Author Topic: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.  (Read 1755 times)

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Offline Mylo

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Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« on: November 08, 2011, 10:43:41 pm »
So, I reinstalled Windows yesterday, installed all the video card drivers, but now my monitor goes blank every few minutes.  The backlight remains on, but everything else turns black, so its probably the computer.  I installed the NVIDIA card driver and the driver specifically for the monitor...nothing worked.  I did this all when I reinstalled a few months ago, and everything worked fine.  

The funny thing is that when I open a new tab in Firefox, it turns back on.  As I am typing this, it went blank, and then turned back on, then went blank again.  I can still drag windows to the monitor, too, even while it goes blank.  Any ideas on how to fix this?    
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 10:47:26 pm by Mylo »

Offline Weisseman

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2011, 10:17:46 am »
Check all the cables would be the first thing I'd try.
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2011, 03:34:19 pm »
I tried that several times. I tried unplugging it, too. Nothing worked.

Offline Alsek

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2011, 05:52:09 pm »
If you can get it to turn on by doing anything in the software side (i.e. opening another tab in firefox)  it's not going to be a hardware issue.

I'd check through your power settings and make sure you don't have anything energy related enabled.  Specifically,  go to your control panel and look at NVidia specific settings.  Also make sure that you have the most up to date driver for your card.

Offline Mylo

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 12:40:44 am »
I completely shut off all the energy settings...but it still randomly turns off.  I downloaded the driver directly from the NVIDIA website...GeForce 9400M.

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 02:03:20 am »
When it comes to video cards, I don't always buy in to the "make sure you have the most up to date driver" mantra. That may work in most cases, but there's been times where an older driver has been the most optimum/glitch free for my use. It wouldn't hurt to try rolling it back to the factory original version if you can and see if that solves your problem. This may be especially true if you bought a computer off the shelf with the graphics card pre-installed and running. Sometimes computer manufacturers may use a tweaked version of the drivers to work with the system as a whole problem free, and it's not the same driver you'd get from the card maker's site. That's why (I think, at least) it's suggested you only use updated drivers from the computer manufacturer instead of the card maker (Nvidia in your case) when checking for updates if you want the most problem free driver set.

Another thought... you mentioned installing the drivers for the monitor itself. When you did the Windows re-install and everything, did you install that monitor's drivers as per the directions? Usually this means installing them before you ever plug the monitor in. If you had the monitor plugged in during the re-install and/or before its driver installation, I could see that causing some oddball actions.
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Offline Storm Fox

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 08:23:09 am »
The problem with this is that there are about 40 different problems that can cause this to occur,
And figuring out whether or not it’s an error or a setting can take a lot of work.

So we'll start with the best possible method, check your event logs…

Win XP
Click Start, right click My Computer, click Manage, click Event Viewer, then check the application logs and system logs.

Win Vist / Win 7
Click Start Orb, right click Computer, click Manage, click Event Viewer, then click Applications and Services Logs and check Hardware Events,
Also click Windows Logs and check the application logs and system logs.


Hopefully you’ll spot the problem right then and there, and you'll know what to fix, if not, then we’ll have to take the long way around…


Now when you installed a driver for your monitor it may have added an application to control the monitor from within windows,
So it may be worth checking your control panel window, or the desktop property’s tabs for new features, settings, etc.

Also, a long time ago, I used to have a second monitor connected to my laptop,
And while it was connected, I had separate settings for screensavers, monitor power off timers etc.
So from the settings tab in desktop property’s, I’d get different configurations when I clicked the advanced button, depending on which monitor I had selected at the time,
Although my comp does have a lot of HP stuff in it, and it is a little different than stock windows, so this might not work for you, though it’s still worth a try.
Another thing to check for is if your monitor has auto configuration enabled, it’s not unheard of for it to cause problems on some systems.

And when you say that you “open a new tab in Firefox, it turns back on.” do you mean this literally, as if it were a switch, or is it just so sporadic and random that it only seems to be?

Because it's possible that it still could be hardware related…
So to be safe, check the card temp and fans to make sure it’s not overheating,
Check your video card power connectors, and it may not hurt to re-seat the video card(s).

Even after all of this, it still could be an internal problem with the monitor, if you have the option available to you, try the monitor on another system, as it could be a problem with the monitors logic board,
Although there’s not much you can do about that unless you really know what you’re doing.

Now if all else fails and it's not the monitor it's self, it may help to completely remove the monitor from the system…
Meaning, disconnect the monitor, uninstall the driver and any software associated with that specific monitor,
Make sure the hardware profile for the extra monitor is gone as well.
Basically you want the system to be as if you never connected or installed the monitor at all.

And if the monitor runs off of a separate video card, you may want to do it with that as well.

Once the system is sanitized of anything related to what could be causing the problem, you can do a reinstall.
And unless the monitor absolutely requires a special driver to function, it may be better to let windows choose the best driver, (but only for the monitor).

(And keep in mind that this is all based on my assumption that this is a second monitor, connected to what may or may not be a separate video card.)


That’s about all I can think of at the moment, if I can think of anything else, or my roundtable of geeks comes up with anything relevant, I'll pass it along,

Best of luck to you. :)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 09:40:39 am by Storm Fox »
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 09:07:56 pm »
The problem with this is that there are about 40 different problems that can cause this to occur,
And figuring out whether or not it’s an error or a setting can take a lot of work.

So we'll start with the best possible method, check your event logs…

Win XP
Click Start, right click My Computer, click Manage, click Event Viewer, then check the application logs and system logs.

Win Vist / Win 7
Click Start Orb, right click Computer, click Manage, click Event Viewer, then click Applications and Services Logs and check Hardware Events,
Also click Windows Logs and check the application logs and system logs.


Hopefully you’ll spot the problem right then and there, and you'll know what to fix, if not, then we’ll have to take the long way around…


Checked them.  On an unrelated note, my Bluetooth is failing (but I never use it, so it doesn't really matter)...but there was nothing wrong with the display.

Quote

Now when you installed a driver for your monitor it may have added an application to control the monitor from within windows,
So it may be worth checking your control panel window, or the desktop property’s tabs for new features, settings, etc.

Also, a long time ago, I used to have a second monitor connected to my laptop,
And while it was connected, I had separate settings for screensavers, monitor power off timers etc.
So from the settings tab in desktop property’s, I’d get different configurations when I clicked the advanced button, depending on which monitor I had selected at the time,
Although my comp does have a lot of HP stuff in it, and it is a little different than stock windows, so this might not work for you, though it’s still worth a try.

The CD with the drivers for the monitor didn't install any third-party software.

Quote
Another thing to check for is if your monitor has auto configuration enabled, it’s not unheard of for it to cause problems on some systems.

Nothing wrong with that.

Quote
And when you say that you “open a new tab in Firefox, it turns back on.” do you mean this literally, as if it were a switch, or is it just so sporadic and random that it only seems to be?

Every time I open a new tab in Firefox, the monitor shows the picture again.  Now, it'll turn off randomly and on randomly, but whenever I click "New Tab" or open a new tab and the monitor is blank, it'll show the picture again.

Quote
Because it's possible that it still could be hardware related…
So to be safe, check the card temp and fans to make sure it’s not overheating,
Check your video card power connectors, and it may not hurt to re-seat the video card(s).

It's a laptop...it's probably soldered in.

Quote
Even after all of this, it still could be an internal problem with the monitor, if you have the option available to you, try the monitor on another system, as it could be a problem with the monitors logic board,
Although there’s not much you can do about that unless you really know what you’re doing.

I'll try doing this, but I doubt its a hardware issue.  It worked perfectly until I decided to reinstall.

Quote
Now if all else fails and it's not the monitor it's self, it may help to completely remove the monitor from the system…
Meaning, disconnect the monitor, uninstall the driver and any software associated with that specific monitor,
Make sure the hardware profile for the extra monitor is gone as well.
Basically you want the system to be as if you never connected or installed the monitor at all.

And if the monitor runs off of a separate video card, you may want to do it with that as well.

Once the system is sanitized of anything related to what could be causing the problem, you can do a reinstall.
And unless the monitor absolutely requires a special driver to function, it may be better to let windows choose the best driver, (but only for the monitor).

(And keep in mind that this is all based on my assumption that this is a second monitor, connected to what may or may not be a separate video card.)


That’s about all I can think of at the moment, if I can think of anything else, or my roundtable of geeks comes up with anything relevant, I'll pass it along,

Best of luck to you. :)

Thanks for the help. :) I'm doing the above right now...  I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Offline Mylo

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 10:40:51 pm »
I deleted the original driver and installed an older one and now it's working.  Thanks everyone for your help!

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 10:45:08 pm »
I deleted the original driver and installed an older one and now it's working.  Thanks everyone for your help!

Hey, my suggestion was right. :P
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Offline Storm Fox

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 08:50:42 am »
Thanks everyone for your help!
No problem. :)
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 01:35:20 pm »
Since the original question was resolved and the topic still kinda new, I am now wondering if I have a similar issue. I'm gonna have to give some back story to this so you all know where I am at this point and what I've already tried. On my gaming laptop, I started having an issue where the backlight would go out (image still displayed though). It started with it flickering randomly and then just went out. I pretty much ruled out a loose connection after shaking the heck out of it and wiggling the lid more so than it normally does when used. I also replaced the power inverter for the light itself and had a shop look at it and couldn't find anything wrong with it. Then again, it's a custom one. Pro Star is the brand name, and is pretty high end. Not something you'd get off the shelf of Best Buy and the like. So the local shop's abilities were somewhat limited without having the schematics and such to look at. During this time, the VGA output always worked as I used it a lot to run a projector as a second monitor.

This all started a couple years ago or so, and I figured it was a connection issue on the main board that was either failing to supply power to the light inverter or was sending the wrong signal and causing the inverter to burn up. Fast forward to the other day, when I got a new program that would make use of the VGA output even if I didn't have the light issue. After it was running for a few minutes, my laptop's backlight popped on! Looking back on prior use, I realized it has done this before. Running a second monitor (either as extended or cloned desktop) will cause the laptop's light to kick back on sometimes, even if it was off on startup. With it at home and me being on the road so much, I haven't been able to test this more to see if it's coincidence or how often it happens.

I hadn't thought it would be a driver issue, but after going through this thread and realizing the dual monitor thing, I'm wondering if my drivers got corrupted. I don't recall making any changes before this started happening, and how it progressed from random short cutouts to full on blackout had me thinking it was an electrical/mechanical failure and not a data issue. Next chance I get, I'm going to try to change the drivers and see if that makes any difference. Any other thoughts or suggestions?
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Offline Storm Fox

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2011, 09:39:04 pm »
I also replaced the power inverter for the light itself and had a shop look at it and couldn't find anything wrong with it.
Just a random thought,
I'd imagine that you or the tech guys at the shop you mentioned would have checked this, but…
Could it be the monitor cutoff switch, (that tiny button up by the hinge that turns the monitor off when you close the lid).

Also, have all the associated capacitors been checked?

Beyond that, and with what you said, I'd start leaning towards software as well.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 09:49:08 pm by Storm Fox »
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2011, 10:08:20 pm »
It's a magnetic switch (no exposed button), and yes we checked it out too.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Agh! Monitor randomly going blank.
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 04:04:40 pm »
Well.... It works so far. I updated my drivers and with the exception of the light going out once not long after and for only about a minute, it's been working fine since. I've used it a lot since and left it on for hours at a time and everything seems to be stable now. Even when moving it about while on, the light keeps working. I'm not 100% sure the driver fixed the problem because of that one time the light went out, because it had been re-booted a few times already by that point. In either case, I'm just glad The Beast is running again. Now if only I had a small steak to grill on the heat sinks. :D
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