When your computer has a black screen, you may or may not need a new monitor. There are a few easy tricks you can use to figure out what you need to do to fix your computer.
Note that even laptop users can usually replace their monitors for less than the cost of buying a new computer. In fact, laptops which are 3 to 7 years old can usually get a used replacement monitor for about $50 to $100 from another similar salvaged laptop.
Two Cases When You Need A New Monitor
First, you need a new monitor if there’s physical damage to the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) of your monitor, such as part of the screen being black when the rest works like normal or any visible cracks in the screen. LCDs cannot usually be repaired.
Second, you need a new monitor if any of the monitor connections or hardwired wires are damaged. (An electronic engineer can replace these connections, but at $50 an hour, hiring someone to repair your connections will often cost more than buying a new monitor.)
When You Don’t Need A New Monitor
Most other problems which cause a black screen on your computer don’t require a new monitor. One problem which causes a black screen is the death or malfunction of the backlight which lets your LCD work. Your LCD works sort of like a prism. Behind the LCD is a white light; the LCD uses polarization to only let through the frequency of light which corresponds to the color your computer tells it to display for each pixel on your monitor.
If the backlight of your monitor stops working, the LCD still polarizes like normal but there’s no white light for it to work with. You can determine if your LCD is still working by shining a flashlight at your monitor when it should be displaying something (for example, when your computer is turned on). If you can see a dim image on your monitor reflected back at you, then your LCD is still working and all you need to do is replace the backlight or other malfunctioning component.
Other problems which cause a black screen are related to your computer’s boot-up cycle. If your computer doesn’t boot up correctly, it will never send any information to your monitor, so all you get is a black screen.
To test your boot up, turn your computer on like normal and watch the lights on your computer or laptop. Also keep your ears open. During boot up, your computer’s fans should run at least briefly. The lights for your hard drive should blink (or stay on) as it tries to load the operating system. The network card light should turn on or blink. If none of this happens, then your computer isn’t booting correctly.
If you recently changed hardware on your computer, then change it back as best as possible or see if you did something wrong. Otherwise, you will need to take your computer to a repair shop to figure out why it isn’t booting.
The other causes for a black screen are loose cords between your computer and your monitor and between your monitor and your power outlet. Make sure both ends of each cord are fully inserted into their connections and then restart your monitor to see if the computer black screen goes away.