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I've got a now fairly old Dell M1530 laptop (that has had various problems due to the well documented overheating issues) that has in the last week had its LCD panel die on me. It's not the inverter so its not really worth fixing, but I'm happy using it as a desktop with an external monitor attached.

So I've bought a nice IPS panel (much recommended) and I've so far got it hooked up using the VGA out on the side of the laptop. Works much as you'd expect after I've hit the keyboard combo to turn on the external monitor (Win+P, then down twice on Windows 8).

However, I want to use the HDMI port instead for the obvious image quality reasons, and just plugging it in and doing the same as I have with VGA doesn't work. Because the built-in screen is dead I can't see if Windows 8 is detecting the port and asking me if I want to use it or something like that.

Can anyone help?

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Does this also happen if you boot the computer with the screen attached? – terdon Jan 20 '13 at 15:50
You should be able to use both the HDMI and the VGA out at the same time, if you can find an old monitor to work with? Try that... try connecting an old monitor to the VGA, then the new IPS panel to the HDMI. Once you are viewing on the old monitor, you should be able to see and configure (res, refresh, etc) the HDMI connected display. Let us know. – Bon Gart Jan 20 '13 at 15:58
No other monitor available unfortunately @BonGart - if I get desperate I might have to try my TV. Yes, same thing if booting with the screen attached. And yes, I thought at the very least attaching both at the same time would let me configure one or the other! – Kieran Benton Jan 20 '13 at 16:06
Should a HDMI output show up in device manager etc anywhere in Windows 8? NVidia control panel only showing analogue out right now... – Kieran Benton Jan 20 '13 at 16:07
If you connect both the VGA input and the HDMI input of the same device, into both connections on the M1530, then when you are using the VGA input, the HDMI connection isn't going to show up because it's not active on the display. A quick trip to a Goodwill or Salvation army should turn up a $5 monitor... – Bon Gart Jan 20 '13 at 16:18

Just idea: the first thing that comes to my mind is to create a USB flash drive with autostart TeamViewer application. And try to connect to the laptop from any other computer to see what is going on.

After that, I would set up a home network and start any remote terminal to be able to control OS and use command line. If you do not have a second computer available all the time, perhaps it is possible to configure management from some mobile device with Internet access.

As an alternative, you can use the special features of Windows to run Narrator using special hot keys (Windows Logo+Enter). Or other method like that to "hear" screen content.

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