Monday, May 29, 2006

My Toshiba M200's display is on the fritz

The other day my company pushed a policy that turned on everyone’s screen saver with password protection after a certain amount of minutes; not a bad security policy if not everyone is using this function.  My computer screen entered screen saver mode and then the screen went haywire with vertical colored lines and a loss of horizontal hold to the point that I couldn’t see anything.  I did plug in an external monitor to see if the problem was the LCD display or the video card, and the external display acted the same way, so I knew I had either a video card hardware or software issue.

I rebooted the machine, thinking it was a temporary glitch, only to find that the problem had remained and I could hardly see anything when I logged in (I logged in by feel, no because I could see the screen).  After trying to change the display properties and not being able to see what I was doing, I called the help desk to see if they could help — the end result was that we were able to find out how to enable remote desktop remotely and I was left to clean up the mess myself from one of the other computers on the network.

For those that have never used Remote Desktop, it’s pretty cool and the little hack above that allows you to remotely turn it on makes it even cooler.  I checked the Device Manager and sure enough the nVidia video card hadn’t started and was showing an error code 10.  After searching around for the meaning of the error code 10, all I could determine was that it was some sort of BIOS error, which screwed me over because I couldn’t see anything to do BIOS modification and Remote Desktop didn’t display the BIOS screen.

Luckily I was able to download a copy of the Toshiba M200 BIOS update, which included a Flash utility that worked direct from the Windows desktop.  I re-flashed the BIOS, and the laptop came right back up with no display problems.

I walked away from the computer once it was working, it went into screensaver mode, and is on the fritz again.  This time when I re-flashed the BIOS, the display problem was not fixed, so I guess I need to send it to Toshiba to get it repaired, which sucks.

After some searching, I found that I am not the only one to have this problem, so I’m wondering if anyone out there knows of some sort of other solution that I have not thought of before I ship this off to Toshiba.


Anonymous said...

I myself have the vertical lines happening on my M200 tablet pc. I suspected the screen saver because I left it on overnight and when I came back in the morning I have a blank screen. I turned it off and then on again and I ended up seeing vertical lines that intensified as the laptop was on. I didn't see anything on LCD once I powered it back on besides a blank screen followed by vertical colored lines.

I did plug in a monitor to the external port and was able to see the windows boot screen, but once windows initialized the display driver the monitor on the external port went blank.

Any ideas or solutions? I couldn't get into Toshibas bios to do anything.. help!

Ross said...

Unfortunately I had to send my Toshiba in to get serviced -- they had to replace the video card according to the invoice that came back with it. Luckily for me the machine was still under warranty, but it did take them about a week to complete the repairs and get the machine back to me.

Sorry I don't have a better solution for you.


Mustakim said...

Having the same problem as you for the last 3 or 4 months. mine it seem that i cannot leave the unit inactive for more than 15-30 minutes after which the display will fritz (those colouful lines). now i unplug the batery whenever it is not used and so far the screen have not yet fritz, it turns off for power saver and came back on w/out problem. it never happen when i am typing/browsing on it, even on AC. only when idle and on AC it is a problem