Fixing bad video on LCD screen

posted in: Screen, Troubleshooting | 895

Here I’m going to post some laptop screen photos showing bad video output. I’ll explain what was wrong with the screen and how I fixed it. I plan to ad more examples as soon as I get new pictures. If you have your own example (and know how to fix it) please let me know and I’ll post it too.

Example 1.

Here’s a picture of Satellite M55 LCD screen I made this morning. I got this video output as soon as I started the laptop. There were a lot of vertical lines, and they were changing color without any pattern. To me it looked like Northern Lights (never seen in real life) :). The external monitor worked fine.

LCD screen no image

As soon as I applied some tension to the screen it changed the pattern. Some horizontal lines appeared in the middle of the LCD.

LCD screen horizontal lines

Here’s the difference. When I torque the screen, the image appears but it’s distorted with some horizontal lines running across the screen.

Reseating the video cable didn’t make any change and the problem was fixed after I replaced the LCD screen.

Example 2.

I took this picture from Toshiba Satellite M65. I think that this example is very typical. One day you wake up, turn on the laptop and see one or a few hair-like vertical lines in different colors.

Laptop LCD vertical lines

When you move the LCD screen some lines might disappear or more lines appear on the screen. A video output on an external screen would be perfect, without any lines. Unfortunately, these lines indicate a screen problem. I’ve never seen this kind of video output caused by a bad video cable or bad FL inverter board. My laptop was fixed after I replaced the LCD screen.

Example 3.

The photo below comes from Toshiba Satellite 5205. The laptop displays identical vertical lines all over the LCD screen as soon as I turn it on. Sometimes these lines are red, sometimes they are blue, sometimes they become wider and change color to white.

Laptop screen vertical lines

The same pattern appears on the external monitor. It displays same vertical lines. When the same video defect appears on both monitors – internal LCD screen and external screen, then most likely it happens because of a bad video card. On some laptops the video card is integrated into the system board, on other models it’s a separate module.

External screen vertical lines

In this example, the vertical lines were caused by a failed video memory on the system board. I’ve tested the video memory with Microscope utility and it failed the test. In Toshiba Satellite 5205 the video memory is integrated into the system board. To fix the problem, I’ll have to replace the board. (We do not have equipment to replace the memory module itself).

Example 4.

Here’s another example of a bad LCD screen. My bad! It wasn’t the LCD screen problem.
Bad reddish laptop screen

As soon as I turned on the laptop, I was getting these reddish marks on the LCD screen but not on the external monitor. Reseating and replacing the video cable didn’t help. The problem disappeared when I installed my test LCD screen. Yes, for some reason I wasn’t able to reproduce the problem on my test LCD screen. But the reddish video appeared again as soon as I replaced the screen. I guess it happened because the system board had some kind of intermittent problem with onboard video or video connector. Long story short, I had to replace the system board and it fixed the problem. Yep, I misdiagnosed this laptop.

Example 5.

Here’s one more example of a faulty LCD screen. The left half of the screen works just fine but the right side is completely white.

Half LCD screen not working

Example 6.

Here’s another laptop with a bad LCD screen. This time it’s a tablet PC.

Vertical stripe on LCD

Example 7.

This screen looks like the screen on the example 1. I hooked up an external monitor and the external video works perfectly fine.

vertical lines

Here’s the difference. When I torque the screen, the image appears but it’s distorted with some horizontal lines running across the screen.

distorted image

After a few seconds the image washes away.

Image washes away

I had to replace the LCD screen.

Example 8.

This laptop displays inverted colors right from the startup. As you see, the Toshiba logo is light green instead of red. The background is light gray instead of black. The Intel logo should be blue on a white background but it is red on a black background.

Inverted colors

When your laptop displays inverted colors as on the picture above, this is an indication of a bad screen. You’ll have to replace the screen.

Example 9.

Here are two more screens. In both cases this problem is related to the LCD screen, witch means the screen has to be replaced.

On the image below you see a white band running from the top of the screen to the bottom. This band appears right from the laptop startup and runs through the logo too.

White band running from top to bottom

On the following image only the left side of the screen is working properly. This problem is caused by faulty LCD screen.

Only left side of the screen works

Other post related to troubleshooting laptop video problems:

How to troubleshoot and fix laptop video problems
Taking apart notebook LCD screen
Replacing LCD screen inverter
The newly installed screen is not working

895 Responses

  1. Hi there,
    I have the same problem as seen in Example 2.
    What causes this problem?
    And also, how much does it cost to change the lcd.
    Is it worth getting a new laptop instead?

  2. Winston, I just came back to my Dell lapton and I have the exact same issue. with a 2 inch white bar on the side of my screen. I can move the cursor under the bar and do things, but I can’t make the bar go away. I have had my Dell Inspirion laptop since March 2005, not even two years. Is there an inexpensive fix?

  3. Veeru Singh

    hie there
    i have an acer aspire 3002 nlc laptop, there are vertical lines apperaing on my lcd monitor, the external monitor shows no display when i try to connect to it.. plz let me know where lies the problem.. and is there any precautionary measures should be taken to avoid it.

  4. Barbara,
    I’ve never ever seen or heard about laptop screen overheating in sunlight. Probably I should sacrifice one of my laptops and leave it in the sun to see if I can reproduce the problem. :P

    and I only get picture (on the top half of the screen) when I first turn the laptop on, then it goes to colored or grey lines.

    Sounds like a bad screen to me.

  5. Hi!

    I have a used ThinkPad T40. I’ve noticed that if direct sunlight hits the back of the screen (the cover), the screen gets multi-colored lines all over. The couple of times that my roommate left the computer in the sun, the lines would disappear after we’d let it cool down. I can only blame myself for this, but the other day I left the laptop near the window, and the sun attacked it once again. Now it’s been two days and many reboots, and I only get picture (on the top half of the screen) when I first turn the laptop on, then it goes to colored or grey lines. I haven’t found any info on the net about screens overheating in sunlight – but is this possible? Is something permanently fried, or can it be tweaked?
    p.s. my previous older model ThinkPad never suffered in sunlight…
    Thanks, I really appreciate any advice,

  6. Max,

    Have others experienced similar problems?

    Believe me, you are not along. We’ve seen the same problem with this unit many times before, but usually our customers decline any repair because of unbelievably expensive video card.

  7. I have an old 5105-S901 which, within a few minutes of running, shows an increasing amount of random pixel trash on the screen – similar to some of your screenshots (both on LCD and external monitor; shows as corrupted ASCII characters during boot-up). In 640×480 (safe mode) it works relatively stable for a while, but it crashes with ‘unknown hardware failure’ within minutes if it’s running in higher resolutions. After spending countless hours of testing, cleaning, replacing memory and experimenting, I found out that it’s a temperature issue with the video card. The Nvidia chip is getting extremely hot (burnt my finger twice) and if I spray liquid ice on it, the pixel trash immediately goes away. The video card has no active cooling, so I guess it became defective from permanent overheating over the years. I’m not quite sure what to do now – I can’t leave the laptop open all the time and spray stuff on it every 5 minutes. A new video card is ridiculously expensive ($350 – Walmart has a complete laptop for that price) and I wonder if and for how long it would solve the problem. I already force the CPU fan to run permantently at 100%, but that doesn’t help the video card. Is there a way to improve the video card’s cooling in my laptop model ? Have others experienced similar problems?

  8. Hey thanks for your reply. It’s got me stumped. I changed the inverter and cable and no difference. The diagnostics clearly say that LCD, inverter, cable are all fine. Problem with adaptor…go figure. The most annoying thing is that it was only 1 year and 9 months old when it had this problem. The laptop is absolutely mint condition, I have used it as a ‘desktop’, not even taken it out more than 5 ocassions! If I need a laptop I’m gonna use my girlfriend’s Intel Macbook. Gonna build my own desktop, that way I can fix it easily.


  9. Winston,
    If you experience a problem with the video output on the laptop LCD screen but not on the external monitor, then in most cases it would indicate a display related issue. If onboard video card is bad, the same video problem usually appears on both screens, internal and external. It’s not a rule, but from my experience it’s correct most of the time. I think that you have a problem with the LCD screen but after you mentioned this:

    I ran DELL diagnostics and it found an error in the display adapter – ie. Intel 82852/82855 Graphics controller. This is ONBOARD video.

    I’m not really sure.

  10. Hi, my laptop DELL 510m developed a solid 1 inch thick vertical white bar to the right of my screen.

    External monitor works FINE.
    I replaced the inverter – still not fixed.
    I replaced the display cable – still not fixed.
    I ran DELL diagnostics and it found an error in the display adapter – ie. Intel 82852/82855 Graphics controller. This is ONBOARD video. What can I do??? Is there any way of replacing the chip without the whole motherboard?

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