Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting and fixing laptop video problems. Video issues are very common within portable computers and with the following tips you should be able to detect and eliminate basic laptop video problems.

Laptop LCD screen has a faint image.

Faint image on laptop screen

Look at the LCD screen very closely and check if you can see a faint image on the screen. It’s possible that the LCD lid close switch stuck in the “closed” position and the backlight stays off even when you open the LCD screen or turn on the laptop. The switch turns off the backlight when you close the LCD display to save the laptop battery power. Check the LCD lid close switch. Usually it is a small plastic pin located close to the LCD hinges. Try to tap on the switch a few times to turn on the backlight. If after tapping on the LCD lid close switch the backlight stays on, you fixed the problem.
It is also possible that after tapping on the LCD lid close switch the backlight works fine, you see a normal video on the screen for some time and then the backlight turns itself off again. In this case I would blame the FL inverter board. Try to reseat cables on both end of the FL inverter to make a better contact between the cables and the FL inverter board. If it doesn’t help I would try to replace the FL inverter board.

Laptop LCD screen is solid white color.

Screen is white

Most likely it is just a bad connection between the LCD display and the system board. I would try reseating the video cable connector on the back of the LCD screen first and check if it fixes the problem. After that I would try reseating the video cable connector on the system board. I would also try reseating cables if there is no video on the LCD screen at all.

The video on the LCD screen is garbled.

Bad image on laptop LCD screen

Try to connect the LCD screen to an external monitor. If the external video is fine, you have a problem with the LCD screen or the LCD video cable. You can try to fix the problem by reseating the video cable on the back of the LCD and on the system board.
If you see the same garbled video output on the external monitor most likely it is not the LCD screen problem. In this case the system board (with onboard video) is bad or the video card is bad.

I understand that these tips will not cover all video problems with portable computers. If you have a different problem, you are welcome to leave a comment and I will try to help you if I can. :)

Here’s a notebook display assembly diagram

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Related articles:

Fixing notebook LCD screen with water damage.
Screen inverter replacement. Fixing laptop backlight problem
Laptop has bad video on the LCD screen. What is wrong?
Laptop screen shows strange colors. What could be wrong?

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1,174 Comments

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  1. 4
    cj2600 Says:

    Hi Damian,
    I have not worked on this model but let me guess. It is possible that the LCD lid close switch is causing the problem. The switch is supposed to turn off the backlight when you close the LCD and on some models it makes a beep sound during that. You can find the switch close to the LCD screen hinges and in most cases it looks like a little plastic pin. Check if it’s dirty and try to clean it. Try to tap on it a few times when you LCD screen opened and see if you can reproduce the problem. My guess is that the lid close switch is getting stuck intermittently and causing the backlight to go on and off.

  2. 3
    Damian Says:

    Excellent resource – two questions though.

    Do you have a service manual for a Portege 7020?

    My Portege 7020 sometimes makes a long beep and blanks the screen. Sometimes at power-on, sometimes after an hour of use. It remans functional (disc etc, boot-up) but the screen goes blank with the long beep sound. If the screen does come back it tends to flicker on and off along with the beeping sound.

    I would love to know if a repair is possible or if it is destined for the skip?

    With thanks

    Damian

  3. 2
    cj2600 Says:

    I just received Toshiba Satellite M35X-S161 laptop for repair. The laptop problem – completely white screen. It took me 5 minutes to fix the laptop. I removed the LCD mask and two screws from the screen to get to the video cable. The connector on the back of the LCD screen was half-way out. I put the connector back in place and secured it with a sticky tape. After the assembly the laptop started with a good video on the LCD screen.

  4. 1
    Melissa Says:

    Thank you SO Much for providing this service. I spend the majority of the afternoon on tech support with Dell with an expired warranty on a 3 and a half month old computer with no backlight. There I was, sitting by the computer using a flashlight in order to read the screen. I was about to spend the fortune to send it to Dell for repair but found your troubleshooting guide it and was… the little thing was stuck down and it was keeping the backlight from coming back on. You just made my day, maybe my month!!! Thank you SO much!

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