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Troubleshooting a dim display (Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

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This document pertains to HP notebook computers with Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Perform the steps in this document to troubleshoot a notebook display that appears too dim and possibly unreadable.

Step 1: 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 computer 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, proceed with Step 2.
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 display is dim.
If the display is also dim in the BIOS, perform a system recovery .
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 computer; however, the images on the keys should be similar.
If you reboot the computer 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.
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.
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.
HP Support Assistant opens.
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
View the software, drivers and firmware installed on your computer by clicking the Software and drivers installed tab of the My computer category in Support Assistant. You can also check for HP for updates to software and drivers via this tab.
In some cases, HP support may recommend that you download and install a specific softpaq or you might 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 near the top of the page, select Download drivers to display the Support & Drivers page.
    Figure 5: 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 6: HP Support Assistant
    HP Support Assistant
    Figure 7: Label under the computer
    Label under the computer
    1 - Model Number
    2 - Product Name
    3 - Product Number
  3. On the Software & Driver Downloads web 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.
    Figure 8: Software & Driver Downloads web page
    Software & Driver Downloads web page
    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 9: Software & Driver Downloads web page expanded
    Software & Driver Downloads web page 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.
If the issue persists after updating the BIOS and drivers, go to the next step.
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.

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