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HELP Computer is running - monitor says no signal

Discussion in 'Pete's Computer Corner' started by jbtsax, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I have checked the cables, turned both the computer and the monitor off and back on with no success. Is there anything else a computer novice can do other than call our "computer guy"?
  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    As in, "I was using my computer then all the sudden I got the, 'Monitor has no signal,' error or I just turned on my computer and I got the error"?

    * Press the spacebar and wiggle the mouse. Easy solutions, first: computer's just asleep.
    * If you have an input select button on your monitor, press it and see if anything happens.
    * There's another way to check the video cable on some monitors: reverse it. Connect the end that's currently connected to the monitor to the computer and vice versa. Wiggle the mouse and press the spacebar a couple times. Still nothing? Then ...
    * Turn off the monitor. There should be no lights or anything on the monitor. We want it completely off. Wait for a minute. Turn it back on. Again, wiggle the mouse and press a couple keys. Nothing? Then ...

    Warning. Data loss or electrocution may occur past this point. Use at your own risk.

    * Press the power button on the computer. Not "press and hold in," just press it once. If your computer's asleep, this will either wake it or turn it off (regardless of operating system or make/model really). If it doesn't wake or shut down, then ...
    * Hold in the power button on the computer until the computer turns off. Should take 30 seconds or so, unless you have a toggle switch for the power.
    * Turn off the monitor. Some models you do have to hold the button for a few seconds until it turns off.
    * Unplug the power to the computer. If it's connected to a power strip, so much the better. Leave it off for two minutes (for the other techies looking at this, the Lenovo Yoga 2 manual says 100 seconds and means it).
    * Plug everything back in. Turn on the MONITOR first. Wait for 10 or so seconds then turn on the computer. The computer should at least beep or chime and you should have lights on the computer's front panel lighting up -- at least you should hear the fan come on. Provided that the computer turns on properly and you still have no video ...

    Time for parts 'n' stuff!

    * The thing I'd do is see if your video card is seated properly. However, you can easily damage stuff if you don't know what you're doing.
    * If you have another monitor lying around, connect your computer to that and see if it works. (I'd actually swap out the cable first, because I have lots, but most people don't have spares ...)
    * Buy a new monitor cable, if you have a cable that can detach from the monitor. That's about $6 if you have a VGA cable.
    * Most desktops and laptops have a backup battery. If your computer is more than three years old, it could be as simple as a bad battery. One of the symptoms of a bad battery can be no video, as a lot of Macintosh owners can tell you. $4 part. Again, it's one of those open the computer and root around things.
  3. Ball peen hammer?
  4. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Find a replacement* monitor and hook it up, or attach a laptop* to the monitor.

    *) in a "known to be working" state.

    Does the computer make some noise (whirring harddisk, self-test-beep) or do the keyboard LEDs flash shortly when being booted?
    Did you reseat the cables?
  5. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    And jbtsax, food for thought and at the risk of sounding like a nerd, I have never not had a backup computer (or three). I'm not talking about my wife's, I have a business computer that I expense fully, a tablet (careful, you might fall in love with this device after say ... a year), and my smart phone. Good luck. If Pete or I lived close, you'd know already what's up. Now let's talk backups ... too soon? ;)
  6. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Thanks everyone for your help and input. I followed Pete's steps to the letter up to "Time for parts and stuff" and it worked. I suspect there is more to the problem though since this is the second time it has done this. If it happens again, I have a very good computer guy to call who is fast, fairly priced, and brings his dog "Rocky" to play with my dog "Toby".
  7. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    You're welcome.


    I have three or four computers that I could consider my "main" machines and a few that could be considered as "single purpose" machines. For example, I have one old laptop that just displays a digital clock screensaver. (Hey, 7" tall numbers. Clocks that big cost $80.) Another I use for streaming video.

    My newest computer's almost three years old and I will need to replace one of my "main" machines by the end of 2017. That's the desktop I'm currently typing on. It's almost 6 years old and various components are dying on it. I'd also like to have USB 3.1.

    Just talking backups, I do have one of these with an additional 3tb hard drive connected to it to backup the WD. I have a duplicate of each of my main computers' system drives and I've tested those to ensure they work, except for my Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop: it takes too much work to pull out the hard drive to make an exact duplicate, so I just have a backup and I update that occasionally. I essentially use it as a tablet and no real heavy work, so I don't care that I don't have the latest backups.

    If you have Windows 8 or 10, you have the ability to make something called a "Windows-to-Go" drive that you can use on any computer. However, unless you have something called a Key Management Server or only use it on one computer, you're going to find out that it'll start telling you that the license is invalid after 2 hours. It's good in a pinch, though.

    Of course, being a computer tech, I have lots and lots of parts and cables. I probably have three or four power supplies lying around. Good 20 or so old hard drives and about 6 new ones. Various video cards, etc. All could work in a pinch.

    Anyhow, I did mention "electrocution," earlier. The power supply has high voltage capacitors that can hold a charge for years, even if they're not connected to power. The old CRT in your CRT monitor is essentially a big capacitor and is the reason why I never bothered trying to repair a CRT: I enjoy living too much. I have replaced the capacitors in LCD/LED based monitors, but not for the power supply, just for the main circuit board.
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