Strange monitor problem

Monitor shows picture only at monitor power up, and only for 1 second.

I have a Dell LCD monitor. When I power up the computer, the power button light on the monitor changes from yellow to green but the picture doesn’t come up. If I power the monitor down then back up again, the picture comes on, but only for about 1 second. I get the same behavior if I disconnect the video cable from the computer. That is, I get no picture but if I power down then back up I get the test pattern, but only for a second. During that 1 second, the picture is perfect.

Aside from replacing the monitor, any ideas?

Does it show only the test pattern before it cuts out, or do you get a glimpse of your operating system environment as well? How about if you boot up the computer while the monitor is on: do you see anything then?

If you only ever see the test pattern, I think it’s possible the problem is not with the monitor, but with your display adapter. If you get a glimpse of your BIOS during startup, it could be that there’s a problem with your display drivers or configuration. If not, the graphics hardware itself might be on the fritz, or else there’s actually something wrong with the monitor.

One way to maybe narrow down the possibilities would be to see if the monitor works properly when connected to a different machine. Do you have access to any that you could try?

Other than that, what’s your setup like? What kind of hardware, what OS are you running, and how old are the parts?

Let me try to clarify.

The behavior of the monitor is that it shows nothing except when the monitor is first powered up, at which time it shows for 1 second whatever it would normally show in that situation.

If it’s disconnected from the computer it shows the monitor test pattern, but only at monitor power-up and only for a second.

If it’s connected to the computer it shows the Windows desktop, but only at monitor power-up and only for a second.

This behavior leads me to believe it has nothing to do with the computer.

If it is connected to the computer, nothing I do at the computer (hard reboot, etc.) affects the monitor.

It’s an older Dell system, maybe 4-5 years old. It’s my MIL’s, don’t remember the model number.

I’ve had two different LCD monitors do this, both after they were about two years old. Two different brands, same exact behavior – it comes on just for a second, then goes black. I just had to buy new monitors. Some searching online showed that this is a fairly common problem for some brands. I suspect that they’re engineered to burn out after the warrantees are up.

Hold a light up to the monitor. Is there actually a picture there of your desktop without light? the backlight or part of the backlight system could be fouled up.

I agree with your assessment that it’s probably not the computer.

Sounds like its time to get a bigger monitor. You know you want one.

I rather suspect Diogenes has it. But try turning the monitor off, completely disconnecting it, and leaving it for 30 mins before reconnecting it. This will completely discharge the monitor and get rid of any rogue settings.

My old standby is the check the cheap stuff first…
Try a new cable. (Testing for defective or damaged cable)
Has anything moved? I’m thinking integrity of the digital signal on the cable
If that doesn’t work, does your monitor have multiple inputs? Could you try another input? Does any digital input (HDMI, DVI) work? Does any analog input work?
How about a different source entirely?
Can you test your computer (and your cable!) with a different monitor?

I’d do all of the above before I went and spent money on a monitor. If it turns out to not be the monitor, you often can’t return them or there’s a restocking fee.

OK, let me try again.

The problem occurs even when the cable is not connected.