LCD Lines: Common Causes

LCD Lines: Common Causes


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

LCD Lines: Common Causes

Back in April last year, Lionel blogged about a vertical line issue that could potentially affect customers who own 17" Inspiron 9200, 9300, and XPS Gen 2 notebook LCDs.

After engaging our engineering and product group teams, as well as the LCD manufacturer, to investigate and isolate the cause of this issue, we narrowed the problem down to a specific part within a certain date range. During that research, we found that the part may also affect the Inspiron 6000, 8600, Latitude D800, D810, and Precision Mobile Workstation M60 and M70 LCDs. That led to Lionel's second blog post on the topic.

We've taken steps to contact those who may be affected to offer a warranty replacement and also put in place measures to rectify any out of pocket expense incurred by out of warranty customers who replaced the affected screens in the past.

Since then, comments have hit our forums and blog site about other potentially affected systems and possible causes and fixes for them. We've gone back to our engineering and product group teams and verified that the part causing this issue:

  • has been purged from our production line, and
  • has not been used in any other system type

Both of these questions have been confirmed and no other system outside of the date range or listed system types are affected by this part.

That said, there are other variables that can lead to vertical and horizontal lines on other system types regardless of size or model. Lines on an LCD can appear sporadically, at random places on the screen, and for what appears to be for no reason at all. These lines can be caused by normal LCD failures brought on by a multitude of variables, which I'll try to cover here. Vertical lines tend to be a more common issue in notebooks, primarily because they are subjected to more wear and tear on a daily basis than a desktop LCD.

The most common cause of these lines is simply a loose connection. As notebook systems are carried around, no matter how careful we try to be, they have a tendency to be bumped, jarred, and even sometimes the heart stopping drop. Though  today's notebooks are designed to better absorb and dissipate small shocks, it can still have adverse affects on the notebook's internal components. A good bump or series of bumps and random movements can cause the LCD cable to become loose. The connection remains intact, but some breaks in the signal can lead to impurities in the reproduction of the image on the screen. Think of a loosely-fastened garden hose... water will still be directed and outputted through the end of the hose, but some water is lost at the connection. This is easily fixed by tightening the hose. Similarly, the LCD can usually be fixed by simply making sure the connection is secure. (Service manuals for Dell systems can be found here on

A golden rule of any seasoned technician when it comes to cable connections: don't just check the connection, reseat it. This applies to more then just cable connections (memory, wireless cards, hard drives, optical drives, etc...) There are a few reasons for this, the first being temperature. With so many components designed into such a small case, heat is inevitable. These temperature variations can lead to things like "chip creep" and oxidation. Removing the cable and firmly, but carefully reseating it should solve this problem by not only making sure that the connection is properly seated, but also that the pins are free from oxidation.

The second reason is debris. If you've ever opened up your notebook to clean the keyboard or for maintenance, you might see any number of things such as food particles, hair, paper, dirt and dust. Some of these objects are small enough to get into the connections and cause problems. This is one of the reasons that regular cleaning of your notebook and desktop PCs should be done. The problems caused by debris can usually be quickly cleared up by a can of compressed air and a little time and effort.

If these simple fixes don't seem to work, then we need to look at the actual failure possibilities. Vertical or horizontal lines that don't disappear after the basic troubleshooting are usually caused by circumstantial failures. The most common type of failure that leads to lines on the display is an open circuit connection between the driver IC (flexible circuit board) and LCD glass. This is usually caused by external stresses (mechanical, thermal, etc...), which causes the flex circuit to detach from the glass. The variables leading to the detachment are wide and are dependant on individual cases. With the amount of travel and various operating environments of a notebook, pinpointing the exact cause can be near impossible, unless of course the problem immediately follows a catastrophic event such as dropping the notebook or prolonged exposure to heat or cold, such as leaving the system in a car.

Investigations into technical problems, including which systems, batches, and date ranges are affected, are rigorous, and we strive for accuracy. Unfortunately, not every technical problem can be traced down to the root cause. But in every case, we try to proceed appropriately and in all fairness to affected customers.

If you are experiencing any problem with lines on your LCD and your system is not one of the potentially affected units, or in the date range outlined in Lionel's earlier posts, please contact technical support to troubleshoot and identify possible fixes. See below for details on how to do that.

For customers in the United States:

  • U.S. Inspiron Technical Support: 1-800-624-9896
  • Say "Technical Support"
  • Enter your Express Service Code or say, "I don't have it"
  • Is your system for Personal or Business use?
  • Say "Notebook"
  • Is your system an Inspiron, XPS, Latitude or Precision

For customers outside the United States:

Go to

  • Choose your country or region from the drop-down list
  • Choose Contact Us
  • Choose Technical Support
  • Choose Call Technical Support

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  • Thanks for your timely post. I'm currently in the throes of communicating with Dell about vertical lines on my (15.4" ;) Inspiron 6000, and while it doesn't seem like my system is affected by the recall, this is some useful information about loose connections of the LCD screen. I'll be sure to test it!
  • I don't have this issue, but I have a newer XPS M1710 (purchased mid-December 2006) and I'm on my 2nd LCD. The first was replaced after about 3-4 months due to dust INSIDE of the LCD. On this LCD, I have the same problem... again, after about 3 months. I've just lived with it this time.

    Now, I am pretty OCD about keeping my laptop very clean. I use Klear Screen screen cleaner/polish regularly, and dust out everything probably weekly. I simply don't get how dust is getting in my LCDs besides the edges not being sealed tightly.

    I called to get a CompleteCare replacement LCD sent out and they insisted that tech be dispatched to do it, when the first time I did the replacement myself just fine. They said the first time was a "favor". Umm, aren't I doing the favor by doing the work myself? I've seen dispatched techs do work and some are pretty sloppy. And slow.

    I simply wish that if I asked to have part-only dispatched for myself to do the work, that they would do just that. 

  • Nick,

    As a Dell technician maybe I can answer your question.  If we send a part directly to the customer and that does not appear to resolve the issue, we usually try to convince the customer to allow an on-site technician replace it the next time,  It is no reflection on your skills, but sometimes it helps to have that second pair of eyes on the problem.  As far as I know it isn't a Dell policy, but it is what any good technician should try.

    To your specific issue, LCD panels are made up of a lot of layers of material and it may be possible that dust could be trapped between the top layers, but if you can see it, it is above the actual working parts of the screen and should not cause the screen to fail.

  •  Yes DELL contacted me by phone on November 2007 to (quote): 'put in place measures to rectify any out of pocket expense incurred by out of warranty customers who replaced the affected screens in the past'  but then nothing happened.

     How long should I have to wait ?

  • I have an Inspiron 9300 17" notebook and I am experiencing the "vertical line" issue, and there are currently 7 1-pixel vertical lines on my screen. My warranty is expired, and I am having difficulty getting in contact with Dell and haven't received anything in the mail regarding this issue.

    As suggested above, I tried calling the technical support number (from within the US), and before I was able to speak with a techniction, I was informed that there would be a charge for the technical support and was asked to get my credit card ready (by the canned phone system voice).

    I also tried sending email (support ticket) and was not able to open a support ticked due to my expired warranty.

    Does anyone know how I can contact Dell about this issue without having to pay for out-of-warrant service?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.


  • I too am having the Inspiron 9300 monitor issue. I am so stressed out with this monitor. I was told by a rep. on Tech Support chat that my monitor part number does not fall in the bunch to be replaced. It is ironic that I got this PC in January 2006, which is within the allotted timeframe. Maybe it is time to update the parts that should be recalled because there are many people complaining that their part number isnt in the batch but still they have the problem. I live in Jamaica, and it would be hard for me to buy a new monitor. I tried calling the Jamaica line, and I got a busy signal everytime. I don't know what else to do. I am very frustrated and disappointed at this point because I have 3 white large lines down my screen, and I can't see anything...

     Will someone PLEASE help??


  • Luigi: I'm sorry for the delay, and will ask someone from Customer Care to contact you;

  • Jo-Ann and Doug: I've asked someone from our Tech Support teams to contact both of you. My apologies for the frustration.

  •  I am one of the many individuals affected by the Dell Vertical Line issue on my laptop, an Inspiron 9300.  Initially, I was very well taken care of, as a box was provided to return my laptop within a day, and the return of my laptop from repairs within two days.
    When I opened my box to my disappointment, I realized that I had been down-graded to a non-glare screen.  Upon calling Dell, I was told by Nisha (010122340) that I could have a glossy screen.  However, because this was a one-time replacement and the initial issue with these screens HAS NOT yet been resolved (Even though you are still charging $150+ for these screens new), it was not suggested that I choose this route.  Being an understanding customer I agreed with this logic, but when I asked for a refund on the original costs of the upgrade, I was only offered a $50 coupon!
    I would additionally like to point out that I have had three other issues with this same laptop in the short less than three years that I've owned it.
    Please tell me that my business means more to Dell by refunding the full amount of my original Truelife LCD upgrade.  And for future customers, Dell should be more upfront.

  • I use my laptop (510m) basically as just a desktop computer. I never take it anywhere and it always sits on my desk. As I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, the only time I ever even touch it is to press the ON button or to clean it. (I turn it off with a button on my wireless keyboard). So I don't really buy that the vertical line problem is caused by knocks, heat, or rough handling, as I have 13 vertical lines which have all appeared in the last few months and it has never left its current position on my desk. I've had to hook up an external monitor just so I don't get driven insane by the lines. Anyway I'm not interested in a replacement or anything any more, I just wanted to share my story.

  • @Mario: Heat is definitely a possibility if your computer remains on your desk. The fan and hard drive both ventilate on the bottom.

  •  This is for Lionel Menchaca Digital Manager:..I recently sent my Dell Inspiron 6000 Notebook for repair at one of the Repair Depot for rainbow line effect in red on my laptop screen. It is out of warranty and I was charged $527.00 to get it fixed. Waited about a week, got it back and turned it on, and to my surprise the problem still exist. The Corrective Repair Action Form says LCD Display. The problem still exist. Called again and I was given a round a round in 6 different departments and the whole time I was explaining the problem and that all I wanted is another box to send it back to get fixed since I can tell that the technician who ever handled it, did not put much effort on fixing it. Also no one had called us to rectify the out of pocket cost for if you have this problem and if you are out of warranty. Im still trying to get a box from Dell and right now I just got tired of dealing with the call center..I shall try again, maybe I will get lucky and get someone who knows where to send me..I sure hope to get a reply from you...

  • Maria Rose: Sorry for the trouble trying to get your notebook repaired. I will ask someone from Tech Support to contact you directly.

  • Joe: Sorry to see this happened to you. I will ask someone from Customer Care to follow up with you.

  •  Thank you for your response Mr. Menchaca. I braved it today and called Dell again, got hold of the right person, but his attitude is by far less to be desired. I have red an article posted in this site that "More System Now Part of Vertical Line Issue" updated issue January 16,2008. I was told by the technician at the out of warranty department that my pc is not part of that, but it clearly states it on the article that any systems shipped between December 2004 and December 2006 are potentially affected. Bought my laptop July 2005. Now in your opinion do I have to pay the labor charges of 199.00 and for the parts of 299.00. Dell is sending me another box to ship my laptop back to get fixed (hopefully this second time ). I just wonder after buying four computers with Dell, would Dell step up to the plate and get my laptop into working condition again and would they compensate for something that clearly states in the article is a defective part? I greatly appreciate your time in responding on our concerns here in this site. It is nice to know that someone takes the time to do so..thanks again.

  • I have an out of warranty Inspiron 6000 that has just developed the vertical line issue. I tried calling support. Spoke to a "Sarog". He wouldn't give me any information about swapping the screen since I was out of warranty. When I pressed the issue he asked for basic contact info and then told me he couldn't help me because my name didn't match what's on Dell's records for this service tag (which may be a glitch somewhere, I don't know, he wouldn't tell me what name he had). I purchased the system in 12/05 so I'm not sure what the problem is. I asked him to escalate me to a supervisor and he said he would try to find out if he could do that. Then he hung up on me.

    Can someone contact me to see if I qualify for a replacement LCD? Thanks.

  • So I just had my M1330 screen replaced yesterday by a Dell on-site tech. Left it sitting for a day and there is now a blue vertical line running through it.

     I am going to try reseating the cables first before I call tech support again.

  • This happened 2/5/08 @ 11:30pm US Central time.  100% true, no exaggeration.  

    I often help friends with their pc problems, being the techy knowledgeable type myself.  I've been a reader of this blog since the beginning and was able to get very capable help from Dell to solve a problem with another dead laptop previously(older 5150 model, they replaced it).   Now its time to detail my adventures a second time.    I was given an Inspiron 9300 that would not boot.  After doing a checkdsk on the hard disk, that problem was solved.  

    Once the system came up, I immediately noticed it had 3 vertical lines on the lcd panel.  No problem, Dell has issued a recall, should be easy.

    I called the 800 number listed in the Vertical Line blog entry and explained the problem to the Indian tech support.   After some checking, he said the system was out of warranty and could not help.  At this point I said there must be some mistake because it clearly said on Direct2Dell that the company would fix this problem. I read him the verbage on this blog about the terms of repair.  He stammered a bit then put me on hold for 14 minutes(cell phone timer) to talk to his supervisor.   When he returned he said that yes, Dell could fix the problem.  I asked him why he refused to do this until I forced the issue.  He said he didn't have the authority to offer the repair on his own, even though he knew there was a recall on the lcd and had the documentation about it in front of him.  In other words, had I been the average consumer and called in to the vaunted Dell support system looking for help, I would have been lied to by their phone representatives because they didn't have the authority to 'do the right thing' on their own.  His own words.

    Once past this point, we moved on to actually verifying the id of the system.  It was here that I again ran into trouble.   He wanted to know the name and address of the original purchaser.   Since it was 11:30pm at night my time, I could not call the owner to verify this information.   I was given a ticket number and a phone number to call with the info so the problem could be resolved.   I was also told they would send an email to me to make it easier to complete the incident.

    It's now 1:00pm the next day, no email has shown up.  The contact phone number is on the laptop at home(I'm at work), so I don't have it to call with the owners info which I now have.  I also gave them 2 telephone contact numbers, one off which is my personal cell, so no excuse not to be able to find me.

    Lionel, you've been writing since the inception of this blog that Dell is working hard to get their customer service in order.

    How long does it take to allow a customer service rep to honor Dell's word without having to provide exact url that says what he's supposed to do??

    HE WORKS FOR YOU!!   He should know, and have authority to take action on, ANY VALID PROBLEM THE CUSTOMER HAS.   Especially  where Dell has publicly stated they will fix the problem! 

    It's like one arm of Dell is making promises to the public but not letting any other arm know about it.

    In short, while its possible that I may get this vertical line problem fixed thru the normal customer channels,  I just thought that you should know that, from the outside, the years of 'trying to improve customer service' have not been very successful. 

  • I have a Inspiron 510m which developed vertical lines all over my lcd screen. This morning I have try the above solution step by step to opening up the cover and try to disconnect and reconnect every single LCD cable firmly and cleaning up all the dust or particle from my laptop, still no luck, still the same 30-40 vertical lines color appeared on my laptop lcd screen. All this while I never carry my laptop anywhere, it just sitting right on my desk and no bumping or shocking or whateva. This is obviously show that this model 510m also has the same reason as the other model which mention on this blog. Well Im pretty sure Im not the first person who complaint bout this model 510m having the same issue. Below are just some of the people from all over the world who complaint the same issue on their Inspiron 510m
    the list go on and on and on, to summarize this list, will be better I just mention the person name who complaint the exact same issue on their Inspiron 510m

    Ryan Wong, LeongTeck Ang, Ben Edwards, Fabiana, Arun, Killy, Li-Pei Wong, MANAV, Dipak, Chris Bowes, cheng, Murray Duncan, Santosh Singh, Robert, Mark, me
    These names are just from one of this blog thread
    there's another thread with ppl has the same problem.

  • Hallo,

    I have the problem with my Dell 510m too. I mailed to Dell, refering to other Posts and People with the same Problem (some of them get excange their 510m display out of warranty). I was waiting and get no Answer, after some weeks I mailed again, still no answer, then I tried the contact formular on website several times, no answer. Than, after a few weeks I just got a Mail with the offer to repair it. Absolut no sentence about my post, that many other 510m user have the problem and so on. I can't believe that dell didn't recongize than there are definitly more than average users with a 510m Dell Display (LGE Panel LP150E07) with the vertical line problem.  For me I will never again buy any Dell Product again :(




  • Finally got a response from Dell via email. They came back with "your Dell is not covered by this recall". Even though the screen is covered now with vertical lines. Alas. So I went to Dell's site and started specing out a new system to buy to replace this one. I had it narrowed down to two models and called my wife over to discuss which one we should get. She looked at me like I'd gone insane and I didn't understand why. She said, "We have had two Dell laptop screens go bad in the last 3 years. Why would you be shopping on Dell's site?"  And then it dawned on me... oh, yeah... there ARE other laptop vendors. What the heck was I thinking... I've been a Dell customer for so long that it honestly never even occurred to me that I could do something else. But now I realize there may indeed be a solution to the Vertical Line issue:  Cya!


  • I have an Inspiron 9300 that was purchased in May 2005. I have developed the vertical line problem, as there are currently about 25 lines on the screen, of varying widths. I am not sure if my system is still under warranty or not, but I use my computer daily, and I cannot be without it during the time it would take to send it in to hve the problem fixed. Is it possible to have Dell send me the parts, and to do the repair myself? It would be an exteme inconvenience to have to give up my laptop for the repairs, and that is a severe understatement. Any advice?

  • I live in Jamaica, yesterday I got a band of lines on the right side of my Inspiron 9300 17inch. Can i get some assistance please?


  • Dell customer service arranged for DHL to pick up my computer to have it fixed twice.  I received it back the second time and now I have more vertical lines than ever.  My LCD screen was never replaced. What are they doing?  Why are they treating consumers as if we are braindead?  I am calling "customer care" yet again in an attempt to remedy this problem once and for all.  I paid $1600 for my Inspiron 9300 back in 2005.  The customer service reps tell me that they cant help me because my system is out of warranty.  This is not acceptable.

  •  Inspiron 9300 vertical lines follow up:

    Once Dell agreed to fix the problem, the actual repair went flawlessly.

    Had the system back in my hands inside of 7 days.

    Just remember to quote the repair policy to the Indian tech support when they tell you they can't fix the problem.   It changes their attitudes.


    Thanks for fixing this Dell.


    How about investigating ALL user vertical line complaints with the same tenacity as the 9300's?