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Resolving Problems with the Brightness of the Display

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This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7 or Vista.

Changing the brightness of an LCD display

When the external AC power supply is unplugged from a notebook, the LCD display will dim to conserve on battery power. During times of heavy battery power operation; such as during the startup or boot process, the display may be very dim or barely readable.
If the display remains dim when the notebook is operating on the Windows desktop, follow the steps below to resolve problems with display brightness.

Restart the notebook with AC power

Follow the steps below to determine if the dim display is due to a hardware failure:
  1. Connect the AC adapter to the notebook and a working electrical outlet.
  2. Power down the notebook PC by pressing and holding the power button for 5 seconds.
  3. Press the power button again to start the computer.
If the display is still dim after restarting with the AC adapter connected, try changing the LCD brightness.

Adjust the LCD brightness using the function keys

From the Windows desktop, hold the fn key and press the f7 key to increase or the f8 key to decrease the brightness of the display. If using the function keys does not resolve the problem and you have a Lid Actuator on your particular model, check the movement of the Lid Actuator switch to determine that it moves freely and is not stuck.
NOTE:The key numbers (f7 or f8) may vary depending on the notebook PC; however, the images on the keys should be similar.
If you reboot the PC after using the function keys to change the LCD brightness settings, the brightness may return to the default setting on some models, which is based on the power source—battery or AC. This is not an error. The notebook is functioning as designed. If the notebook returns to the default setting after rebooting on your particular model, use the function keys to change the brightness back to the desired setting.

Check the movement of the Lid Actuator switch

The Lid Actuator switch is available on some models. It is a small button or switch located above the keyboard near the hinge for the LCD. Pressing this switch when the computer is on may turn the notebook display off, or it may cause the notebook to enter a different power state.
Press the switch two to three times while observing the display. If the display does not return to normal brightness when the switch is released, the switch may be sticking and need to be repaired. Contact HP service and support for further assistance.
If the display turns off when the switch is pressed, the power management function may be set to hibernate or turn off when the lid is closed.
Most newer model computers do not have a switch as shown above and use one contained in the hinge. To test for this kind of switch, lower the lid until it nears the base and check if the display shuts off.

Using HP Support Assistant

HP Support Assistant can perform an analysis of your computer to keep your computer up to date and give you alerts and tips from HP by using the Maintain tool. Click to download the latest version of HP Support Assistant . The Maintain tool can help you complete the following actions:
  • Health Analysis, examines the computer system and lets you know about the latest drivers to maintain the health of your computer.
  • Software Updates, gives you updates to you software to avoid any problems.
  • Usage Tips, updates you with the latest alerts and tips from HP.
  • Automated Tune-up, a tune-up can be scheduled periodically maintain your computer automatically.
The Health Analysis tool connects to HP servers and downloads updates and prepares an action list by gathering information and analyzing your system for any manual updates that need to be made.
To start Maintain in HP Support Assistant and run the Health Analysis tool, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start , enter HP Support into the search field, and then select HP Support Assistant from the list.
  2. Select Health Analysis from the list under Maintain, and click Refresh on the pending actions screen.
    The Health Analysis tool automatically examines the computer system.
    Figure 1: Health Analysis in progress

Manually locating and downloading the latest version of the BIOS and device driver(s) for the computer

In some cases, HP support may recommend that you download and install a specific softpaq or you may have realized that a specific softpaq should be installed after reading an HP support document. A "softpaq" is the term HP uses for BIOS, device driver, and software application updates that are available for download and installation from hp.com. Each softpaq file is listed with the abbreviation "SP" (for softpaq) and followed by a reference number. For example, SP12345.
You can view a video on (in English) to locate and download updated drivers on the HP web site.
To locate and download the latest version of the BIOS or device driver(s) for the computer manually, follow the steps below.
  1. Open a web browser and go to www.hp.com home page, click SUPPORT & DRIVERS link at the top of the page to display the Support & Drivers page.
    Alternately, open a web browser and click on this link to go to the Software and Driver Downloads page.
  2. Enter the model number in the Enter a product name / number field, and then click Go to search for an updated version of the BIOS or updated device driver(s) for any devices installed on the computer.
    NOTE:The Product Name, Product Number and Serial Number can be found at the bottom of the HP Support Assistant window. You can also find these items under your computer or in the battery enclosure.
    Figure 2: HP Support Assistant window
    Figure 3: Label under the computer
    1 - Model Number
    2 - Product Name
    3 - Product Number
  3. On the Software & Driver Downloads page, use the drop-down menu to Select your operating system, and then click Next to display a list of available BIOS and device driver downloads.
    NOTE:Device driver updates are listed by category. For example, device driver updates for audio devices are listed under Driver - Audio.
  4. Click the icon to expand the BIOS or applicable driver section, and then click Download for the latest version of the BIOS or device driver for your particular computer model.
  5. When prompted, click Save to save the file to a convenient location on your computer, such as your desktop. Consider renaming the file to something that is easy to remember.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 above for each device driver that you want to update.
The latest version of the BIOS and/or any device drivers for the computer are now saved to your computer. Continue to the next section to avoid having multiple or conflicting device drivers.

HP Support forums

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