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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Multi-Monitor Computer Boots to Black Screens - Solved

I figured since we're getting close to another holiday trading session, I'd blog on something off topi

Multi-Monitor Computer Boots to Black Screens - Solved 

If you follow this blog religiously, then you may remember, I was having a random problem with the computer, where it just wouldn't boot; no blue screen of death (BSOD); no error codes; nothing, but black screens, on multiple monitors! 

That's a scary problem, when you may have to get in, or out, of a trade, at the opening bell. Trading is stressful enough without technical problems. Imagine you wake up to find you're up, or down, in a position 20% or more; doesn't really matter if you're getting squeezed out of a short position, or want to take profits in a meme stock, that can quickly become a stressful situation, if you can't make a trade, let alone, even pull up a chart! This may help explain why most deadly heart attacks, happen in the AM (!       

 Of course most trading platforms offer an alternative, mobile platform, you could use as a backup - in case of an emergency - but that can be clunky at best.     

Troubleshooting The Problem 

Of course, first thing I did was a web search for the problem, and I can't say I found any definitive answers.       

The computer was obviously supplying power, and usually after a few attempts, it would eventually boot to bios, and windows. That seemed to narrow the problem down to a hardware issue.

I eventually found that I could boot to bios, by using the proper command (by tapping the delete button at startup) prompt. Again that seemed to narrow it down to a hardware issue, or a conflict. Sometimes if you've made a change to something new, you'll get a hardware conflict, but I had made no major changes... and the problem was occurring randomly. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  

So, one day, a couple weeks ago, after several failed attempts to boot - and thankfully this was over a weekend, and I imagined I would be spending most of that weekend building a new computer, or at least switching out parts, in what could have quickly turned into an expensive guessing game - it was finally time to get to work troubleshooting hardware components.  

Troubleshooting  Hardware 

1. In an attempt to narrow down the problem; start by unplugging any peripheral devices. 2. Then start removing extra drives, and other non-essential hardware. 3. As a last resort, you can swap out your power supply, sound card, and even you're main processor, and/or motherboard, although if you have a major hardware component failing, you shouldn't be able to boot to bios. 

It's important to put some thought into troubleshooting, before you start swapping out major components.              

To make a long story short 

 The very first place I looked, was at an old external hard drive... that was apparently going on the fritz, and that turned out to be the source of the problem. Once I disconnected that; no more boot problems. 

Hopefully this guide, helps someone else diagnose their boot issues, and if you have any questions you can try to contact me here, or better yet, on twitter @3Xtraders.   


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