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At the base of the screen there is a long bulb, looks like a florescent bulb from a scanner, that is connected to a small board just under the to cover near the the monitor itself. You need to replace that small board. You can get it on Ebay or from Dell. Remove the board to get the part number.
Look for a key labeled "Fn" (blue lettering) on the lower left side of the keyboard
Hold the "Fn" key and then use the Up/Down arrows to adjust brightness.
If that doesn't work, reboot your laptop and get into the BIOS. There is a screen for brightness. I don't recall how it is labeled, but it's one of the last pages as you cycle through the BIOS options.
if it works fine in safe mode you should try a system restore . most of the time a problem that gos away in safe mode is driver related . IE software don't think you have a hard ware issue. you can call dell if you do not have the disk . 1-866-751-6079 call this number it's dell's Spanish tech support number but this is the fastest way to reach a real person at dell . just ask them to speak English and they will.
vDell Laptop with bios or hard drive password set ? Unlock your dell laptop using the link below if it display a message that says "this computer system is protected by a password authentication system, you cannot access the data on this computer without the primary or administrator password, when you turn on the computer. This message is what you get if the BIOS is protected by a password. or you get system disabled
If you have your Dell driver disc have to uninstall the video adapter driver and reinstall it. Restart the laptop and observe if things still happening. No need to do an update for the video driver though on this regard. Or on the other hand try to do a System Restore. Restoring your computer profile/settings on the previous date that it was working fine. But before you gonna do that have to back-up first the important files that you have to your external hard drive or USB flash drive. Hope these things help. Thank you.
I would always go with an extended warrenty dell pc's usually don't use the best hardware and tend to die in the 2-3 year range. The only reason I would say don't get it is if you are just going to go out and get a new if that one dies anyways.