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Dell 5160 w/fx5200 - no internal display

Guest russ

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Hi. Been browsing around, and what a fantaistic site and resource!

I've got a Dell 5160 that has been rock solid for a year. 2 weeks after the warranty expired, I've been having big problems with the video card and lcd. Called Dell, walked through an hour of troubleshooting(checked the connections and cables, checked the control panel settings, etc), only to hear - send it in and have it repaired for $500-1,000 or more depending what it is.

Thing is, I'm not convinced it is a hardware problem. I recently installed an external Sony LCD and this is when the problems started.

About a week ago, I unplugged from the external, went on a road trip,and on resume, had no lcd on the laptop. But the login screen was there and could type the password - just coudln't see it. I found an external monitor and sure enough, it works fine using the external monitor.

The boot up screens and all messages go directly to the external monitor - internal lcd never works. When I open the laptop screen, it senses it and switches to the laptop screen and even keeps the second monitor running as an extension. You can see the internal LCD screen flicker and the backlight come on, but the screen stays black. If I close the screen, the external monitor comes on and works great.

I'm convinced the problem is in the driver and video card and that some setting somewhere has pooched the interal LCD. When I go in to the display control panel, Advanced, and then the 5200 tab, the internal LCD is always greyed out and not "attached". I can check Attached, but it goes right back as unchecked.

I've now uninstalled/re-installed, rolled back the driver, and messed with the settings so much, I'd just like to start over!

The driver version is I assume the '5821' part is the driver version, but after reading all the FAQs I can't figure it out.

Any help/advice/guidance would be greatly appreciated.


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Oops, Forgot details about my setup:

Dell Inspiron 5160

Win XP Pro SP2 - all updates applied

SXGA+ LCD - 1400X1050

nVidia GeForce FX Go5200 64MB

System BIOS - A08

Adapter BIOS -

Driver version - (from the Device Manager adapter properties). I assume this is version 67.42 of the nVidia driver.

I've looked through all the FAQs,

With ALL video going to the external monitor (right from the first startup/BIOS screen...), I think there must be a BIOS setting or something that's been set that just needs to be changed to feed video back to the internal LCD, but I have no idea how to check it or what to do.

Or is there a way to reset the video card BIOS back to factory settings?

I did attach a copy of the .inf file to the original post in case that has something in it that can be changed to fix this.


Edited by russ
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Hit F2 right after you power up to get into the BIOS Setup screens. You may find a solution there. However you should be able to do the same thing by hitting Fn+F8 to switch the display between the internal and external monitors. (This should work both in and out of Windows.)

If that doesn't work, there's a chance your LCD cable has come loose. Search Dell's support site for "5160 Service Manual" and follow the (easy) instructions to check that.

Finally, if all else fails, try installing driver 67.66 with my customized nv4_disp.inf, which you can find here. It solves many problems with the Dell drivers, including making selection of the active monitor easier. The installation alone may solve your problem.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

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Tried Fn+F8 (does switch from external to internal & vice-versa, but internal stays black), BIOS Setup (nothing really to change in there for the video card settings), re-seating the cable and video card (no effect at all) -- all with no luck. Also installed the 67.66 driver and .inf which all works way better than the old software. But still no internal display so must be the card or cable.

Amazingly enough, a new nVidia 64MB card and flex cable directly from Dell are only $100 or so. So I'll try that.

Thanks for the help and advice.

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Okay... Good luck with it!

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  • 3 weeks later...
New video card (<$100 from Dell) fixed the problem with no LCD screen.
Yay, glad you got your problem fixed! :)

Thats another problem solved.

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