The last time I used the laptop everything was fine. This time I started it up the green lights showing it is on and the drive is working and even the microsoft start-up music were functioning but no diplay on the lcd. Is there a test I can run to see if it is the video card or the display. Is the video card seperate from the motherboard on this model. Estimated cost of repair and is the Geek Squad a good source for repair.
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Sounds like the back light is bad. The display will have to be replaced because replacing the back light itself is very difficult and the bulb itself is extremely fragile.If you have tried turning up the brightness with you keyboard with no luck it's the backlight
If the display works fine when connected to external screen via VGA connector then then the problem is either with the LCD display panel ( which consists of the display panel and inverter ) or the LCD cable that connects the LCD to the motherboard. You could try to re-seat the cable connection on the back of the LCD panel.
power system on holding the letter D while pressing power button, (see if you have 4 solid colored screens displayed) if you do, then the LCD is ok, and this issue is likely a problem with the motherboard
On a dell laptop, the key combo FN F8 cycles through the display options. Laptop screen, External screen, Laptop and External screen at the same time. Try pressing the FN F8 key to get the video to display on both laptop and lcd and the same time. If that doesn't work you can also change the settings on what the laptop does when the lid is closed. Check the power settings in the control panel.
You can also pick up the batteries less expensive than most computer places at batteries plus. And yes it sounds as though it is the batteries charge is getting low, especially if it runs fine when the battery is out and you have it plugged in.