written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/30/2011
Has your laptop gone dark? Don't freak out yet - there might still be hope. If you have not poured soda all over your laptop, dropped it from the window or thrown it against the wall in a moment of rage, there's a chance your laptop can yet be saved.
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Do Not Disregard the Obvious
The obvious may simply be a dead battery, or the battery not being plugged-in properly in the back of the laptop. Have you set your laptop to hibernate the last time you left it? If so, some power lights may remain switched on, but you still need to press the power button to wake it up.
Yes, it seems simple - but just go ahead and try it. Everyone makes mistakes, and even experienced computer users occasionally overlook the small stuff. This is a necessary step before we dig into the deeper potential reasons for the problem. These simple measures are worth a try before wasting time with anything else.
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The Old “Turn OFF and On Again", Please
The System Registry plays a big and important role in the "display" side of Microsoft operating systems. Restarting your system will reload the drivers and restart the processes responsible for display.
If restarting the laptop solves the problem, but the problem then reappears, it would be safe to assume that a recently installed driver is the source of the problem. Use System Restore to restore the system to a previous date.
However, if the laptop restarts normally up to the moment before the Logon Screen, but then blacks-out, you may be experiencing a corruption of your operating system. Sorry for the bad news, but you're most likely going to need to try a full system recovery, or reinstall your operating system.
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Check the Lid
Have you noticed that your computer goes on Stand-By when you close the lid? If your laptop thinks the lid is closed, but it isn't, you'll end up staring at a blank screen.
There is probably a button on the laptop that depresses under the weight of the lid when it closes. Sometimes, the button can stick into place, making the sensor set the laptop into Stand-By mode.
The solution for this problem requires caution, but it is not dangerous. Simply check the button, and if it is indeed stuck down, release it with a pointed (PLASTIC) object. Be careful not to break the button, however. If you bought an extended service package, now might be a good time to use it.
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Check the Video Card and Inverter
A simple way of checking if your Video Card is working, or your Inverter is going bad, is by connecting an external monitor to the laptop. The vast majority of laptops still being used today offer VGA, DVI or HDMI as a means of video output.
If your Desktop appears on the external monitor, it is not your Video Card. If there is no image corruption, the inverter is also OK. However, if nothing at all appears, it is time to check the BIOS.
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Checking the BIOS
Restart your laptop and, when prompted, press F2 (Delete or Esc in some systems) to enter the BIOS. Go through your BIOS option and find out whether the laptop has been plunged into Hibernation and stuck. Find a way to turn Hibernation off.
A little investigative skill is necessary here, since most systems have a different interface for the BIOS. You may need to look for a forum that focuses on your laptop model to ask questions.
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If Everything Else Fails
Sometimes it may be easier to pay a little money to have a professional to look at the problem. If your investigative skills have failed you, it may not be your fault. The display could very well have broken, which means it will need repair or replacement. If your laptop is still under warranty a display replacement will almost certainly be covered so long as the problem was not caused by an external factor, like the aformentioned spilled soda.