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Windows 7: Monitor flickers and goes blank, reboot is fine. Intermittant!

30 Aug 2016   #1
Tinsby

Dual boot Win7 Pro 64 & Linux Mint 17.2 "Rafaela"
 
 
Monitor flickers and goes blank, reboot is fine. Intermittant!

I wonder if someone in the forum can help me with an intermittent problem I'm experiencing with my Windows 7 / Linux Mint machine. This is been going on for approximately 4 to 6 weeks I can't relate it to the installation of any updates from Microsoft, or any new software installations, because there haven't been any new programs added. I have most of the MS Hotfixes but most of the ones pertaining to Win 10 I have removed or blocked with GRC "Never 10"


The problem starts with the monitor flickering momentarily, it then goes to a black screen with the message "no signal found." Initially I thought this was coming from the operating system but in fact that message is being generated by the ViewSonic monitor. Without doing anything else,letting the machine continue to run, I plug in a spare monitor into one of the two available graphic ports I get the same result, a black screen. If I reboot the machine of course I get a message saying that Windows wasn't shut down properly, which makes sense because I can't see the screen. Plugging in the spare monitor eliminates the monitor being the problem and the DVI cable since it's a different cable.

Inside the box, all seven of the cooling fans are clean and operating. I've taken out the Nvidia 8800 GTS graphics card, cleaned out the PCI slot that it occupies as well as the power input cable from the power supply. Initially I thought I had solved the problem but yesterday without warning, the monitor flickered two or three times and then went to the black screen again.

Considering what's been done I think I'm down to basically three items, number one being the graphics card, number two the heavy-duty Corsair power supply and finally in a worst-case the motherboard. It seems pointless to me to spend money on components when I'm not sure they are at fault. I don't believe it is a problem with RAM but I will admit to not running MEMTEST. When the problem first started I thought it might be one of the capacitors inside the monitor on the power supply board. So I disassembled the monitor! Unfortunately to my chagrin all the capacitors look fine, so I simply put it back together.

I should also say that I can't recall this problem ever occurring when I am using the machine in Linux. Of course I spend most of my time in Windows 7 and only boot into Linux when I want to do a specific task. And Linux has its own Nvidia drivers. The Win 7 driver I use is Nvidia 9.18.13.3221 WQHL Forceware 332.21.


Looking at the Event Viewer I can't seem to find anything that relates to the conditions I have described.

It would be great if someone could point me in another direction as I feel right now I'm simply spinning my wheels with no forward progress. Unfortunately I don't have another power supply, or another graphics card that I could substitute. Yesterday was the first day the problem occurred after removing the graphics card cleaning the contacts etc. I did that at least a week ago, so clearly the problem doesn't occur every time I use the machine in fact I thought I had it fixed. I have let it run for hours with no trace of the trouble.


Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to shed some light on the problem. I realize this is like calling the doctor and saying "I have this pain in my stomach can you tell me what's wrong with that me coming to the office?" But I've done about all I know how to do at this point.


Multiple virus and malware scans show nothing at all.



Regards,
J T







My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
30 Aug 2016   #2
Eric3742

Windows 7 x64
 
 

I see, you have done some troubleshooting, and still cannot resolve.

I think you have find the problem.

Quote:

The problem starts with the monitor flickering momentarily, it then goes to a black screen with the message "no signal found." Initially I thought this was coming from the operating system but in fact that message is being generated by the ViewSonic monitor. Without doing anything else,letting the machine continue to run, I plug in a spare monitor into one of the two available graphic ports I get the same result, a black screen. If I reboot the machine of course I get a message saying that Windows wasn't shut down properly, which makes sense because I can't see the screen. Plugging in the spare monitor eliminates the monitor being the problem and the DVI cable since it's a different cable.


About your last statement in the quote, do you mean that the DVI cable is good, as it is a different cable.

You have resolve your own problem, if you mean the video DVI cable.

This "no signal found" mean that the monitor unable to receive any data from the CABLE connector.

Replace it.

Remove the graphic card and use a eraser to polish the gold contact and clear the bits away.
Make sure you are not doing in the box (PC), as may create additional problem.
Insert in firmly, no force, and ensure the gold contact are even across.

That for now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2016   #3
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Hi JT.

I have a monitor that does the same as yours does. It will just cut out after a while of use. I have managed to trace the problem to a faulty component in the backlight driver circuitry. I just can't get the part to fix it. The reason that I mention my own monitor is that I suspect your graphics card has had a component failure in the output processing circuit. It may be that when the faulty component gets warm enough, it stops working, thus killing your monitor's input, and you get the "No Signal" message. Once it cools down, it may work again, or by sending a fresh enable signal from the computer's graphics card when you reboot. Just a theory, but it's a workable one.

Now, as for your monitor... You could try to restart the graphics card without rebooting by putting the machine to sleep and waking it again. I know that you can't see the monitor to shut down or put the computer to sleep, but you can put the machine to sleep with a few keystrokes:

Specifically, type in WIN (the Windows key), Right Arrow, Right Arrow, then S.

The machine should fall asleep. Wait a couple of minutes to wake it and see if the monitor comes back to life.

If the monitor does come back to life, I think we can suspect your graphics card. I know you don't have a spare GPU, but do you have a friend with a computer that you can install the GPU into his/her machine to test?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

31 Aug 2016   #4
Tinsby

Dual boot Win7 Pro 64 & Linux Mint 17.2 "Rafaela"
 
 
No spare card or computer to try...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mellon Head View Post
Hi JT.

If the monitor does come back to life, I think we can suspect your graphics card. I know you don't have a spare GPU, but do you have a friend with a computer that you can install the GPU into his/her machine to test?
Hi Mellon Head,

Well I spoke to my 'computer' buddy yesterday and told him of my troubles. I was hoping he'd say he had a spare graphics card for me to try, but no joy. Apparently he isn't feeling all that well and doesn't fool with computers much anymore <sigh>

I will try your suggestion next time it craps out and see what it does. I can say with a certainty that rebooting immediately after a shutdown revives it so it works again. IE: there is no cool down time needed. Temperature readings inside the box are nominal, it better be with 7 fans! lol.

I'll keep soldiering on and maybe I'll find something definitive. I am thinking too that it might be the PS circuit that feeds the graphics card. There could be a dicey connection on the PS board that opens up when it gets hot. Again just another 'could be'!

Thank you for your information! The heck of it is that it may take days for the problem to occur again, I just cannot predict it at all.

RE: Event Viewer logs
Is there any harm in deleting ALL of them to start fresh to help find the problem I have now? I don't really see anything relevant and some of them date back 2 years or more.

J T
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2016   #5
Tinsby

Dual boot Win7 Pro 64 & Linux Mint 17.2 "Rafaela"
 
 

Mellon Head,

I should have mentioned that one of the filter capacitors on the PS board for your monitor may be faulty. You can easily tell if one has failed because they swell up. Its obvious when you see one as it will have a bulging top. You can do a search for that topic to see what a failed capacitor looks like. This assumes that you can get your monitor apart to have access to the components. Mine are fine, I was expecting to see a 'fat' one in there but there wasn't one! Capacitor failure is a common problem on older monitors. If you find one bad one I would replace all of them to be safe, they are dirt cheap. Don't be afraid to source ones that have a higher voltage or capacitance than you are replacing, just observe the polarity when re-installing!

Good luck!

J T
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Monitor flickers and goes blank, reboot is fine. Intermittant!




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