One of the most common hardware problems that people who own a laptop experience is a broken or malfunctioning laptop screen. Laptop screens are essential to laptop use. Laptop screens can be incredibly delicate. However, they are surprisingly very easy to fix even if the fixer is not a technical person.
Troubleshoot the Laptop Screen Problem
Before replacing a laptop screen, it is wise to troubleshoot the problem. While obvious damage to a screen usually requires full replacement, other types of damage that are visible on the laptop screen may not be due to the screen itself.
Pixels often get damaged, making the laptop screen very difficult to read and use. Laptops use LCD (liquid crystal display) to show images, which are made from thousands of pixels (little dots). If a few pixels in one area are damaged, this can ruin the entire computing experience. In most cases, it is best to remove the entire laptop screen and replace it with a new one.
Laptop Screens with Faint Images
Laptop screens are back lit to improve screen visibility. However, sometimes the back light does not work, making the screen extremely difficult to read. The problem might be as simple as one of the latches being stuck in the closed position. For instance, if the laptop is opened and the switch is stuck in the closed position, the computer is usually on, but the back light remains off. First, find the back light switch. These switches are usually very tiny and located near the laptop hinges. Try to open and close the laptop a few times, if this does not work, a gentle tap or using a small pin to try to gently un-stick the latch usually does the trick.
The Laptop Screen Flickers or is a Solid White Color
If the laptop screen flickers on and off, the cause is probably an inverter problem. The inverter supplies power to the screen’s back light. Inverters are easy to replace and usually cost about $100. If the laptop screen is a solid white color, then the problem is possibly a bad cable connection between the monitor and the system board. Open up the laptop and make sure that the cables and connections are set correctly and undamaged.
Jumbled Screen Images
Laptop users often see jumbled images on their screen. In most cases, this is not due to the screen itself, but possibly the video card. One quick way to determine what is causing the screen to be jumbled is to connect a monitor to the laptop with a VGA port. If the other monitor shows jumbled images, then the problem is probably the laptop’s video card.
Replacing a Laptop Screen
If the image problem is due to a broken or malfunctioning laptop screen, replacing it is fairly easy. It should be noted that laptop screens are extremely expensive and can sometimes cost 50% or more of the total price of the computer, for instance more than $500 for a $1,000 computer. While a new screen can be purchased from the manufacturer, most people either decide to purchase a used laptop screen or buy a new laptop. Those who decide to replace their computer screen only need a screwdriver. Here are some easy steps to follow:
- Step 1. Note the laptop screen type and purchase one that is guaranteed to fit. While some laptop models from the same manufacture may fit, ensure that it does before purchasing it. When ready to replace the screen, shut down the laptop, remove the battery, and unplug the laptop.
- Step 2. Locate the screw covers on the plastic frame (usually rubber or plastic) to gain access to the screws that hold the screen to the bezel in place. In most cases, the screen has from 4 to 6 total screw covers. The user will probably need a small flat head or Phillips screw driver. However, some laptops might have their own screw heads that require special screw drivers or Allen wrenches to remove the screws. Screw covers are usually located at the bottom of the plastic frame. However, every computer model is different, so search for the screw covers to gain access to the screen.
- Step 3. Once the screw covers are removed, remove all the screws while holding the screen in place. Once all the screws are removed, gently pull away the screen from the plastic bezel. The best way to accomplish this is to use one’s fingers to gently roll around the entire bezel, thereby loosening the screen. Once the screen is slightly separated, pull it away from the bezel with a light to moderate amount of force. If the screen does not budge, check whether any screws are still attached.
- Step 4. When the bezel has been removed, the screen with a metal frame surrounding it will be visible. Tilt the screen forward, exposing the LCD frame’s metal back. The screen should gently pop out of its back shell. The wires running from the screen to the laptop will be visible. There should be two main wires. The first is a ribbon, which is the video cable. The video cable is usually taped in place. Remove the tape and gently disconnect the ribbon from the LCD screen. The other wire is the inverter’s power cable. In order to only replace the LCD screen, continue to use the inverter, leaving it as is. However, in order to replace the inverter as well, disconnect the power cable and unscrew the inverter from its mount.
- Step 5. Once the old screen is removed, plug in the new screen and set it in the shell. However, before screwing in the bezels, test the screen to make sure it is working properly. In order to test the screen, power up the laptop. If the screen is working properly when powered up, shut down the computer and continue to screw the screen to the bezel and cover the screws with the plastic or rubber caps.
Screen replacement is complete. The computer should work like new. Replacing the laptop screen without a technician is a great way to save money, not only on the cost of the laptop screen, but the cost of labor as well.