What to do when laptop display dies?
June 23, 2008 8:17 AM   Subscribe

The screen on my HP Pavillion dv9000 laptop suddenly went black. Is there anything I can do except sending it back to HP?

It's been so good to me for 1 1/2 years... (I have a 1 year warranty deal). When I boot I get 3 beeps, long-short-short. After a while I can hear windows, so nothing wrong there. I tried hooking up a 2nd monitor, but I'm getting no signal. Also tried to unplug power and batteries. No luck.

I've been reading around on HP.com about them issuing certain Pavillion models 1 year extra warranty. This does not seem to apply to my model, wich is DV9041EA, Product No RR111EA#UUW. Doesn't seem fair to me.

And finally: Do you creative minds have any ideas on how to back up files from my laptop? I have a 2 comp network, 2nd comp running fine, but the files that I need on my laptop are not shared. Any way to control the laptop? Is there a way to install some remote control software without a functioning display?
posted by SurrenderMonkey to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
A lot of times the little cable to the screen will wiggle loose. I can't find one, but, look online for a tutorial of where to unscrew the covers and wiggle where the cable connects to the screen. I've seen that fix several laptops.
posted by trbrts at 8:30 AM on June 23, 2008

Re: external monitor. On my laptop you have to press Fn+F8 (crt/lcd indicated on the key) to switch to the external monitor. (I just had this same problem).
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2008

Mine did this the other day - and yep one slightly dislodged cable connector! (If you're picking up a screwdriver - Always take your battery out first!) Just unscrew your bezel and pop it off. There are likely only four screws but I remember hearing of something that had six. They will be hidden under little sticky pads, rubber stops or just little plastic circles.
(The plastic is crap just toss 'em, the sticky pads will go back on if you're careful taking them off and the rubber stops are just neat all round.)
I get them out with my pinkie nail, so maybe a straw or a slurpee straw would do the trick. Or just rip 'em out, who cares.

Inside your bezel will be a series of clips - we'll call them snaps, because that's what it sounds like. As you start to pull the bezel off they will prise apart. It's horrifying the first time! But it's definitely meant to do that. (Provided you know all the screws are out.)

Once you're in there. At the bottom of the screen there's a narrow oblong thingy. There will be cable/s with a plug at either end. One of mine was half out so I just pushed it back in and put it back together. But if you're not sure just check that they're both pushed in properly, then put it back together :)

But the external monitor part is a bit odd... Are you positive that it works? Could you test it on someone else's? Or when it's plugged into your laptop is the light orange or does it go green?

But for all your what-not, if you get an External HD (just a little one, look for- 2.5 Not a big one, which is- 3.5) take your HD out. Pop it into the casing. (You can buy the empty casings.) Plug it into another computer (only once it is already on and running! Otherwise it will try to boot itself off your external - ugh!!) and you'll then be able to just access everything as per normal (just like you would a disc or whatever).
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 9:53 AM on June 23, 2008

The screws for your screen cover are hidden behind the black rubber pads that contact the deck when the laptop closes. It's really easy to get the screen cover off on the dv series laptops, you just need to remove the screws and gently pull the back off. The cable will probably be attached to the backing at some point, so you will be able to remove the back, see inside, and manipulate things, but you won't be able to just pull it off and set it to the side. I kept mine alive for several months after the screen started going bad by figuring out where to place tapeballs so that the cover would pressure the cable back into place when closed. My problem started as fluctuations in the signal to the monitor that got worse, unless you dropped it, it seems odd that it would cut out suddenly. My older dv8000 has a separate video card (not integrated into the mobo like many laptops). Maybe that bit the dust? When I finally had to send mine in, it took over 2 months for them to fix it.
posted by metricfan at 9:58 AM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: I removed the casing and checked whatever cables I could find. They were firmly attached.

As for the external monitor: It does work (I'm using it now as I type), however I get no signal from my laptop. Apparently Fn + F4 can be used to toggle displays on the dv9000, but that did nothing either.

As far as I can tell from googling the beep signal I get (long, short, short) may or may not indicate a video problem (impressive).

Now I'm thinking: would I be better off handing it in to a local repair shop rather than waiting 2 months for HP to fix it?

I think this is a lost cause, but any new suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
posted by SurrenderMonkey at 11:13 AM on June 23, 2008

When you plugged in the second monitor, did you hit Fn-F5 (that's the key combo on my HP laptop, anyway) to switch to using the external monitor port? When my HP laptop's screen's backlight died, I plugged in an external monitor, switched to it using Fn-F5, and made it into a desktop.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:25 AM on June 23, 2008

Oh. Sorry. Obviously my reading skills need some improvement. I see you tried Fn-F4. Maybe F5 would work better? Heck, try all the F1-12 keys, what do you have to lose?
posted by cerebus19 at 11:26 AM on June 23, 2008

Best answer: If it's video than that would explain the external not picking up a signal as well as the LCD going out. The cost of repair depends on whether your laptop was using integrated graphics (in which case the whole system board would be replaced) or discrete graphics (like an nvidia card, in which case they would replace that).

On the flip side, you can pick up an external enclosure for your laptop hard drive and stick it in and you have access via usb to all of your files. I'm a big fan of this beauty which allows you to stick the harddrive right on top and it immediately docks and shows up on your other computer when plugged in. The video repair shouldn't affect your files at all, but usually they would make you sign a waiver saying you've got it all backed up to wash their hands of it so it'd be best to do it before sending it off.
posted by genial at 1:22 PM on June 23, 2008

Call a local computer repair shop. They'll be very familiar with this problem. It's not actually the backlight that goes out on these HPs, but it's a related part (something like the backlight power inverter.) It's happened to 3 separate friends of mine (all with this model of laptop) in the last year. It should be about $150 for parts and labor. Don't write the laptop off (or consider an enclosure) until you get a repair quote.

To answer your remote control question, hands down, the best game in town is LogMeIn (use the free version).

And to second genial, BACK UP. You should already the $5/month unlimited Mozy plan. Also, make sure your laptop doesn't auto-logon as you (set a logon password.) Encrypt any private data on the hard drive (let us know if you need help.)
posted by mysterious1der at 5:59 PM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: I have contacted HP support, so now it's the waiting game for me.

About Remote control suggestions: You have to remember that these remote control solutions needs to install a client on the to-be-controlled computer. In my case, a computer with a black screen and no way to hook up an external monitor. Correct me if I'm wrong on this one... (please do).

Maybe I'll go for the harddrive gizmo that Genial suggested if thats what it takes. Thanks!
posted by SurrenderMonkey at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2008

I see you have contacted HP already, but have you tried HP's chatting with a tech site? I have used it a couple of times, and in all my years of searching, calling, begging, e-mailing, forum reading, it is the best thing I have ever used. Just have all the info ready: make, serial number, OS.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:30 AM on June 25, 2008

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