My Samsung NC10 Netbook with integrated Intel mobile GMA 945 running XP started to go blank momentarily when it was 18 months old, progressively increasing over a few months. Sometimes I can make the graphics reappear by flipping the lid back and forth, made me think that it was probably a hardware problem due to a loose connection. Then it got to the point that it went blank as soon as it was powered on and it would not come back with lid adjustment. Later I found out that it would not go blank on boot up if I use the battery instead of AC power; if I log in to a non-admin account I can use the netbook and plug into AC after booting up; but if I log in to my admin account, Windows would boot up and load all the start up programs and then it would go blank, repeated this many times and it went blank at exactly the same moment. If I use the non-admin account and then switch to the admin account, it would go blank after loading the admin's settings.
If I start Windows in safe mode using F8, it would not go blank for hours. I used this to retrieve all my documents that was not saved anywhere else. Then I used F2 to do a one click restore to initial status. This should bring my netbook back to the day I first used it and if the problem was due to software it should have been resolved. It did not. I still have to power it up on batteries and then plug in AC. The only improvement is that I can use the Admin account now instead of just the non-admin account. It would still go blank from time to time, but it's easier to bring it back.
Anybody have any ideas how I can fix this?
Thanks Curious. The warranty has expired, it was good for only 12 months.
I just noticed something else. If I increase the screen brightness to about 75% of the max, it would go blank. If I decrease it then, the graphics would come back. This also works when it goes blank by itself, but not on powering up with AC plugged in.
When I ran Windows in safe mode for a few hours, it never went blank. Does it still sound like a capacitor or video/motherboard problem? About how much would it cost to fix it? Probably not worthwhile for a netbook that sometimes go on sale for about $250.
Increasing the brightness to compensate for aging can increase probability of failure. I've only owned desktops but I know they frequently advise to regularly use the battery to assure the it recharges correctly. Power up is the greatest strain for any system.
In safe mode the most basic 16-color graphics driver is used, allowing safest boot-up. For a desktop monitor the capacitors can be replaced, particularly higher priced older monitors with screws holding the back on. For some there are kits for replacing most of the power conversion capacitors for less than $25 retail. The monitor is separately powered and some boards can also fail.
For mobile systems the video and motherboard are combined and the cost is probably more than half of the new system MSRP for replacement. Capacitor replacement is more difficult but it is probably still in the video circuit. Fixing the ribbon cable connecting the video panel is described elsewhere but I'd say its more than 90% certain capacitors are failing. These have vents on the top to release pressure but visual inspection may not be conclusive. Power regulation is the most complex for mobile systems but I doubt the battery is involved.
Recover data and settings while you still can.