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I recently had the display fail on my Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop. I currently have my TV hooked up to the laptop's S-Video out which works fine as long as I'm running in Windows. For the first minute or so when the computer is booting I get no display. I was wondering if there was any way to disable the laptop screen entirely so that the TV display is active from the beginning (not just after Windows loads). I realize there may be a BIOS setting for this, my only problem is I can't see the BIOS settings screen since no display is active at that point so if anyone has any BIOS setting solutions I'd need the exact keystrokes to hit :)

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Take a look at your function keys (F1 to F12) -- you should see some symbols on most of them, probably shaded is a darker colour.

If you can spot one that looks like it might resemble two TV screens (these two boxes will likely be separated by a slash), then look for another key on your keyboard most likely called "Fn" or "Function" which will probably also be in the same darker colour shade as those symbols.

After locating that "Fn" key, press and hold it, then tap the relevant function key with the two monitors on it. This should cause your laptop to switch the current video output from laptop screen to external display. Pressing it again will cycle between the different external display ports and/or combinations of just one or multiple (simultaneous) displays.

This should work before the OS even begins to boot, but this depends on whether your BIOS supports it. If your BIOS does not support this feature directly, then it will only work in Windows after the appropriate add-on tool is loaded (or if the video driver has built-in support for it).

The user manual for most laptop computers also documents these special functions that share the Function keys.

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Thanks for the tip. Turns out this does work, just only when the TV is connected with a VGA cable, not S-Video. So guess I'm off to buy another VGA cable :) –  Kyle Feb 28 '11 at 14:46

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