Dell Monitor Not Turning On (11 Easy Fixes!)

Dell makes high quality computer monitors, but occasionally they can have some frustrating issues. One of the more common problems users report seeing is their Dell monitor not turning on. Here’s how to fix it.

Dell Monitor Not Turning On

If you discover your Dell monitor not turning on, first confirm the monitor is actually set to ‘on’ and check the power and display cable connections. If the issue persists, ensure monitor is set to correct input and lower the display resolution. As a final measure, perform a factory reset.

Additional causes include PC related issues. First, test the monitor with another device to confirm that the issue is PC related. Then update graphics driver and BIOS and ensure display cable is properly plugged into graphic card. Finally, reinsert RAM sticks and reset CMOS/BIOS.

Continue reading for further step-by-step instructions to get your monitor up and running!

We’ll start with the easier more obvious fixes, and work our way to some move involved troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshooting The Monitor

Step 1: Make Sure The Monitor Is ‘Actually’ Turned ON

First, before we dig into more involved fixes make sure you monitor is actually turned ON.

I realize this sounds obvious. But since you typically only turn your monitor ON once and rarely need to again, this is a common mistake.

You can find the ON button on the front, bottom, or side panel of your monitor frame. Double check that it is set to ON.

Step 2: Check That The Power Cable Is Firmly Connected

Next, make sure that the power cable is firmly connected on both ends.

Oftentimes when users encounter this issue, the power cord is not securely inserted into the power socket.

Dell monitor power cable

So, check the connection on the back of your monitor and the power outlet on the wall.  Also examine your power cord for any obvious damage.

Step 3: Make Sure The Display Cable Connection Is Secure

Let’s stick on the cable theme.

You also need to confirm there is a secure connection made with your display cable.

Common display cables include HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), VGA and DVI. A number of different failures, including audio issues and the no signal error, can be caused even if the connection is slightly broken on either end.

That tiny space you see in the image below between the HDMI and the HDMI port in my laptop? You guessed it – that was enough to result in a black monitor screen.

Dell monitor display cable

Try disconnecting and reconnecting the cable. If you are using a VGA or DVI cable, tighten the screws all the way to prevent future issues.

Step 4: Set Your Monitor To The Correct Input

It is important to make sure your monitor is set to the correct Input.

To do this, you need to first know what kind of input cable you are using.

As mentioned, the most common display cables include HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), DVI and VGA. Identify which cord you have using the image below.

Common Dell monitor data cables include HDMI, DP, VGA and DVI cables

Once you have identified the correct display cable, find the Input button on your monitor. The Input button can be found on the front, bottom, or side panel of your monitor frame.

Toggle the input options until you identify the input that matches your display cable.

Step 5: Lower Your Display Resolution Settings

Your monitor has a range of possible display resolutions that it can relay back to your computer.

It is possible that your computer’s graphic card is currently set on a display resolution that is higher than what your monitor can handle.

If this is the case it could be the reason why your monitor won’t turn on.

To fix this, reboot your computer using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode your computer will automatically use a lower display resolution than normal use.

This will allow you the opportunity to go into your computer’s resolution settings and select a lower standard display resolution.

If you are not sure what resolution your Dell monitor can support, you have two options:

  1. Find your Dell model number on the back of your monitor and enter it into the Dell monitor manual lookup.
  2. Play around using some trial-and-error. Incrementally increase your resolution. Wait approximately 30 seconds between each update and see whether the monitor remains on.

Step 6: Factory Reset Your Monitor

Sometimes resetting your monitor to its factory settings is enough to get your display back up and running. To factory reset your monitor first identify your Dell model on the back of the monitor.

Next, find the corresponding manual for your Dell model and follow the manual reset instructions.

Step 7: Test Your Monitor With Another Device

We are now at the end of the most common fixes IF your monitor is the source of the problem.

To confirm that your monitor is the issue, try using your monitor with another device. This can be another computer, laptop, game console, etc.

If your monitor display works, then you know your monitor is working properly and your hardware is the culprit.

Troubleshooting The PC

You have now confirmed that your monitor works just fine with another device. What now? The issue may be PC related.

First, a few disclaimers. Steps 10 and 11 below require you to open and manipulate your laptop or desktop computer.

If your hardware is company property, it is best to leave these steps to your company’s IT Team. If your hardware is personally owned, you may still wish to bring it in to a local computer repair shop.

However, if you do plan to proceed make sure you have done proper research. At a minimum you should know how to properly ground yourself to avoid destroying your computer with electrostatic charge.

Step 8: Update Your Graphics Driver And BIOS Operating Version

If your hardware is in fact the problem your graphics driver and/or your operating BIOS version may be outdated.

Check to make sure you have the latest graphics driver and BIOS updates by following the links below.

But my Dell monitor won’t turn on, how can I check for updates?

If you are using a docked laptop then you should be all set. If you are using a desktop computer you’ll need to borrow a different monitor to make the update.

Step 9: Ensure Display Cable Is Plugged Into The Graphic Card And Not The Motherboard

Nearly all desktop PC’s have an on-board graphics unit with corresponding connections on the back of your computer. 

If this applies to you, be sure that your monitor cable is connected directly into the graphic card and NOT the motherboard. 

Often times with a desktop PC, your Dell computer monitor will not turn on for this simple reason.

Step 10: Remove, Reorder, And Reinsert Your RAM Sticks

Your Dell monitor not turning on may be occurring because your RAM (Random Access Memory) sticks are not making a proper connection.

One way this issue can manifest is by not delivering power to your mouse and keyboard.

Therefore, if your mouse and keyboard are not working, poor RAM stick connection is likely the cause.

To fix this, first make sure your computer is powered OFF and the power cord is removed from the outlet.

Next, properly ground yourself and open your PC unit. Then fully remove each of your RAM sticks.

Finally reorder the sicks and reinsert them back into their respective RAM seats.

RAM sticks

Step 11: Reset CMOS/BIOS

CMOS stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor.

The CMOS battery in your laptop or computer powers the BIOS firmware. BIOS stands for “Basic Input/Output System” and it manages the essential functions of your computer.

Resetting your BIOS sets it back to its previous configurations. This can often fix a lot of different issues, and is something you can try if your Dell monitor will not turn on.

Once again make sure your computer is powered OFF, the power cord is removed, and you are properly grounded.

Next, remove the CMOS battery from the motherboard. Hold down the power button to drain all excess remaining power. After about a minute, reinsert the CMOS battery back into your PC.

Finally, reboot your computer and check to see if your display is working.

CMOS/BIOS battery


If your Dell monitor won’t turn on, follow these 11 troubleshooting steps and be back up and running in no time!

Dell Monitor Not Turning On – 11 Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Confirm monitor is ‘actually’ ON
  2. Check power cable connection
  3. Check display cable connection
  4. Set monitor to correct Input
  5. Lower display resolution
  6. Factory reset monitor
  7. Test monitor with another device
  8. Update graphics driver and BIOS
  9. Ensure display cable is plugged into graphic card
  10. Reinsert RAM sticks
  11. Reset CMOS/BIOS

If you’ve tried all of these fixes, and you’re still having monitor issues, you can contact Dell consumer & member purchase sales support at 1-877-717-3355 or chat with a representative live.

You can also check out your Dell warranty policy.

Were you able to get your monitor turned back on? If so, let me know how in the comments section below!

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