Why doesn’t my second monitor display a picture despite being recognised by Windows?

Jared Kirkpatrick December 3, 2012
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I am trying to set up a dual monitor system. I have an nVidia GeForce 9600 graphics card with two DVI ports. My original monitor is still hooked up to the same port with a DVI cable, my second monitor is a Dell ST2220L but it only came with a VGA cable.

I used a VGA to DVI adapter to hook that monitor up. The monitor has power, Windows is recognizing it when I go into my display settings but all I’m getting is a blank white screen. I’ve updated all of my drivers, I don’t understand why I get no image on the second screen. I can move my pointer over off the side of my original screen so I know its recognised but I have no images.

Stumped – any ideas?

  1. Igor Rizvi?
    January 15, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    You need to have both monitors plugged into the Video Card. if you happen to have a VGA port near the USB ports on the back of the case then that one is most likely disabled since you have a video card installed. Make sure ,and this is a common mistake,that your second connection isnt hooked up on the motherboard port! i had a friend with the same problem....above

    You have both monitor cables hooked to the video card correct? Not one to the video card and the other to the motherboards now disabled video connection...right?
    The lower two white DVI connectors are the video card and the upper vertical is the motherboards in my example.

  2. Kannon Y
    December 9, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Hello Jared, as with any trouble-shooting routine, we must first isolate the problem from a variety of categories, beginning with the broadest.

    The broadest categories are hardware or software - given that you have already updated the display/adapter drivers (software), then we might tentatively guess that the problem is hardware.

    If, at this point, you are not entirely convinced, you can isolate each component leading up to the defective part and test them individually for defect. So you would test (and physically inspect) each part. This would include the GPU card, the monitor, the DVI-VGA adapter, the cable and the monitor itself. Simply attach them to the monitor you know already works.

    However, you might be able to skip all that.

    If an older monitor shows a white screen, it's probably because it's no longer able to control voltage to the LCD panel. I'm no expert on LCDs, but from what I know [Broken Link Removed], an LCD emits color based on a filter. If the voltage controlled filter isn't working, then the screen will be the same color as the backlight: white.

    White screen can have a variety of causes, but normally it's a sign of a hardware failure. In this YouTube video, the technician discusses what caused his screen to display white - two blown capacitors.

    The two most failure-prone components in a monitor are the CCFL backlight and the capacitors on the mainboard. The power supply is another common source of issue, but it's incredibly easy to replace, if it's an external supply. Anyway, hope something in this post was of use to you. Best of luck.

  3. Giggity Goebbels
    December 8, 2012 at 8:29 am

    The monitor is defective?maybe is vga cord defect.i got one bad vga cable and the screen show fuzzy images,but not white solid colour

  4. Rakesh Mishra
    December 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    u can try Adrian Rea concept it maywork

  5. Alan Wade
    December 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    You dont say which version of Windows you are using so I'll assume its Se7en.
    Right click on your desktop and select 'Screen Resolution'
    In the Window that opens, look at the options. In Multiple Displays, Does it say Extend these Displays?
    If not change the dropdow so that it does then press OK.

    Are the two screens in the window blue - working.
    One is grey - it is turned off.

    If the two screens are blue and there is still no picture on your second screen, check the leads etc. A quick way to prove that screen and leads are functional is to unplug the primary screen and try the secondary screen in that slot.

  6. Jim Chambers
    December 4, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Buy a DVI cable for a few dollars available at most local or online computer stores. Have you plugged in your Dell monitor using old DVI cable to see if it works?

  7. Adrian Rea
    December 4, 2012 at 1:59 am

    try linking the second monitor into the first port. if it shows a white screen you may have an adapter, cable or monitor failure

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