My friend's Dell XP laptop screen is showing odd behavior. When the first boot screen appears, it dark with a red cast on the areas that should be white. Then the next screen that says Windows is so dark that you can just barely see the image. The login screen has the red cast again, then after you enter the password it goes completely dark. When I connect an external monitor, it is dark up until after the login, then the external monitor looks fine, and the computer works ok.
When I boot into setup mode, it has the dark red cast for about 10 seconds, then goes blank, although the power light is still lit. External monitor is blank in this mode.
I am tending to believe it is a bad screen, but it seems strange that it changes from red cast, to dim, and then to blank.
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Sounds like your screen is going bad!
What display and monitor drivers are utilized for setup mode? Is it some default drivers that are part of the firmware?