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my laptop screen is fully broken cracked all over so i cant see anything at all but i believe the computer still thinks the screen works so when i plug in an external monitor nothing happens because i cant go to the control panel and work the necessary settings. any advice im working standard old version of vista, cheers.

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A lot of systems will send the laptop screen to the external screen automatically when you shut the laptop screen.

Attach external keyboard and/or mouse and see if this will work for you.

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use Fn in combination with the corresponding function key to toggle displays.

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Turn the computer on with the external monitor plugged in. It should automatically use it.

If that doesn't work, check your keyboard, it might have a function key that allows toggling between the internal and externel displays. What laptop is it?

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We're really going to need to know the laptop model if booting the laptop with the external monitor attached does not work.

(I should also point out, that some external monitors do not show all of the bootup screens. You may not see BIOS screens or even the Vista loading screens. You may not see an image up to the login screen.)

On my Lenovo Thinkpad, the Fn key combination is Fn+F7

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