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Problem with Laptop Screen Squiggles


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#1 RickVS

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 03:53 PM

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop and for no reason the text and lines on the screen turn into squiggles and then 5 seconds later the screen goes dark. Not totally dark; you can tell the laptop is still on. I then remove the battery and unplug it, then turn it back on. It will always reboot in safe mode, however most of the time it gets stuck on the 4 color windows starting screen. Then I have to remove the battery, unplug it and then retry. Sometimes it will then fully reboot. Thinking it was a software problem, I reinstalled the operation system which fixed it for a week. Now it just did it again so now I'm thinking it may be a hardware problem. Any thoughts? Any help would be appreciated.

 

Rick


Edited by hamluis, 12 February 2014 - 07:28 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:36 PM

First off - welcome to BC !

 

I think this could well be a hardware problem as well !  I think the best thing for you to do is to post this in the section 'Internal hardware' of BC - that's where the people who know about screens and graphic problems tend to live.

Mod Edit:  Moved to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by hamluis, 12 February 2014 - 07:30 PM.


#3 zingo156

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 03:37 PM

I would like to know the details or specs of this computer, if you can boot the computer into safe mode please run speccy:

 

  • Go to Piriform's website, and click the big download.png button.
     
  • Next, click Download from Piriform.com (the FileHippo link requires an extra click). Or if you want to use a portable version of Speccy (which doesn't require installation), click the builds page link and download the portable version.
     
  • You will now be asked where you want to save the file. The best place to put it is the Desktop, as it will be easy to find later.
     
  • After the file finishes downloading, you are ready to run Speccy. If you downloaded the installer, simply double-click on it and follow the prompts until installation is complete. If you downloaded the portable version, you will need to unzip it before use. Right-click the ZIP file and click Extract all. Click Next. Open up the extracted folder and double-click on Speccy.
     
  • Once inside Speccy, it will look similar to this (with your computer's specifications, of course):
    p22004369.gif
  • Now, at the top, click File > Publish Snapshot
  • You will see the following prompt:
    p22004371.gif
  • Click Yes > then Copy to Clipboard
    p22004372.gif
  • Now, once you are back in the forum topic you are posting in, click the p22004370.gif button. Right-click in the empty space of the Reply box and click Paste. Then, click Add Reply below the Reply box.
  • Congrats! You have just posted your specs!

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#4 RickVS

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 04:49 PM

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/uj1WpKFcEUq30Y087dl03m2



#5 zingo156

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 04:55 PM

I have seen many Inspiron M5010 with video chipset problems. Most of the time a generic vga driver will allow the computer to boot to safe mode, you can force this driver in normal mode as well (uninstall and delete the video card driver) from device manager, if it boots to normal mode fine with a generic vga driver it might be the video chip failing. Not saying this is for certain the cause but it could be. Have you had any blue screens or crashes? If you have can you please run who crashed:

 

We need to analyze your operating system's crash dump files to further diagnose what could possibly be crashing your computer system.

Please download Who Crashed? and save it to your desktop.

Double click whocrashedSetup.exe and choose Run

On Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 machines, when User Account Control asks if you wish to install this program, say YES to install the program on your computer.

Program can also be installed by right click and choosing Run As An Administrator.

On the next screen choose Next and accept the agreement.

Install the program in it's default location C:\Program Files\WhoCrashed (If your primary drive is different from C:, choose your primary drive.)

Choose Next and allow program to create a Start Menu Folder called WhoCrashed and click Next.

Allow program to create desktop icon and click Next.

Now Click Install.

Once the program is installed on your computer system, look for the WhoCrashed icon.png desktop Icon and double click it.

Accept the User Account Control request and the program will open in your screen and should look something like this.

whocrashed.png

Next, Click the Analyze button. analyze.png

An Information Window should appear on your screen prompting you to scroll down your screen.

If a report was generated we would like to have a look at this report.

To do this, click File analyze.png and then choose Export.

Save as WhoCrashedOutput.htm to your desktop.

Open WhoCrashedOutput.htm and copy and paste all of the contents from System Information (local) and Crash Dump Analysis and the Conclusion into your next reply.


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#6 RickVS

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:03 PM

As a next step, next time the screen crashes I was planning on plugging the laptop into an external monitor and see if I get an image. If I do, wouldn't that mean that it is a hardware problem vs. a driver problem?



#7 OldPhil

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:55 PM

My 25 cents is on the inverter, I have seen what you are talking about, I am guessing it mysteriously started with no other system changes.


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#8 zingo156

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:00 AM

It could be the inverter if the screen is just going dark and you can still see a working image on the lcd panel (you can put a flash light close to the screen to light it up), I do not usually see them cause noticable video defects like squiggles. Inverters are cheap and not all that hard to replace. Be ware when changing an inverter to unplug the battery and power adapter as the voltage can cause quite a jolt!


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#9 RickVS

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:24 PM

Hi all. I noticed today that I was not able to send a signal or get an image on an external monitor, so not sure if that is helpful. Would that mean the inverter or could it still be the LCD panel? I didn't see any image on the LCD panel either.

 

Rick



#10 zingo156

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 03:18 PM

I forgot this was an m5010, they do not have inverters they have led lcd panels. If you get no image on either external or internal (built in), you likely have a video chip set that has failed or a bad stick of ram, or something causing a no post etc.

 

Can you get the computer to boot to safe mode? Power the computer on and tap F8 until you see the boot menu options, use your arrow keys to select safe mode then hit enter. Now run who crashed as I had posted above.


Edited by zingo156, 19 February 2014 - 03:20 PM.

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#11 RickVS

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:45 PM

I have already booted up regularly. I installed the software and it says no valid crash dumps have been found on your computer. I suppose I have to have this running when I crash? Or does booting up normally erase any file?



#12 zingo156

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:58 AM

If it has had any bsod normally they would be shown by who crashed. It does not need to be running when it crashes. It might be worth a try running linux, something like mint: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php Download and burn this to a disc and then boot from that disc. You can also make a bootable flash drive but you will need to format the usb drive first so make a backup before using it.

 

You mentioned it will always boot to safe mode. It could be software related or hardware related. I have seen at least 3 m/n5010's that had bad video chip sets that caused normal mode to crash but would work fine in safe mode. The reason is because in safe mode windows is using a generic driver and in normal mode it uses a full amd driver. Linux mint will use a full amd driver so if you have the same issue in linux, you know it is hardware related. If in linux it is fine, there may just be an issue with windows or the current installed driver.

 

It could also be a stick of ram causing the issue, your video chip uses the same ram as the cpu, it would be a good idea to run a memtest as well. I recommend 2-3 passes which will take an hour or two. Download the program, burn to a disc and then boot to the disc: Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip) or you can get a different version from their site: http://www.memtest.org/#downiso

 

Because you have not had any bsod, it seems unlikely to be the ram but it is worth the time to rule it out.


Edited by zingo156, 20 February 2014 - 09:00 AM.

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#13 RickVS

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:00 AM

The latest on this issue: Lately the laptop has been in a continued state of failure. I see a message appear on screen about an AMD video driver failing and being recovered. I can no longer start windows - it hangs - so I start in Safe Mode. The problem appears to go away while in safe mode. This along with the message along with the windows dump utility identifying a third party driver indicate that it is a video driver problem. However I have reinstalled windows from scratch twice on this machine, and I have each time installed the video driver off of the CD specifically for this machine which I received from Dell. So any other thoughts about this mysterious driver would be helpful. Thanks.

 

Rick



#14 OldPhil

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:12 AM

Just throwing this out there!  Maybe take a look on the AMD site to see if it shows anything about glitches with their graphics on certain models of lap tops.


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#15 zingo156

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:40 AM

I highly suspect a video chipset hardware problem. The n50xx and m50xx dell series had problems with video chips. Safe mode often works when a video chip is failing while normal mode will not. If Linux fails to work then I would nearly guarantee it is hardware related. Because you tried a fresh reload and you still have the same problem, I already suspect you have a hardware problem. 

 

From the above post:

 

It might be worth a try running linux, something like mint: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php Download and burn this to a disc and then boot from that disc. You can also make a bootable flash drive but you will need to format the usb drive first so make a backup before using it.

 

It could also be a stick of ram causing the issue, your video chip uses the same ram as the cpu, it would be a good idea to run a memtest as well. I recommend 2-3 passes which will take an hour or two. Download the program, burn to a disc and then boot to the disc: Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip) or you can get a different version from their site: http://www.memtest.org/#downiso


Edited by zingo156, 01 April 2014 - 08:44 AM.

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