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Troubleshooting display brightness (Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

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This document pertains to HP notebook PCs with Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

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.

Verify if the brightness is dim in the BIOS

Follow the steps below to verify if the dim display issue persists in the BIOS, to determine if it is a hardware failure.
  1. Turn the computer off.
  2. Press the Esc key immediately once every second until the Startup Menu appears.
    Figure 1: Startup Menu
    Startup Menu
  3. Use the right arrow key to select F10 BIOS Setup and then press the Enter key.
  4. Once in the BIOS verify if the brightness is dim.
If the brightness is also dim in the BIOS, perform a system recovery.

Adjust the LCD brightness using the function keys

From the Windows desktop, hold the fn key and press the f10 key to increase or the f9 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 (f9 or f10) 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.

Using HP Support Assistant

HP Support Assistant is a software program designed to help you keep your computer in working order, prevent potential problems from arising, and resolve problems quickly and easily. The program also provides valuable system information that you need when troubleshooting computer problems.
Click here to download and install HP Support Assistant.
The features of HP Support Assistant are organized into four distinct groups, depending on the benefits they provide. The first three groups provide a variety of useful tips and tools to help you maintain, troubleshoot, and learn about your HP computer. The fourth group helps you get assistance for the problems you cannot solve on your own.
  • Maintain:
    Provides information about pending actions, including software updates, alerts, tips, and automated tune ups. HP recommends performing the actions as soon as they are recommended.
  • Troubleshoot:
    Provides information and resources related to diagnosing and repairing your computer. These troubleshooting resources are divided into categories, such as storage devices and audio/sound. HP periodically updates the categories and actions in each category to continuously provide you with more options.
  • Learn:
    Provides in-depth information on how to use your computer. You can also take free online classes from the HP Web site, view Learning Centers stored on your computer, and view the specifications for your computer.
  • Get assistance:
    Provides a summary of the resources available to help you resolve problems by yourself, and offers options for contacting HP support agents for advanced technical assistance.
Select your operating system from the following options for steps on how to open HP Support Assistant:

Windows 8

Follow these steps to open HP Support Assistant in Windows 8.
  1. Press the Windows + Q key.
  2. Type HP Support Assistant into the Search field.
  3. Click HP Support Assistant from the list of results.

Windows 7

Follow these steps to open HP Support Assistant in Windows 7.
  1. Click Start .
  2. Click All Programs.
  3. In the Programs list, click HP, and then click HP Support Assistant.
Figure 2: HP Support Assistant
Image: HP Support Assistant
Figure 3: Sections to help maintain your computer
Image: Sections to help maintain your computer
Figure 4: Diagnostic tools
Image: Diagnostic tools
Figure 5: Learning resources
Image: Learning resources
Figure 6: Get assistance
Image: Get assistance

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, from the Support drop-down menu, select Download drivers. link at the top of the page to display the Support & Drivers page.
    Figure 7: Drivers and Downloads
    Image: Drivers and Downloads
    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 product name or 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 8: HP Support Assistant
    HP Support Assistant
    Figure 9: Label under the computer
    Label under the computer
    1 - Model Number
    2 - Product Name
    3 - Product Number
  3. On the Software & Driver Downloads webpage, 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.
    Figure 10: Software & Driver Downloads webpage
    Software & Driver Downloads webpage
    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.
    Figure 11: Software & Driver Downloads webpage expanded
    Software & Driver Downloads webpage expanded
  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.
If the issue persists after updating the BIOS and drivers, go to the next step.

Perform an HP System Recovery using HP Recovery Manager

If the previous steps did not resolve the issue, perform an HP System Recovery using HP Recovery Manager. Please select the Operating System to view the steps:
If the issue persists after performing an HP System Recovery, please contact HP support.

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
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