Why does my monitor blank out?

Question

Frequently my monitor will go black (or gray) and I can't get it to come back on unless I re-start my computer or unplug the monitor for an extended period of time. I tried hooking up a completely different monitor with separate cables and it still did it. The green indicator light is on while the screen is black and pressing the on/off button does not produce any change. It does not turn to amber or otherwise indicate that the button is being pressed.

Answer

This question was answered on January 13, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Turn off your monitor blanking. Turn off any screen savers, including the ones which came with Windows. Sometimes they can be misconfigured, and blank out too quickly. Uninstall any third-party screen savers or icon utilities, such as the ones that turn your mouse cursor into a flying saucer or a butterfly.

Uninstall any mouseware, or software included with the monitor. Use the options that come with Windows, instead.

In your case, I would also suspect the video card, as unplugging/replugging the monitor is a situation I have not heard associated with this problem. Back off a notch on your refresh rate, in case you are running your monitor on the hairy edge, and it can't refresh as fast as it might be set to.

Check the cables. Use the setscrews, which came with your monitor cable, to be sure the cable is not working itself loose. Check for bent pins on the plug that interfaces your monitor to the video card, or for indications of a bad 15-pin VGA video socket or a loose card. Be sure the video card also has a bracket screw installed.

Check the Windows' Device Manager for red and black event markers, or even red "X's". These can indicate improperly installed devices, which can sometimes cause the screen to go blank. If so, update the appropriate driver.

Just for purposes of exasperation, run a virus scan. It's amazing how often I get this question, and it really should not be that much of a problem. I'm having a heck of a time finding indications of it on other sites. Something weird must be going on!

Look for any third-party software which may be causing the problem. Individually shut down applications running in the Taskbar or the system tray. See if you can get the problem to go away.

RG

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Author

Posted by Robert of Mesa Community College on January 13, 2003