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Okay, so I'm making another topic here to clarify. The video card for this Dell Inspiron 1420 Vista laptop (NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS) is fried, and lets just say it for sure doesn't work. Before anyone tries to convince me otherwise, this is pretty much my exact problem:

and basically we're not going to replace it. If we were to run diagnostics, I'm sure it'd come up with something. So now its running on like no video card-- just the minimum settings to display.

However, I am wondering if its possible to have this laptop rely on an external monitor for the rest of its life. I plug in an external monitor through VGA and it DOES NOT pick it up. I suppose its because the laptop no longer supports anymore monitors. Not sure if that's true, that's my guess. If you guys have anymore suggestions, do tell (yes I have done a Fn+F8 and such combination)

But, I still want to change the laptop's primary display to the external monitor. Is it possible? Is it some settings I'll have to toggle with BIOS? Or will I have to take the laptop apart a little bit?

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If you think about it you'll see the answer is almost certainly NO. You say the GPU is dead. What is going to drive the external monitor... it's the GPU. THe Fn Key combo just tells the GPU output circuits to shunt or split the GPU output signal, it has no effect on how its created.

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I am wondering if its possible to have this laptop rely on an external monitor for the rest of its life

Considering that the GPU is fried, no. Your question is not clear - are you getting any display, at all ? If you are getting a display then contrary to your thoughts, the GPU is not fried.

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Like in the link I had, the screen is split. There is display, but I'm wondering if it will display like that on the monitor. – yuudachi Sep 21 '10 at 16:56

You say you don't wish to replace the laptop, have you considered a cheap USB gfx card instead?

Prices depends on you location and your needs but using the google shoping thingy I can find advertisments for USB gfx cards for as low as 40 USD. And using ebay I can get me one for ~40 USD all the way to Sweden ;)

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It is possible the LCD inverter is bad, so it might work ok with an external monitor. Dell documentation is poor on that model for its bios, but there should be a bios setting to change it to use the external monitor by default.


All your Docs

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To change over so that a external monitor is the primary (or only) monitor simply use the fn+F1 key (it is F1 on my Insipron 1545) the button has a monitor and a laptop on it.

This key will let you cycle through laptop only, laptop+external & external only; not necessarily in that order. The laptop will remember this setting for the next time you boot provided the external monitor is connected; otherwise it will default back - I know this since my LCD is broken on that one ... minor accident with a hammer ...

If you have a external keyboard hooked up then the scrollock button should work as the FN key.

While this is the answer to change over to a external monitor on the laptop, I am not sure this will work if the card is bad - this should only work if the monitor is bad.

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If the gfx card is fried, it will NOT work with an external monitor at all; simply it has no device that processes the graphics and images. However, if it works with an external monitor, it means the video card is fine. In this case, there are two strong possibilities- a bad Inverter or a bad screen( the light bulb inside the screen) assuming all wiring to screen has no problem. The outcome of the inverter problem is very similar to the bad light bulb problem(bad screen). You can test this problem to single out among the two possibilities.

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