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So, I've read many of the suggestions here and elsewhere online but can't seem to find an answer specifically for this issue I'm having, so I'm asking.

I have a Dell Latitude E4500 which is basically the only working Windows box I have left. I know it's old and has taken quite a licking over the years but still keeps ticking, until recently that is. Rather abruptly the display just decided to spaz out making the machine unusable. The LCD initially had red and blue lines running across it, a sign of a bad wire I hear, then they stopped for a couple of months, then all of a sudden, the display started flickering and became completely distorted. I used to be able to fix this by upping the refresh rate from 40hz to 60hz, but now does the same at either setting.

At first, I thought it was the GPU as it tends to run hot, but I am able to connect an external monitor and that works just fine, so have ruled that out. Beyond this, my search online has lead me to everything from replacing the entire LCD panel to just replacing the ribbon cable between the GPU and inverter.

My question is this: Does anyone here have experience with LCD displays that may have encountered this problem before and first steps to fixing the issue?

I am primarily a software guy, which is why I'm asking but I don't have any problem taking this thing apart to fix the issue, but would just like some direction from hardware gurus before I do.

Here's a pic of what it looks like now, just to clarify.

My thanks to anyone who can lead me in the right direction to fixing this.

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I'm no expert at monitors, but that looks very much like a bad wire between the graphics card and monitor. I guess this because you say that an external monitor works...then it can't be the graphics card. – HelpingHand Jun 7 '13 at 19:43
Thanks, that's what I'm thinking too, but wanted to hear it from someone else before I started to perform surgery on the poor guy. – janimuze Jun 7 '13 at 20:53
Well, don't take my word for it because, again, i'm no expert at this. I'm sure that someone else would be happy to help you out on this question with some experience. (Note: you can probably get more views if you relate this question to tags that a lot of people follow. If the machine is a windows, then add that tag to replace one of the others /like 'distortion', 0 followers/. Windows has many followers, and your question will be noticed sooner.) Just a tip. Good luck. – HelpingHand Jun 8 '13 at 14:26
Indeed the LCD panel still looks fine, but I think this question is far too localized to get an "acceptable" answer; even you yourself have narrowed down the issue to the connection between the LCD and the graphics card, or the LCD controller itself. – Breakthrough Jun 10 '13 at 16:54
I've had considerable experience with hosed laptops, and, as others have noted, that looks to me very much like a damaged cable. You're probably going to want to replace the entire panel; while you may be able to find the cable alone as a replacement part, CCFL backlights and their inverters both degrade with time, and if you've been using the laptop for a long time and want to use it for a long time more, then replacing both those parts will do a lot to save you the trouble of tearing it down again in a year or two. (Especially as, from the image, your backlight's already looking a bit weak.) – Aaron Miller Jun 10 '13 at 17:26

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