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July 13, 2011 8:22 AM   Subscribe

My monitor suddenly stopped getting a signal. I did some troubleshooting and don't think it's a problem with the monitor or cable. What's the next most likely culprit?

I had been using the computer a few hours earlier, it was asleep, and when I went to wake it up there was no signal.

My specs are:
Windows 7 64x
Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 video card
ASRock P45R2000 mobo
4 gb of DDR2 RAM
A Dell widescreen LCD monitor

Here's what I've tried:
-- using the other DVI connection (video card has 2)
-- using a VGA cable with a DVI adaptor (the video card only has DVI out)
-- using a different monitor with the VGA cable and DVI adapter.
-- Plugging the monitor into a different computer using the VGA cable (without the adapter); the monitor worked.
-- I took the video card out of the x16 mode slot and tried it in the x8 mode slot

Other fun facts:
--I can hear my hard drive running, fans running, etc, but can't actually tell if Windows is loading because I can't see anything (I don't hear the windows startup sound, but my sound might be muted -- it often is).
--There are no beeps.

What should my next step be? I don't have any other video cards lying around to try to swap out, or any computers available that I can test my video card in. I don't have any close friends that would be likely to have spare video cards around, but I would be willing to ask around if the video card is the most likely problem.

posted by amarynth to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Can you tell if the fan on the video card itself is running? If it's not, it may be a power issue- try changing the power to a different source off the supply.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:33 AM on July 13, 2011

Another thing to try is to plug both monitors in to the card and start up the computer. If there is an issue with the card suddenly trying to use multiple displays, one of them should show the startup screens correctly.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2011

The video card fan is running. I'll try plugging in both monitors tonight!
posted by amarynth at 8:39 AM on July 13, 2011

Wait. So does the other monitor work at all with the problematic computer? Otherwise, your video card (or something else in the computer) is the culprit. Your monitor sounds fine.

Can you tell if the PC is actually booting up into Windows? Is the hard drive just on, or can you hear it actually thrashing about? Do the caps and numlock keys respond properly? If you've got a "good" PC handy, can you see the "headless" one over the network?

Does your motherboard have on-board video? Could that have somehow accidentally taken over?

Do a hard-boot each time you change something. The video card will try to detect which port has a monitor plugged into it when you power it up.

Alternatively, pressing the Windows Key + P a few times can force this re-detection on Windows 7 or Vista....if you're actually managing to boot up.
posted by schmod at 9:52 AM on July 13, 2011

I had the same thing happen to me a couple of weeks ago. Computer was running fine, I walked away for a few minutes, and came back to a blank screen. All fans were running fine and the hard drives were spinning. Turned out that some capacitors blew out on the video card, looked exactly like this. A new video card fixed me right up.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

The other monitor does not work on the problematic computer. There's no onboard video. I'll check out all the other stuff tonight! Thanks!
posted by amarynth at 11:23 AM on July 13, 2011

This is going to sound really idiotic, but stick with me here. I once worked a job where I was supporting patient monitoring systems in hospitals. Important stuff! Cardiac monitoring! Smart people! Nurses! Trained technicians!

I was on call 1 week out of 4. All night long we would get paged for this very problem: monitor is black.

The answer, 100% of the time, was to press the Select button, and wait a second. The press it again, and wait a second. Do this up to 4 times as it cycles through its various inputs, and it would always magically return.

(Apparently the monitors press their own Select buttons, if it's late at night and no one's watching. That was our working theory, at any rate.)

This doesn't sound like that, since you have tested the monitor on another computer. But it'll only take you a moment, so it's worth a shot!
posted by ErikaB at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2011

Unplug the pc, the monitor, and the power cables on both devices plus the video cable on both ends. Then wait for a few minutes. Then plug it all back in.
posted by I-baLL at 11:50 AM on July 14, 2011

Thanks for the ideas, everyone! We tried them all, but unfortunately, none of them worked. The video card looks okay. I can't tell if the computer is getting to the windows account screen -- I can't hear the hard drive making any hard drive noises, the caps lock and num lock keys aren't lighting up on the keyboard and we can't see the computer on the network with our laptop (although now that I think of it, we may have unplugged the network cable), but I don't know how much of that is normal if windows is just going to the account screen, not actually loading.

We're about to go out of town for a week, so when I get back I think I'm going to try send out a Facebook plea to borrow a video card and then go from there.
posted by amarynth at 6:45 AM on July 15, 2011

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