Dim, dark or black screen on your laptop? Try this fix first!

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Laptop computer Hardware and Software discussion

Dim, dark or black screen on your laptop? Try this fix first!

  • If your laptop boots up with a screen that can be seen however dark, dim or faded, try these fixes first before spending big bucks on a new LCD screen, inverter or backlight.  This is how I fixed my daughter's Inspiron 5160. 
     
    1. Plug in your laptop - do not use battery
    2. Plug into an external monitor. Be patient while it loads - you may have to use FN F8 to enable.  If it works with an external monitor, you're in luck!  You can also use the FN and up arrow key to brighten screen.
    3. Go to windows update and select custom.  If there is a hardware update, it may be for video card.  Inspiron 5160 had an update.  Do update.  After restarting:
    4. Right click on desktop and select properties.  Select screensaver.  Select power.  Under power schemes select NEVER for all items.  Under hibernate tab Uncheck enable hibernation.  Apply and save thru each step.  Restart.

    This worked for me - hopefully it will work for you.

    As a note, if you have to replace the backlight, it must be done in a clean room.  While the inverter can be replaced if you are handy, the backlight cannot. 

     

  • Also, there are threads on bringing the display back to life by discharging built-up static electricity.

    For the backlight, there are threads on replacing that as well. I haven't had to do it yet but I'm willing to give it a try if/when it goes bad on my Inspiron 8100.

    Backlight Problems

    Discharging Static Electricity

    Message Edited by RoadiJeff on 10-09-2006 09:59 PM

  • Thank you for the info.  As an update, the screen once again went dark, but again I could still see with an external monitor.  I dismantled it and replaced the inverter.  It is now running great.  Replacing the inverter seemed to be the easiest to fix as compared to the back light, which apparently has to be replaced in a clean room. 
  • I have a similar problem only when my computer starts up the screen is in normal colors and looks fine.  However, after the windows screen has loaded and everything the screen goes really dim and is barely visible.  I tired restarting it and everything but nothing so far has worked.  The screen and colors are fine when the computer is starting up but after everything is loaded is goes dim.  Do I still need to replace the backlight or inverter?  ( I don't really know much about computers so if there is something easy I can do please let me know in easily understandable terms)  thanks!
  • First of all, make sure you are not using your battery and are plugged in.  You will need to take an external monitor and plug it in to your laptop.  Boot up your laptop and see if you can see the desktop on the external monitor.  Note from the original post you may have to toggle (Fn F8) to see the external monitor.  If you can see your desktop, then the question is, it the backlight or the inverter.  Be sure to look at the first post and make sure all your drivers are up to date, etc. 
     
    When I checked with a local computer repair tech, he told me they change the inverter first and if that does not fix it, they send it out for the backlight.  I was able to download the manual on my laptop (from Dell support) which showed detailed instructions to dismantle and replace my inverter. (Be prepared to take out lots of small, eyeglasses size screws)   A replacement inverter was about $45 on ebay.  The backlight, however, is supposed to be replaced in a clean room.  It's not a cheap fix.