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Laptop screen stays black


Laptop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)

Laptop screen stays black

  • Today I was playing a video game and it froze on my laptop. Nothing worked to fix it, and I ended up having to do a manual reboot. Now the screen stays black. I've made sure no buttons are stuck, and tried the FN-CTR/LCD and it does nothing. When I start the laptop up, the lights for capslock, numlock and wifi and everything light up a couple times, but nothing else - then they stop, and hitting the capslock or numlock button don't make them light up anymore. I took the battery out after unplugging the computer and made sure it was clean and not dusty and put it back, but nothing so far has worked - I hear the fan running, but see nothing on the screen - just black. What can I do?
  • Attach an external monitor and see if there's an image on it.  If there is, the backlight has failed.


  • I tried this, and nothing shows up - if I push a button on the monitor, it says it's in standby mode, and to press any key to continue, but no keys work. However, if I unplug the monitor from the laptop, it pops up with the screen test as it's lost power. Any ideas?
  • If the system appears to be running, it could be a video card failure.  If there's no sign of boot-up, verify that the LED on the AC adapter is on before you plug in the notebook end.  If it is not, replace the adapter.


    Try reseating the RAM and powering up without the battery.  If the system will not power up, the mainboard is bad.


  • I need to check about the AC adapter (I'm not at home). How do you reseat the RAM? It's an Inspiron 1501.
  • Pop it out and insert it again.  It's under a door at the bottom of the system.


  • I did all these things, and still no luck. What should my next move be?
  • If what you're saying is that the system won't power up, you've a faulty system board. 


  • Most likely systemboard, but depends on a few factors.


    Known good external monitor fails to display so, it IS systemboard UNLESS yours has a video card added in (Discreet) as opposed to built onto the systemboard (integrated). Just to verify, no POST/ BIOS display either at boot? If yes, then I would go for board (and vid card possibly). If you CAN see BIOS/ POST screens, boot to the diags.

  • When I plugged an external monitor in, nothing happened - but if I unplug it from the laptop, it pops up with the screen test (the same one you get when the monitor is turned on but the computer isn't). When I turn on the laptop, nothing ever appears on the screen - it stays black. And still when I hit the capslock or numlock buttons, those lights stay OFF. They light up momentarily as I boot the computer up, then nothing.


    So it sounds like the system board? How do I fix that? And any ideas of cost, maybe? My warranty is up. Do I need to call Dell?

  • Sounds like the systemboard. If you are out of warranty, you will need to talk to Dell Out of Warranty support to purchase a new board. If you are IN warranty, call in and run down the symptoms and the steps that you have taken.
  • Thank you for all your help. I will call Dell tomorrow - I hope it won't be too pricy, but I have a feeling it will be.