I'm having a problem with my Dell Inspiron E1505 Laptop. There are a number of issues, but I think that they are all related. Here’s what happens:
1) When I press the power button, the power LED and Hardrive LEDs come on, but the screen comes up as black. Once in a while it will work (see step 2)
2) I have to press the power button on/off repeatedly (sometimes up to 20 times) before the regular initial Dell screen comes up.
--------a) If I let it run its course, the Windows Logo comes up, then the screen is black with the mouse in the middle for one second and then BLACK screen ( no mouse, no blinking HD light, nothing) – pitch black, not merely a burnt out lamp.
--------b) While the Dell logo boots up, I can press F8 to go to the advanced options
3) From advanced options, I can only go into SAFE MODE, where everything works.
4) In safe mode, I tried uninstalling the video card in device manager, then reinstalling it and the driver via “Add Hardware”, but after the reboot, it had the same problem. Lowering the screen resolution very low didn’t fix it either.
A few notes/thoughts:
1) I have windows XP, SP2 running
2) The video card is an ATI 9100 (not 100% sure about the number) and I’ve read that sometimes ATI drivers are more complicated to uninstall? I just went to device manager and did “uninstall” to the video card and add new hardware + install driver.
3) I recently installed Nero 8
4) It SEEMS that when it goes through a regular boot, it only craps out RIGHT before windows starts up. All other non-windows processes seem to work, including BIOS, diagnostics, etc…
5) The hardware diagnostics did not come up with any problems.
6) I tried hooking up external monitor -- that doesn't really fix anything. The external monitor usually says no signal while the computer does its black screen on power up, but it works when the laptops screen works. So all it seems to be telling me is that if the laptop is working, it can output to the screen, but when its not working, there is no video signal outputting to the monitor port. I have tried Fn+F8 to toggle between laptop and monitor.
I am at a COMPLETE loss – the screen seems to be fine because the few times it actually works, the screen works perfectly. I don’t know if the video card is bad because it can boot to safe mode (or does that not use the video card). I’m completely confused as to why the Dell startup screen only comes up so intermittently after powering it up and down.
I checked for the reed switch, but I don’t know what to look for. I took off the top panel and saw this little white pin sticking up – everywhere I’ve read says its black but if this is it, it looks fine.
I would greatly appreciate any help on this and I can/will try anything, including taking it apart, but I’m not very experienced working on laptops – I’ve done a lot of desktop work, but laptops are much more precise.
My last resort would be to reformat, but that takes a long time, so I'd prefer to exhaust other possibilities first.