Black screen during startup -- even after reformat

By Kirei Blossom
Jan 11, 2012
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  1. Hi,

    I've been trying to fix my Dell Inspiron 1440 Vista laptop for almost a month now. Here's a summary of what's been going on:

    I started having black screens during startup where the system would hang . When this happened, pressing the power button once would switch off the computer (my power buttons are set to 'do nothing' when pressed). Then Windows gave me a Problem/Solution report that my ATI driver needs to be updated. In the process of updating drivers, I messed things up and the driver wouldn't install correctly. So I did a manual OS reinstallation.

    However, during the driver installs, I realized I'd made a mistake on the correct order of drivers to install, and I was having trouble figuring out which drivers to put in or not - so I managed to do a Factory Restore to get things back to normal.

    Now after the Factory Restore, again, I start having the black screen during startup and the error message that ATI needs to be updated - I downloaded the correct driver from the Dell website and updated the driver successfully. But I'm *still* getting Black screens and hangups during startup. In the most recent occurrence, the screen was black but I heard the Vista startup melody go off.

    I should also note that I've run the full Dell Diagnositcs and all the extended tests which took me hours and hours - no errors whatsoever.

    HELP ! You guys are the experts, please help me out here.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Sounds like a damaged inverter or LCD cable
  3. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    How do I tell if its the inverter or LCD cable? Would this problem prompt windows to give me the ATI driver needs to be updated report?

    Also, Dell hardware diagnostics came up with nothing.

    I've also had some volsnap errors in Event Manager lately - something about the C: shadow drive being deleted because it failed to grow due to I/O stress. ????

    EDIT: I looked up some info on what happens with a faulty inverter or LCD cable, and that would prompt the screen to flicker randomly. My black screen ONLY happens at startup - sometimes it takes 1 or 2 forced shutdowns and reboots before I can manage to get to the desktop. But once I'm at the desktop, no problems whatsoever, even if I work on it for hours, even if I restart the computer a couple times.

    Windows Problem and Solutions report is *still* giving me ATI driver needs to be updated error.

    Don't know if this will help, but once my laptop is on, and warmed up, even if I restart, the black screen never freezes at startup. If I shut down the laptop, and boot it up again only 1/2 an hour later, it boots up fine. However - if I shut it down and leave it overnight and then boot up in the morning, that's when it has problems. Almost like its being affected by the winter, and needs to be warm before it would work fine. Any ideas what this could be?
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You have reformatted and installed Windows fresh. The correct Vista AMD/ATI driver should be on the Dell support site. If this driver won't install you may have a dying or a problem video chip on the motherboard
  5. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    Yes, I installed the driver from my Dell support site.

    A motherboard problem? That sounds even worse than just a dying graphics card problem. Is there any way I can pinpoint the problem myself. How come the computer works perfectly fine after it gets to the desktop screen, without any problems whatsoever?
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Because this is a laptop, I don't know if it has a removable graphics card or a graphics chip soldered to the motherboard. In either case, the video chip might be affected by heat. Once the laptop heats up, the graphics chip works. When cold, the video doesn't work
  7. Tyler1990

    Tyler1990 TS Rookie

    I've actually made a post similar to this just recently, which is basically the same exact problem, except I have a desktop computer. It sounds like you've been able to actually get to your desk top screen and do things, mine just stays at the black screen, well not really "black" its just blank, you can see the monitor is on though.

    I thought it may have been a hard drive problem, but you said you reformatted and everything and still have the problem. I'm not really sure, but please keep us updated!
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Tyler1990 you do not have the exact same problem. You have a desktop computer and it may have on-board graphics. If it does, it is a motherboard problem for sure
  9. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    I have an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 card. A separate video card? Or Onboard?
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    It is on-board, and you will have to replace or have the motherboard repaired

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