How to Fix a Sony Vaio Screen

by Jeff Grundy Google

    Generally speaking, the display on a Sony VAIO should provide years of trouble-free viewing for applications and content you view on the laptop. However, there are times that the display on a VAIO laptop may "black out" or go dark suddenly for no apparent reason -- whether it be the LCD display on the VAIO or an external monitor connected to the laptop. While a sudden loss or distortion of the display can be alarming, the problem is usually only temporary if you follow a few troubleshooting steps. Additionally, you can prevent many problems with a VAIO screen or attached monitor by checking connections and display settings.

    Video Issues

    Many VAIO screen blackouts or other LCD problems are the result of incorrect display settings in Windows. If, you experience a dark or blacked-out screen when watching movies in Windows Media Player or another media player application, the first thing you should check are your VAIO laptop's resolution settings. This is especially true if you notice the problem while watching HD movies or those formatted for wide-screen viewing. If you changed the resolution inadvertently or if another application changed the resolution without your knowledge, certain movies may appear distorted during full-screen playback, or the LCD screen may display no image at all. The easiest way to check resolution settings for your VAIO laptop is to right-click somewhere on the open Windows desktop and then select "Screen Resolution" on the pop-up menu. After the Screen Resolution window opens, ensure that the Resolution drop-down box displays the 1920-by-1080 recommended value. If it does not, select the recommended value from the list and then click "OK." After a few seconds, Windows will prompt you to confirm the resolution change. When it does, select the "Keep Changes" option. After you reset the screen resolution to the default setting, movies in full screen mode should play normally.

    Color, Refresh Rates and Other Advanced Settings

    If images or videos appear washed out or if windows seem to lag or refresh too slowly, the problem could be the result of inadvertent changes to advanced monitor and screen settings in Windows. You can access the advanced settings for your VAIO laptop display or a connected monitor from the Screen Resolution window. After clicking the "Advanced Settings" link in the Screen Resolution window, a Properties window for your VAIO LCD screen appears. The Properties window has four tabs: Adapter, Monitor, Troubleshoot and Color Management. In most cases, you can resolve common display and monitor problems on the Monitor tab of the window. On the Monitor tab, ensure that there is a check box in the "Hide modes that this monitor cannot display" option box and that the Colors drop-down value is set to "True Color (32 bit)." If windows seem to appear or refresh too slowly, select the fastest refresh rate in hertz that appears in the "Screen Refresh Rate" drop-down box. One more setting you may want to check if colors in images or videos seem distorted is the "Color Management" tab. Click the "Color Management" button on the tab, and ensure that the "Use my settings for this device" option box does not have check mark in it. If you alter advanced display settings for your VAIO, you may have to restart the laptop before the changes take effect and you notice any improvement.

    Hibernation and Sleep Problems

    In theory, Windows hibernation is an excellent idea; it essentially puts your computer to "sleep" when you're not using it. In practice, hibernation is often the source of power and screen-related problems on many laptops including Sony VAIOs. If hibernation mode fails to save all working files and data to memory before putting the laptop to sleep, it can cause the LCD screen to lock and remain black even after you touch a key to activate or "wake up" the system. This could be the result of a lack of available RAM, a hard drive with too much data, poorly written video drivers or a host of other reasons. If hibernation mode always works as it should on your VAIO, count yourself one of the fortunate few. If it doesn’t, though, you should simply turn off hibernation mode and consider locking the computer or shutting it down when not using it instead. You can access the power and sleep settings for Windows in the Power Options section of Control Panel. If hibernation or sleep mode is causing your VAIO screen to remain dark -- even after trying to wake the computer -- select "Never" in both the "Turn off the display" and "Put the computer to sleep" drop-down boxes and click "Save Changes." Afterwards, Windows will not put your VAIO to sleep or turn off the LCD. You can then put VAIO into a relatively dormant mode by pressing the "Windows-L" keys to lock the keyboard and screen. Another common power-related issue that could lead to the screen dimming or blacking out is a battery that is nearly depleted. If this occurs, plug in the AC adapter and use the VAIO or let the battery charge before using the laptop again.

    The HDMI Bug and External Monitors

    The HDMI port on many Sony VAIO laptops lets you connect a high-resolution external monitor or even a television to the notebook. While many blackouts of HDMI connected external monitors result from hibernation or sleep mode failures, a faulty cable or incompatible adapter could be the cause as well. If turning off hibernation or sleep mode does not fix blackout problems, first try disconnecting the HDMI cable and plugging it in again. If this does not work and you are using an HDMI cable with a DVI adapter, connect the monitor or TV to the video-out port on the rear of the laptop with an actual DVI-to-DVI video cable instead of using an adapter. Also, if you are using a USB video adapter to add a second or third external monitor to your VAIO and are experiencing screen problems, try removing the adapter from the USB port and reseating it. In many cases, just removing the USB adapter and allowing Windows to redetect it will fix driver issues and enable normal viewing on the connected external monitor. If reinstalling the USB video adapter does not help, download the latest drivers for the device from the manufacturer's website and install them on your VAIO.

    About the Author

    Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    Photo Credits

    • David Becker/Getty Images News/Getty Images