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yesterday I was playing on my Win 7 laptop when suddenly my screen went into this colorful faulty state, something of this

enter image description here

, though not exactly. And a second after my laptop died starting itself up again with black screen.

Now here's what happens when I try to start it up:

  1. Fans turn on for a brief moment
  2. CD drive can be heard
  3. HDD led together with other LEDs turns on, but goes black after a while
  4. Monitor remains black the whole time, doesn't even light up, it's straight turned off
  5. After a moment of that state PC shuts down again to restart and so on

NOTE: Even if I try to hold the power button to turn it off, it will start itself up again, unless I take battery out and remove power cord.

(I don't get any beeps or anything so I assume I either don't get into or past POST?)

I had similar problem some time back, but the guy that fixed it for me didn't really go into detail as to what was wrong or how did he fix it. All that he told my mom (who picked it up from him) was that there was a virus and something with the HDD. But he fixed it without changing any of the components.

Is it possible that it's the same cause again? Though it seems to me like it would be a mad coincidence to be or some software that I used both now and then that caused it...

EDIT: Can anyone relate or know what I could do to fix it?

My laptop: Acer Aspire 5742G (Windows 7 Home Premium, Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470)

UPDATE: So I've tried removing major components and checking other stuff in the process, with the help of someone a bit more competent to do it than myself. It seems that none of those components are the problem and the guy that's more knowledgeable about that than me thinks, that it's probably the mbd - more specifically the BIOS chip.

UPDATE: I removed my HDD and connected it to our desktop PC, wanting to save my data. Interestingly enough, when I try to boot the PC will let me choose between booting normally or going into the System repair/recovery mode (sorry my PC is in different language, so I hope this is the correct name for the tool) - if I choose that though, the PC will probably fail to enter it and goes back to that menu. If I try to boot normally PC will go into the 'Starting Windows' stage and then reboot. Coincidence? Or is my BIOS just wrongly configured? It seems to recognize my HDD though..

UPDATE (15/7): Curious thing happened. I disassemled my laptop and put it back together after cleaning it up a bit and now when I turn it on, it doesn't reboot - though my monitor is still black (I only tried it without HDD inside so far). Inside I also found the screen cable to be in... questionable state. Can't tell if downright faulty but it didn't look exactly a-ok. But if the cable is the cause, isn't it strange that it stopped working all of sudden and likely from several different causes?

  • Do you know the make and model of Laptop? If so, add this to your question as it might help with the diagnosis. – misterjaytee Jun 29 '14 at 7:42
  • From reading your second update, it sounds like from your desktop you experienced the same looping reboot process - only this time you could see it. Seems like you have several serious hardware failures, including video display. I'd continue trying your HD connected to your desktop and use a system recovery disk to run repair. – root Jul 10 '14 at 12:04
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When you say "monitor remains blank", do you mean it's hooked up to an external monitor or are you referring to the laptop screen?

If an external monitor, what does the actual laptop screen show? Do you see any boot screen? Can you access safe mode? Can you access the BIOS?

Sudden issues like that are normally driver related, we recently installed wifi cards in a bunch of computers and once the driver was installed the screen would show "rainbow colours" similiar to the screenshot you attached and reboot.

Have you recently installed anything on the laptop? Were you doing something at the time that triggered it? Does it reboot during the loading phase of Windows or does it not get this far?

Worst case scenario if you're seeing absolutely nothing and it's continually rebooting before even seeing any post screen is your motherboard has given up the ghost but let's do some more diagnosis first.

  • When saying monitor I'm reffering to laptop screen - it show absolutely nothing, like it doesn't even power up. I don't recall installing any major software recently and the shutdown happened while I was playing, unexpectedly. But as I said it seems very similar to my last problem with the laptop as written above... – Keashi Jun 29 '14 at 9:55
  • I'd try connect to an external monitor, see if you get any display. Try boot it with and without the power lead connected, try boot without the battery but AC connected, possibly replace the CMOS battery (if easy to access) but can't see that doing much, it's also worth taking out components on laptops such as either the hard drive or memory as they're usually easily accessible and see if you see different results. Try instantly hitting F2 (or F12), whatever the BIOS button is for that make/model too. – Muffinbubble Jun 29 '14 at 12:12
  • I tried booting with/without battery and with/without power cord connected, which changed nothing. I tried connecting the laptop to a TV with HDMI cable (hope it's okay that I didn't try with actual monitor), but it changed nothing, the TV got no signal from the laptop. I also tried to access BIOS with no success. – Keashi Jun 29 '14 at 15:10
  • Using HDMI to TV comes with other issues, a simpler test would be to use VGA to a monitor (if you laptop has VGA). The fact it doesn't boot into Windows and you can't even see a boot screen and with the colours you saw would indicate to me a hardware issue with your graphics card. But as mentioned before, I'd look at removing your RAM chips one at a time or any hardware you can remove to see if it makes a difference. Faulty RAM can prevent bootups. – Muffinbubble Jun 29 '14 at 16:15
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I would say you video card has been destroyed by heat or power surge. Try to take out your hard drive, back up your data using an external interface to another machine. Use another machine to create bootable usb of any kind, and try to boot in it using F8 and other keys at startup (differ from laptop to laptop). If nothing happens and your screen remains blank and you are experiencing the same, then it is certainly a hardware failure.

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Two things:

1- I've come across this issue several times in the past and in my past experiences, it's always the motherboard or graphics card. In which case if it's the graphics card, you'll have to replace the motherboard anyways because it's not removable like a standard desktop PC.

To be sure though, try plugging in a VGA or DVI (or HDMI/DisplayPort) monitor into your external video connection that's likely on the side or back of your laptop. This way, if you still don't get a picture from an external display, you can ensure its not a faulty monitor and can rule on the side of faulty motherboard.

If I had to guess, you friend worked on it and it just started working correctly again. So rather then tell you the truth, he just told you it was a virus or something else like a hard drive. (A practice that occurs very often in the IT repair world) If you replace the motherboard, you are likely looking at a decent amount in labor as it will take 2-3 hours to install, plus cost of board which will be anywhere from 70 used to 150-200 new.

2- when you insert your laptop HD into another PC, it doesn't boot up because the hardware it's expecting from when it was installed on the laptop is significantly different from your desktop. If the laptop and desktop differ too much in cpu architecture, graphics, mother board controllers, etc, it will fail to boot. The best way to back up your data is to just let the desktop boot into Windows and then using a USB to SATA adapter (or IDE if for some reason your laptop is older then I think it is), connect it to your desktop and transfer the files off exactly like you would for a flash drive or memory card.

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