My netbook was dropped and now half the screen is displaying incorrectly. Its basically a rainbow spectrum of random colors.

On the other side everything is working just fine. It doesn't appear that the screen is damaged though because all the pixels are displaying colors.

Does this sound like something that can be easily fixed or should I just toss it out?

Update: I followed CharlieRB's advice, the picture is fine when connecting the netbook to my TV. So I took the laptop screen apart, disconnected and reconnected the cable. It didn't change anything. The right 2 thirds of the screen are still funky (its actually 2 thirds not a half). One very strange thing I did noticed is that sometimes when disconnecting from the TV when the laptop screen refreshes the 2 outer thirds start to work perfectly and the inner third becomes solid black. It stays this way until I reboot and then it goes back to the original problem.

  • It may be that the display itself is broken, it may be simply a bad internal connection that can be corrected, it may be that the motherboard has been toasted. No good way to tell which, but most likely the display proper will need replacement. (Note that replacement screens for many laptops are available at halfway reasonable prices.) Dec 22, 2011 at 17:48
  • (If the "bad" side is displaying data more or less correctly, just with very odd colors and maybe a little blurry, then it's likely that one of the internal layers has broken loose and the display proper is damaged beyond repair.) Dec 22, 2011 at 17:50
  • @DanH thanks for the info, the bad side is not displaying any sort of legible data. It looks like one of those system tests with the vertical striped colors (only in this case each color is only 1 pixel wide).
    – JD Isaacks
    Dec 22, 2011 at 17:55
  • Well, the first thing to try would be disassembly/reassembly, on the off chance that it's simply a loose connector or some such. Maybe a 30% chance of success with that. Dec 22, 2011 at 20:13
  • You now could check the inverter. It´s a small chip connected to the display... But I assume, this is a broken display itself... sounds like 3 parts which partially work
    – Diskilla
    Dec 23, 2011 at 3:27

2 Answers 2


What I would do is diagnose the problem a little more by connecting an external monitor to see if it displays correctly. If so, the LCD is damaged or a connection has come loose. If the image on the external display also has lines as you described, the video adapter is possibly unseated (if not part of the MB) or damaged.

In either case, it will likely need you (or a qualified tech) to disassemble the laptop and find the issue. Hopefully it is a loose connection or card. Otherwise, depending on how much you paid for it and how old it is compared to what it will cost to fix it will answer whether you should "just toss it".

  • 2
    Sounds like a loose plug to me.
    – surfasb
    Dec 22, 2011 at 20:29
  • I tried your advice which led me to a strange clue. See my update.
    – JD Isaacks
    Dec 22, 2011 at 23:57
  • You said you took the screen apart. Did you take the case apart too? It takes a lot more work, but the cables which connect the monitor run down through there to the graphics adapter. There may be a loose connection there. Just be very careful with the ribbon cables not to pull or twist too hard.
    – CharlieRB
    Dec 23, 2011 at 13:38

Many times, on laptons with LED screens, the ribbon cable can go bad. Maybe try putting some pressure (not a lot) on the lower part of the screen bezel, where the display cable runs behind and it may work. I had that issue with my dell laptop. The screen itself was fine, i just needed a new cable and bam.

  • 1
    Where can I buy a bam?
    – fixer1234
    Jan 3, 2015 at 5:57
  • @fixer1234 Good hardware stores often have a Bam, it's properly spelt Bamm, from the german ;) Mar 30, 2016 at 10:10
  • Thanks! I had the same problem as the OP and your advice worked for me. Just pressing below the screen made the problem go away. It may come back, but if it does I at least know the problem will be fixed by reseating the internal connector, or at worst replacing it. Cheers. Jul 8, 2022 at 12:30

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