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

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  1. 114
    cj2600 Says:

    did you check video on an external monitor? If the external monitor works fine try reseating the video cable on the motherboard and LCD screen. If it doesn’t help, replace the video cable, it shouldn’t be very expensive. If the problem is still there, you might have a bad LCD screen.

  2. 113
    Ben Says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge. This site is a huge help.

    I have a Gateway 400vtx
    As soon as I turn on (even during bios), there are horizontal lines of different colors and they seem to move almost giving a scrolling effect on the screen. Any Ideas?

  3. 112
    cj2600 Says:


    are there some protections or security on laptops so we must be careful when we disassebly?

    Yep, all manufacturers booby trapping laptops and as soon as you open it up, the laptop blows up. Just kidding. :P
    I haven’t seen any protection on laptops sold in the USA. Not sure about European units. Probably they have some kind of security stickers. If you remove them, you’ll lose the warranty. There is nothing live threatening.

  4. 111
    cj2600 Says:

    Here are some basic troubleshooting steps that can help you to narrow down the problem. Start your laptop with an external monitor and see if you have the same vertical lines there. If the same video defect appears on both internal laptop LCD and external monitor, then most likely you have a problem with the graphics card. If the graphics card is integrated into the motherboard, then it becomes the motherboard problem.

    if it was the mother board, why would it even turn on

    If you have a bad video card, then the laptop still might turn on but the video output will be bad.
    I doubt that lines on the screen could be related to a failed hard drive.

  5. 110
    stability Says:

    hi friend
    i m really happy to find this site
    it is fantastic thank you very much.
    i have a question:
    are there some protections or security on laptops so we must be careful when we disassebly?

    sincerely yours

  6. 109
    cj2600 Says:


    When switched on it appears to start ok and the lights come on to show switched on/ battery/ hard disk activity but not display. Have you seen this before and if so what should I be looking at ?

    The first think that comes to my mind is RAM. Try reseating the memory module, move it from one slot to another. Find a known good memory stick, install it and test the laptop again.

  7. 108
    Alicia Says:

    Hmmm I have a similar problem. See I have a ThinkPad laptop (600E.) See when I first started my laptop up, it would turn on, but it would remain a black screen. Someone told me it sounded like it was stuck on stand-by. I tried what they told me and the computer loaded up with windows and everything. So not even 5 mins and windows is loading up and the screen turns different colors. (vertical lines) just like in the fist picture. I’d move the laptop screen up and down and it would go to normal and then it would freeze and then go back to the lin colors. I don’t know what’s wrong with my laptop. I brought it to one of my step dad’s computer guys and they told me it was the mother board. Then they tried selling me a use Mac for over a 1000 dollars. I turned it down. I doubt that they were telling me the truth. I’m not totally stupid when it comes to computers. Because if it was the mother board, why would it even turn on. Any ways I think it may be the hard drive from what I’m seeing online. Could anyone please help me. Thank you very much.

  8. 107
    cj2600 Says:

    Boot the laptop in safe mode. Do you still have lines on the screen? How about video on an external monitor, also has lines?
    The lines appear as soon as you start the laptop, even before Windows is loaded or you can see it only in Windows?

  9. 106
    cj2600 Says:

    Matt G,
    Look inside the video connector on the motherboard, make sure you have no bent pins inside the connector. It’s possible that you accidentally damaged the video cable while unplugging it from the motherboard. Did you unplug the connector by edges or pulled the harness? May be the video harness is damaged? Turn on the laptop and wiggle the video cable, see if it makes any difference.

  10. 105
    cj2600 Says:

    Joseph Issa,
    To the best of my knowledge, the VGA board on Satellite 5205-S703 is not discrete. This unit has a dedicated 64MB video memory, but the video card itself (NVIDIA GeForce4 460Go) is integrated into the system board.

    when I hold the laptop and apply pressure to the underside of the laptop near the fan and VGA area, the lines disappear

    From this description I would assume that something is wrong with the motherboard/video card. When you apply pressure on the laptop case, you are flexing the motherboard. Probably there is a bad contact somewhere on the motherboard.

    The system can run for about 20 minutes if I don’t use it intensively before the artifacts appear

    But this one looks like a heat related issue.
    I would check if thermal grease on the CPU is still good and reapply it if needed. Not sure if it’s going to help, but anyway it’s worth trying.

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