I had a laptop (HP Compaq NX6125, with 1.5GB RAM) that ran Ubuntu fine. Then the screen died, so I took out the screen and held down the screen close nub with some sticky tape, and connected the VGA output to a TV, deciding I'd use it as a media centre. Using the VGA out worked fine before. I load up openELEC, and it hangs just as X is starting. No matter what distro I use, same result; it crashes as X starts. I can't test with Windows as I don't have access to it.
Also, I occidentally put this in the wrong category. If a mod sees this could you please move it to "Laptop tech support"?
I just tried fondling the screen shut nob while the laptop is started and running X. Sometimes, pressing and releasing it causes it to work fine but at the wrong res, at other times it crashes again. Weird, huh?
...Or at lest that's what happened in Ubuntu 12.04.03 - in OpenELEC, no matter what I do, all I see is a perpetually black screen - but the TV knows it's getting input, because the "no input" message doesn't appear.
Maybe I'll just make it a server... Then I don't have to worry about X!