Monitor display's gone all wonky
February 6, 2006 12:21 PM   Subscribe

My monitor started going light then dark, and now it's settled on a bit of both: in broad lines, according to whatever's darkest on that line, across any program showing.

That is, images open in Photoshop show dark lines across what should be white if a text document is also open and showing, with text on that line. Moving the text editor window up and down moves the lines over the image in the background.

I may not have explained it well, so there are some digicam shots of it here:
screenshot #1 and screenshot #2.

I'm using win2000 and a six-year-old Dell M991 monitor which may have finally bit the dust. I first tried booting into safe mode (no change, and none expected, since the startup screen is showing this same behavior); then I tried reinstalling the monitor, reinstalling the video card, and resetting the monitor to factory defaults.

So ... any ideas what's gone wrong, and how to troubleshoot it? I'm obviously well out of the three-year warranty but I'd like to avoid dropping another $200+ on a monitor if possible (though I know a new monitor might be the only solution).
posted by Tuwa to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Best answer: Same here, it's the video card, not the monitor. But to confirm this maybe you can borrow a friend's monitor and plug it into your PC? If you have the same results, it's the video card.
posted by poppo at 12:34 PM on February 6, 2006

I have the same problem. After swapping monitors, I assumed it was the video card as well. Nice to hear confimrmation.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:44 PM on February 6, 2006

Count me in for having the same problem. My computer screen had the lines, and it was just getting old and slow and gnarly in general. I tried swapping monitors too. Luckily I got a new comp. for christmas.
posted by Radio7 at 12:52 PM on February 6, 2006

I had something very similar happen a while ago, and I swapped out the monitor with an old one. And the exact same thing happened I swapped out the video card in the PC and it was fixed.

It's obviously an analog component failing, either on the video card or the monitor.
posted by delmoi at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2006

I'll join the choir - same exact thing happened to my parents PC, and I trucked my old monitor up to them only to realize it was a video card problem. Good news is, decent video cards can be had for around $50. Get thee to newegg!
posted by Rock Steady at 4:54 PM on February 6, 2006

Before you replace anything, make sure the VGA cable that goes from the computer to the monitor is tightly screwed in at both ends. Move it around and see if the interference changes at all. It could be that it's picking up noise from a power cable, or it's not sheilded well enough, or something like that.

If that doesn't do anything then try a process of elimination -- temporarily borrow a different monitor or video card and see if changing one of the two has any effect.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:58 PM on February 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. I tried a friend's monitor on it and it displayed fine on his computer but showed hte grey bars on mine.

I've poked around and found that they have, in addition to driver downloads, troubleshooting walkthroughs. In addition to not being the monitor driver or the video card driver, it's also not something in the BIOS settings or some TSR business in the video RAM. Dell's troubleshooting suggested trying a different adapter on the video cable--a daft suggestion since it doesn't separate from cable, or the cable from the monitor.

So, yes, it seems most likely it's the video card (which is at least cheaper than a new monitor).

I'm off to get a new one tomorrow and I'll report back.
posted by Tuwa at 9:04 PM on February 6, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, it was the video card. Thanks, everyone.
posted by Tuwa at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2006

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