Install Linux on a laptop without a screen

Moreplavec

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Hello,
I am trying to install lubuntu on my old Sony Vaio laptop that had the screen removed and I was using it with an external monitor. But, I can't get any output during the installation or access the bios. I tried to do a blind install(step by step with a VM install) but it doesn't appear to be exactly the same. What would be the best approach to this? Is there any way to make a preconfigured USB installation?
 


Tolkem

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Hello,
I am trying to install lubuntu on my old Sony Vaio laptop that had the screen removed and I was using it with an external monitor. But, I can't get any output during the installation or access the bios. I tried to do a blind install(step by step with a VM install) but it doesn't appear to be exactly the same. What would be the best approach to this? Is there any way to make a preconfigured USB installation?
You mean there's no output in the external monitor? I think this is because you have to configure the external monitor first within the OS, so it knows it's there, not sure though, but I do believe the system will look for the primary screen and the external is not. Maybe try with another distro and see if that one works. Alternatively, you can temporarily move the hard disk to another computer and install from there. Also, some laptops will allow display switching with a certain key combination, so check if yours has anything like that.

Hope this helps! :)
 

Moreplavec

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You mean there's no output in the external monitor? I think this is because you have to configure the external monitor first within the OS, so it knows it's there, not sure though, but I do believe the system will look for the primary screen and the external is not. Maybe try with another distro and see if that one works. Alternatively, you can temporarily move the hard disk to another computer and install from there. Also, some laptops will allow display switching with a certain key combination, so check if yours has anything like that.

Hope this helps! :)
Yes, I can't get any output to the external monitor. No key combinations work. I'll try a different distribution. And to install it from a different computer will be my last choice, I hoped there would be an easier way. Thanks for the tips!
 

stan

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No key combinations work.
Did you try the Function key plus F7? That combination is used on Sony laptops to toggle between built in screen, external monitor, and a projector. With your computer and monitor on, tap that combo 2 or 3 times. (Sony Vaio instructions)


I can't get any output during the installation or access the bios.
If you can't see your BIOS on the monitor, this is a hardware problem and has nothing to do with the OS. If Fn + F7 doesn't show you anything, go through the monitor's settings, especially monitor inputs. My "monitor" is also a TV, so it has many inputs (PC, Antenna, Cable), so it only works on the PC input. Any monitor may have separate inputs for VGA or HDMI, and maybe others.


[Late Edit]
If Fn + F7 doesn't work, you might also try hitting F7 a few times without using the Function key. Some computers have a setting to modify this behavior.
 
Last edited:

Moreplavec

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Did you try the Function key plus F7? That combination is used on Sony laptops to toggle between built in screen, external monitor, and a projector. With your computer and monitor on, tap that combo 2 or 3 times. (Sony Vaio instructions)



If you can't see your BIOS on the monitor, this is a hardware problem and has nothing to do with the OS. If Fn + F7 doesn't show you anything, go through the monitor's settings, especially monitor inputs. My "monitor" is also a TV, so it has many inputs (PC, Antenna, Cable), so it only works on the PC input. Any monitor may have separate inputs for VGA or HDMI, and maybe others.
Nope, Fn+F7 does nothing neither from BIOS or the installation itself. The monitor definitely works fine, I am using it as my main for my PC. I made sure the setting on the monitor are correct and they are. I am using the same cable as with my PC so that cant be an issue.
 

stan

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Nope, Fn+F7 does nothing neither from BIOS or the installation itself. The monitor definitely works fine, I am using it as my main for my PC. I made sure the setting on the monitor are correct and they are. I am using the same cable as with my PC so that cant be an issue.
Bummer. You could Google for your particular model Vaio (since you didn't tell us) and see if there might be a different key combo besides Fn + F7. There were many different Vaio models over many years. A Vaio manual might reveal a BIOS setting to make the switch to external monitor, but that won't help you if you can't see the BIOS.

BIOS detects and initializes hardware before handing off the boot to the operating system. If you can't see BIOS, the video port on the laptop may even be dead, since you've confirmed the monitor and cable are good. I doubt that it's dead really... it's more likely that it just needs to be properly toggled on. But whatever killed your built-in screen may have caused more damage. Even though you confirmed the monitor is good, testing another monitor (or two) might show something, if you have access to any other monitors.

What signs of life does the laptop show at all? The power light comes on? The hard drive light flickers with activity trying to boot? Do you hear any "beep codes" that might indicate a system error?
 

Moreplavec

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Bummer. You could Google for your particular model Vaio (since you didn't tell us) and see if there might be a different key combo besides Fn + F7. There were many different Vaio models over many years. A Vaio manual might reveal a BIOS setting to make the switch to external monitor, but that won't help you if you can't see the BIOS.

BIOS detects and initializes hardware before handing off the boot to the operating system. If you can't see BIOS, the video port on the laptop may even be dead, since you've confirmed the monitor and cable are good. I doubt that it's dead really... it's more likely that it just needs to be properly toggled on. But whatever killed your built-in screen may have caused more damage. Even though you confirmed the monitor is good, testing another monitor (or two) might show something, if you have access to any other monitors.

What signs of life does the laptop show at all? The power light comes on? The hard drive light flickers with activity trying to boot? Do you hear any "beep codes" that might indicate a system error?
It is Fn+f7. I can see the install USB activity, harddrive activity and there are no beeps. I can see the activity by pressing enter(going further in the installation) so I know for sure the installation is there.
And the model number is svf1521c6e.
 

stan

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You can view or download your Vaio User Manual here. In the "Selecting Display Modes" section it confirms Fn+F7 as your toggle, but it also says this:
The display switch may not be available depending on the type of external display or projector.
So again I would encourage you to try one or more other monitors, if you can. If the one you are trying to use is very modern (HD), I would definitely try something with less quality for this older laptop. The BIOS screens are very low resolution and this may be a compatibility problem with your monitor.

It is still possible that your internal video adapter (or external video port) is dead. If so, it probably isn't worth the time and expense to fix that unless you are an electronic tinkerer. You might look for a replacement original screen for the laptop. I don't see much hope for fixing this unless you can reach a point of seeing the Vaio splash screen and BIOS.
 

Moreplavec

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You can view or download your Vaio User Manual here. In the "Selecting Display Modes" section it confirms Fn+F7 as your toggle, but it also says this:


So again I would encourage you to try one or more other monitors, if you can. If the one you are trying to use is very modern (HD), I would definitely try something with less quality for this older laptop. The BIOS screens are very low resolution and this may be a compatibility problem with your monitor.

It is still possible that your internal video adapter (or external video port) is dead. If so, it probably isn't worth the time and expense to fix that unless you are an electronic tinkerer. You might look for a replacement original screen for the laptop. I don't see much hope for fixing this unless you can reach a point of seeing the Vaio splash screen and BIOS.
Ok, so I tried both of my tvs and tried to switch to them and none of them seemed to work unfortunately. I will install it from my computer and put the disk back and will let u know if it worked.
 

KGIII

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I almost commented the other day, but I expected this to be resolved.

When you say the screen is removed - how removed are we talking about here? Is it completely, physically removed from the device, complete with the ribbon cable disconnected?

If not, I'd try that. Even though it's not working, if it's still connected then the device would still be seeing it as valid hardware.

If it is fully disconnected, then carry on... That's the end of my thoughts on the subject.
 
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