I am a real computer dummy, so pardon my question. when my computer boots up there is virtually no image on the screen is has several shades of colors, when I plug in an external monitor I get an image, someone told me the problem was the video card. The laptop is about 3-4 years old. any thoughts?
Can be any of the following :
Inverter that powers backlight of screen. (most likely i think)
Cable connection to screen (VGA)
What did it do when it died?
Can you give any more details?
Is there a faint image at certain angles?
As all of the above are hardware issues, you will need to take it in to laptop repair place, unless you have extensive experience in fixing laptops. You will also need testing equipment and a parts supplier.
In other words, its better to take it in to specialists who work with these things.
In most cases it is not worth repairing it at all. So keep that in mind.