Laptop Just Flashes Colors!

My son’s Dell Laptop Insperion will only flash colors the very instant it powers up - not even allowing one to enter “Safe Mode”. At last start-up…after an automatic update to Windows 10*, he says he went into settings to see if Dell needed any updates to be run. He ran them while the PC was running, like it was running in the background. When complete, he was prompted to do a shutdown which he did. It was actually a “restart” vs. a shutdown. And, ever since, this crap started. At this point, what can we do to recover? (I cannot believe a Dell update would crash their own crap!)


*The Windows update was the April 2018 update. He originally had Windows 10, so this was not an update from one whole version of Windows to another.

Is it an Inspiron? This may be a known issue…

the fix appears to be to attach an external monitor and change the refresh rate, as the Update changed it to an incompatible rate.

Thanks for the advice! That’s the right Dell model. (I simply spelled it wrong.) I cannot believe the link you provided dates back with 2015! :eek:

This thought just hit me… I will try this, but! Do you know why the external monitor doesn’t merely exhibit the same behavior if the Hz rate is obviously set by the PC?

If it’s a decent monitor, it can handle a wider range of rates than the laptop screen.

I’ve had users “play around” with a PC change the resolution to one their monitor can’t handle. The same fix is used, attach a monitor with higher resolution.

It was nice when they added that pop up confirmation box after you changed something like that.

Except when folks ignore it. :slight_smile:

The one I’m referring to is sort of like a dead man switch. After you change something like your resolution, a pop up, like this. You have 30 seconds to click OK, otherwise the revert back, under the premise that you can’t see/read your monitor. It was nice to be able to play around with the settings knowing that if you really screwed it up you just had to wait 30 seconds…instead of relying on your ability to get it back to being usable without seeing it.

I’m trying to figure out how the guy got around that…:dubious:

Curiouser and curiouser: My son tried one of our spare external monitors to no avail. But, he also has a HDMI cable to connect to our flatscreen TV which, I would imagine, should be the best option for an external monitor that can accept a wide range of Hz (or resolution?). He’s connected to our flatscreen before without incident; however, this time he gets a “no signal” message (while the laptop screen is flashing colors). Why would that be? Just for the sake of argument, I had him press Fn-F8 (which, in the past, he did not need to). Still, it made no difference (as my son predicted).

So… what do you think the issue is here with the laptop connected by HDMI cable to the flatscreen TV?

FYI: They’ve dummied down the “Control Panel” in Windows 10 so much, I cannot find where to adjust the Hertz! Googling around, articles claim that LCDs do not require adjustment unlike CRT monitors! So, if I ever find an external monitor that will work, am I still screwed?

The default resolution should be used on LCD monitors in virtually all cases.* The refresh rate may be set to several different values depending on needs. Higher for games, lower if you don’t need it and don’t want to stress components.

  • If you’re just running FreeDOS, for example, you’re going to get 640x480 by default. It’ll look ugly but it will work. Similarly you might need to downgrade resolution for other old software running in full screen mode.

While I don’t care for the settings/control panel in Win 10 either, one nice thing they did add is a search box.
There’s plenty of ways to get to that setting:
1)Go to settings and search for “display”, then click on “change display settings” and “advanced display settings” near the bottom, then “display adapter properties” and that brings up a new window and from there you can change both display and resolution.

2)Go to settings, click on system, click on Display in the left column. And then follow the above instructions.

Now, I have no idea if that’s the problem, but that’s how to get at those settings.

ETA, if the computer appears to be booting, even though you can’t see anything. I’d try to get into the BIOS settings. You may be able to do something with the display adapter from there.

Also, when you say it won’t allow you to get to safe mode. Is it because you can’t see anything, because it’s blocking your attempts to do it or because it never gives you the option?
If it never gives you the option, you could try pulling the power cord and battery. The sudden, unexpected shutdown may bring up the safe mode prompt when you reboot.

Is the OP saying that they can not even see the bios POST screen?
That even that flashes?

was any bios or firmware update applied?