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Dell Inspiron 5160 display with lines everywhere

By darmatwil
Nov 17, 2008
  1. I have a Inspiron 5160 with a pill of a display problem. I have lines everywhere in the display. The odd thing is, they do not show up when in the Bios, or when the Windows logo is up. I can use the computer, just can't hardly see anything. I tried reinstalling the video driver, no help. I have tried reinstalling windows, no help. If it did it all of the time I would replace the video card, but with the screen clear while in the bios, I am totally confused as to where to look.

    This is my first lap top so I figure there are sone hardware issues that would be different that with a PC. Any help will be greatly appreciated as this is driving me nuts.:confused:
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Well you mentioned drivers updated
    But I'll just confirm by providing you this autodetection link (and info, on your Dell) :

    But it could be as simple as the brightness set too high
  3. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    The brightness dosen't seem to affect it. But when I get to the laptop I will check that, and the link.

    I had someone mention to me about formatting the hard drive several times, 8 I believe, to completely remove any trace of damaging software. Does this make sense to anyone? I have reinstalled windows after formatting three times and still have the same problem.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Not really

    Instead of formatting (next time) Remove the partition instead

    Wiping the Harddrive is only needed when you believe you have some type of malware\rootkit or some other re-occurring software issue
  5. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Well, I reinstalled the driver drom dell. My display was crystal clear ubtill I hit finish and then the lines came back. Is there something with a "redraw" setting that I can adjust? I am using the laptop right now and can kinda see what is going on but the lines make it difficult. Also when I scroll down there are lines that look like tails coming from the letters, or like they are runnig, as if painted.. And if I backspace there are little dots left. I really hope this makes sense to you. It is wierd to me, but I have never had to deal with an LCD dislplay issue before. I appologize for any typos, since I can't really see my punctuation.
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    One way to really confirm that all the drivers are loaded and running correctly is to test with an external monitor (there's a connection on the back for this)

    This issue can be caused by excessive heat or even dust; and then effectively causing some damage to the flat ribbon cable behind the screen (usually orange in color)

    When Dell sell these components they also sell you the LCD and inverter board too (very expensive!)

    I wonder how technically experienced you are in removing the bezel and display (all power out obviously)
    Then re-connecting the cables, at least do that, but you could view it to see if any issues (sometimes hard to tell sadly)

    If the external monitor works, I'd say it's this data cable causing it only
  7. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Right now my screen is clear, except for the menu bar, and the task bar. The menu bar just cleared up. Now horizontal lines are starting to show up. And my mouse pointer has lines all around it where ever I put it. Pretty pathetic "live update".

    Already hooked up an external monitor. First thing I tried. It does the same thing. The wierd part is the Bios and Welcome screen being crystal clear.
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    ok, please read my reply above

    But I just suddenly thought of another possible issue
    Please run Memtest on your Ram

    Edit: Re your reply. It's not the LCD data cable then
  9. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Racking my brain to remember how to do that.
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    To do what?
    The above link with blue writing on the Memtest, is a clickable link
  11. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Sorry, I'm better with hardare than software. I am being asked what to open the memtest with.
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Following the guide, you will create a boot disc with Memtest on it
    Which will test your Ram (usually a 4 Hr "Hardware" test, by running this memtest software tool)
    I think that's what you were asking
    If so, hear back from you in 4 Hrs ;)
  13. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    It took a bit longer than four hours to reply. I went to bed with it runing. Anyway, there were no errors. And there were no lines present during the testing. Well at least while I was awake.

    I have been wondering about the hard drive posably having a screwy place on it that could be causing the problem. If it were doing this with everything I would suspect the video card. I checked the refresh rate and the only option I had available was 60Hz. Hmmm..... I hope I don't end up with an expensive paper weight here.
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

  15. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Well. I must be an *****, because I can't get anything to scan my HDD. They are either incompatable or I can't get the file put on a cd. Do you have any other source suggestions for a HDD diagnostic tool?
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Well this is the Diagnostic Utility, that goes with your model, from Dell:
    I haven't actually run it to see exactly what it does, but again it was on your model's download page
  17. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    I got the Hatachi file to run. It did not find any errors. It seemed like it was only ditedting ide devices. The Dell diagnostic will only run if there id a dell diagnostic partition on my HDD. I removed it during a reinstall of Windows.

    I am also wondering if this could be a heat related problem. I usually rais the back of the laptop to get it extra ventilation. I seems like it gets really hot, but not hot enought to trigger auto shutdow. I am brainstorming, or grasping at straws, whichever way that you want to look at it.
  18. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Apparently no. The only thing I saw was a setting for the Hz.

    Oh! The screen sizr is set to 1024X768.

    Now the screen is getting clearer. I resized the disply and then put it back to 1024X768. If I scroll then things get messed up again.
  19. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Doh! can you use Edit instead of replying to you last most recent post post in the thread (if it is still the last post in the thread)
    Because you replied, when I merged, I merged my post into yours !!
  20. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Ok, sorry about that. In the properties window, after clicking advanced, all that is available is DPI on the general tab. the adaper tab has a general that has nothing to do with settings. But the driver tab has a VGA Save option to Start or Stop.

    I am to the point of replacing the graphics card, but with only used available I want to make sure that is the problem before taking that risk.

    I am trying to remember how to adjust things from the command prompt. I read abit about that, but of course didn't take any notes. DUH!

    Hate to do this but It's late here, so I will have to contimue tomorrow. Maybe the answer will present it self then.
  21. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Ok well there must be an "Advanced" settings area to adjust
  22. darmatwil

    darmatwil TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    It is clear enough to read this morning. Under the advanved button, on the adaptor tab for adaptor type there is nothing. All the adaptor info is unavailable. Under properties it says VGA Save, no plug and play devices, the driver tab dosent have any different info, and the resources tab has all the IRQ icons are cancelled out. Gut instinct is now sayng it's the card. But this being my first laptop, I am cautious.

    What an interesting turn of events. I decided that since I was going to have to replace the graphics card I should see where it was in the laptop. I opened it up and saw alot of dust. Went and blew it out, and viola. crystal clear screen. I went back through these posts and thought I should have done that first. That is what I usually do on a pc. If the problem comes back I will let you know.
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