Computer monitor isn't working?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by turtleDove, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    So I finally got my desktop tower set up, and everything's working. It boots up, it shows the boot screen so that I can pick between going into Ubuntu mode or going into Windows mode, and I've got a working mouse and keyboard.

    The problem is when I try and go into Windows mode. I can access the option from the boot screen just fine, now, but once I get there...all I'm getting is a black screen. If I wait for several minutes, it progresses to a black screen with a mouse pointer. Control alt delete does nothing, escape does nothing.

    Details: the monitor I'm using is an old TV my sister left behind when she moved. I've got three cables plugged in right now: a VGA cable; a DVI-to-HDMI cable (plugged into HDMI 1 on the TV); and a plain HDMI cable (plugged into HDMI 2).
    The VGA input channel gets me the black screen I mentioned. HDMI 1 produces an "unsupported input" error message. HDMI 2 (and all other channels) produces a "no input" error message.

    I don't know where to start googling to figure out how to fix this. I do know that I do need the DVI-to-HDMI cable in order to get to the boot screen at all; it was skipping past the boot screen, prior to that, and just going straight to the Ubuntu login screen.
  2. afarewelltokings

    afarewelltokings hey wasn't he in that talking head band?

    I'm thinking either it's an issue with video drivers or the boot loader. Can you boot into safe mode at all?
  3. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    Okay, so you have a cursor, that’s good. The monitor is doing something. I agree with @afarewelltokings, it may be a missing driver. You might be able to fix that from safe mode.

    I’m assuming that by Windows and Ubuntu mode you mean you have a dual boot setup where you can select between a Linux and a Microsoft operating system on the same machine?

    Assuming that’s so, does the monitor work normally with Ubuntu? If so, then the hardware is demonstrably functional.

    If the hardware is fine, then the next question is what version of Windows are you using?

    (And the question after that may be what your video card is, though Windows is more important for now.)
  4. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    I hadn't tried booting into safe mode, but I can try that.

    Yes, and yes. I switched to a dual boot setup after the Windows fall update of 2016, wherein my computer ate its own wireless drivers. (I fixed that, but still.)

    The monitor does work normally with Ubuntu. I can get into the system just fine, although I haven't really tried doing anything once I'm there since my concern was more 'get Windows to work' since 90% of my stuff uses Windows.

    Windows 10, unfortunately. Last updated back in March, most likely.

    Looking for where I wrote this down. I remember that it's one that's got a DVI port, a VGA port, and an HDMI port. I also have two video cards, but only the one with the DVI port works for pulling up the boot screen (and with that one, only the DVI port will pull it up; everything else just results in it waiting for a few seconds and then going straight to the Ubuntu login screen).

    When I wake the computer up from sleep, if it's in Windows mode already, I get a flicker of the desktop background before it goes back to 'plain black screen with a mouse pointer'.
  5. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Found it! It's an EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB.
    • Like x 1
  6. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Okay, there isn't a "safe mode" option from the boot menu (picking either Ubuntu or Windows just takes me to insecure mode for whichever one is selected). I did find a 'systems settings' option, though? And I can select 'advanced mode' from there, plus view a lot of information about how the cpu is running? And adjust the system time. (Which I did do, because it thought it was 3 pm.)
  7. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    A veritable sign of life!

    Is it automatically logging you back into the last used account? (And if not because that account has a password, if you hit tab and try to type that password and hit enter, does anything change?)

    This seems like it would be worth trying. If that doesn’t help, then it’s probably driver time, and you will need to start safe mode with networking for that.

    Because you have a working Ubuntu install, you do have somewhere you could potentially go to scope the display settings.
  8. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Actually, starting up, it says "booting in insecure mode". So if there's a safe mode option, it might be before what I'm seeing?

    I have no idea what I'm doing, honestly.
  9. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Nope. And I don't remember if I've tried hitting tab, but I'll try that now. One sec.
    • Like x 1
  10. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    That sounds like you may be in the BIOS settings, which would run before the operating system loads.
  11. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Tried it, it seemed like nothing changed. Then I looked away for a few seconds and it seemed like it rebooted itself? And booting it back up into Windows mode resulted in a "to skip disk checking, press any button within 8 seconds" message popping up, which, at least?

    It's back to doing Nothing As Far As I Can Tell, and tabbing + entering password + hitting enter does not get any -- no, wait, it just rebooted itself again, and I didn't get to it in time to keep it from booting into Ubuntu mode.

    It did say BIOS settings, yeah. "EZ mode", too.
  12. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Okay, Ubuntu mode. Monitor resolution is 1920 x 1010 (16:9), which is just a little too wide; the 'gear cog' start menu button in the upper right isn't on-screen, and I can't quite figure out how to get it on screen without shoving other things offscreen.

    All the other resolutions look Worse, though. Possibly trying them out, then using the TV remote to adjust the display further?

    (This is the same monitor resolution that Windows is using, though, according to the little popup in the corner under "VGA" when it's loading.)
  13. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    Huh. That is... interesting. Maybe it is a driver issue.

    Oh good heavens, it looks like they made safe mode really hard to get to. You maaaay be able to do it by getting lucky with mashing F8 or possibly something else. Someone mentioned esc/F8, which I dunno if they pressed simultaneously. What a bother.

    Here’s what Microsoft has to say. If that’s impossible on a dual boot system and the mashing doesn’t work (you’d want to begin to mash during the boot process and if it takes you to the BIOS, as fast as possible after exiting that), the dual boot community would be the next stop for advice on how to get to safe mode.
  14. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I dunno about dual boot in general, but this definitely isn't possible on my system, I'm pretty sure. Step 1 and 2 takes me to the boot menu, where I can select the option to go into Windows mode. I'm...not sure that steps 3 through 6 will do anything particularly useful, in that regard.

    I'm at least further along in understanding wtf is going on, so I think I'm gonna take a break for now and go see if Mom's made dinner yet.

    ...if it does turn out to be a driver issue, how do I fix it?
  15. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    I mean, I know the basic solution is "go download the drivers", do I do that in this situation?
  16. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    That’s a perfectly reasonable question. First of all, you’ll need safe mode with networking, rather than regular safe mode. You’re going to need to connect to the internet to download drivers.

    Windows Update would be the most painless, but it may not update your graphics drivers. Here’s a reasonably good description of the overall process.

    It’s an Nvidia card, but I think EVGA is what they mean by the company that actually made the thing. Their manual driver downloads can be found here. Barring alternate instructions in the download file, I believe there should be an executable you can run? It’s been a long time since I manually downloaded and installed drivers.

    Before leaving safe mode, it’s probably worth googling Windows 10 instructions for enabling HDMI and making sure VGA is definitely enabled and where to go to confirm the settings, like if it has a refresh rate or something that may be set to a bad number? I don’t know how these things work tbh.

    If you absolutely cannot get the damn thing working, it’s possible you might be able to use your Ubuntu boot to find and edit Windows files to do things like force it to start in safe mode so you can at least get to safe mode or something. But frankly I’d think at that point you would probably want a physically present Linux person with experience editing Windows files from Linux, preferably one who doesn’t need to be told why a complete disk backup would be a really great idea before the fun begins. And by then, it might just be easier to see if anyone would be able to lend you a monitor for a little bit so you can update some drivers in regular Windows without having to get into safe mode.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
    • Useful x 1
  17. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    I updated dad on what I've learned, and he's said he'll bid on getting one of Grandpa's monitors. Worst case, I can just wait until Best Buy or somewhere has a sale?

    I am leaning towards suspecting it's a driver issue, though, since my usual monitor setting (as far as I recall) was the 1920 x 1080 one.
    • Like x 1
  18. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    The occasional flickering almost makes me wonder if it thinks the tv is a secondary display. The good news would be that the shortcut to open that menu is windows button+P, but the bad news is that you probably wouldn’t be able to see it, so you’d be completely blindly arrowing up and down, trying to hit enter on a menu item you can’t see which you then very well might not be able to change back except through happy chance if that wasn’t the problem because you still wouldn’t be able to see the menu.

    ETA: If you did decide you wanted to go ahead and try it anyway, you’d probably need to login or at least hit tab first, or it might not register that you were pressing important keys.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  19. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    From looking at the results from the display options for the Ubuntu mode, the computer definitely thinks I've got two displays hooked up. That's probably due to there being more than one cable hooked up to the tv, though.
  20. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    Maybe unhooking everything except the VGA, since the other ones aren't working anyway?
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