How to Fix a Laptop Screen
As the cost of computer hardware drops, the number of consumers who purchase personal laptops has increased. It is not uncommon for young children and teenagers to own laptops today. A common problem that arises for both young and old laptop users are laptop screens getting broken or malfunctioning. Due to the high cost of computer repair shops, a common task for these computer owners is determining how to fix a laptop screen.
Steps to Troubleshoot Laptop Screen Problems
Prior to making the decision to replace a laptop screen, most computer users should attempt to troubleshoot and fix the issue. This advice does not include the obvious replacement need for when a laptop screen is shattered from dropping the computer onto a hard surface which will require replace; but rather, the cases where other computer issues may be causing the problems with the laptop display.
Laptop Screen Turns Solid White or Flickers
A common laptop screen issue that arises is the screen flickering on and off repeatedly. When this symptom results, the cause of the issue is likely due to a computer inverter problem. The inverter’s job is to supply power to the laptop screen’s back light. For most models, a new inverter will cost approximately $100 USD and is straightforward to replace. If the screen is turning solid white, there is probably a bad cable connection between the computer’s motherboard and monitor. In this case, the laptop will need to be opened and the connections inspected for damage and possibly reseated.
Laptop Screen Jumbled Images
If you see jumbled images on the laptop screen, the error is likely being caused by the computer’s video card. A quick troubleshooting step that you can take is to connect the laptop to a monitor to television using the VGA port. If the remote monitor displays jumbled images, then the laptop’s video card will need repair or replacement.
Laptop Screen Pixel Issues
Many times over the life of a laptop, the screen pixels will become damaged making the screen hard to use or view material. The current generation of laptops use liquid crystal displays (LCDs) to display images that are made up of many pixels. Just a few damaged pixels in the wrong location can result in a significantly degraded computing experience. In these cases, a new laptop screen will need to be installed on the computer to make it usable. The new screen cost should be checked; however, before ordering a new screen as many low-end laptop models can cost less or equivalent to the new screen cost!
Faint Images on the Laptop Screen
If your laptop is displaying faint images, the back light may not be working properly. For many models of laptop, the issue can be due to a stuck latch on the laptop preventing proper back light illumination. You will need to locate the small back light switch normally located near the laptop hinges. Then, try to open and close the laptop a few times to correct the problem. If this step is not effective, try using a small pin to unstick the latch to fix the problem.
How to Replace a Laptop Screen
If your computer has a severely broken or malfunctioning screen that cannot otherwise be troubleshot or fixed, replacing the screen on most models can be accomplished at home. Many times; however, the cost of laptop screens can exceed 50% or more of the total cost of the machine. It is up to the individual on whether or not to make the decision to repair the device; however, cheaper screens can be purchased used rather than new from the manufacturer. Most models of laptop will only require screwdrivers to complete the replacement.
Step 1 – Determine the type of laptop screen that your computer has and then buy one from a company which guarantees compatibility of their screens.
Step 2 – Once you have the new laptop screen in-hand, turn off the laptop.
Step 3 – Disconnect the laptop from external power sources and remove the batter.
Step 4 – Find the screw covers on the laptop’s plastic frame and remove in order to access the screws that hold the screen to the laptop bezel. Most models of laptop will have between four and six total screw covers. These will require a small Phillips or flat head screw driver to remove. Some models of laptop require Allen or other specialized wrenches to remove the screws. Many times the screw covers will be located at the bottom of the screen frame.
Step 5 – Unscrew all of the laptop screen screws after you have removed the screw covers. You will need to hold the screen in place with your fingers while removing the screws.
Step 6 – After all screws have been removed, the screen needs to be gently pulled away from the laptop bezel using light to moderate force. If the screen does not move easily, you may have missed one or more screws in the removal process.
Step 7 – Once the laptop bezel is removed, the screen and metal frame will be visible. You should then tilt it forward and expose the back of the LCD frame which will allow it to pop out the back shell.
Step 8 – Once the laptop screen has been popped out, there3 will be two laptop screen main wires visible. These connect to the video cable and inverter power cable. The video cable wire will be taped in place on most laptop models and you should now remove the tape.
Step 9 – If the inverter does not need to be replaced, you will disconnect this cable from the screen. If you need to replace the inverter, unscrew it from the mount in the computer.
Step 10 – After removing the broken or old laptop screen, connect the new screen to the video cable and inverter.
Step 11 – Insert the new screen into the laptop screen shell and test to ensure it works properly by turning on the laptop.
Step 12 – Shut down the computer, and connect the laptop screen to the computer’s bezel.
Step 13 – Cover the laptop screws with the rubber caps and the laptop screen replacement is now complete.
How to Fix a Loose Laptop Screen
Another common problem with Windows laptops is the screen becoming loose over time. If the condition is left un-fixed, the lose screen can result in degradation of performance or even in a broken laptop screen. If the computer is still under warranty, it should be sent to the manufacturer or authorized repair agency to correct the problem before attempting at home as you will void most warranties by attempting repair on your own.
Step 1 – Open the laptop screen and locate the rubber plugs that cover the screens attaching it to the computer.
Step 2 – Remove the plugs from the laptop screen frame. A sharp knife or equivalent tool can be used to take the plugs out.
Step 3 – Remove the laptop screen screws using a Phillips head screw driver. Some models of laptop will require an Allen wrench or specialized screwdriver.
Step 4 – Carefully pop the plastic bezel/front from the outside of the laptop screen. If it takes significant effort to remove the bezel, you have likely missed one or more screws.
Step 5 – Once the screen is open, locate the laptop hinges located at the lower corners of the screen.
Step 6 – Tighten the screws located on the hinges and pop the laptop bezel back into place.
Step 7 – Replace the laptop screws and rubber plugs.
Step 8 – Test the laptop screen to see if the hinge is now rigid.
Step 9 – If the laptop screen is still loose, close the lid and turn the computer so you are looking at the back of the machine.
Step 10 – Depending on the laptop model, there may be a cover hiding the hinge mechanism. Unscrew any screws that you see holding the cover in place. These should be near the hinges; however, on some models there may also be some screws located on the bottom of the laptop.
Step 11 – Remove the panel covering the laptop hinges. Some models will also have plastic clips that hold this cover in place, so it may take moderate force to remove the cover.
Step 12 – Tighten the hinge screws located under the hinge cover.
Step 13 – Reassemble the laptop and test the hinge. If it remains loose, the hinge may require replacement to correct the problem.
How to Fix a Blank Laptop Screen
Another common laptop screen problem is a blank or very hard to see laptop display.
Step 1 – Check the laptop’s power indicator light to make sure it is plugged into a power source. Many a laptop user has been tricked by a laptop plugged into a non-working outlet that results in the battery draining, and a blank computer screen. If the power source is not illuminated, connect the laptop power supply to a working electrical outlet.
Step 2 – Press the power button on the laptop and check for any lights to illuminate on the laptop keyboard. If no lights illuminate, the computer has issues not related to the laptop screen preventing it from operating properly.
Step 3 – After the laptop boots, adjust the brightness of the laptop screen by holding the “FN” and “Up Arrow” keys simultaneously. Alternatively, the “FN” and “Down Arrow” keys can be pressed repeatedly to decrease screen brightness.
Step 4 – If the screen continues to not work, the LCD can be tested in the computer’s BIOS. Restart the laptop and press the “F2” or “F8” keys during the restart progress until you see a message stating “Entering Setup.” If you do not see any text displayed on the screen, the display issue is not with the laptop’s OS but with the computer hardware.
Step 5 – Run the Built-In Self-Test (BIST) on the laptop by turning the computer off. Press and hold the “D” key while restarting the computer which will force the test to be run. You will see a number of flashing colors. If you see any distortion, video issues, or broken lines during the test the computer has additional display issues that you will have to troubleshoot in order to fix the blank screen problem. If there are no issues with the BIST test, you will want to test the laptop display on an external monitor.
Step 6 – Connect the laptop to an external display like a TV or separate computer monitor. Common connection types include DVI and VGA cables. Once connected, to the external display, press and hold the “FN” and “F8” keys which will display the laptop screen on the external monitor. If the screen displays properly, press the “FN” and “F8” keys again to change the display back to the laptop.
Step 7 – If the laptop does not display properly after completing Step 6, visit the video card manufacturer’s website to download a current video card driver which may be causing the display issue with the laptop.