First post, by Kerr Avon
I have an old laptop, a HP Compaq evo n610c running Windows XP, which I keep permanently on the kitchen table, and I use it as an ebook/comic/magazine reader. But now it's developed some sort of problem with the screen. When I turn the laptop on, it displays the Compaq logo and "Press F10 to change settings" (which is what it should display), but then the screen goes black, and doesn't display anything else ever, until I turn off the laptop, then turn it on, in which case it shows the logo screen, and then immediately after that the screen goes black and stays back, you don't even see the BIOS settings if you press F10 to enter them.
The laptop seemed to run otherwise, just with no display, so I've plugged it into an external monitor, and using the monitor, the laptop works fine (minus the laptop's own monitor, which stays black). When I boot the laptop with the external monitor plugged in, the external monitor shows the Compaq logo (which now doesn't appear on the laptop's monitor, which instead stays black from boot up) then the usual PC stuff as it boots up, Windows loads, and everything works fine. So the laptop is perfectly usable with the external monitor, but when I remove the external monitor of course, the laptop is unusable as the laptop's own monitor will display nothing except the Compaq logo screen when first booted up.
And when I try to get the laptop to use both the laptop monitor and the external monitor together, via the display settings menu in Windows, the laptop seems to think it is doing so, but the laptop's monitor stays black.
To my thinking, it can't be a driver problem, because it happens before any software is loaded (immediately after boot up, you see the Compaq logo then nothing else, not even if you press F10 to access the BIOS), it seems unlikely to be a screen problem because the screen does work properly for a couple of seconds for the Compaq logo (though maybe the screen is knackered, and can't display anything higher res than that now, or something similar), and I don't think it's the laptop somehow thinking it should immediately disregard the laptop screen and use an external screen as there's no setting in the BIOS for it, and the only way to toggle between them is by pressing FN + F4, which is a Windows program function, and should only affect Windows sessions, surely? I've googled, but as far as I can tell there's no setting that makes the laptop, immediately on booting, divert the screen display to an external monitor even if there isn't an external monitor present.
It's not a problem of course, I can still use the monitor when killing time, I'm more curious about the cause of the problem than anything else.
I should say, the laptop is permanently offline, and I've not put any programs or ebooks or anything on the laptop for ages, so I don't think it's malware-related (and I don't see how it could be anyway, since even the BIOS won't show up on the laptop's monitor, but only on an external monitor), the laptop has not been dropped (or even moved) at all, and only I use it. I've tried pressing FN + F4 at all stages of everything, but the laptop screen doesn't come on, and if I press FN + F4 when the external monitor is plugged in and displaying the Windows desktop, then the image on the external monitor flickers very briefly (as though a screen-wide area an inch or so high, flickers on the external monitor, the laptop's monitor doesn't change or show anything at all), but then there's no further change, the external monitor shows the desktop as normal, but the laptop's monitor remains back as it does all the time.
I've tried booting from a CD, and it's the same situation. The laptop shows only the Compaq logo, then stays black, even though the laptop boots the CD. If I plug the external monitor into the laptop, then the external monitor shows the CD booting and running fine. Whatever I try, the laptop itself seems fine, aside from the laptop's monitor.
The only other symptom I can find is that shutting or opening the lid no longer seems to 'register' with the laptop; the laptop has always been set to hibernate when the lid is closed (to save the PDF reader and/or ebook readers' in their current state to save me having to remember what was open and where), and come back to life when the lid is opened, and so far that's always worked. But now it doesn't, and when I go to the Power Options, and tell the laptop to hibernate when the kid is closed, it doesn't. If I tell the laptop to Stand By when the lid is shut, it doesn't do that either. The laptop doesn't seem to register when I open or close the lid anymore, which to me would suggest a hardware problem, which of course would go a long way to explaining why the screen always stays black, but if so then why does the screen always show the Compaq logo screen (except, of course, when the external monitor is plugged in).
Any help would be appreciated, thanks.