W10: Second monitor is blank in reality, but is detected through control panel, Printscreen, NVidia CP etc.

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GbeTech    1

Hey everyone,

I honestly think this is the hardest, most frustrating computer related problem I've ever had.

 

TL;DR: Multiple external monitors show up just fine on control panel, Device manager, NVidia control panel, even when taking a printscreen and pasting on MSPaint. But in reality, all of them show up blank.

 

---

 

The problem / weird part:

One day, I think after a Windows update, suddenly every monitor I connected to my laptop showed up blank in reality, but appears to be recognized in every way within Windows.

This is a printscreen, pasted in MSPaint. I "blindly" dragged the ultramon window to the left, then took a printscreen. You can see the window there, on the external, actually blank monitor.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TOWEWTHZ0zzvk59X2

 

It even works fine with TeamViewer - taking control of the laptop, I can use the second monitor as if nothing's wrong.

Here's how it looks in reality:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/s6M1UlPehCBm12gG3

 

Eliminating variables:

- 5 different monitors yielded the same result. One of them was even a TV.

- Tried different cables (HDMI to HDMI, VGA monitor with HDMI adapter), same result.

The conclusion is that it's not the monitors or the cables.

 

What I've tried:

On one hand:

- Updating Windows (It happened while I was on Anniversary, and nothing changed after upgrading to Creators)

- Updating NVidia Drivers (over time, I went through 3 different versions, always the latest one)

- Updating BIOS

- "Update Driver" through Device Manager, which does nothing.

 

On the other hand, I've also tried:

- Uninstalling all NVidia drivers

- Booting in Safe Mode 

- Disabling Fast Boot / Secure Boot

 

Specs:

ASUS ROG STRIX GL702VS

Windows 10 Creators, x64

Intel i7-7700HQ @2.8GHz

GeForce GTX 1070

I have a single HDMI port, nothing else.

The computer is a few months old. 

 

---

 

I'm a programmer, so having a second monitor is extremely important to me. I've seen posts with the same exact problem, that unfortunately were solved with one of the things I unsuccessfully tried above.

 

How can it even be? I have the software part working, then the part where the image is supposed to be sent to the monitor isn't?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you!

Edited by GbeTech

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+DevTech    849

Looking at the specs here:

 

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-Strix-GL702VS-7700HQ-FHD-GTX-1070-Xotic-PC-Edition-Notebook-Review.207150.0.html

 

A couple of things worth checking pop into mind at first look:

 

1. Due to G-Sync, the internel Intel GPU is not used but maybe there is a BIOS setting that is needed to make sure it can't control the HDMI

 

2. Due to G-SYnc, the default refresh rate to the external monitor might be wrong.

 

3. The obvious connection for an external monitor, particularly in software development would be Display Port - so try that ASAP.

 

image.thumb.png.a6302f4c3bb2de4d75d8417d970992b1.png

 

Left side: charging port, gigabit LAN, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 Type-A, combo audio jack

 

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+Mando    3,650
6 hours ago, DevTech said:

Looking at the specs here:

 

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-Strix-GL702VS-7700HQ-FHD-GTX-1070-Xotic-PC-Edition-Notebook-Review.207150.0.html

 

A couple of things worth checking pop into mind at first look:

 

1. Due to G-Sync, the internel Intel GPU is not used but maybe there is a BIOS setting that is needed to make sure it can't control the HDMI

 

2. Due to G-SYnc, the default refresh rate to the external monitor might be wrong.

 

3. The obvious connection for an external monitor, particularly in software development would be Display Port - so try that ASAP.

 

image.thumb.png.a6302f4c3bb2de4d75d8417d970992b1.png

 

Left side: charging port, gigabit LAN, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 Type-A, combo audio jack

 

yep couldnt agree more, i always pick DP over HDMI anyday. The intel igpu normally supports HDMI so you could well be spot on mate.

Make sure GPU switching is enabled in the BIOS. in this scenario on a dekstop, the NV only controls the ports on its own backplane, however on a laptop it may or may not have access to the HDMI, that could well be intels connector.

 

The DP is more than likely wired directly to the addon GPU (the 1070) if your monitor doesnt have a DP port, just buy a cable adapter, mini-DP to HDMI, they work a treat (both digital signal with audio multiplexed) and can be had for much cheapness form Amazon and the likes. I use them all the time for HDMI to DP connections and vice versa onsite @work.

 

My work precision M6800 has the same setup with intel iGPU and a Radeon HD8950, The internal HDMI is hardwired to the Intel igpu but my DP ports are direct to the Radeon.

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Slugsie    757

My initial reaction (before reading all the OP) was that you had turned the brightness down on the monitor. But as you've tried multiple monitors you've eliminated that. However, maybe there is a brightness setting within Windows or the drivers that you've turned down?

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4026946/windows-change-screen-brightness

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+DevTech    849
4 minutes ago, Mando said:

yep couldnt agree more, i always pick DP over HDMI anyday. The intel igpu normally supports HDMI so you could well be spot on mate. Make sure GPU switching is enabled in the BIOS. 

From the review article I linked:

 

"Due to the inclusion of G-Sync, the GL702VS doesn't use integrated graphics; the GTX 1070 handles all display output."

 

"The GL702VS has a nice surprise in its panel: G-Sync. G-Sync is a proprietary technology from Nvidia that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the GPU. The result is a more fluid experience with minimal or no screen tearing. Thanks to the high 120 Hz refresh rate of our review unit's display, gameplay is buttery smooth and looks absolutely gorgeous."

 

That smells like a smoking gun. Either a BIOS bug with HDMI or the Laptop attempting to sync the external monitor with G-Sync or 120Hz refresh etc.

 

If he would just use Display Port as mother nature intended, it might get debugged faster...

 

 

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GbeTech    1

IT'S WORKING.

 

Thank you guys, I can't believe it's solved now. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zYjbizTId6vEIkUX2

 

I would send you all flowers and mini-DP adapters if I'd known your addresses.

 

Thanks again!

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+DevTech    849
15 minutes ago, GbeTech said:

IT'S WORKING.

 

Thank you guys, I can't believe it's solved now. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zYjbizTId6vEIkUX2

 

I would send you all flowers and mini-DP adapters if I'd known your addresses.

 

Thanks again!

As much as I might like a mini-DP adapter, (flowers not so much) the best way to be appreciative would be to stick around and help others here at Neowin. There are other forums such as programming where you might spot something worthwhile - just an idea, no pressure :)

 

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+Mando    3,650
2 hours ago, GbeTech said:

IT'S WORKING.

 

Thank you guys, I can't believe it's solved now. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zYjbizTId6vEIkUX2

 

I would send you all flowers and mini-DP adapters if I'd known your addresses.

 

Thanks again!

your welcome, glad its working for you.

Thats the beauty of Neowin :) As Devtech says, stick around and reciprocate sometime :) 

 

on the whole minidp adapter, i found a gadget at work that was pretty cool, miniDP into a box that had HDMI/VGA and DVI in the same widget.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VicTsing-DisplayPort-Thunderbolt-Converter-Thinkpad-Black/dp/B00W3GXVY6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1505644517&sr=8-4&keywords=mini+dp+to+hdmi%2Fdvi

 

bought a few and deposited them in each of our meeting rooms, so simple yet effective.

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+DevTech    849
28 minutes ago, Mando said:

your welcome, glad its working for you.

Thats the beauty of Neowin :) As Devtech says, stick around and reciprocate sometime :) 

 

on the whole minidp adapter, i found a gadget at work that was pretty cool, miniDP into a box that had HDMI/VGA and DVI in the same widget.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VicTsing-DisplayPort-Thunderbolt-Converter-Thinkpad-Black/dp/B00W3GXVY6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1505644517&sr=8-4&keywords=mini+dp+to+hdmi%2Fdvi

 

bought a few and deposited them in each of our meeting rooms, so simple yet effective.

It would be a bit nicer if it had a pass thru for Mini-DP and Full DP and also a Full DP input

 

I guess while I'm at it, a USB-C Thunderbolt input would be nice as well.

 

And at that point it might as well have a Continuum Dock...

 

As long as I can always avoid anything Wireless, I'll take a plethora of cables!

 

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+Mando    3,650
2 minutes ago, DevTech said:

It would be a bit nicer if it had a pass thru for Mini-DP and Full DP and also a Full DP input

 

I guess while I'm at it, a USB-C Thunderbolt input would be nice as well.

 

And at that point it might as well have a Continuum Dock...

 

As long as I can always avoid anything Wireless, I'll take a plethora of cables!

 

Perfect for my end users , it autoswitches when it detects a cable input, theyve also been really reliable. for £11 its a steal. Im the same btw, wired everything ftw!

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GbeTech    1

Bonus update:

 

Before I had the now-solved problem, of not having any signal showing up whatsoever, the monitor used to display content normally, except for the infamous blurry fonts (blurry everything) on the second, lower res monitor.

I couldn't get it working, even with the help of this widely used tool. It fixes the problem only when we're dealing with a single monitor setup, not a dual one. 

 

Now after using a VGA->mini displayport adapter, I managed to get the signal back. Unfortunately it showed up blurry again. Then I tried something out of curiosity - Instead of VGA monitor -> VGA-mDP adapter -> Laptop setup, I pushed in a VGA-HDMI adapter in the middle, i.e. VGA monitor -> VGA-HDMI adapter -> HDMI-mDP adapter -> Laptop. Now everything is perfectly clear on both monitors.

 

Main laptop monitor: 4K, 200% scaling. 

Second monitoir: 1080p, 100% scaling.

No XPE tool fix.

I think having W10 Creators update helps.

Scaling and VGA don't play together well, HDMI does better. I guess having a Displayport monitor connected directly to a DP input is a superior solution, but this one works also.

 

Hopefully someone will find this helpful in the future. Personally I couldn't find any solution to that problem online.

 

Cheers!

 

 

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GbeTech    1
On 9/17/2017 at 2:07 PM, DevTech said:

I guess while I'm at it, a USB-C Thunderbolt input would be nice as well.

Hey guys :)

 

So I'm getting another HDMI monitor, for a dual display setup.

Right now I have 1 monitor connected via Mini DP and it works.

 

Given the problems mentioned - any reason why a second monitor connected through USB-C would fail?

(alongside the Mini DP one , set to "Extend").

 

I'm planning on  a USB-C male to HDMI female adapter, through which the second monitor will be connected.

 

Thanks again!

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+DevTech    849
9 hours ago, GbeTech said:

Hey guys :)

 

So I'm getting another HDMI monitor, for a dual display setup.

Right now I have 1 monitor connected via Mini DP and it works.

 

Given the problems mentioned - any reason why a second monitor connected through USB-C would fail?

(alongside the Mini DP one , set to "Extend").

 

I'm planning on  a USB-C male to HDMI female adapter, through which the second monitor will be connected.

 

Thanks again!

You should make an effort to match the best native monitor connection and avoid VGA and HDMI when possible.

 

HDMI has a lot of different versions and spec variations in cables and the chipsets and firmware implementing the HDMI signal at both ends. It is possible (but time consuming) to determine the HDMI version and capabilities of each HDMI component in a signal chain but it sure makes things a lot easier to just run DIsplayPort to a DisplayPort monitor.

 

So now you know what I'm about to say.

 

It sure makes things a lot easier to run a Thunderbolt signal to a Thunderbolt monitor.

 

Except that Thunderbolt monitors are even harder to source than DisplayPort monitors and the version/spec variation on Thunderbolt is just as nasty as HDMI

 

So you need to figure out exactly what signal is being put out by your USB-C connector which I don't have time to look up right now but I think can carry 2 DisplayPort channels, a USB 3 channel and a super high speed Thunderbolt signal but not all laptops feed it the same way. For sure you will need a firmware update and in some laptops it doesn't really work out right without a specific Dock from the laptop manufacturer due to slightly non-standard implementations.

 

So, Research - Research - Research before you buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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