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Top ten Reasons you get a blank screen on your computer monitor

1. The monitor is turned OFF or the cables are disconnected. This could happen at any time during the lifecycle of the computer. Or maybe the system has gone into power conserving mode. Perform the following checks:

a. Power cycle the monitor (turn OFF and then ON) and wait for a minute or two to see if screen lights up.
b. Wiggle the mouse or press ENTER on the keyboard and watch the display screen.
c. Check the power supply to the monitor and the cables connecting the monitor to the computer.
d. Check that there is a connection between the keyboard and the computer. If the keyboard is not connected or if it has just been hosed, or if the computer restart has not initialized the keyboard before it stopped and gave you the blank screen, then your none of the keys work!
e. After the above checks, restart the computer and see if it is okay.

2. A component in the computer (such as a graphics card) may have overheated. In older computers, the fans were very powerful (remember the loud computers of yesteryears?). Now the manufacturers assume that computers sit in air-conditioned comfort all day. So they have reduced the power of these fans that are used to cool the hardware. Follow these procedures to see if that is the problem.

a. Shut down your computer and monitor.
b. Turn on the air-conditioning and install an additional fan in the room if possible
c. After a pause of 15 - 30 minutes, restart the monitor and then the computer.
d. If it was a problem of overheating, the computer screen should now show the system booting normally.

3. If you have just installed the computer and nothing seems to work, it could a bad monitor or a low power supply.

a. Check if the monitor light is green, orange, yellow or red. Get the manual for the monitor to find out what these colors mean.
b. Swap the monitor with another if you have an extra one at home.
c. Insert a music CD into its drive and check if you can hear audio. This will only happen if the CD is set to Auto Run. If you can hear audio, it means the computer is running ok.
d. Find a different power supply outlet (or power strip) for the monitor and computer and try to reboot the computer again.
e. If the LCD screen on the monitor is dead, then it's impossible to see if the computer is booting up or to what point it has booted up.
f. Replace your monitor if it's defective or continue to Step 4 if you still have problems.

The dreaded death-screen

4. Recent Hardware Changes. Corrupt drivers for any recently installed hardware can crash the system. To get rid of the corrupted drivers, do the following:

a. Uninstall all recently added hardware.
b. Try to restore the system to a previous restore point
c. Reboot the system and return to a previous stable configuration if possible
d. Remove all external peripherals (printer, cameras, scanners, etc) and connections until the computer returns to normal.

5. Bad video/graphics card. At this point, if your computer is still under warranty, its time to call for help. If not, you can get a computer geek to come to your house (it is cheaper to take your computer to their store) or try to fix the problem yourself.

a. Is AGP/PCI video card compatible with your operating system? If you are experienced with opening up the chassis and resetting cards, reseat the video card, and try again.
b. Check the pins on the cable connectors and see that they are not bent or broken.
c. Never attempt to open the monitor. Turn on the monitor and try to reboot the computer again. If this doesn't work, go to Step 6.

6. BIOS - the Binary Operating System may be corrupted - Use of Safe Mode to boot system.

a. Try starting the computer in the safe mode. Restart the computer and see the point to which it boots up before you get the blank screen.
b. Press F8 as the computer starts to boot. (For HP and Compaq computers with VISTA, use F10, For HP Pavilions with XP or earlier version of OS, use F1). Use the arrow keys to select the safe mode and press Enter. Remember that NUM LOCK should be OFF for the arrow keys to function.
c. If Windows launches before you can choose the safe mode, restart computer and go to step a.
d. You can choose "Safe mode with command prompt" option if you know how to use MS-DOS
e. You can choose "Last known good configuration" to go back to the last known safe shutdown state.
f. If you have added any drivers or corrupted any files the last time you used the computer, the safe mode will help you get back to the state before the changes, when the computer was running smoothly.

7. BIOS - the booting software may be corrupted - Use of Recovery Console to boot system

a. If the recovery console is already installed on the system, one of the options you see while the system is initially booting up will be "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console". If it's not already on the system, it can also be accessed through the network during "command prompt with network" option in safe mode.
b. Recovery console can also be installed at the time of need from the CD-ROM. Go to the following link for additional info :
c. Recovery console helps to Enable or disable services. If Windows informs us during boot up that a file is corrupted or missing, then we can use the Recovery console to copy files from a CD to the computer to repair the corrupted or missing information.
d. You can also recover the system by reconfiguring a service that may be preventing your computer from starting correctly. (FIXMBR, FIXBOOT, etc)
e. For a list of Recovery Console commands, search :

8. Corrupted Operating System. - Try an upgrade of the current Operating System.

a. Before you re-install the operating system, check out
b. Try to upgrade the current operating system by inserting the CD-ROM and choosing "Upgrade" in the "Installation Type" box and then click next
c. Continue as detailed in to complete the upgrade.
d. If there were patches or updates to the previous version of the OS that fixed booting problems or missing files, then the computer should be fixed and good to go. If not, repeat with step e
e. Alternately, to re-install the OS, when the message "Press any key to boot from CD" appears, tap the spacebar.
f. Press ENTER to setup XP on the computer (fresh start- all setting go back to default)
g. On the License screen, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
h. Select your current installation and press R to repair the installation.

9. Hard Disk Crash. This is one of the major reasons for black screens. A new computer will run reasonably well for about 2 - 3 years. After that, we'd better take precautions to manage our information in case of a disk crash. Backups are handy in case we need to re-install or replace a hard disk. To check if it's the hard disk, do the following:

a. Turn the computer on and listen to see if the fan is running.
b. After doing all the checks above to see if the peripherals (especially the monitor) are in good working condition, restart the computer again

10. Motherboard Problems.

a. Open the chassis. Turn the computer on and verify that the CPU fan and the power supply and the fan are running. If not, make sure that the connections are tight and replace the power supply.
b. Shutdown the computer and let it cool down. Unplug all cables from power sources.
c. Closely examine the mother board and see that it is NOT in contact with the computer case.
d. Removed and re-install your DRAM
e. Remove the CPU and re-install it.
f. Reset your BIOS to the default configuration following the motherboard's manual instructions.
g. Make sure that you have replaced every item that you had removed from the chassis, close it and try to start it up
h. If none of the above works, its time to see professional help!

Notes: Computers seem to run forever, but only when it crashes do we think of how many things we could've backed up and how many restore points we could've saved! Periodically, do the following when our computers are in top running condition:

a. Make backups regularly
b. Schedule daily restore point creation.
c. Make a boot disk (see for instructions for XP)
d. Make copies of your favorite files and software
e. Create DVDs of your favorite photos and videos.
f. Save important financial/tax information on CDs etc.
g. Store copies of your favorite music on CDs or export them into other media.
h. Install Recovery console so that it may be used when computer crashes!
i. Make sure that your computer has updated anti-virus software and spyware. This will detect any attempts to install viruses that could destroy our entire system in one second!
j. Make sure that you place the computer in a well ventilated room to avoid overheating.



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