Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Your display might not turn on if the computer's not working or the display's not working. However there are other possible causes we'll look at also.

My display monitor wasn't working. I tried everything to get it back on. Rebooted the computer, pushed the on/off button on the display, etc., but it just wouldn't come on. I knew the computer was running because I could access it via Remote Desktop from another machine on my network.

Finally, I *unplugged* the display, plugged it back in three minutes later, and it worked fine. What happened, and why did that help?

First, I need to be clear - the top reasons I hear about in general for a display not working or showing "no signal" are:

  • Your computer isn't working. Fans and lights may not mean anything - if the computer can't start because of some other problem, it may not be able to provide a signal to the display.

  • Your cable's bad, loose or unplugged. If a signal can't get to your display, there's nothing for it to show you.

And in both of those cases the problem is not the display.

Now, let's look at some situations where it is.

As your question indicated, a great place to start is to simply turn everything off - both your computer and monitor - wait 30 seconds and turn them all back on again. I've talked about 'Why do so many tech support solutions start with "reboot" or "turn it off"?' before, and this is a good situation to give that a try.

If that didn't clear things up, make sure that it is the monitor by making sure your computer is, in fact, running. Remote Desktop is great if you have that ability. If you can connect to the machine remotely, not only is it working, but you can actually use it while the display issue is being resolved. Another good test is file sharing - if you can normally view files on a share hosted on that computer, then seeing those shares on your local network would indicate that the computer is up and running.

"You may need to "reboot your monitor" with a power cycle when you reboot your machine."

The next simplest test I know of is to simply try another display. Borrow one if you don't have a spare but see if that other display will work on your computer. Same for the video cable. If one of those resolves the issue, then you know which component you need to repair or replace.

The opposite makes sense too - if you take your display and cable, and they work when connected to a different computer, it's possible that the issue is your video card.

Finally, there's a scenario that I deal with periodically myself. Nothing's broken, and yet...

You may need to "reboot your monitor" with a power cycle when you reboot your machine.

I have two ViewSonic 23inch digital displays, and every so often, particularly after a computer crash, one or the other seem to get "confused" and stay black. Powering cycling both displays and rebooting the PC fixes it right up.

My theory is that with the advent of LCD/digital displays, they might now be incorporating a micro controller or microprocessor within the display itself that can occasionally crash, and quite literally need rebooting.

Article C2805 - October 8, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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32 Comments
DSU
October 9, 2006 9:14 AM

Since it restarted once it was plugged back in it might be as simple as a bad outlet on the surge suppressor. I had that happen to me once, after three hours of useless farting about I plugged the monitor directly into the way and it worked fine. Replaces the surpressor and all was fine again. It was a single bad outlet.

David Washington
December 9, 2006 7:37 AM

I've tried everything listed above and yet I comtinue to get NO SIGNAL. Is there anything else that I can attempt?

karen weist
December 18, 2007 10:55 AM

I HAVE TRYED IT ALL AS WELL FIRST I REALISED THAT IT HAD NO OPERATING SYSTEMS. I WENT TO F2 TO TRY AND SEE IF THERE WAS A RESTORE TO MANUF. AND ALL THE SUDDEN IT SHUT OFF AND HAS NEVER CAME BACK ON SINCE THANK U

karen weist
December 18, 2007 10:58 AM

IT SHUT OFF BY ITS SELF. I UNPLUGGED IT AND PLUGGED IT BACK IN AND NOTHING HAPPENED I WAITED 1/2 HOUR BEFOR PLUGGING IT BACK IN AND STILL NOTHING ,DID IT CRASH??

vincent
September 28, 2008 11:53 AM

im using my computer 18 hours per day!!! is that ok? or if i continue using that way is there any problem i have to encounter?

vincent
September 28, 2008 11:59 AM

my ibm thinkpad t42 laptop have a problem, my laptop did 'nt open in one press of the on botton,.....im pressing it a hundred times before it open,.... and a day come my computer does not open any

John Sweet
October 20, 2008 2:13 PM

My new computer has been working great. I left it on all night and noticed the screen saver working when I went to bed just fine. When I got up, the monitor was off and the power light on the monitor was amber as well as the light on the tower (flashing). I moved my mouse around, pressed some keys and nothing. I unplugged it, plugged it back in, pressed the power on button and all I get are the amber lights. Any suggestions?

julia gergely
November 9, 2008 7:14 AM

WHEN I TURN ON MY HARD DRIVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS, NO WHIRRING NO SCREEN, JUST BLACK. MOST RECOMMENDED FIXES REQUIRE SCREEN TO SEE WHAT YOUR DOING. OR SCANNING IT. IT WONT GO ON . IM USING LAPTOP TO SEND THIS. HELP PLEASE.

Carolynn
March 21, 2009 6:26 PM

i have had my old computer unplugged for almost a year and was working fine but i tried get some stuff off of it and i can't get it to display on the monitor please help

Alan
May 2, 2009 4:04 AM

In your article you didn't mention a senerio I have, regards monitor not turning on. My issue concerns, when I boot the computer, then turn on the monitor, the monitor immediatley kicks off. I tried with a different monitor, the same happened. I replaced the video card, still the same thing happens.

JOE VIDAL
May 26, 2009 11:57 AM

How do you reboot your monitor with a power cycle?

Power Cycle simply means turning the monitor off and back on again with its power switch.
- Leo
28-May-2009

Dilbert Baimol
October 28, 2009 11:01 PM

As I press the power button for my Dell desktop on I it gives two beep sound and it keeps the fan running and indicator lights on but the display remains black

george ewen
November 26, 2009 6:12 AM

just dug out old computer tried switching in on and i do not get anything on the screen can you help

sas
December 31, 2009 5:57 PM

I've been having the same problem, started this morning when I woke up. Switched my PC on and my desktop started but the monitor did not. I could hear the fan on but that's pretty much it.

Jesse
January 7, 2010 1:17 PM

My problem is that my display won't turn on. I can see clearly power is going to my computer. The lights are lighting up and flashing and there is also a light where the power button is and that is lighting up too. The fan is moving meaning there is activity going on inside it. Its just the display. Ive turned it off and on with the power cycle but nothing shows. Can you help me out?

joe shepherd
January 19, 2010 5:43 AM

dear leo, my computer moniter wont turn on ive tried everything from unplugging the cords to getting on my knees and begging it to work lol please help me out what should i do? :(

armend
February 13, 2010 2:35 AM

I've a monitor Hyundai, formatted my PC, when I've installed the Graphic driver, turns off saying "Out of Range", when I delete the driver in Safe Mode, works good, but I can't lower the resolution

mugisha fred
February 20, 2010 12:12 PM

i also have the same challenge of display and have tried out all ie switching monitors,tested VGA card,memory.and have found all working but still no display.what do you think.

Andy
March 2, 2010 6:58 PM

That was it, I thought it might be my video card or hard drive. Turns out I just cut power to the surge protector and flipped it back on. Upon booting the PC everything worked including the monitor. Thank You.

ARTHUR ERASMI
January 6, 2011 5:14 PM

screen lights up and that all,what should i do,its aempty screen and nothing to click on
thanks artie

pawesth1
February 23, 2011 1:31 PM

have wireless internet so tower is on all the time but i do turn off monitor when not in use. now all of sudden monitor won't load, i push button and it comes on green for about 5 sec then turns yellow. nothing comes on monitor, what is problem?

mac
April 6, 2011 5:53 PM

leo my problem is alittle different but i tried all the solutions in your article to no avail. the akai tv is streaming video via HP slimeline(win7 home) the nobilis(win7 home)is adhoc server to asus ssi desktop (win7 ultimate) each have had a failed lcd screen, each have a surge protector and are seperated from other appliances. I've megged the recepticles,checked ok and the lcd fuses are all clean and pass countituity check. the lcds dont work anywhere on anything. some people are questioning my sanity or lack of... any help leo???

jorgeaguirre
June 17, 2011 8:13 AM

reboting fix mine, but also i did thepower off for the surge protector and flp it and then it works.

Vincent
August 15, 2011 1:16 PM

My issue is that I've replaced my CPU, and now when I turn the computer on the power light is orange, instead of blue, and despite the new cpu's fan and video card's fan working properly - The display refuses to turn on despite any power cycling and the psu in it's already a newer one, but 750watts. Any ideas?

paul zayas
August 15, 2011 2:00 PM

i have a view sonic va712b monitor.i can plug it it but it will not turn on i dont know why it wont come on

Mark J
August 15, 2011 4:05 PM

@Paul
You might want to try plugging your monitor into another computer to see if the problem is with the monitor or the computer.

Ezon
September 4, 2011 3:13 AM

i have a AOC led monitor and when i tried to turn on my PC, the monitor appears no signal...
what the problem of my PC?

michael gray
September 5, 2011 5:10 AM

hi my pc wont boot up the green light comes on the monitor then goes orange

michael
November 28, 2011 7:33 AM

it appears i too have been bitten by the monitor problem, i also have a viewsonic monitor22", it ha s been perfect for a couple of years, suddenly when turning the computer on it`s not coming on more often than not,
i tried the reboot thing to no avail, my young brother suggested i unplug the plug at the monitor for about 20 seconds and plug it back in, sure enough on it comes, i will see if i can dig up another cable and try again, thanks Leo.

michael
November 28, 2011 7:41 AM

i might also add the on off button on the monitor remained blue (which is usually on), and could not be altered , indeed it was as if the monitor had crashed(confused look ), after unpluging the monitor for 20/30 seconds and replugging, the lit switch and monitor worked perfectly, powering down.....until the next time :( .

Jacob
December 30, 2011 9:28 AM

You guys rock. I did a hard shut down on my computer. After that when I booted it up the monitors were not waking up. I read through the article above, unplugged my dual monitors, shut down and unplugged the computer, came back a couple minutes later and BAM, everything is working.

I really thought I was going to be spending my entire day figuring this out.

Thank you soooooooooo much.

Peter
August 1, 2012 12:50 PM

My problem is some time ago i turned on the computer and it worked fine but he then frooze and i tapped the reset button and after that my monitor stopped working

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