight off to save power. Press any key to return."

Any help appreciated. And thank you.

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#2 InvisiUnknown

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 10:42 PM

Hi rhoadesb
This might be a problem is most often caused by a faulty screen inverter. What this means is that the screen itself works properly, however the backlight does not function properly.

However, for this to be true the screen itself has to be working, its just that it is hard to see because of the fact that it is not lit. An easy way to check for this is to simply shine a flashlight on the screen. If you can see the desktop even though the screen is dark then it is the inverter. If you cannot see the screen at all then you have a different problem.

If you cannot see the screen after you boot into Windows, then it might be a driver problem. Try booting into Safe Mode and seeing if you run into the same problem.
Also try going into the BIOS (Press F2 while booting) and see if the screen stays on while you are in the BIOS.


Hope that helps!
~InvisiUnknown

#3 rhoadesb

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:01 PM

update and side questions:

First, thank you, and indeed the data helped a great deal.

"(Press F2 while booting) and see if the screen stays on while you are in the BIOS."
It does not stay on.

I am able to see the screen with a flashlight. Not well,
but much better than without.

I found what appears to be very good instructions regarding how to change the screen inverter. I'm not a
mechanical person, but it sounds fairly easy. The
biggest caution regarding that was static destroying my
PC. I am concerned about that, but I'm more concerned
about getting myself killed. Is there a capacitor in
laptops that could be dangerous?

I would guess I can purchase the screen inverter from
Acer and give the repair a try. Do you think this might
be advisable? If not, I'm likely going to try removing
the HD prior to repairs as I have a lot of confidential data on it.

Another related question:
I was unable to determine the location of the cursor
using either the flashlight method nor the fn+f6 method.

I tried hooking the laptop up to a fairly modern, what
looks to be LCD desktop monitor to
enable me to at least do a final backup prior to
anything else. I ran into a problem there too.

Everything goes well until the windows logon screen.
Just before that, the screen blacks with a note in the
center indicating "Check video cable". Before that, all
through bootup, the screen is visible. Any ideas about
the cause of that?

"Try booting into Safe Mode and seeing if you run into the same problem."
I will likely try that tomorrow.

I will:
1> Check back for any response
2> Come back and update if something new developes or I
get the repair done.

Thank you again.

Edited by rhoadesb, 26 October 2010 - 06:00 PM.


#4 InvisiUnknown

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 07:52 AM

Hi rhoadesb

"Try booting into Safe Mode and seeing if you run into the same problem."
I will likely try that tomorrow.

Don't worry about doing that, the BIOS step determined that it is not a driver issue.

Everything goes well until the windows logon screen.
Just before that, the screen blacks with a note in the
center indicating "Check video cable". Before that, all
through bootup, the screen is visible. Any ideas about
the cause of that?


Hm, this is interesting because this might indicate a bigger problem. If the problem was just, and only just the screen inverter then this should not have happened. But, of course just to make sure there is one more test I would like you to do.
When you see the "Check video cable" box pop-up. Could you press Fn + F5? That would send your display to the other monitor. I am not exactly sure of that key combination, I am using this as my reference. If that works then the problem is with just your screen inverter.If not, then there also maybe a problem with your video processor.

Another related question:
I was unable to determine the location of the cursor
using either the flashlight method nor the fn+f6 method.

I am actually not too sure about that right now, if we can get to seeing your screen consistently then we should make that top priority. It might just be because the screen is extremely dark.

I found what appears to be very good instructions regarding how to change the screen inverter. I'm not a
mechanical person, but it sounds fairly easy. The
biggest caution regarding that was static destroying my
PC. I am concerned about that, but I'm more concerned
about getting myself killed. Is there a capacitor in
laptops that could be dangerous?

You are right, it is not an extremely difficult thing to do. However, if you do it yourself then the onus of responsibility falls on you. The guide you referenced is excellent, and it shows you what to do. However, if anything happens we are not responsible for it.
There is no risk of harm to you, as long as you have unplugged the computer AND removed the battery. There is very little charge stored in the capacitors so you don't have to worry about that. However, the risk of harming the computer is a valid one that you should be careful about.

About the removing the hard drive, that is your choice. If it is very sensitive data, than you should. Just let the technicians know that you did.

I personally suggest unless you are completely confident that you can do this, or you have all your data backed and you don't mind losing the laptop; give this to a professional.

That being said, I hope everything goes well.

Good Luck!

Edited by InvisiUnknown, 27 October 2010 - 07:53 AM.

~InvisiUnknown

#5 rhoadesb

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 05:39 PM

Thanks again for the new data.

I realize that in the end it is I who am responsible for whatever happens to the laptop.

"When you see the "Check video cable" box pop-up. Could you press Fn + F5?"

I tried that just now ... no change. fn+f5 is the correct combination according to the manual to switch between monitors.

I have however discovered a new related symptom/clue:
For some time I've had the laptop set to dual boot Vista and FreeDOS. Just to see what would happen, I instructed it to boot FreeDOS at start up. The screen (the separate monitor) is fine with FreeDOS. So, this must be a windows Vista based problem related to compatibility with the monitor.

I normally use the monitor with my back up PC running Windows XP. When I first used it with that PC it had no problem whatever using the monitor, or at any time thereafter. So I doubt there is any fault with the monitor.

"I personally suggest unless you are completely confident that you can do this, or you have all your data backed and you don't mind losing the laptop; give this to a professional."

I will likely end up taking out the HD and letting the pros handle it.

Edited by rhoadesb, 27 October 2010 - 05:58 PM.


#6 rhoadesb

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 02:48 PM

The end result after repair:

I took it to a local pro shop. They tell me it was the inverter, and that it's working fine now.

I'm getting charged $39 for the inverter and $79 for labor. Does the cost sound OK?


And ... one last thanks to all. ;)

#7 rhoadesb

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:26 PM

Maybe the general manager of the repair shop will call me back, or maybe I have misplaced faith in a bad business, I'm not sure. I thought since I relayed this much data I would continue. Let me know if that is inappropriate.

I took the previous posts data on faith. Indeed I can see the screen now. Indeed it is booting to Windows very nicely. So what is wrong? When it gets to the screen to choose the user, the mouse is dead. I tried booting to Ubuntu to see if it was a driver issue with windows, but the mouse is dead under Ubuntu as well.

Along the course of dealing with the local repair shop I noted 5 separate mistakes, some procedural, and likely at least one technical. I shrugged them off initially, but when I examined the PC and saw the mouse situation I "saw red". I called the shop. A young man answered and I read him the riot act.

After getting off the phone with him I thought the situation through a bit. I had erred. I worked in offices, dealing with customers for over 35 years. I should not have been so rough on him. I think I scared the poor kid.

Any way, I called back and by luck he answered. I apologied to him and said I would like the GM to call me back. He took my number, but as yet I've heard nothing.

The four mistakes make were:

1> I had asked them to assess the situation and call me with an estimate of cost. Instead, they replaced the inverter and called me when it was done.

2> When they called me I asked for the grand total. I was told $39+$79. When my wife got there she found it was $39+79+tax. A minor mistake granted, but when a customer asks what they owe, they want the correct total, not a close figure. I worked in offices for 35 years, part of that time as an office manager, so I think I know whereof I speak.

3> When my wife picked up the PC she paid $120 in cash and the remainder via debit card. A clerk, or the office manager called me at home and asked to speak to my wife. I explained that I was the owner and asked if I could help. The employee on the phone stated that the person who ran the register was flustered any only collected $5.08, and that they have a credit card number for the balance. I told the lady that my wife had taken $120 in cash to pay for it, and asked if they had that. After waiting on the phone a minute or so, she returned, apologized and said indeed they did.

Again, a minor, if slightly annoying error which I chocked up to a learning experience for her.

4> When I first called back and in a nutshell said "Hey, you guys just fixed my computer monitor, but now the mouse is dead in the water", the young man did not apologize, take a number and say someone will get back to me. Instead he said he did not work on it. That is when I blew my stack.

5> Probably the most serious mistake, if it was a mistake, failing to even notice the mouse problem. I should think any tech worth their salt would at least reboot it after the inverter repair and be sure the general operation was OK prior to calling a customer and saying your PC is ready.

The worse possibility is of course that the tech knew it, but did not care.

I will not be surprised if the GM already knows he/she is not running a tight ship, but in case the manager does not know I want to make them aware of what happened.

End of story, except I once again have a PC the is out of order after having paid for and been told it was fixed. Well, a lesson for me I guess.

Any advice appreciated.

Edited by rhoadesb, 03 November 2010 - 01:45 PM.





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