If you own a laptop computer, sooner or later you are going to be faced with a computer that has a display that has gone dark, typically in one of two scenarios. In the most common case the LCD screen is damaged because of some physical event that caused the screen to be cracked or broken. Laptops do not take kindly to being dropped, especially when the case is opened and the accident occurs. In the second case there no physical damage and a malfunction in the video,,power, or control circuitry has caused the display to malfunction.
In the case of the cracked or physically damaged screen you need to determine if there is other damage to the laptop. The best way to do this is to plug in an external monitor using the video output connector at the rear of the laptop case. If the external monitor works and you see that your applications function then you know that you are looking at a LCD screen repair, and in the event you don't repair the laptop you can still recover your data. I will cover recovery options in a future post.
If the Laptop screen hasn't been damaged but the screen is still blank you should still connect an external monitor as described above and determine if the rest of the laptop is functional. In the case where the screen is blank and an external monitor doesn't work a more expensive diagnosis and repair scenario will probably be your only option.
In a future post, I'll cover approximate repair costs depending on the kind of failure and the option of a used, or under $100 laptop, as an option you might want to consider.