There are several reasons to opt for a laptop over a desktop computer.

However, one of the primary advantages that makes it a prime choice for most people (especially working-class individuals and students) is its mobility while packing similar performance of a PC.

You can carry it anywhere and do whatever you want with it, from playing video games to showing an important presentation at work.

Unfortunately, there’s a catch, and that is a laptop’s nature of being a single unit.

Unlike a desktop computer where you can remove and replace damaged parts yourself, a laptop cannot. One of the biggest examples, which is our core focus here, is screen issues. It isn’t the same when it comes to a PC where you can easily purchase a new monitor to replace the broken one. A laptop needs professional repairs to fix that issue or at worse requires consideration in buying a new unit entirely – which is most often the case.

But if you’re on a tight budget and you want to solve the problem yourself, here are laptop screen issues you may be able to fix.

No Display Screen

Let’s start with one of the most common laptop screen issues – no display or blank screen. There’s a lot of reason behind this problem. Fortunately, there are also plenty of troubleshooting procedures you can try that might probably fix it.

sony blank screen

First of all, you should confirm that when you turn your device on, it powers up just like normal – power icon is lighting up, the HDD (hard disk drive) is running, and the fan is spinning. That is to make sure what you’re experiencing is indeed a “no display” screen issue. There are two primary causes: Motherboard has faulty hardware parts, or the LCD or LED is broken. Either one of the two is what’s causing the problem, and knowing which is the key to solving it.

The only way to find out is to do a step by step inspection:

Step 1 – Display Check

First and foremost, start checking the screen if it is truly the one causing the problem. You can do this by connecting your laptop to an external display – a computer monitor or a smart TV works well. Turn your device again, if it shows a boot up on the external screen, then it’s guaranteed that your laptop’s screen is, in fact, the issue.

Having a defective LED or LCD is an easy repair, but you should first check if your laptop is still under warranty. If it is still under warranty, go directly to the nearest repair hub and do not attempt to fix it yourself. If it’s not, you can go to a computer parts supplier or, better yet, laptop manufacturer’s certified parts dealer and purchase a replacement screen. We suggest that you bring your laptop with you to get the exact screen replacement and eliminate the risk of getting the wrong one.

Before you continue and replace the part yourself, take note that you are doing this at your own risk and we are not held accountable for any damage, injury, or data loss during the process. Steps in replacing the defective screen:

  • Turn your computer off
  • Remove the power supply and battery
  • Examine the screen bezel and locate all the screws
  • Unscrew and gently remove the bezel
  • Remove the dysfunctional screen
  • Install the replacement
  • Place the battery and power supply back in
  • Test and turn your laptop on – you do it first before returning the bezel back in place just in case it still won’t work (although chances are pretty slim, the replacement itself could be defective)
  • Return everything back in place

Once you can see your computer booting up and the screen now functions properly, the repair is complete. It’s not a hard fix, but it takes patience and time to execute correctly.

Step 2 – BIOS Check

As mentioned above, if it still doesn’t work after connecting your laptop to an external screen, we proceed to the second step. In this step, we are going to check your device’s BIOS (basic input/output system).

For some reason, a computer’s system may go haywire even if things were running smoothly. A quick and straightforward solution is to reset its BIOS. Here’s how to do that:

  • Turn your laptop off
  • Unplug and remove the battery
  • Press the power button for about 30 seconds to deplete its CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) battery
  • Plug the power cable without inserting the battery
  • Turn your laptop on

This process should reset your laptop’s bios, and if that was the only problem, your computer should run without any problem. You are then free to insert the battery back in. However, if your computer still doesn’t display anything, proceed to the next step.

Step 3 – RAM Check

One of the leading causes, about 90%, of no display issues in both laptop and desktop computers is due to a faulty RAM (random access memory). The problem may be as simple as having a dirty memory stick, or it may be broken and needs replacement. Fixing this problem is as easy as resetting the bios.

Here’s how to solve a RAM issue:

  • Turn your device off                                                   
  • Remove power supply and battery
  • Flip your laptop and locate the RAM access cover
  • Unscrew and open the cover, and then carefully remove the memory chips/sticks
  • Clean chips/sticks – you can do that by using a regular eraser and rub the gold contacts gently
  • Put everything back in place
  • Turn your laptop on

If your laptop has two memory slots and two chips – and if unfortunately it still did not work – you should make use of only one chip and one slot at a time and perform a test. To elaborate, choose only one chip and use it in one of the slots, and then turn your device on. If that fails, use the same chip but insert it in the other slot. Again, if that still fails, use the unused chip then redo the previous steps.

If your device works after doing the above, apparently, one of those two memory sticks is the problem. If both of the chips did not work, you could further verify by borrowing the same type of memory chip (a working one) from a friend and test it on your laptop. If it works, you should purchase new RAM chips/sticks for replacement. Again, bring the defective RAM to the store to accurately get the same type – you may choose to upgrade if you like but it should match correctly.

Defective Motherboard/ Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

If the three steps above didn’t solve the “no display” issue, there’s a huge chance that your laptop’s problem is within the motherboard or GPU. In that case, you can’t do anything about it. The best option you have is to bring your laptop to a repair centre and let the professionals deal with it, or you can also buy a new unit instead.

Lines or Dots on the Screen

If your laptop’s LCD or LED screen has some visible black dots or lines, you should first try to press it – just enough force that will alter the display. Most of the time, this problem is due to trapped or wedged pixels. Applying pressure on it will usually loosen and free the pixels, and when it is unstuck, the dots and lines will disappear.

However, if applying pressure to it doesn’t remove or alleviate the dots, then the only way to solve it is by replacing the screen. Most of the time, monitor lines and dots are usually bearable and poses no hindrance to productivity or usage – so as long as that’s the case, there is no need for replacement.

Dimmed Screen

Another common problem is when your display is darker than usual. First of all, you have to make sure that you set your laptop’s brightness level to maximum. If that does not work, then there are two other ways you can do yourself to fix the problem.

Firstly, you can try closing and opening the lid. Most of the time, your laptop just lagged and didn’t follow the system protocol immediately or the lid switch was stuck. Manually closing and opening the lid back again usually solves this issue.

Secondly, you can do a quick restart/reboot. It may just be a minute system error or problem that can be solved by restarting your device. After it has fully booted up, you can assess if it’s still dimmed.

If both didn’t work, there might be hardware problems – burnt backlight or inverter, or broken cable. We do not advise you to do these manually as it is more complicated than replacing the screen. Doing it on your own may destroy the circuit board (which is quite expensive) and backlight lamp. The lamp itself contains mercury (extremely hazardous to your health) and lead glass – it’s brittle and may cause static charges and electrocute you when repairing it without the proper tools.

Wrong Colour Display or Distorted Screen

If your laptop’s screen is messing up – colour is incorrect, divided screen, or jumbled display – it’s often due to a defective GPU. There is nothing you can do but send your laptop to a professional repair centre. It requires replacing the GPU, which is almost always connected to the motherboard. It also needs precision tools to repair successfully, without so, you may worsen the damage.