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How to Resolve Monitor or Laptop Display Issues

Whether you are working on a document, watching a video, or gaming, a functioning monitor or screen is important. Find information about how to set up multiple monitors or connecting a laptop to a Dell docking station.

Does the screen remain black after turning on the computer? If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, the suggested quick steps might help.

  • The screen does not turn on or the screen is blank or black.
  • The image on the screen is fuzzy, blurry, distorted, or faded.
  • There are horizontal or vertical lines on the screen.

No video troubleshooting

Watch this video to learn if your Dell computer is experiencing a display or video issue.



Follow these quick steps to resolve display issues


Fix 1: Perform a hard reset

A hard reset helps drain static electricity that may be causing the power issue. To perform a hard reset, follow these steps.

  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Disconnect the power cable (for desktop computers), or disconnect the AC adapter and remove the battery (for Dell laptops with removable battery).
    NOTE: For Dell laptops that have a nonremovable battery, learn How to Reset Real Time Clock (RTC) to Recover Your Dell Laptop. For Dell laptops with removable batteries, see the user guide of your Dell laptop for step-by-step instructions to safely remove the battery.
    NOTE: On select Dell Latitude laptops, learn How to Use Forced ePSA to Recover from a POST or Boot Failure.
  3. Disconnect all devices such as USB drivers, printers, webcams, media cards (SD/xD), except the keyboard and mouse.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 15 to 20 seconds to drain the residual power.
    Press the power button
  5. Connect the power cable (for desktop computers) or the AC adapter and battery (for laptops).
  6. Turn on the computer.

Fix 2: Check if the monitor is working

If the computer starts but the display is blank or black, check if the monitor is working properly.
  1. Turn on the monitor and check the power light to verify that it is turned on.
  2. If the monitor does not turn on, unplug the power cable of the monitor, and then reconnect it.
  3. Try a known-good power outlet.
  4. If the monitor works fine, but the display issue persists, go to the next fix. However, if the monitor does not turn on after trying the above steps, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.
    Power cable on the back of the monitor.

Fix 3: Reconnect the video cable between the monitor and the computer

A poor connection between the monitor and the computer might cause display-related issues. Reconnecting the devices can often help solve the problem.

  1. Turn off the computer and the monitor.
  2. Unplug the video cable which connects the monitor to the computer.
  3. Check the video port on the computer and the monitor, and the video cable if they are damaged or the pins are bent. If there is no damage, reconnect the monitor to the computer. Or, if you have another video cable, try connecting the two devices using the new cable. Bypass the docking station to verify that the docking station is not causing the display issue.
    NOTE: Check the user guide of your monitor and computer to verify what type of video cables are supported by these devices.
  4. Turn on the computer to check if the display issue is resolved.
    Monitor connected to a laptop

Fix 4: Reset the BIOS or UEFI to factory default settings

Incorrect boot settings in the BIOS or UEFI of the computer can cause boot-related issues. Resetting the BIOS or UEFI settings to factory defaults can help resolve many boot-related issues.

Watch this video to learn how to reset the BIOS or UEFI to factory default settings.

NOTE: The BIOS interface on your Dell computer may vary. See the user guide of your Dell computer for product-specific information.


Fix 5: Run a hardware diagnostic on the display

Running a built-in diagnostic test on the monitor or laptop screen helps identify if the display is functioning normally.

Running the Built-in Self-Test (BIST) also called Built-In Diagnostics (BID) on Dell monitors

Dell monitors are equipped with an integrated diagnostic tool that helps determine if the screen abnormality is an inherent problem with the Dell monitor.
  1. Browse to Dell.com/support/manuals.
  2. Identify your Dell monitor
    1. Enter the model number or Service Tag of the monitor, and then click Search.
    2. Or, click Browse all products, select Electronics & Accessories, select Monitors & Accessories, and then select your Dell monitor from the list.
  3. Under the Documentation tab, scroll to the Manuals and Documents section and then click View PDF next to the monitors’ user guide.
  4. In the user guide, under the Troubleshooting section, scroll to the Built-In Diagnostics page.
  5. Follow the instructions to run the built-in self-test or built-in diagnostics on the monitor.
  6. If the screen abnormality is not present in the diagnostics, the display is functioning normally.
  7. If the screen abnormality is present in the diagnostics, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.

Running the LCD Built-in Self-Test on Dell laptops

Dell laptops have a built-in diagnostic tool that helps determine if the screen abnormality is an inherent problem with the LCD screen of the Dell laptop.
  1. Turn off the laptop.
  2. Disconnect any devices that are connected to the computer.
  3. Connect the AC adapter (charger) to the computer.
  4. Ensure that the LCD screen is clean (no dust particles on the surface of the screen).
  5. Press and hold the D key and turn on the computer to enter LCD built-in self-test (BIST) mode. Continue to hold the D key, until you see color bars on the LCD screen.
    NOTE: If this method does not work, learn how to run the LCD built-in self-test on a Dell laptop.
  6. The screen displays multiple color bars and changes colors to black, white, red, green, and blue.
  7. Carefully inspect the screen for abnormalities.
  8. Press the Esc key to exit.
  9. If the screen abnormality is not present in the diagnostics, the display is functioning normally.
  10. If the screen abnormality is present in the diagnostics, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.
If these quick steps did not resolve the display-related issue, see the Other Resources section below. You can also search for content related to the issue using the search bar at the top of this page.

Video

Test Your Laptop Screen

Use your laptops Built In Self Test (BIST) to test the screen.
How to Troubleshoot Display Issues

This video will demonstrate the troubleshoot procedure for the Display Issues
Dell Monitor Ergonomics Recommendations Video

This video demonstrates the best practices in monitor ergonomics for users, IT buyers and facilities managers.

Other Resources

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Setup Dual or Multiple Monitors
Learn how to setup dual monitors or multiple monitors.
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Troubleshoot Multiple Monitor Issues
Learn how to troubleshoot and resolve display issues when using multiple monitors with your Dell computer.
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Troubleshoot Touch Screen Issues
Learn how to troubleshoot and resolve touch screen issues on supported Dell computers.
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Support Videos
Visit our video library to find helpful videos.