M2300 Laptop not recognizing external monitors

I'm using a dell m2300 at work. It was recently upgraded to windows 7 from xp and no longer recognizes external monitors.
I've tried function f8 - no response, no change, and no additional monitor shows up in control panel, display. External monitors connect via VGA.

I've also tried docking the laptop and plugging in the monitor to the VGA and DVI on the dock, thinking that maybe its a VGA port issue and that the dock connection goes around that (no idea if this is true).

Video card is standard VGA adapter.

The answer's I've found so far are saying reinstall the driver, but I'm wondering if I deactivate/uninstall the video card driver, will the laptop monitor shut off (making it impossible for me to reinstall the driver)?

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  1. when you uninstall your pc will switch to simple vga drive that is basically default with windows, it will have limited resolution and color palette but you'll be able to reinstall the graphics driver without much problem.

    but getting back to your problem, I haven't tried with win7 myself, but the first time you connect an external you have to go configure it in desktop properties. Make sure to select extend desktop, if that's your intent. (actually I think that's the only option for multiple monitors nowadays)
  2. Thanks for the reply AntiZig. Is simple VGA drive different than 'standard VGA adapter'?

    There's no option to extend desktop in control panel->display since the laptop isn't registering that an external monitor is plugged in.
    Alternatively when you have an external monitor connected in win7 you can cycle through extending your desktop, mirroring your desktop, or using one screen at a time using WIN+P. There's no response when I use this command on the laptop.
    Looks like I'll be small screening it from here on!

  3. Best answer
    yes, sorry I misspelled, it will switch to the standard vga driver (it's something like 800x600 16bit color, it's the same driver used when you boot in safe mode)

    hmm, when you turn on the external display when it's hooked up does it say no signal or something else? (signal out of bounds maybe?) and this might sound dumb but have you checked that other win7 machines work ok with these monitors?

    if you connect an external even it's hooked up but not used, external should show up in CP. double check that there's no separate device driver available for that monitor on manufacturer's website

    definitely try updating your drivers through dell website

    best of luck
  4. Thanks for clarifying!
    Yes, when connected the monitors say no signal. I've tried this specific monitor on an xp desktop which worked fine, and have tried a couple different external monitors to connect to on this laptop, none of which the laptop acknowledges.
    I'll try updating the driver through dell. When I checked the driver through the laptop it said up to date, but hopefully this laptop doesn't know what its talking about ;)

    Thanks again for the help
  5. Best answer selected by funzo.
  6. So it was a matter of the driver. The laptop was running on integrated graphics instead of the dedicated nvidia gpu. Though the dell website made it difficult enough to download the correct driver...anyways its working beautifully now.
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