All of a sudden, the display of my Lenovo R61 went black. The backlights were visibly on. Reboot wouldn't help, and neither would booting up different OS, nor changing angle of display. External monitor worked fine. After all while, the display came back just as suddenly. A couple of days later, it went black again (again, backlights clearly working). I opened the case and made sure the display cable was plugged in well. Reassembled, and voilà: Display worked. For a couple of weeks - now it's black again, and the cure of opening the case and fiddling with the cable and socket won't help anymore.
Since the backlights are on, it shouldn't be the inverter. Since the problem is the same with different OSs and an external monitor works, it shouldn't be a drivers/updates issue. Should I try a new display cable?
Quick question, did you fiddle the cable on both sides? For example the usually taped data plug on the back of the monitor AND the cable connector to the motherboard? Or did you only fiddle with one side?
It certainly sounds like a loose connection somewhere if you managed to fix it temporarily by playing with the cable. It is probably worth a shot at replacing the cable before the screen as it will be much cheaper, and if it is the cable then replacing the screen won't fix it anyway...
First make sure you have checked both ends of the screen cable and maybe put some fresh tape on the back of the screen to relieve the cable tension.