Why does my laptop shut off when I try to connect a VGA monitor?

Shane Dulong October 19, 2012
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Whenever I try to plug in an external monitor, my laptops screen goes black and I can not get it back up without restarting my computer. I’ve tried using F4, and I’ve tried closing and opening my laptop. It seems to completely stop my laptop from running, since sound seems to stop when this happens. I also get no signal in the external monitor. Any idea what’s going on? I’m using an HP Pavillion Dv6 Notebook PC.

  1. Kannon Y
    October 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    There's a lot of good advice in this thread! In particular, Jim Chambers has a great idea - check the VGA cable for signs of physical damage. The symptoms you're experiencing could be cause by a bent pin. But if that's not the issue, keep reading:

    At this point in the game, you probably need to trouble shoot each device that you're using, for potential faults and to distinguish between hardware and software problems. Or multi-causal problems. Anyway, this means that you will disconnect each component and use it with devices you already know work properly.

    So, for you, this device chain includes the VGA cable, the external monitor and the laptop itself.

    The laptop is the most complex system, since it contains both a monitor, a graphics card (which is handling the video out) and a computer system (motherboard). It also consists of both hardware and software elements. So you'll test this component the very last because doing the fast fixes is oftentimes the most time effective method of repairing defective hardware.

    When trouble shooting the laptop itself, I would first try to update the drivers for the video adapter in Device Manager. By the way, if you upgraded an older laptop from XP, it's possible that they never made the proper drivers to support video out over VGA.

    Good luck!

    SOURCE: A+ Essentials and personal experience.

  2. Jim Chambers
    October 20, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Check for a bent pin in your monitor's VGA connector.

  3. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm
  4. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    dude, you have to switch to extended display mode. or else, the laptop screen would go off. use the function keys to achieve that!

    • Harish Jonnalagadda
      October 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Yeah the F4 key has to be used in combination with the fn key

  5. Erlis D.
    October 19, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Check if the hardware leds are turned off.. If so, than it's impossible for your laptop to run an external monitor.. (I don't really think this could be the problem..)
    If your computer is running, but only the monitor is turned off, try to clean uninstall your vga driver, and install the lasted updates provided at the HP official driver page!
    Hope this helps...

  6. Adrian Rea
    October 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I think this may be easier than we think. Most laptops defer to the plugged in screen by default and generally switch off the laptop screen by default. You have a number of options but if you go into your screen properties you should be given a choice whether you would like dual screen (both screens have the same content) extended screen giving more desktop space or one screen only to view. You may find on your keyboard a function button with a monitor switching function. Looking at the pavillion keyboard layout try fn+F4

    • Adrian Rea
      October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      You say you have tried using F4 but have you done fn+F4? secondly, open the screen setting and make it dual screen at first this will see if there is a problem with disconnecting

  7. Harry Barnes
    October 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

    This could be because the laptop is too old, and cannot provide enough power to run the external monitor on it's own or it could be incompatible. Also, by default windows assumes that when you plug in an external monitor, that you only want to use that as your dispaly. Therefore it turns off your laptop screen. You need to change the projector settings in control panel and it should work better.

  8. Yiz Borol
    October 19, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Before I answer I'd like to know: Does disconnecting the external monitor have any effect? or does the laptop screen stay off until you've restarted?

    • Anonymous
      October 19, 2012 at 4:03 am

      No, it doesn't. Also, the title was changed to my question. The computer doesn't shut down. I can still hear the fans, and the screen on my laptop is still on, just black, and my computer is unusable.

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