How to Diagnose Display Adapter Problems

by Charles Jackson

The display adapter, also known as a video card or a graphics card, is the component in your computer that controls what you see on the monitor. If the display adapter is not working correctly, you may have a corrupted display or no display at all. You can diagnose and fix most display adapter problems easily. However, in cases in which the card is faulty, it will likely need to be replaced.

Blank Monitor

Turn off your computer and remove the power cable. Remove the case cover. Locate the display adapter. This is normally the largest add-in card in the computer and the one to which the monitor connects. Determine that the display adapter is properly seated in the slot.

Disconnect and reconnect the monitor cable. Ensure that the cable is properly attached to the display adapter and the monitor.

Turn the computer on again. If the monitor remains blank, you may either have a faulty display adapter or monitor, a hardware compatibility issue or a faulty cable. Test the monitor with another computer if one is available.

Computer Running Very Loudly

Turn off the computer and open the case. Locate the display adapter.

Clean the fan using a can of compressed air or by blowing dust off the fan blades.

Replace the video adapter cooler if cleaning the fan does not help.

Corrupted Display

Right click anywhere on the desktop if you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7. Select "Screen resolution." Set the screen resolution to the recommended setting. This should be the native resolution of your monitor.

Reinstall the drivers if the problem is not solved. Obtain the latest drivers for your display adapter from the manufacturer's website.

Install the drivers. Follow the on-screen instructions. Restart the computer after the installation.


  • close Always turn off the power to your computer and disconnect the power cable when handling the internal hardware.

About the Author

Based mostly in Norwich, UK, Charles Jackson has been writing articles professionally for the Web since 2007. He has completed college-level English language and English literature studies. Jackson maintains a travel blog and regularly writes for the travel market.