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PC screen going blank

Old 8th Dec 2021, 11:31
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PC screen going blank

My PC (OS is Windows 10, fully up to date, using a Samsung SSD) has recently begun to "glitch" on an increasingly regular basis.

The screen goes completely black for a couple of seconds, then normal service is restored. Thankfully nothing gets lost in the process and no error messages show up.

Any ideas?.
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 11:43
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You've tried plugging in a different screen to determine if the fault is with the screen or with the the base unit?
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 11:58
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Unfortunately I don't have a spare monitor to try.
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 14:04
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Video driver issue?

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...4072fa1?auth=1
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 14:26
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Might be worth reseating the graphics card - I had issues with something years ago and a tame IT tech at work advised reseating as the next step after a mains plug out reboot!
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 14:58
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is it a laptop (integral screen) or desktop (external screen)? Does the sound continue, ie is the PC continuing normally, just not displaying? Got an HDMI output so could plug into a TV to see if it happens there as well. Wiggled all cables to check connections? Got a mate to swap the monitor with for a few days to problem solve? Age of monitor? Age of PC? Anything overheating?

S
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 15:39
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Thanks for the suggestions so far.

It's a PC - desktop with a separate monitor. I've already tried everything suggested apart from swapping the monitor itself.

I've also pulled apart and reseated all the DC connections from the power supply to the motherboard and any intermediate connections (and wiggled the leads to see it there was a dry joint somewhere).

I've removed, cleaned and re-seated the processor and its heat sink and renewed the heat transfer paste between the two. According to the BIOS, it's not overheating anyway but I wanted to check the connections were good and eliminate that as a possible fault.

The memory sticks (2 x 4GB) have been reseated. The motherboard is a mini PCI form and has integral video and sound cards, so there's nothing to re-seat there. I've run a diagnostic check on the SSD hard drive - perfect result there, no errors showing at all.

The video driver is a possibility I'll look into - it was recently updated to the latest version of Windows 10 (!) but I can't precisely pin the problem to that date event. I have checked to see if it was possible to upgrade (?) to Win 11 but apparently the M/board isn't compatible (I've tried checking and changing the security settings in the BIOS as suggested by Mr. Gates' minions, but that makes no difference).

Maybe it's time for a new motherboard....

Edit: Just confirmed by playing a YouTube video that it's only the picture that fails, the sound continues normally.

Last edited by ShyTorque; 8th Dec 2021 at 16:10. Reason: Update re. sound.
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 21:08
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It might be worth having a dig through Event Viewer for error / warning /info entries which you can narrow down with the system time at failure (JCB possibly required for the digging!).
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 22:00
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TA, Thank you.
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 22:13
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Some modern LED TVs can take a PC monitor input, could be worth a try.

I have two Samsung monitors on my PC as work and one of them flashes off and on as the computer is booting. It originally started doing it when the computer was operating normally but after playing with the Hz figure in the Windows 10 monitor configuration I made them equal to each other and the problem now only remains at boot time. The issue started after a Windows 10 patch upgrade years ago and has remained even after subsequent Windows 10 patch upgrades.

Another thing you could try is to scroll around the actual monitor menu using the monitor buttons while it's disconnected from the computer. If it continues to go blank then the monitor is your problem, perhaps a reset to factory defaults may cure it.
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 22:14
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1 and most likely check kettle lead to monitor. Then and in order
2. Suspect the monitor
3. Suspect the video card
4. Suspect the motherboard
5 Forget about Windows 11. Most current PCS can't run it as it requires a specific level of hardware security (thus condemning a huge number of perfectly adequate computers to the scrap heap) and it confers no benefit over 10 which is supported until 2025 at least.
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 00:02
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Unplug and re plug the USB lead from the screen to the monitor or whatever the lead is, if you have multiple connection options on the graphics card, try a different one.
Update the graphics card driver, from the manufactures website.

Is it an lcd monitor, if it is it might be a backlight problem, when it happens again shine a light on the screen and see if you can see an image.

https://www.techwalla.com/articles/signs-of-a-dying-lcd-monitor


..

Last edited by NutLoose; 9th Dec 2021 at 09:43.
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 04:22
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Have you done a shutdown, power off (disconnect from wall) and reboot?

Well of course you think you have but MS have actually made this pretty difficult.

Turn off Fast Startup then shutdown and power up the computer. Leave fast startup off. If you want hibernate then enable it in the power menu.This is the only way to do a hardware reset (power off) and a full system restart at the same time. Fast Startup is the devils work.

If still broken. Check drivers for yellow/red flags in Device Manager.

If that's OK check the OS files for integrity as follows.

Administrator Command window
chkdsk /f

If clean

sfc /scannow

repeat until clean (usually once is enough but occasionally needs repeated) or if it says it cant fix it

dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

If that says it has fixed it then finally repeat
scf /scannow

As suggested check the Event Viewer. You know exactly when these events are occurring so it should be easy enough to isolate any anomalies.

Windows Logs/System is the main one and may as well check
Windows Logs/Applications

Every computer I look at has vary scary looking and incomprehensible messages in the log so don't panic.
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 12:36
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Thanks, I’ll look into these further suggestions when I’m able.

But for now, yes a full PC power off and reboot has been done. I turned off fast boot a long time ago, it was there from new. Also, setting the BIOS to factory defaults has been tried without success.

I’ve checked the power lead along it’s full length by manipulating it, no break in power seen.

The lead to the motherboard is integral to the monitor. I’ve re-seated it a number of times in its socket to clean the pins. Moving it around indicates that there’s no dry solder joints there. Again, it seems intact along its length.

The monitor was reset to factory defaults as part of my initial fault finding attempts.

There is no separate video card, as I wrote earlier it’s integral with the main board.

The hard drive is solid state, it came with its own integrity checking software and using it proves it’s OK.

I’ve come to the conclusion that trying a different monitor is the best way forward. I’ll try to borrow one.

In the meantime, my wife is still using the computer, making up a stack of invoices for her business (pre Christmas rush of orders) so I’m unable to get anywhere near it; we’re ignoring the annoying monitor glitches.

Regards all!

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Old 9th Dec 2021, 13:27
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Charity shops can be a good source of used monitors for very little money. People buy a new, bigger monitor, and donate the old one.
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 15:26
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Depending on the output connection of your pc and the input connection of your tv, you could connect to your tv and see if you replicate the problem. If the problem disappears then it’s time for a new monitor.
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 17:07
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Those second-hand electronics shops that sell cameras, PCs and phones etc, can be a good source of monitors. I got a decent DELL monitor to replace the CRT on my old Windows PC for 15.

I would also check the voltage rails: 5V, 12V etc, of the computer power supply while they are under normal load. Some computer PSUs do not have much spare capacity, so the addition of peripherals could be dragging a supply rail down.

The following thoughts might already have been checked or mentioned :
Have you defragmented the hard drive? Might not be an issue with a SSD?

Is the computer main memory 75% or more full? Might be causing processing problems.

With no separate video card, the computer RAM has to process everything and might be getting full, leaving not quite enough capacity to process the video, leading to hiccups and freezes?
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 18:33
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you need to put a spare/friends monitor on it for a while. It will eliminate, or not, all the PC-centric suggestions up above. Troubleshooting is binary chop, take away half the problem, repeat and so on.

Funny old story - there was a DataCenter in central London next to the Thames and 11am every Thursday morning all the computers reset. Engineers tried everything. One of the engineers was on a tour of HMS Belfast and the guide mentioned every Thursday at 11am they spun up the ships radar just to keep make sure it worked.....!

S
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Old 10th Dec 2021, 23:47
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My monitor was doing similar after a big Windows 10 update. I had a NVidia driver and went on Nvidia web site and found latest driver to update. nb the Windows driver menu said I was on latest driver but this was incorrect. Anyway updating the driver fixed it.
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Old 11th Dec 2021, 06:31
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Memory exhaustion? Pull up task manager (press CTRL-SHIFT-ESC at the same time) and see what process is flying close to the wind and chewing all the resources. Maybe you have some programs in the startup section that do not need to be running all the time? How about viruses and malware? Hidden cryptominers?

Disk drive paging errors? Check the system log, and also drive parameters for spare blocks being consumed. Do a full disk check as indicated in previous posts. Check that your backup software is completing, and that backups are actually restorable by renaming a file and then attempting a restore from backup.

4Gb is a bare minimum for Windows 10 these days. Both the problems above can be postponed for a while by upgrading to more memory. Cheap performance boost. Most motherboards more than a few years old may not be able to support more. YMMV.

You check you CPU for heating issues. Did you check your graphic chip on the motherboard as well?

Is your monitor and PC plugged into the same power outlet? Not on different phases on the power? Is one on a UPS and the other not? Maybe ground loops?

Do you vacuum your equipment often? Dust buildup and spiders do not mix well with lectrickery...

If you do isolate the problem, it may be insightful to document it here for others, as often these issues are just left open on forums and nobody knows what the problem actually was and how it was remedied.
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