Grey Screen?

By aznn3rd ยท 25 replies
Jan 2, 2008
  1. I have gotten a Acer Extensa 5420-5687 yesterday, and so far there has been four instances of where the screen turned grey for no reason either in the middle of a session or when it was idle. Everything seems to be working properly, except for the fact that the screen is grey and none of the buttons are responsive. I have to maually shutdown and reboot to get it to work again. Suggestions?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    System freeze

    Have you installed any new hardware, or has there been any changes to your system recently ?

    You could:
    Download Ccleaner and run

    Update your Antivirus and do a full scan

    Defrag is also a good option at end of this

    Also confirm that this is not an overheating issue (ie are fans on)

    This type of problem can also refer to Ram inside your computer
    Other than cleaning out dust and doing a reseat and Ram test
    But we may get to this later
  3. tkindred

    tkindred TS Rookie

    I just bought the Acer 5420 as well and the screen also blacked out on me the second day I had it. It seems this is a common problem with this computer. If it is new why would it need to be defragged or scanned for viruses? Is this normal for any laptop if overheated? Thanks.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Hi tkindred

    When replying do not quote the immediate preceeding post, as this is the post that you are replying too anyway.

    A virus can be easily put on your computer as soon as you go on the Internet; or by installing CD\DVD's that have not come from a reliable manufacturer; or over a network from another computer.

    What antivirus do you have ? Is it updated ?

    The common issue that you are speaking of, is Not common for a brand new computer (unless hardware faulty) is this computer brand new ?

    If I had just bought a brand new computer and the screen went black, I'd be taking it back immediately - sounds like faulty Ram (ie freezing up)
  5. tkindred

    tkindred TS Rookie

    Yes, it is a new computer. I purchased it yesterday. I did a search and found that this is a common problem with this particular Acer model. I read on one forum a gentleman returned his a couple times and still had the same problem with a replacement. Someone else said they called Acer and Acer told them they had not heard of the problem. I couldn't find any updates from Acer. I am surprised sense I would suspect they have received many calls concerning this issue.
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Each case is individual
    Accepting liability to computer errors is not the norm, unless they get lots and lots of unhappy users (hundreds) of which they will do a recall.

    I would contact them imediately and ask what they expect of you, you cannot swap parts on a new computer. Warranty is a good word here.
  7. Isherna

    Isherna TS Rookie

    Acer Extensa Brand new gray screen too!

    Hey. I got the same problem. I bought the laptop on December 30 2007 and i have done as good as i can trying to fix it. I bought mine on Bestbuy and after 15 days with the same failure i took it back to them. There, The Geek squad (or something like that) check it and said everything was OK, however I'm having the same issue. Please if you have any update let me know. It is a brand new machine and still fails randomly. I hate it!
  8. tkindred

    tkindred TS Rookie

    Yeh, I also bought mine at Best Buy. It seems a lot of people are having this issue with this model. I am surprised Acer has not addressed this issue. I will let you know if I hear anything.
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Contact Acer again tell them you're not happy, either it's money back, or they fix it for good, time for the customer to be strong here.
    Make sure to back up all files - If returning I'd delete all your user files.
  10. Isherna

    Isherna TS Rookie

    Acer Extensa 5420 - STEP 2 : CALL ACER INC! - ACER SUCKS!

    I called Acer today morning and they told me that it is basically a problem of the retailer. I bought mine in Bestbuy , so they told me to take it back to them. In my particular case, I have already done that. The guys in the geek squad checked the machine and said everything was perfect so they are not taking any responsibility on it. So can anybody tell me what should i do now?
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You must somehow find the sequence that causes this.
    Once you can duplicate the fault (for their eyes to see it) then they will act on it.

    If it is just intermittant, without any specific scenario. Then you must find out how often it happens (once every 2-3 days?) and tell them to test over this time duration.

    I appreciate this will be difficult.

    Another option is to find others with the same fault (2 here already) and build a case all together (you should email each other) You may need to go to other forums to find these users with the exact same issue, on the exact same computer.

    This will all take time.

    Please post back here, one day, for the end result. Note in TechSpot this message remains open (unless closed by Admins) for years. So replying back will allow all to read again, even years later.

    Also keep your email used in user control panel, up to date, to allow others to contact you in the future.
  12. tkindred

    tkindred TS Rookie

    Good idea. I could get a list of people with this problem and then contact Acer again.
  13. abbiegayle

    abbiegayle TS Rookie

    I am also having the same grey screen (I call it the screen blackout) issue with the Acer Extensa 5420. I called two different Best Buy stores in my area and asked if anyone had brought this particular laptop back because of this issue and they said no. But there has to be a record somewhere that people are having this problem. I've visited two other forums for a total of approx 16 people with the screen blackout issue. Anyway, I'm taking my Acer in to Best Buy, since that's where I got my warranty contract, and hopefully will be able to report back with some "good" news...
  14. lawtyger

    lawtyger TS Rookie Posts: 51

    I'm not sure if any of you resolved your issue, but I got this computer two days ago as a swap out for a Gateway laptop that was not functioning. I haven't experienced the problem but heard about it and as you all probably know it is very widespread. There are several places on the web this problem is being discussed.

    I am returning mine Acer because I don't want the problem to start in the future. I know from first hand experience that the Best Buy geek squad will simply say "it must be a software related issue" and not doing anything about it. They did this to me but fortunately a manager overrode the decision because, well, I wasn't leaving until they did.

    Anyway, here is one discussion I found where a group of people seem to be trying to tackle this problem together. Maybe it will help:

    Good luck.
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Thank-you lawtyger, there are presently 58 comments on that discussion. That may prompt for action I feel.

    I suppose that not everyone is complaining, because I'm sure Acer has sold thousands without any return. But there are sure a lot of unhappy ones too.

    The list gets bigger every day!
  16. diogenes04

    diogenes04 TS Rookie

    Same Gray Screen Issues

    I am also having the same issue. I have contacted Best Buy and fought with 2 managers, contacted AMD and ATI who referred me back to Best Buy as it's not a video card issue and I am now working on the GM of the store I bought it from. I had the same experience with the Geek Squad telling me that it is perfect and why wouldn't they when you can only get the system error when the problem occurs. At this point I don't know what to do other than storming the Best Buy gates. I get the feeling that this is an overheating issue as it happens at least once a day and when it does happen the sound goes off too. I wouldn't mind getting a giant email together so, let me know if anyone wants to do that.
  17. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    And another joining the list.

    You know the best way to confirm it's not software, is to re-install clean.
    But I think it's safe in assuming that this has already been tested (reading through all the other posts)
    I personnally think it's the ATI chip overheating, which is basically the m/b overheating.

    Yes diogenes04, check out the discussion that lawtyger posted, and ask to join the list of unhappy customers, wanting resolution to all of this.
  18. lawtyger

    lawtyger TS Rookie Posts: 51

    I sympathize with your Best Buy frustration. It took an entire month to finally get them to accept my Gateway back after I refused to accept their "it's software related" excuse for my sound issue. I just got lucky and wore down the manager, who, by the end of the process was not pleasant at all and I won't be going to that store any more.

    Regarding the Acer, I was able to take it back because it was within days of getting it. I am so glad I did. Your best best will likely be to just wear them out also, keep going up the ladder, and bring in a folder of all the people complaining about this issue. This may sound stupid to some, but trust me it works - when you go in with problems like this, look as professional as you can. I wear a suit and tie to work and if I ever have issues, I ALWAYS take care of them after leaving work while I'm still dressed up. I could easily go in in shorts, or after I leave the gym, but when dealing with a manager and a complaint, you get taken much more seriously if you look like someone whose got their act together rather than someone who is just left the gym and is sweaty. Just trust me on this my experience over the years has me convinced that it is half the battle of getting taken seriously.

    Good luck on getting the Acer exchanged. Keeping going up the ladder as far as you can is all I can say.
  19. abbiegayle

    abbiegayle TS Rookie

    After experiencing the blackout screen issue numerous times and fighting with Best Buy, I ended up updating the bios from v1.14 to v1.16. So far, so good. There are specific instructions on how to do this on the thoughtsfrommylife website, article-663--although it's a 'DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK' solution. (sorry, I haven't posted enough times, so was unable to post the link)

    See Dave41's instructions dated 2/09. If you DO decide to do this, follow his instructions TO THE LETTER. Be aware, if you have a service contract with Best Buy and something goes wrong during the update, it will void your contract.
  20. cmay5

    cmay5 TS Rookie

    I too am having the same problem.... has anyone had any resolution of this problem? I was told by BB that after 15 days, it is the manufacturer's problem, not theirs.
  21. abbiegayle

    abbiegayle TS Rookie

    cmay5, did you try the bios version 1.16 update I mentioned on my March 2nd post above? I haven't had any issues with the screen blacking out since I did the update. Best Buy is the WORST for pointing the finger at the manufacturer when they don't know what the real problem is. They even basically threatened me when I said I'd do the update myself (because they refused do it), that if anything went wrong, my service contract would be voided.

  22. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    wow, I never realized how popular my thread would be! Anyways, I think it is an overheating issue, because if I hold it up with the bottom fans not touching anything, it seems to get sufficient cooling and work well without any issues. Although it is rather annoying to have to hold up the bottom of the laptop the whole time of usage.
  23. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Ah my 2nd and 17th post about overheating.

    I would suggest you purchase one on those cooling bases that Laptops can sit on and cool down (they come with fans and all)
    Sorry don't have a pic or link, maybe someone could provide one
  24. tay4life

    tay4life TS Rookie

    always could try a system restore
  25. medinadoctor

    medinadoctor TS Rookie


    i have the same probem
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