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Monitor shows large borders Monitor shows large borders

My screen suddenly diminished in size, leaving margins to the right and left of about 1/3 each and a little stripe of screen in between. Is this a simple software glitch and how to correct, or is my old computer telling me to replace it?

This may be a software problem, but is more likely your monitor in its last throes. Here's how to tell:

Leave the monitor on and reboot the computer. (Start / Shutdown / Restart will do fine.) Watch very carefully while you're in the black diagnostic screens which occur before Windows begins to boot. If you see the same oversized margins even in the black screens, it's a hardware problem and you are probably losing your monitor. If the margins are normal, then you're having software problems.

Now about those black diagnostic screens. The computer puts them up as soon as you turn on or reboot the computer. They're known as the POST -- Power-On Self-Test. Many monitors with power-saver features take a few seconds to warm up and therefore do not show you the POST screens. If you cannot see the diagnostic screens, then do this:

Reboot the computer and immediately start tapping on the F8 key -- about once or twice per second. (Don't hold the key down.) You should come to a black-and-white menu of boot options. (If you go into Windows, you've gone too far. Restart the computer and try again.)

Even at this first menu you should be able to tell if the margins are normal or not. If they are NOT, then you're having a monitor problem. If they are, then we need to examine the monitor's properties in Windows -- the topic of another discussion.

About your monitor . . .

If you purchased a monitor from us that's less than three years old, then it's under warranty and the manufacturer will fix it (though there may be shipping fees and a minor handling fee besides).

If you need a new monitor, I'd suggest either a standard 17" full-sized flat-screen tube-type monitor or a 15" or 17" flat-panel LCD monitor. A 15" LCD equates to a 17" tube-type monitor. A 17" LCD equates to a 19" tube. The important thing about LCD monitors is that you should get a three-year warranty not only on the monitor itself but specifically on its back-light mechanism, which is the part most likely to fail. Many cheaper LCDs are warranted against failure of "most parts" but not the back-light. If the backlight fails out of warranty, you'll have to throw the whole moniitor away and buy another.


monitor-problems.shtml     |     Updated Wednesday, November 8, 2006
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