Laptop not working

TechiMan

Active Member
I have an old Acer laptop (had it for over 10 years) running on XP, due to the screen going faulty years ago (which I've never bothered to get repaired) I decided to connect it up to a 22 year old Dell CRT monitor, which I am surprised has lasted so long. It is connected by the monitor's VGA cable to the VGA input on the laptop. All has been fairly well up until today when I can't seem to get an image. When I switch on the monitor it displays a "no signal detected" message, and when I power up the laptop the monitor does display the Windows XP screen scrolling along, but just before the load up of Windows it nothing happen, however, you do hear the Windows power up sound but no picture.

I can't fathom whether this is a fault with the laptop or the monitor. I've switched the button off a few times and powered up and I get the usual options for safe mode, safe mode with networking etc, but when I choose either of them nothing happens after that. Now if this was a fault with the monitor or the connection then there wouldn't be any signal at all from the monitor.
 
Can you connect the laptop to anything else - tv maybe with VGA input for example ? or can you connect anything else to the monitor ? hard to prove which is at fault otherwise - but it might be time for a new laptop, its had a good run and XP is no longer secure if you use it online.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Can you connect the laptop to anything else - tv maybe with VGA input for example ? or can you connect anything else to the monitor ? hard to prove which is at fault otherwise - but it might be time for a new laptop, its had a good run and XP is no longer secure if you use it online.
I was thinking about connecting it up to a TV via VGA or HDMI as you say, but this particular laptop doesn't have HDMI, it does have a VGA connection but can't find any VGA cables laying around the type that would fit a modern TV (some TVs don't have VGA), every other cable under the sun except that one. I'll probably need to get hold of a HDMI adaptor or something similar to test it. Could be that a virus has infected it as I rarely update the anti-virus, and as you say XP is no longer updated online (which I didn't realise).
 

Xenomorph

Member
Can you connect the laptop to anything else - tv maybe with VGA input for example ? or can you connect anything else to the monitor ? hard to prove which is at fault otherwise - but it might be time for a new laptop, its had a good run and XP is no longer secure if you use it online.

Could be resurrected with Ubuntu, assuming the hardware problem can be sorted.
I had a couple of underpowered old laptops that ran brilliantly when I wiped Windows and replaced it with a proper O/S ;)
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Sorry only realised that the laptop is running on Vista not XP, I was getting mixed up with my older desktop PC. I have tried it several times during the day but all it keeps doing is the initial rebooting load of Windows, but once it's about to go into full loading with the desktop screen it abruptly flashes off with the monitor displaying a "no signal" message with a short sound heard of Windows having loaded.
 

Flynch191

Well-known Member
Would you be willing to copy the drive data to another machine and put this laptop to sleep?
Everything has a life cycle and running something with windows vista… it might be time to upgrade…
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Would you be willing to copy the drive data to another machine and put this laptop to sleep?
Everything has a life cycle and running something with windows vista… it might be time to upgrade…
You being sarcastic?. How the hell do I copy the drive data to another machine when I can't get into Windows, not even into safe mode?. How do you know it's not a fault with the monitor? And what's wrong with Vista?.
 

Bolosun

Active Member
Looks like a driver problem. Try booting it into safe mode (F8 on most computers) and see if loads.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Looks like a driver problem. Try booting it into safe mode (F8 on most computers) and see if loads.
I've tried going into safe mode (not by pressing F8 but selecting "safe mode" from the options when I've had to switch off the laptop) and it tries to go into safe mode but then the screen goes blank, no idea if it's still running in the background. Could just be the monitor, but if the monitor wasn't working then I would (presumably) have no power at all, but it does light up and makes a noise when you press the on button and initially shows the Windows scrolling screen.
 

Flynch191

Well-known Member
Not being sarcastic sorry if it came across that way. Ignore my comment about copying the data off the drive.
With vista.. it all depends on what you are doing on the laptop.. due to its age it could be susceptible to malicious attacks from the internet and other software.
Getting hold of drivers to run the latest hardware could also be problematic. That’s it really… it’s an old unsupported version of windows, whether that worries you or not only you can say.
If the laptop was setup to have system restore you might be able to get the menu up from boot and f8.. to do a system restore from there?
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Not being sarcastic sorry if it came across that way. Ignore my comment about copying the data off the drive.
With vista.. it all depends on what you are doing on the laptop.. due to its age it could be susceptible to malicious attacks from the internet and other software.
Getting hold of drivers to run the latest hardware could also be problematic. That’s it really… it’s an old unsupported version of windows, whether that worries you or not only you can say.
If the laptop was setup to have system restore you might be able to get the menu up from boot and f8.. to do a system restore from there?
No worries, I get what you mean.

Funny you mentioned restore, because on my Windows 8.1 laptop I have just tried to a system restore to a previous date (2 days ago), and I don't think I've ever done on a restore on this particular laptop before. After I had set a restore point and it going through the set up and loading back into Windows it then says that that can't restore back to a date and suggested it could be down to the firewall. No idea what's causing this but I am suspect something malicious is causing it possibly a virus. I rarely update my antivirus mainly because it is absolutely useless at doing anything whenever I get a warning whenever it detects anything (Avira I have), ie when there is a virus it dosen't seem to remove it. The restore problem could due to something else, but if I can get a restore point to a previous date maybe that my resolve the other issues I'm having with the programs I've been using which since yesterday morning don't seem to work.

I will give the Acer Windows XP laptop another try using F8 to see if I can get into safe mode or system restore. Failing that I will have to get hold of a wire that will connect to a TV to see if it is the monitor or not.
 
Last edited:

Maxatoria

Active Member
You could make a boot able Linux USB stick and see what sort of luck you get as you'll be able to remove windows out of the equation.
But with such old hardware it does become the sort of thing where you need a grey beard tech with the correct cables that have been collecting dust for the last decade 😁
 

TechiMan

Active Member
I switched on the laptop again and pressed F8 to get into safe mode, selected safe mode from the list and it went into safe mode with no issues, which means the problem can't be down to the monitor. No idea what could be causing this but I suspect a virus. Maybe a system restore to a previous may help.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
I switched on the laptop again and pressed F8 to get into safe mode, selected safe mode from the list and it went into safe mode with no issues, which means the problem can't be down to the monitor. No idea what could be causing this but I suspect a virus. Maybe a system restore to a previous may help.
Most probable cause is that you are (or, Windows is) trying to feed the monitor with a refresh rate or frequency (or both) that it can't handle. Both Safe Mode and the pre-boot Windows logo appear; these are both driven at (I think) VGA resolution which pretty much any old monitor will cope with.

So try this:
If you (as I think you can*) change the resolution and frame rate whilst in safe mode (i.e. where you can see the screen) initially to VGA ([email protected]) and apply it. (* It's a long time since I had to do this; I may be mistaken).

Now reboot into Windows proper. I think it should retain that basic VGA resolution/fps setting. In which case you'll get a coarse and possibly distorted - but importantly, visible - image.

Now you can experiment with finer resolutions. When you hit "apply", windows immediately changes to the new resolution and places a pop-up box for you to confirm it. If you can see it - good. Confirm it. If you can't (i.e. if the screen goes blank) just WAIT. If you don't confirm the new settings within 15 seconds (IIRC) it reverts to previous. Rinse and repeat until you find one that works for you.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
If @LV426 's method doesn't work (I suspect safe mode won't allow this) then in safe mode go to device manager, display adapters and delete the display adapter and uninstall the graphic drivers as well. Reboot to normal mode, a basic display adapter will be installed with default resolutions. You can then, if needed, download the specific graphic drivers when hopefully the correct resolution will be displayed
 
Last edited:

TechiMan

Active Member
Most probable cause is that you are (or, Windows is) trying to feed the monitor with a refresh rate or frequency (or both) that it can't handle. Both Safe Mode and the pre-boot Windows logo appear; these are both driven at (I think) VGA resolution which pretty much any old monitor will cope with.

So try this:
If you (as I think you can*) change the resolution and frame rate whilst in safe mode (i.e. where you can see the screen) initially to VGA ([email protected]) and apply it. (* It's a long time since I had to do this; I may be mistaken).

Now reboot into Windows proper. I think it should retain that basic VGA resolution/fps setting. In which case you'll get a coarse and possibly distorted - but importantly, visible - image.

Now you can experiment with finer resolutions. When you hit "apply", windows immediately changes to the new resolution and places a pop-up box for you to confirm it. If you can see it - good. Confirm it. If you can't (i.e. if the screen goes blank) just WAIT. If you don't confirm the new settings within 15 seconds (IIRC) it reverts to previous. Rinse and repeat until you find one that works for you.
You have a good point there, maybe it is down to the monitor not being able to cope with the resolution, and changing to VGA in safe mode may resolve this. Could be right as when the screen goes off (blank) you can still hear Windows having loaded. But if it is this then what has caused this?. I know it's a 22 year old monitor, a miracle it has lasted that long. I got the monitor from someone I used to know about 10 years ago where he worked, there was a whole room full of the same Dell desktop PC, and I don't think the computers ever got used very much, hence why said monitor has lasted so long. My old monitor for my desktop PC that came with the computer only lasted less than 10 years before the screen started changing colours and going green, but it wasn't from Dell.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
.....what has caused this?.....
Almost impossible to answer. But in case it helps, I found this elsewhere on the web. I haven't used XP in years so I can't vouch for it........

In safe mode, you won't be able to change the resolution (or set refresh rates). Safe mode boots XP using a generic VGA driver, not the graphics driver you have loaded; this allows you to recover from video-drivers-gone-wrong type problems.

Instead of booting into safe mode, you'll need to boot into VGA mode. This isn't very well documented as far as I can tell; as best as I can recall, you'll need to do the following:

Hit F8 twice right after the computer boots. You'll see more options than you'll typically find in the normal F8 boot menu.

One of the options is VGA mode; select that option. XP will boot like normal, except it'll force the video card to boot at 640x480 with 4 colors @ 60hz. From there you can change the display settings however you want. You won't even need to reboot to get out of it.


And just to repeat: if you do get as far as that last step, if you change to something the monitor won't handle, your screen will go blank - but just wait and after a few seconds it will revert. So keep trying until you get something that works for you. Or just leave it unchanged if VGA is sufficient.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Almost impossible to answer. But in case it helps, I found this elsewhere on the web. I haven't used XP in years so I can't vouch for it........

In safe mode, you won't be able to change the resolution (or set refresh rates). Safe mode boots XP using a generic VGA driver, not the graphics driver you have loaded; this allows you to recover from video-drivers-gone-wrong type problems.

Instead of booting into safe mode, you'll need to boot into VGA mode. This isn't very well documented as far as I can tell; as best as I can recall, you'll need to do the following:

Hit F8 twice right after the computer boots. You'll see more options than you'll typically find in the normal F8 boot menu.

One of the options is VGA mode; select that option. XP will boot like normal, except it'll force the video card to boot at 640x480 with 4 colors @ 60hz. From there you can change the display settings however you want. You won't even need to reboot to get out of it.


And just to repeat: if you do get as far as that last step, if you change to something the monitor won't handle, your screen will go blank - but just wait and after a few seconds it will revert. So keep trying until you get something that works for you. Or just leave it unchanged if VGA is sufficient.
The laptop I'm referring to isn't running on XP but Vista, though I originally said XP earlier in the post as I got mixed up with my desktop PC which does run on XP.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
I have only got round to having another look at my XP desktop PC, but now it won't even allow me to get into Safe Mode. When I shut down and power up again, for a few short seconds I get a blue screen which says "your computer" then underneath "system failure violation" with alot of text below which I didn't get time to read before it went off. I don't think the cause is anything to do with the screen resolution, I think it's likely a virus.
 

tich77

Active Member
Or you just have to face the fact that your hardware is dying.
Re the earlier comment about copying data from laptop to another PC/device, thats probably a good idea to do now, ditto the data on your XP desktop.

Its probably not a virus, just very old hardware and a obsolete, long-out-of-support OS.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Or you just have to face the fact that your hardware is dying.
Re the earlier comment about copying data from laptop to another PC/device, thats probably a good idea to do now, ditto the data on your XP desktop.

Its probably not a virus, just very old hardware and a obsolete, long-out-of-support OS.
So why is now not allowing me to go into safe mode?. I'm sure there are people who still use XP.

How do you mean hit F8 twice after reboot?. When I normally go into Safe Mode after rebooting I just keep pressing F8 in order to get the Safe Mode options screen.
 
Last edited:

tich77

Active Member
So why is now not allowing me to go into safe mode?. I'm sure there are people who still use XP.

How do you mean hit F8 twice after reboot?. When I normally go into Safe Mode after rebooting I just keep pressing F8 in order to get the Safe Mode options screen.

Whether there are people still using XP is neither here nor there - it is still on obsolete unsupported operating system, which - in all honesty - is now more trouble than it is worth.

Why is it not allowing you into safe node? From what you have posted, because it has suffered a catastrophic failure from which it cannot recover. What has caused this? Without seeing it, most likely components are starting to fail. On the off-chance its a malware, thats another reason not to use it, no security patches, no up-to-date security product (ie anti-malware).

I have no idea what you refer to by "hit F8 twice...." not my words.

Copy your data off your hard drives to another device, before you lose data as well.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset + Rotel A14 MkII Amp Reviews & Best of the Month
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Samsung QD-OLED TVs primed for 2022 launch?
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sky to add NBCUniversal's Peacock service
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Bang & Olufsen announces Beoplay EQ TWS earphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 28th July 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Sky drops Sky One brand and introduces Showcase and Max
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom