A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 80-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH

THE BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH

When you press the power button on your laptop all of the blue led quick lights light up, but all you get is a blank black screen. WHY?  WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE?

This happened to me about a month ago, and not knowing what this meant I went online and began many days of frustrating exploration.  I finally discovered a page that suggested a way to determine the cause of this problem.  The instructions were simple enough:  Turn your computer off. then simultaneously hold down the Windows key and the “B” key while pressing the power button.  If this works, you should here a “beeping” sound

(http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c03518165)

IT WORKED; my laptop beeped.  I heard 1 long beep followed by 2 short beeps, and this signal repeated regularly until I shut the computer down.  This article had a list of possible beeps and what they mean (you can Google “Beep Codes” to see the “Beep Chart” if necessary).  In my case, the beeping pattern suggested that my laptop had a bad graphics or video card.  NOW WHAT?

After more frustrating research I learned that the NVIDA graphics card was attached to the motherboard, and the whole damned computer would have to be dismantled to get to the problem.  Because of this, and because the laptop was now 8 years old with maximum ram of 1GB, I decided that this once awesome creature was no longer worth repairing.  I placed it back into its carrying case and placed in the back of a bedroom closet, where it should remain until I decided exactly how to dispose of it.  THEN I WENT OUT AND BOUGHT MYSELF A NEW MUCH MORE POWERFUL DESKTOP PC.  (I would have preferred to buy another notebook, but they cost twice as much as a desktop with all of the power that I programs that I wanted).

However, I really liked that old laptop computer; it cost me a lot of money then, and long before vehicles were being sold with built-in WIFI I had equipped my car with a converter that would allow me to plug in the laptop so that it could be used in case of power failures (like, maybe, during a hurricane) and purchased an adaptor that would enable me to watch TV on it.  So . . .I pulled it back out of the closet and began more frustrating research.

This time I learned what might have caused the possible failure of my video graphics card – it might be attributable to the computer having once overheated, causing the solder that connected the card to the motherboard to melt (or something to that effect), thus separating the card from its source of power.  One of the recommended remedies to this situation was heating the computer hot enough to enable the solder to melt again and reattach itself to the motherboard.
(http://www.computercorrect.com/2011/hardware/laptops/blank-black-screen-fix-for-hp-laptops/)

While it sounded like a pretty dumb idea to me, I decided to attempt this repair by following the recommended procedure – removing the battery, plugging in the AC power supply, and wrapping the computer in a heavy towel.  After leaving the unit wrapped in a big Turkish towel for several hours, I removed it and attempted to restart it.  NOTHING HAPPENED, so I put it back into the closet.

After a couple of weeks, I decided once again to attempt the “heat wrap” repair, but this time I turned the power on, closed the lid, and placed the computer – are you ready? – into an insulated WALMART FOOD STORAGE BAG and sealed it shut.

BAKING MY LAPTOP

BAKING MY LAPTOP

2+hours later, I extracted the computer from the insulated bag, placed it on a stand, opened it and pressed the power button.  The button was so hot it almost burned my finger, but the computer began immediately to boot up.  The HP logo appeared and was soon followed by the Window Logo.  Once the laptop finished booting up and the regular screen appeared I reset the time and date (an important 1st step upon restoration of a computer), ran a virus scan, downloaded 30 days of updates, and went to bed.  That was yesterday (actually about 1:30AM this morning).  I was afraid to shut the computer down before retiring, so I simply reset the screen display to shut off after 30 minutes; then locked the screen and closed the lid.  When I got up this morning, the computer was fully operational and had received more updates.

IT'S BACK!

IT’S BACK!

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a learned computer repair person.  I am, in fact, a 78-year-old geezer that is awed by the endless information available over the Internet.  I am also an avid photographer and a casino-type (free) games player.  I do not want to encourage anyone who has the “Black Screen of Death” to attempt these repairs without understanding that they are doing so at their own risk (IE., I will in no way be responsible if you do this and destroy your computer or burn down your house)!!!

I would suggest that you read as much as you can about how to perform these procedures from much more knowledgeable computer technicians, geeks, and bloggers before trying this method of graphics card recovery.  I would also like to note that after reviewing my procedures and accomplishments, that in addition to having removed the battery and any peripheral devices and USB drives I should have removed the hard-drives (my laptop has two) before attempting to heat up my computer.  I GUESS I JUST GOT LUCKY!

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