Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Please help with black screen on laptop


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 04:07 PM

Hi, everyone. I have a weird one for any of you computer gurus out there, a real brainteaser.

I have an HP Pavilion notebook model zt3000, running on XP. This problem occurred about six months ago, but I'm just getting around to fixing it now

Upon startup one day, the screen suddenly went black. However, it is not black all the time. If I hit F8 it will sometimes scroll the white numbers. It also flashes brightly if I do a hard boot shutdown. In short, I'm certain the screen itself is good.

It is not the hard drive either. I have taken the drive and put it in another laptop, and it runs fine.

Upon suggestion of a friend, I just replaced the video inverter board. No change.

I have read on other boards about older XP laptops sometimes having black display problems with larger, replacement HD's, if that drive is larger than 100GB. The drive I have in there now is 160GB (I think the orig. was around 40GB), but I ran it for months with no problem, then all the sudden -- POOF! -- black screen, and it has been that way ever since. Supposedly, or allegedly, you have to partition the new drive so that no single partition is larger than 100GB.

Does anyone have any insight into this weird dilemma? I really like this unit, and would like to get it up and running again.

Sorry to ramble on, but I wanted to give you a complete picture.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. You guys have always been great in here. Best, EducatedGuess.

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 07:55 PM

When you say it is not black all the time, does that mean that sometimes you can boot up into windows? Are you sure you don't have a bad backlight/inverter?
You mention the hard drive working in another laptop, but that certainly doesn't rule it out. It could just be the drive board not liking the mobo on your laptop. Find another hard drive to try. Also, did you check the memory?
Do you see the initial splash screen when you first turn it on? If so, how far into the boot process do you get before it goes black?

Sorry about all the questions but the initial post is kind of vague. These are just a few of the things that popped into my head after reading about your problem.
What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#3 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:22 PM

Possum, no, no, those are great questions. No apology needed, and thank you for your post.

OK, first off, as I noted in my initial post, just today I removed and installed a brand new video inverter board which DID NOT fix the problem. That has been done.

Second, no, it will not boot into windows, but the screen does show the scrolling white numbers on start up on a black background. It also flashes brightly and momentarily upon shutdown. I'm 99% certain the screen is good.

Third, it goes black right away, from the very beginning of startup. I never see anything, unless I hit F8, at which point I see the little scrolling numbers, then black.

Fourth, check memory. If you mean a physical check, I have several removed the RAM cards and clicked them back into place. Or do you mean checking them onscreen. If so, would this be done through BIOS?

Any other thoughts would be appreciated. I will try to install a different hard drive, either remotely or internally, and get back to you in a couple days.

Thank You!
Educated Guess

#4 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:44 PM

You see the screen for a very short amount of time and then it goes black. It could be the display inverter, but, of course, if it was the power inverter, the laptop would still boot up, you just wouldn't see anything on the screen. You should have an external video port on the laptop. Hook a monitor up to it and press whichever Function (F1-F12) button is used to switch to an external display. You can find this possibly by looking at the function button icons or by looking in the owners manual. If you don't have the manual, you can google it to find it. This will tell you if your display is the problem or not because you'll be able to watch the laptop boot up on the external display.

By checking memory, I mean either booting on a memtest boot cd, or simply taking one of the two sticks out and booting up on each one individually. Boot up on one stick of ram. If that doesn't work, then boot up on the same stick of ram in the other ram slot. Then, switch to the other stick of ram and do the same thing. With any luck, you'll find a bad stick of memory this way. Don't count on it though.

When you hit F8, do you boot into safe mode, or is the scrolling numbers the memory test performed at boot up? What exactly are the little scrolling numbers?
What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#5 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:57 PM

Possum, thanks again for the continued input. Yeah, I get your drift, and it sounds like we're just trying to run a controlled experiment by eliminating different things.

I like the idea of hooking up a separate monitor, and yes, I looked on the back of the unit and it does have a video output. I don't own any monitors anymore, but let me snag one in a day or two here locally off craigslist and get back to you once I do that. That sounds like a great way to go diagnostically, and I wouldn't mind having a cheap one around here for other testing.

The F8 thing should boot into SAFE MODE but doesn't. I think the numbers are just telling you about memory, then they disappear after a few seconds. They scroll very rapidly, like filling up a car really quickly with gas, then they're gone.

Let me try the monitor thing, then let's go from there.

I'm a teacher off for the summer, so I have the time. Look for me in a day or two in here.

Thanks,
EducatedGuess

#6 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:02 PM

While waiting on the monitor, I'd swap the ram around too. If memory swapping doesn't work, I might still want to get a memory tester or find some way to burn a memtest boot cd and let it run for a few hours. You can find all you need to know about memtest at memtest.org
What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#7 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 30 June 2011 - 09:28 PM

Possum: Update:

I bought a cheap but working external monitor and hooked it up. No image on the screen.

I want to run the memtest, but I am having trouble figuring out how to download it. I know it's in a zipfile. Excuse my ignorance, but what program do I use to unzip it? I don't seem to have a program installed to unzip the file so I can get it to install.

I can go to download.com and find a free program, I'm sure. Could you tell me what file to look for, and send me a link to one? I haven't used zipfiles in ages.

On the memory thing, the unit only has one RAM installed. As you suggested, I have removed and reinstalled it several times and clipped it back into place, then repowered the laptop. No help, no change, black screen continues. For the hell of it, I thought I'd go to Fry's tonight and buy a new RAM replacement, plug it in, and see what happens. It's cheap enough, I can return it, and this would eliminate this as a source of the problem. Sound like a good idea?

I still want to run the memtest once I figure out how to download it. I have ImgBurn installed, so I can burn the image to CD once I have it installed.

Any other ideas?

Thanks again, and I'll be in touch.

EducatedGuess

#8 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 30 June 2011 - 11:36 PM

I bought some new RAM and plunked it in. Same condition. Black screen.

#9 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 01 July 2011 - 08:13 AM

Can you get into BIOS? Just start tapping F1, F2, or Del to get into BIOS as soon as you turn it on. It is usually one of those keys to go into Settings. Once in BIOS, check and make sure it sees a hard drive, the right amount of ram, and things like that. Also, while in BIOS, check the startup sequence and make sure the CD/DVD drive is the first boot drive listed. Once you verify the DVD drive is the first boot device, try booting up on any bootable disk. A Windows installation disk or any type of bootable disk you may have. If you don't have one, make a simple memtest CD and boot off it. (From you earlier post, download and use 7-Zip here

One other thing you could do would be to find another hard drive of the right type, install it, and try loading windows.

Unfortunately, I'm beginning to think you may have a bad mobo/cpu. But, let's not give up yet.

Edited by possumbarnes, 01 July 2011 - 08:16 AM.

What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#10 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 01 July 2011 - 09:25 AM

Thanks, Possum, I'll give these things a go over the next few days. I think F10 is the key to hit on this model to put it into BIOS, which I've tried without success. I'll try the other keys and see what happens.

Again, thanks for all your input.

Actually, I don't mind taking the time and expense to fix this puppy. I'm just trying to run the proper diagnostics to determine what needs to be replaced. Most of this stuff is available on the Web for a reasonable price.

This laptop is near and dear to me. About two years ago I bought a rolling computer bag at a garage sale, got it home, and found this laptop inside. I installed a new HD, which ran fine for about a year, then this. So I'm way ahead any way I look at it. I am also not a fan of OS's later than XP, which also motivates me to get this one back up and running.

Thanks. I'll be in touch.

Educated Guess

#11 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:39 PM

Have you tried booting on some kind of bootable CD? Give that a try if not. That way you know it's the hard drive if you can boot on a disk. If you can't boot on a CD either, then your most likely culprit is a motherboard or the CPU. I think your problem might be beyond a support forum like this to help you. You might look into a small local laptop repair guy to help. It'll be more expensive, but you ruled out a bunch of stuff before starting this post. A lot of these laptop repair people work out of their home and don't charge anything to diagnose the issue. If they can tell you what the problem is, then you can try to fix it yourself. Just a thought.
What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#12 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 01 July 2011 - 10:16 PM

Actually, yeah, Possum, these thoughts are similar to my own. I have ID'd a few local guys off CraigsList who do free estimates. I'm gonna run a few more tests, then we'll see. I don't mind paying someone to fix it or tell me to junk it. I'm cheap, but not THAT cheap.

I don't think it's the HD. Months ago I loaded the drive into a Sabrent HD Enclosure and it ran fine with USB into another laptop. I'm gonna try it one more time to check that again. That was about four months ago and my memory is a little foggy.

Thanks, I'll let you know.

#13 possumbarnes

possumbarnes

  • Members
  • 333 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 02 July 2011 - 07:32 AM

You're welcome. Good luck with it and be sure to post back if you think of anything else. Also, try to boot on a bootable CD and see what happens.
What's more irrational--a guy who believes in a God he cannot see or a guy who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?

#14 rotor123

rotor123

  • Moderator
  • 8,093 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Local time:01:53 AM

Posted 02 July 2011 - 02:00 PM

try pushing down on the top of the laptop in the vicinity of the video card (Chip) and then turning on while pressing down. The fact that you mention pressing F8 leads me to think a Motherboard problem or if separate video card (Some models) video card problem.

I recently fixed a couple of nc6000s by re-soldering the Max chip. That was testable by pressing down on the keyboard in that area and the computer then worked OK until the next time. In this case I believe the Max xhip regulated the power for the CPU keeping it from even starting.

Fortune Cookie says: Fortune not Found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

Sent from my All-In-One Desktop. Perfect for Internet, Not for heavy usage or gaming however.

How Does a computer get Infected? http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/2520/how-did-i-get-infected/
Forum Rules,    The BC Welcome Guide

167 @ June 2015


#15 EducatedGuess

EducatedGuess
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 187 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:53 PM

Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

Rotor, thanks for the great tip. I'll definitely try it. I will get back to you in a day or two -- we're already starting our Fourth of July celeb around here. Thank you VERY MUCH for taking the time to post this.

Best,
Scott




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users