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I have a Dell Inspiron laptop with Windows XP on it. The laptop turns on okay, but after five minutes the screen goes dead but some windows are still viewable. It does the same in safe mode and if started in a DOS prompt.

What could it be? Windows? VGA card? Batteries? Note that the brightness in the screen is because of camera flash.

enter image description here

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Photography tip: Don't use a flash on a laptop screen as it has enough light. – Tom Wijsman Sep 30 '11 at 18:50
I see Windows 7? That doesn't seem like Windows XP. – Tom Wijsman Sep 30 '11 at 18:52
I guess its Win7 – Dave Sep 30 '11 at 19:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It looks like the FL inverter (backlight) is failing.

An LCD screen is made of several components, the important parts are the actual LCD, which makes the image, and the backlight, which shines through the image making it bright enough to see.

The LCD part of the screen is usually very hardy and will normally last a very long time. The backlight bulb: not so much.

Normally, power management can turn the backlight off to save power. When the backlight goes off even when the computer is being used, that usually means it is failing or broken.

Update your drivers, the system BIOS and all such stuff like that, but if the issue continues, you'll need to get an external monitor or replace the computer.

It's an old computer and repairing a backlight usually costs several hundred dollars.

Another possible fix is to find another laptop of the same type that is used and say had a power problem or the CPU is dead, buy it cheap and swap the screen onto yours.

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make sense, it started this a couple of weeks ago and now getting serious. Turn ok all the time, goes dead after 5 min consistently. This link solidifies your claim… – Dave Sep 30 '11 at 19:30
For a temporary possible fix, you may try removing the laptop battery, disconnecting the power cord, and holding the power button down for a couple minutes. Then plug it all back together and see if the screen stays lit for a bit longer. – music2myear Sep 30 '11 at 19:35

It seems that your laptop dims itself because it thinks it's inactive, install your drivers to resolve this.

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well it dims even if someone is working on it, certainly will look at drive issues. – Dave Sep 30 '11 at 19:18

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