Some searching on forums convinced me the inverter had failed. Picked one up for $65, removed the frame around the screen, removed the mounting screw for the inverter, and unplugged both ends of the old and plugged in the new. Put it back togeher and fired it up, bright again. Key here was that a remote monitor still worked which meant video card was OK. The lamp could have been bad, but apparently the life of lamps is pretty decent.
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I would suggest you try safe mode.
Safe mode is a troubleshooting option for Windows that starts your computer in a limited state. Only the basic files and drivers necessary to run Windows are started. The words "Safe Mode" appear in the corners of the display to identify which Windows mode you are using. If an existing problem does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers as possible causes.
If you don't know the cause of the problem, you can use the process of elimination to help you find the problem. Try starting all of the programs you commonly use, including the programs in your Startup folder, one by one, to see if a program might be the cause of the problem.
Follow the steps to boot the computer in safe mode with networking:
1. Restart your computer if it is powered on.
2. Tap the F8 key after your computer initially powers on.
3. Once you see the Advanced Boot Options menu you can stop tapping.
4. Use the up/down arrow keys to highlight your selection.
5. Select Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter.
6. You should see drivers loading, and then please wait.
7. You should then be at the Welcome Screen.
8. Logon to your computer using an account with Administrator privileges.
If you have a Windows OS, press and hold the ALT and CTRL (control) keys and then press the Up arrow. (If that doesn't work, try holding the Alt and CTRL keys and pressing the left (or right) arrow key twice.) If that fails, right click on the desktop (Windows+D will minimize all programs), anywhere with no running programs or icons. Then select the Screen Resolution option. Look for the line Orientation; use the drop down menu to select the correct orientation. Click Apply and then confirm the setting change if a confirmation window pops up. (This works in Windows 7 and 8.) For older Windows versions on laptops, you may need to select Graphics Properties (or a similar line) and then repeat this. The Windows screen rotation option is dependent on your video card. With some models, you'll need to open the graphics card properties to undo the rotation. You should see a line for the graphics adapter when you right click on the Display.
For Macintosh OS, make sure that the System Preferences is closed. Then open it by pressing Option/alt + CMD . Select the line Display. Find the button labeled Rotation: Standard then choose the correct screen orientation.
Exact OEM replacement remote you can try the manufacturer or www.replacementremotes.com. No store will carry what you are looking for, but you can find universal remotes in any electronic store on the planet. Wal-mart, RadioShack, BestBuy, etc. Whatever is closest to your location. Good rule of thumb is if they sell TVs, they sell universal remotes.
For the most part you need 3rd party software, or a USB drive with security built in. Just remember you are at the mercy of those companies if you lose the password. Plus some software will only works locally. For instance if someone removes the drive and connects it to another computer the files are wide open. Win 7 Ult and Ent (high end editions have Bitlocker built in. A simple way is to create a folder within his login account docs and choose hidden as the properties. The only way to see it would be to change folder properties and make hidden files visible. This is just cloaking, because anybody with admin rights can see them.