Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Last night my laptop (samsung nc20 running XP) fell off the table and the screen cracked leaving me unable to see anything.

I have arranged for a it to be repaired but want to make a back up of several folders before it gets sent away. I was planning to use my parents LG LCD tv as an external monitor so I can see what I am doing when copying things to but after plugging it in nothing seems to happen (works instantly on another laptop running vista) and hotkeys seem to be of no use at all.

Does anyone know the series of shortcut keys I will need to do to get XP to use an external monitor?

Thanks in advance

share|improve this question
Most laptops have hotkeys for this, but I don't know what they'd be on this machine...hopefully somebody does. XP doesn't have this functionality MIGHT be able to bring up display properties the long way but there's a whole lot that might go wrong. – Shinrai Nov 19 '10 at 17:01
it is also possible that more than just the screen was cracked – Xantec Nov 19 '10 at 17:33
Listen to Xantec, the guy knows what he is talking about. – Bora Apr 12 '12 at 12:16

Even if this is a very old question, I can contribute some timeless advice. Many laptops will have an fn key shortcut that can be used to change the display target. Look for one of the function (F) keys with a monitor symbol, or the text CRT/LCD in blue, and press fn+that key.

It might take a couple of seconds for the switch to take effect. The key combination will often work in the pre-boot environment, such as BIOS or a boot menu, as well as after booting the OS.

For the Rhys's laptop, a Samsung, this is fn+F4. HP is also often using fn+F4.

Thinkpads will often use fn+F7.

Dells will often use fn+F8.

The easiest way to find out is of course to look at the keyboard.

share|improve this answer

If the hotkey system works via a standard application installed on windows I've found it will only work after you've logged in.

The key combination for bringing up the display properties window varies depending on settings, probably easiest to right click on a blank part of the desktop, Up, Enter, ctrl-shift-tab. That will get you to the settings screen, not got an XP with 2 screens to test the rest.

share|improve this answer

In your situation I would give up trying to make an external screen work. If simply plugging it in doesn't work, and the laptop's own keys don't do it you're stuck trying to drive windows "blind".

Instead remove the laptop's HDD, put it in a USB caddy and plug it into a different computer.

You should also do this anyway if sending your laptop off for repair. Keep your data with you so that if the laptop ends up taking months or weeks to be repaired (the good old "oh yeah we're waiting for parts from China because your motherboard is cracked too, it'll be at least two weeks") you can at least get to more things that you need later.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .