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The screen of my Alienware M17X remains black when I power it on. When it starts, there is light from the screen but it remains black. I can not see the Alienware logo, the BIOS, or GRUB, yet it had been previously working fine. I dual boot with Windows 7 and Debian 8.

The output of $ lspci | grep -E "VGA|3D" is:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK107M [GeForce GTX 660M] (rev a1)

I guess it is a problem with the graphics card. I connected a screen using a VGA cable and it worked fine. The computer detected the two screens (the external one which is working and the internal one which is not).

The output of # lspci -v -s 00:02.0 was first:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK107M [GeForce GTX 660M] (rev ff) (prog-if ff)
    !!! Unknown header type 7f

I did # modprobe nvidia and then I rerun the lspci command:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK107M [GeForce GTX 660M] (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    Subsystem: Dell Device 0551
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 16
    Memory at d0000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
    Memory at a0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
    Memory at b0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=32M]
    I/O ports at 3000 [size=128]
    Expansion ROM at d1000000 [disabled] [size=512K]
    Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 3
    Capabilities: [68] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
    Capabilities: [78] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
    Capabilities: [b4] Vendor Specific Information: Len=14 <?>
    Capabilities: [100] Virtual Channel
    Capabilities: [128] Power Budgeting <?>
    Capabilities: [600] Vendor Specific Information: ID=0001 Rev=1 Len=024 <?>
    Capabilities: [900] #19
    Kernel driver in use: nvidia

Before I modprobe nvidia, sudo lshw -c video detected the intel chipset only. Now, it detects both:

  *-display               
       description: VGA compatible controller
       produit: GK107M [GeForce GTX 660M]
       fabriquant: NVIDIA Corporation
       identifiant matériel: 0
       information bus: pci@0000:01:00.0
       version: a1
       bits: 64 bits
       horloge: 33MHz
       fonctionnalités: pm msi pciexpress vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=nvidia latency=0
       ressources: irq:16 mémoire:d0000000-d0ffffff mémoire:a0000000-afffffff mémoire:b0000000-b1ffffff portE/S:3000(taille=128) mémoire:d1000000-d107ffff
  *-display
       description: VGA compatible controller
       produit: 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller
       fabriquant: Intel Corporation
       identifiant matériel: 2
       information bus: pci@0000:00:02.0
       version: 09
       bits: 64 bits
       horloge: 33MHz
       fonctionnalités: msi pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
       ressources: irq:30 mémoire:d2000000-d23fffff mémoire:c0000000-cfffffff portE/S:4000(taille=64)

However, the screen remains black. I have an issue of modprobe bad line since a while but it was not causing any issue with the screen before. I tried the built-in Self-test (BIST) and all the colors are displayed. After the first time, I could successfully boot but it crashed while I was using it. Then the screen displayed no video like before. The computer is four years old. I don't know if it is the LCD screen or the graphics card which is a problem.

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Since a second monitor works when connected externally, try running the Dell diagnostics to make sure everything passes:

Running ePSA Built-in Diagnostics on your Alienware System

If all tests pass, then the LCD is probably bad.

| improve this answer | |
  • It is very strange because after one week without using the computer, I plugged it to a second screen with a vga cable. Then, it came back to life. After few minutes, the alienware's screen displayed the desktop. I ran the built-in diagnostics and everything was normal. This episode is a mystery. – Etienne Nov 26 '16 at 12:52

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