I somehow killed my laptop's screen with a reboot

Aug 18, 2018
Hello. My problem here is a bit long to describe and definitely not simple, so grab a drink or something. The laptop is MSI GE60 with Nvidia 860M GPU and Intel HD4600 as a built-in adapter, OS Win7 x64.
Basically, it started with Firefox giving me blank screens. Never happened with any game or any other heavy activity, only after a while of watching videos on the internet, and only when I tried to fullscreen something. This has happened a few times now, the workaround I came up with is to use Intel's feature to swap the outputs of my internal and external displays(I use a monitor over VGA cable) to restart the screen. After than I would just restart Firefox and everything would work fine. This time around I decided to try to fix the issue, starting with the usual, a reboot. The problem is, my dumb ass decided not to swap back the outputs(so an external monitor still shows the internal's picture and in reverse, as I made it to fix the blank screen) and restart as is. This seemingly innocuous use of a built-in feature has killed my internal display it seems like. It's simply not there anymore. Windows won't detect it. Funny thing is, it's like that anywhere: I won't see the windows loading thingie, the BIOS, the boot menu, everything shows through an external now, and with external disconnected, it won't show at all. It's like somewhere on the hardware level my graphics adapter now defaults to the external VGA and never connects to the built-in screen. Device manager doesn't show it either.
So far I've tried:

  • ■ Looking at a screen with a flashlight to see if it's just backlight that's dead. Nope

    ■ Loading in safe mode. Same *** [Moderator edit: removed profanity. Family Friendly Forum.]

    ■Disabling the adapter devices to make Windows use a standard driver. Still same
    ■Snooped around in BIOS but haven't found anything that could help me
    ■Reinstalled drivers for both graphic adapters
    ■Opened up the laptop, everything is connected fine. Disconnected and reconnected the display cable to no avail. Have yet to check how the cable connects to the screen itself, that part of the machine is not easy to open, probably will do it tomorrow
    ■Went into any kind of settings or setup I could, still can't bring the display up
    ■Win+P, Fn+F2(a shortcut on my laptop), and any other kind of shortcut that could in theory help
    ■Flashing the new EC and BIOS firmware. The most interesting by far, as after I flashed my BIOS, my ext monitor stayed black, much like you would expect from a secondary screen while the windows loads. Internal display stayed black as well, but that was def going in the right direction. However, after win finished loading(I have it passworded so second screen stays black until you login) and I saw I'm not getting anywhere with now two black screens, I rebooted and it went back to working as it is now, with external display as my main and internal completely dead. Makes me thing win is somehow at fault.
The laptop is 3.5 years old now, so the screen could just die by itself(although this is not what I would expect from a $1500 laptop with a high-quality screen), but the timing makes me think it's completely not like that and it's the unlucky restart that has done it. Google shows up nothing, it's mostly people with dead screens or some driver bugs that were fixed by reinstalling something. Hope someone can help me here. I'm downloading Ubuntu right now, gonna boot it from USB and see where it gets me.
Try this...

1. Turn the laptop off (not sleep or hibernate but off).
2. Connect an external monitor to the laptop.
3. Turn on the external monitor.
4. Turn on the laptop.

NOTE: You may have to press an "external monitor" button. Could be the f4 button or a button with two monitors on it, for the external monitor to work.

If you can see fine on the external monitor, then your attached display, or the ribbon cable that connects it, are your problem.

If you can't see on the external monitor at all, or the problem occurs on the external monitor as well, then it is probably the graphics card/GPU that is the problem, which may require the motherboard be replaced.
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