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Very odd laptop display issue????


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#1 possumbarnes

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 04:59 PM

I'm at my wits end here. A customer brought me a Lenovo T400 thinkpad running Windows Vista Business 32 bit. The backlight on the display was out. He had been using the laptop connected to an external display for awhile now. Since I wasn't sure if it was the light itself or the power inverter, I ordered a complete replacement display. I verified it is the correct display and replaced it. It booted up without issue until Windows fully loaded. Once Windows fully loads in normal mode, the display goes completely dark (no power to the display at all). If I connect an external display, I can check settings and such. If I boot into safe mode, no external monitor is needed. The LCD display works fine and I can check whatever I need to check.

 

So, the new display works in safe mode but not normal mode.

 

This leads me to a driver issue. When I uninstall the display driver and reboot, it will boot into normal mode and automatically reinstall the driver. Then, of course, it tells me to reboot. When it reboots, the display goes off again just as Windows is fully loaded in normal mode, just before you would see the Welcome screen..

BIOS display settings are set to Internal display/ThinkPad LCD.

FN-F7 once, twice. or thrice does nothing. The display still never powers on.

When connected to the external monitor, I right click on the desktop and select Graphics Options. This brings up Intel graphics software, which only shows the externally connected monitor. It doesn't show the display so I can't change any settings for the LCD display.

 

Here's the really strange part that has thrown me for a loop. The power settings are set so that pressing the power button puts the laptop to sleep. With no external monitor connected, if I boot it into Normal mode, the display is dark. After windows is fully loaded (by listening to those infernal windows load sounds), I can press the power button and put it to sleep. I wait a couple of seconds and press the power button again to wake it up. The display works fine from then until it is rebooted again.

 

So, basically, this laptop will boot normally, but the display won't work unless you put the laptop to sleep and wake it up again. Then, the display will work perfectly.....................until Windows is rebooted again.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance for the Frustrated Possum.

 

I'm certain this is a driver conflict issue with the display driver, I'm just unsure how to diagnose which driver is the culprit


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#2 ranchhand_

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:08 AM

I haven't used Vista in years, but it almost sounds as if the external settings are messed up. In Windows 7 if I hit Windows key + P on the keyboard I can cycle through the various external monitor settings. I don't know if this will be the same in Vista, but it's worth a try.

I also suggest turning all sleep and hibernate settings off since the sleep option seems to be giving you problems.


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#3 possumbarnes

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:10 PM

Ranchhand, thanks for the suggestions. I've never used Vista in my life. I only see it when a customer brings an older computer by for me to work on.

As far as turning all sleep and hibernate settings off, putting the laptop to sleep and then waking it is the only way to get the display to work. I did try that anyway though and it booted the same way. The LCD works fine until Windows Vista finishes loading and is ready to show the Welcome screen and desktop, then the LCD goes completely black. No backlight or anything. Except, with the sleep functions all turned off, I had to connect an external monitor to put it to sleep and wake it again so the LCD would work. I then turned the sleep functions back on.

Windows+P doesn't do anything on the Thinkpad. It just "bings" at me when I press them together.

 

Not that it means anything to me, but it might mean something to someone: If I boot it in normal mode, then put it to sleep and wake it up to get the display working, I do hear the Windows alert noise that it found new hardware when it wakes. However, there is no popup bubble in the taskbar indicating new hardware was found and the display comes on almost instantly on waking.

Also, once the display is working, if I connect an external display and press FN+F7, the laptop switches to the external display and the LCD goes dark. Pressing FN+F7 again mirrors the desktop to both the LCD and the external monitor. Pressing FN+F7 one more time turns off the external monitor and shows the desktop only on the LCD. So, the FN+F7 keys DO switch the displays, just not directly after bootup. Only an external monitor will work immediately after bootup until the laptop is put to sleep and awakened. Then the entire laptop display functionality is fully restored including switching between external display and LCD.

 

This makes absolutely no sense to me. I'm really stumped here. Never seen this before. It's acting like the LCD display isn't even attached to the laptop on bootup, but when it wakes from sleep mode, it makes the "da dunk" sound like it found new hardware and the display magically works fine again. I did come across someone's post on another forum that had a similar issue with a Thinkpad and did a factory reset and that fixed the problem. This customer will not want to do that unless it's absolutely necessary.


Edited by possumbarnes, 16 October 2017 - 04:13 PM.

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?

#4 mightywiz

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:49 PM

I'd try going into the device manager and deleting the display and video drivers and letting windows re-detect both.  and see if your problem goes away



#5 ranchhand_

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:10 PM

I'm afraid that what I don't know about Vista would fill many volumes; however, if there is a way to perform a system restore in Vista I would suggest that next; if there are corrupted/mis-configured system files that should straighten them out. After that, a OS restore from the backup partition would be the only other thing I could suggest.


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#6 possumbarnes

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:30 PM

Thanks for the input, but I'm afraid this mystery will go unsolved. The customer needed his laptop back and was not worried about this quirky issue that would've driven me batty.

@Mightywiz:  One of my first troubleshooting steps was to delete all video and display drivers and reboot. It would boot up and work fine in Normal mode and then install the drivers automatically. Consequently, it wouldn't work on the reboot after installing the drivers. That's what led me to think driver issue first.


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?




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