Laptop screen goes black

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Anyone able help me out a bit here please.
My nephew has a Acer laptop of some description... With Vista home premium 32 bit. Intergrated Intel video chip/software.
The problem is that the screen goes black. To elaborate... it looks like the backlight goes out, but windows continues to put out the image to the screen.
If you look carefully you can make out the icons etc... but since th elight has gone out.. its really dfficult to see.
He reports that it happens shortly (a few seconds) after he logs in... 4 out of 5 times the light goes off. If he puts it into sleep mode.. via the on/off button, when he wakes it up... the light will be on again.... but when he logs in... it may go off again.
If he can get it to stay on past this "few seconds after logging on" it can stay on for quite a while... but may go off at some later time.

It does not seem related to screen movement... you can move the screen to various angles and it makes no difference.

I did check to see if it thought it was pumping the signal to an external monitor - but that did not seem to be the case... it was set for the laptop screen as primary output.

So the fact it seems to be a few seconds after logon... and recovers after sleep mode etc makes me think its not hardware... but it seems strange thing for software to do.

I have suggesed he reinstall the video drivers etc.. but I am not convinced.
Anyone seen something same/similar? any ideas on what the issue might be and the resolution?

Thanks in advance


Do you know if it's a CCFL backlight? or LED?

Set the power plan to energy savings and turn down the screen brightness to minimum.
See if that will help the screen stay 'on'. If yes it might be the CCFL inverter or backlight tube causing the problem.

Use Fn + F8 with the external monitor connected to try and get it selected.
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