How to Fix It When an HP Laptop Has a Black Screen

Is it a setting issue or some other problem?

This article contains troubleshooting tips for fixing a black screen on an HP laptop, listed from easiest and most likely to work to the hardest and least likely ones.

Causes of a Faulty HP Laptop Screen

There are many reasons your HP laptop display won't turn on even though you can hear the computer working. It could be as simple as brightness or hibernation adjustment, or it could be something more challenging, like corrupted or outdated drivers or physical parts have worn out. Whatever the problem, you may be able to get it going again with a few troubleshooting steps.

How to Fix HP Laptop Screen That Won't Turn On

If you can hear your HP laptop working (the hard drive spinning up, for example) and see the lights and indicators blinking, but the display remains black, then you can run through a few troubleshooting steps to see if you can get it working again.

  1. Adjust the brightness. Make sure you haven't set the brightness of your laptop screen to the minimum. There should be a function key or buttons on the keyboard which control display brightness. Use those buttons to increase your system brightness to see if your monitor display will become visible.

  2. Turn off hibernation. Sometimes hibernation files can become corrupt. If you turn this feature off and restart your computer, it could remove the problem and allow your laptop display to come on again.

  3. Update your graphics driver. An outdated graphics driver could prevent the screen from displaying correctly. You may also try updating the BIOS, as it could also be the source of the problem.

  4. Perform a hard reset. If there is an error in the firmware or some other software application preventing the computer screen from displaying, performing a hard reset of your computer could clear up the problem. To hard reset an HP laptop:

    1. Disconnect all peripheral devices and cables connected to your computer.
    2. Make sure the computer is disconnected from power and remove the battery.
    3. Press and hold the power button for at least 15 seconds.
    4. Then reconnect the power, leaving the battery out of the computer, and restart your computer.

    Performing a hard reset is not the same as factory resetting your HP laptop. The hard reset should not clear any of your data from your computer, but it could clear out any driver or firmware errors that might be happening.

  5. Connect to an external monitor to test the LCD and LCD Cable. Connect to the external display using a VGA cable or connect to a TV as an external display using an HDMI cable, depending on the connections available on your system. Then restart your computer.

    Once your computer reboots, if it's not displaying on the external monitor, you may need to press the F4 key (or another key with a rectangle box with vertical lines on the left and right—meant to indicate a monitor) on your keyboard. It's the external monitor key and should tell your laptop to connect to the external display.

    If the computer displays on the external monitor, the LCD or internal LCD cable could be faulty. Replace the LCD cable. If that doesn't work, the LCD screen needs to be replaced and should probably go to the repair shop since replacing the monitor can be delicate.

  6. Reseat the RAM. Laptops get carried around and can be banged or jolted when moved, which can cause the RAM to come loose from its slot. You'll have to take the cover off the bottom of the computer to do this, but once you have it off, you can take the RAM out and reinsert it to make sure it's securely seated.

    If you have two RAM cards on your computer, you should also try removing them, one at a time, to see if one of the memory cards is not working. Take the first one out and restart the computer; if the display turns on, the RAM is bad. Otherwise, replace that RAM and take the other one out to test it.

    If you find you have a bad memory card, you can pick up and install a new stick of RAM to get your display going again.

Know When to Call In the Professionals

If you've tried the steps above and none of them worked, then it might be time to call in the professionals, or at the very least, someone who feels more confident about digging around inside your laptop's case. If you're unsure who to turn to next, read How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for some quick tips on what to do next.

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