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Subject: Seeking IT Help rss

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Larry Levy
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I have a computer hardware problem at home and I'm not the most PC-savvy person there is. But then I realized that I talk every day with some good friends who give advice on this stuff for a living, so why not check with them? I promise thumbs and GG as an incentive (although y'all would probably help me for free 'cause you're so nice).

Anyway, on Wednesday night, I was sitting in front of my powered-on computer at home, reading the paper. The monitor was showing whatever web page I had looked at last. Suddenly, I saw the screen go black, to be replaced by a one-inch long strip of white containing about half a dozen very thin lines of color. The rest of the screen was black. The strip and the lines moved around from time to time. I tried fiddling with the mouse and pounding the keyboard, but nothing happened. I rebooted, but still, nothing. I did note that I got the same pattern on my monitor even when the computer was off.

I've checked the connections going out of the monitor, as well as those going into the computer. All of them seem snug and secure. I must emphasize that when this happened, I was not doing anything with the computer. It was just a spontaneous occurance.

So what do you IT types think? Can the patient be saved? Or do you see a trip to Best Buy in my future? TIA!
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That is not Depeche but rather
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Here's what I would do:

If you have another monitor handy, see if it works. If it doesn't, you probably have an issue with your video card.

If it does, then the original monitor is FUBAR'd.

I'd lean towards the latter based on your description above.
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Norbert Chan
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Get your eyes checked, Larry.

I'm guessing your monitor broke down. What kind of monitor is it? Do you have a spare monitor to connect to your computer to check that the original monitor is the problem?

If there is a menu on your monitor, you could try a factory reset, or try playing with the parameters such as brightness, contrast, image settings to see if that does anything.

I'm not an IT guy, so I'm taking a guess basd on your description.
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Marc B.
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Progmode wrote:
Here's what I would do:

If you have another monitor handy, see if it works. If it doesn't, you probably have an issue with your video card.

If it does, then the original monitor is FUBAR'd.

I'd lean towards the latter based on your description above.


Yep, sounds like your monitor took a dump. You dont say specifically if it is a tube-type (TV) monitor or an LCD type (flat screen) monitor. I assume from the symptom it is a tube type monitor. You could try banging the monitor a bit (if it's a tube type) and see if it might be a loose conection or failed solder joint. Either way, it would probably be cheaper to replace it than get it repaired nowadays.
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CHAPEL
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Sounds like the raygun in your cathode ray tube has stopped firing. Diagnosis...It's dead Jim.

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Samuel Sol
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True, get another monitor and try using it. if it works your monitor is broken, and fixing won't be cost wise, and you should replace.
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Justin Morse
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I'd agree with the above assessments - it's most likely the monitor, however, I'd be wary of hooking up a brand new one without further testing. I had a monitor go in a similar fashion a few years back. I replaced it, only to have the new one meet the same fate a few days later. Turns out my video card was at fault. Replaced the vid card, and got a third monitor. angry
If possible, run for a week or so on a used monitor you don't care about destroying before you wreck a new one.

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Larry Levy
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LEHaskell wrote:
Is the monitor a CRT (traditional "television monitor") or is it a flat panel (LCD or some such new fangled monitor).

No one reads manuals anymore.

Actually, it's a flat panel, so I assume it's an LCD. Both it and the computer are only 2 years old, although since my job involves the reliability of hardware, I know that's no guarantee that something won't crap out.

So it sounds as if the fact that it's flat screen makes it more likely it might be a video card. Is that right? I'd actually prefer it if the monitor is at fault. There's no way I'm going to open the box up and replace a card, so that would mean calling Geek Squad or some such outfit, which adds cost and time to the process. But even I can replace a monitor on my own!

So how should I proceed? The only other computer in the house is my wife's laptop, so I don't think we have a spare monitor lying around to test things.
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Justin Morse
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If you turn the monitor off and listen to it, do you hear anything?
Any kind of crackling, popping sound, or a high-pitched squeal? Either one would be bad news. If you're getting silence, like a properly powered down monitor should give you, double-check your connection to the video card - power down the pc, disconnect the VGA cable (I assume it's on VGA) and then reconnect it and power back up - see if you get the same white bar. If you do, I'd think about involving a tech of some kind.

Good luck!



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Marc B.
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Larry Levy wrote:

So it sounds as if the fact that it's flat screen makes it more likely it might be a video card. Is that right? I'd actually prefer it if the monitor is at fault. There's no way I'm going to open the box up and replace a card, so that would mean calling Geek Squad or some such outfit, which adds cost and time to the process. But even I can replace a monitor on my own!

So how should I proceed? The only other computer in the house is my wife's laptop, so I don't think we have a spare monitor lying around to test things.


You mentioned above that you get the same exact image with the computer off? If so it would most likely be the monitor since at that point the PC is not signaling the monitor. Now, being an LCD It would most likely be caused by 3 different possibilities.

1: The video card somehow zapped a processing chip on the monitor.
2: The monitor had a driver chip fail.
3: Some stored memory display mode in the monitor got corrupted.

3 is the easiest to check if you have the manual. It should tell you how to reset to factory settings by button pressing. If no manual, they manufacturer website should have it for download. This one might happen if the monitor is set to autodetect refresh/resolution/etc and just hiccuped.

Hopefully some more folks can continue to help you diagnose.



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Ed Sherman
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Larry Levy wrote:
So it sounds as if the fact that it's flat screen makes it more likely it might be a video card. Is that right


No. LCDs can die on you too.

Based on...

Larry Levy wrote:
I did note that I got the same pattern on my monitor even when the computer was off.


I'm betting the monitor is gone. Time to buy a newer bigger one.
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Larry Levy
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Marc, Ed, and Larry: Yeah, that's what I thought about the problem persisting even when the computer was off. The only disturbing possibility is that the video card may have zapped it, indicating that the card might be defective and could do it again. But I think I'm going to go with the monitor for now.

I think we have the manual. I'll see if it gives me directions for resetting the monitor. That'll be very cool if it could actually be brought back to life!

Thanks for all the help, everyone. I'll let you all know how it went as soon as I can (which might not be until I buy a new monitor!).
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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Monitor or video card.

They are the only two culprits. Unless the RAM on your computer is shared with the video card, but that is a small chance, I've only seen that happen once.
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