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Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?

JHW 05 Dec 10 - 05:26 PM
JHW 05 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Dec 10 - 06:22 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Dec 10 - 06:30 PM
EBarnacle 05 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM
JHW 06 Dec 10 - 06:01 AM
Simon G 06 Dec 10 - 08:04 AM
John MacKenzie 06 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM
JHW 06 Dec 10 - 12:26 PM
EBarnacle 06 Dec 10 - 12:41 PM
JHW 12 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM
EBarnacle 12 Dec 10 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,JJ on his jollies 12 Dec 10 - 12:19 PM
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Subject: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JHW
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 05:26 PM

This laptop screen has always lit up a bit dim coming on but in a short time has always 'warmed up'to nice and bright. Last week or so I'm aware it no longer 'warms up' but stays dim, the white rather grey. Is this the end of it coming up? Laptop is Compaq N160 far from recent but I like a full height screen cos being a folkie I'm old fashioned like that. I've looked at Display but couldn't find anything there.
Any advice welcome. Thanks, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JHW
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM

PS

While shutting down I have realised that the screen brightness is now only as it appears on Battery power. Switching the Mains off and on brings on or off the battery icon in the bottom tray but is now making no difference to the brightness of the screen which would always have brightened with mains power (as I invariably use it)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 06:22 PM

You may find an adjustment in a "graphics driver" or "graphics accelerator" file or folder somewhere on the machine that's taken a new setting, although older machines are less likely to have an accessible setting.

It is typical for laptops to have "screen adjustments" at an icon in the Startup tray at the right end of the bottom bar in Windows desktop screens, so you might look for anything labelled as "monitor" or "display" or "graphics" or "graphics accelerator" - or anything similar. (This icon replaces functions provided by the physical "buttons" usually found on desktop monitors, if it's there.)

Compaq (HP) no longer lists anything for this model - that I see - on their support website. You might find something if you dig a little deeper than I did, or you might need to go to a "used book" source for an operators manual or service manual. Laptop Operator Manuals are usually pretty skimpy on the details, so getting one (or finding your original one) may or may not help.

Several places on the web claim to have the same model for sale for around $50, but if it is an "age-related" problem a replacement might have the same problem, or be close to having it. Depending on where you live, if you decide really want a "same as" replacement local shops might have one that you can drive around the block before closing the deal, and might be able to swap your hard drive into the replacement for a fairly easy transfer. If you do a swap of the HD, you'll likely have to transfer the "authentication" with Microsoft to keep getting security patches (assuming you're using Windows).

It might be helpful if you'd tell us what operating system you're using, since someone might remember where they found an adjustment on something similar. WinXP and older were pretty consistent, but Vista and Win7 shuffled and renamed almost everything, so giving driving instructions for the wrong OS can easily get you to places where nothing exists and you're forever lost in limbo (or hyperspace).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 06:30 PM

Cross posted with your addition.

Look in Control Panel for something like "Power Management." Many laptops allow you to set one "brightness" when on battery and a different level when connected to external power. On some systems, different users may also be able to set up different power modes as well, so check that the computer knows who you are if you've ever had more than one user on it.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM

The other possibility is that something is actually wrong with the computer. Most likely is that the backlight for the monitor is dying. If that is the case and you really love this computer, gird your loins, acquire the appropriate backlight, take the monitor part of the laptop apart and replace the old one. New ones are available on eBay.

Alternately, you can hook the laptop up to an external monitor, such as the one you were going to throw out when your desktop unit went to flat screen and hook up to that. This answer is inconvenient to carry around, however.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JHW
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 06:01 AM

WindowsXP Home edition
Version 2002 Serv Pack 3
Authentic copy

Many thanks. Had subsequently looked at Power settings but there's nothing for screen brightness. Have found F7 and F8 keys have a 'sun' and arrow. F7 dims and F8 then takes it back but no further so maybe it is the backlight. Thanks. (Long since I had daisy wheel word processor whose screen eventually became unreadable but I didn't know what lit it up.)

I'm not particularly a fan of this machine but I do prefer the full height screen to the 'sawn-off' ones I see in the shops which they tell me are Widescreen!. Again I'm happy with XP. I guess I'd better look for a replacement while I can still see to transfer stuff.

How dodgy would changeing that backlight be?!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: Simon G
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 08:04 AM

Here is an example


Replace backlight


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM

Mine reduces the power of the backlight when on battery power onlt. The minute I plug in the mains jack, it brightens up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JHW
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 12:26 PM

John MacKenzie that's what used to happen but no more. Seems to stay on that reduced backlight (as my second post 5Dec)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 12:41 PM

It may be software or firmware. Have you got source disks with the laptop? It is possible that it might be a BIOS issue. It might also be worth reinstalling XP to refresh its code.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: JHW
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM

Looks like my last post disappeared. Don't have disks though updates arrive fine so must be gen Windows. Old IBM laptop had a fleeting BIOS page on startup but not this Compaq so I'd need to know how to get in. I watched the 'Replace backlight' (thanks Simon G) and maybe the laptop watched it too as it does seem to be reasonable of late. It was really grey before though still perfectly readable.
Thanks again to all


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:41 AM

On startup, if you need to get at underlying settings or programming, hold F2, F8 or F10 immediately after you hit the power button. Which one depends on your computer.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Dim laptop screen? Suggestions?
From: GUEST,JJ on his jollies
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 12:19 PM

I would be looking at Simon G's suggestion. Either the tube is on it's last legs or the inverter (a little black box that gerenerates the high voltage needed for the tube to strike} is on it's way out.

Either way the repair can be carried out by an amateur with care.

Check out Ebay for tubes and inverters.

JJ


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