White screen on startup
January 30, 2008 7:20 PM   Subscribe

My computer- a Toshiba Satellite A65, running Windows XP SP2- will sometimes collapse on starting, displaying only a mottled white screen. The only way past it is to shut the machine off and restart (hoping it doesn't happen again). What component or process is failing?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
How far into the process is the screen going white? Is the hard drive spinning up like it is still booting? Do you still get your POST beeps?
posted by samsara at 7:29 PM on January 30, 2008

The fatal screen appears almost immediately after a start. The Toshiba/Intel splash screen doesn't even display. Actually, I've never heard POST beeps from this unit. It's beeped only a couple of times, when Windows was up and running without problems. (Just a single "meeep", from inside the case.) I honestly can't remember if the hard drive was spinning or not.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:58 PM on January 30, 2008

I have a similar periodic issue with my ancient Thinkpad, on bootup or sometimes after a while using it. If I tap and/or press around the edge of the screen, or near the hinges, it generally comes back, which leads me to believe (at least in my case) that it's a hardware issue of loose connections or something of the kind, in the wires leading to the display.

Just a shot in the dark, but my feeling is when the screen goes to white, you're looking at a hardware issue with the LCD.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:00 AM on January 31, 2008

I would guess the inverter board. Not too hard to replace, actually. Just a PITA to get the thing apart depending on the model. I am guessing the inverter is heating up and malfunctioning. Shutting down allows it to cool off. Normally white screen would be bad connection to LCD, but if a restart fixes, then I doubt that. Have you tried hooking up external monitor to VGA port?

see here for symptoms and a site that repairs them (I am not affiliated)
posted by tslugmo at 1:08 AM on January 31, 2008

Tslungmo might be right, although it might be less headache overall to look at getting a new laptop if your current one is out of warranty. (eg. if it ends up not being the inverter board, but instead a bad capacitor on the main board, you're out $100 or so.) For your data there's quite a few askmefi questions answered on how to extract documents off a laptop HD. Whichever way you decide to go, good luck!
posted by samsara at 6:43 AM on January 31, 2008

Do you get wierd horizontal lines across the screen? I had a problem with a lined-white screen on my Satellite (it would work when I pressed the border in the center or when I tilted the screen to a certain angle). I had it serviced and they replaced the LCD - works great now. Not sure if your problem is the same as mine, but it sounds similar.
posted by ml98tu at 9:08 AM on January 31, 2008

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