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I have a HP Compaq nc4200 laptop. I got it from a family member who no longer needed it, who got it from a sale of old office equipment, so it's at the very least third-hand, and somewhat battered. Today, I dropped it. It seemed unharmed at first, but the screen cuts out every few minutes (sometimes seconds), then fades back. Keyboard input also occasionally starts lagging, as does the mouse. It might be a coincidence, but, oddly, it seems as if, when the screen cuts out, it comes back sooner if I use the trackpad.

Is this something that I could fix? What might be causing it?

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That's what I suspected. I've never taken this laptop apart before, but I've found a manual on the HP site which suggests it's quite simple, so I'm reasonably confident. –  Holly Gray Oct 17 '12 at 10:53

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It sounds like something came loose - the pressure on the keyboard is putting the screen connector in better contact and so on.

As you're careful, you should be able to take it apart to check.While not as 'easy' as a desktop, you should be able to take apart your laptop to fix it, with sufficient care, and fairly simple tools

The service manual is essential and tells you what you need and how to take it apart. You probably want to read through the parts for keyboard and display replacement. Open it up, make sure the connectors are secure (removing and replacing them sounds good) and arn't worn out or damaged in any obvious way, and put it back together.

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