Navigating the Darkness: Solving the HP ZBook G5’s Intermittent Screen Issue


I’m experiencing an issue with my HP ZBook G5 Studio running Windows 10 Pro, where the screen intermittently turns black while the backlight remains active. The problem first occurred when the laptop seemingly entered sleep mode and wouldn’t wake up, despite the keyboard LEDs responding to key presses. After several attempts, including closing and opening the lid and pressing various keys, the screen eventually turned back on.

Later, during the launch of Paraview software, the screen went black again under similar conditions, with the backlight on and keyboard LEDs functioning normally. Attempts to connect the laptop to a TV via HDMI were unsuccessful, as the screen remained black. A forced shutdown and restart temporarily resolved the issue.

This situation is particularly concerning because I recently spilled a small amount of coffee on the keyboard. I immediately turned off the laptop, removed the battery, and allowed it to dry for over 48 hours. Since then, the laptop has functioned normally, except for a sticky right-hand-side shift key. I’ve performed a full backup and used the laptop without further incidents until these screen issues arose.

Given that I’ve inspected the interior and found no visible signs of coffee damage, and considering the pre-existing flickering and uneven brightness of the screen, I’m uncertain if the spill is related to the current problem. I’m prepared to clean and repair the laptop myself but would like to avoid unnecessary disassembly.

Could you advise on how to determine whether this is a hardware or software issue? Is there a way to confirm that the spillage hasn’t caused significant damage? And what could be causing the screen to go black if it’s not related to the spill?

Thank you for any guidance you can provide.”

This version maintains the original details while presenting the query in a more formal and structured manner suitable for an expert’s consideration.


Experiencing a black screen on your laptop can be disconcerting, especially when the device’s backlight and keyboard LEDs remain active. This issue can stem from various causes, both hardware and software-related. Let’s explore the potential reasons and troubleshooting steps for your HP ZBook G5 Studio’s intermittent black screen problem.

The fact that your laptop’s screen went black while the backlight stayed on suggests a possible issue with the display panel or the video cable connection. Since the problem is intermittent and was temporarily resolved with a forced shutdown, it could indicate a loose connection or a failing component.

Spillage Impact:

You mentioned a recent coffee spill on the keyboard. While you’ve found no visible signs of damage inside, liquid can cause corrosion over time, which might not be immediately apparent. The sticky shift key suggests that some coffee did get inside, and it’s possible that it could have affected other components.

Software Factors:

Software issues can also cause a black screen. If a driver is outdated or incompatible, especially the graphics driver, it can lead to display problems. Similarly, launching specific applications like Paraview, which may place high demands on the graphics card, could trigger an underlying issue.

Troubleshooting Steps:


Hardware Check:

  • Carefully inspect the video cable connection between the motherboard and the display panel.
  • Consider connecting an external monitor to verify if the issue is with the laptop’s display or the video output.
  • 2.

Software Analysis:

  • Update all drivers, focusing on the graphics driver.
  • Perform a clean boot to check if third-party software is causing conflicts.
  • 3.

Spillage Assessment:

  • Disassemble the laptop to the extent you feel comfortable, and look for any signs of corrosion or damage.
  • Clean the affected areas with isopropyl alcohol and lint-free pads.
  • 4.

Professional Diagnosis:

  • If the issue persists, consult with a professional technician who can provide a thorough examination.

Determining Hardware vs. Software:

If the screen displays correctly on an external monitor, the issue is likely hardware-related. If the problem occurs only when running certain applications, it might be software-related.

Confirming Spillage Damage:

A careful inspection and cleaning of the internal components may reveal damage from the spill. However, some effects of liquid damage, like corrosion, can take time to manifest.

Potential Causes for Screen Blackout:

  • Failing display panel or backlight.
  • Loose or damaged video cable.
  • Graphics card issues.
  • Software/driver conflicts.
  • In

conclusion, while the coffee spill might not be the direct cause of the black screen, it cannot be ruled out. The pre-existing flickering and uneven brightness suggest the screen was already compromised, which could be exacerbated by the spill. By following the troubleshooting steps, you should be able to narrow down the cause and decide on the appropriate action, whether it’s a DIY fix or seeking professional help. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always safer to consult with a technician to avoid further damage.

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