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What Does it Mean when it Says VGA No Signal?

What Does it Mean when it Says VGA No Signal?

Plug it into a power source and turn it on. Seems easy enough, right? That’s because machines that use a power outlet are designed to power on easily, including your personal computer.

That said, it’s not always the case with the latter. Sometimes, even with everything plugged in and good to go, switching it on leaves you with a blank monitor with the words “VGA No Signal” plastered across the screen and you wondering what the problem is. 

So, what is the problem? And what does the message “VGA No Signal” mean? 

First of all, don’t panic, and don’t go looking for a new monitor! While it may be confusing, “VGA No Signal” means that while your monitor is powered on and is using electricity, it’s not currently identifying any video card or GPU that it’s connected to. Luckily, this is a simple fix and is commonly a connection problem. 

If you have recently encountered this problem, this article will go over all the different reasons behind your monitor displaying “VGA No Signal,” as well as all of the possible solutions you can do. 

Why Does My Monitor Say “VGA No Signal?”

VGA no signal

If you’ve ever connected your monitor and booted up your computer only to receive a “VGA No Signal” message across your screen, then you’re not alone. 

While it’s nothing to be alarmed about, it’s also a common issue, especially when using older connections like VGAs. 

It’s also not an indication that your computer is broken, as that message has something to do with your monitor and the cable that connects it to your desktop. 

After all, monitors can do nothing by themselves. And depending on your situation, the reason behind it can be any of these: 

  • The VGA cable isn’t correctly connected to your computer’s GPU.
  • The VGA cable isn’t correctly connected to your computer monitor. 
  • The computer ended up turning the display signal after going through standby or hibernation mode.
  • You are using a faulty cable that needs replacement. 
  • The computer’s GPU is trying to output a resolution that your monitor cannot provide or support. 
  • You chose the wrong display output in your computer’s GPU. 
  • You picked the wrong input port in your computer monitor.
  • Your computer cannot boot because of an internal issue. 
  • The connection between the two devices is loose. 
  • Your GPU is already outdated. 
  • Your monitor is faulty.

As you can see, while there are many possible causes to this “simple” problem, the reasons are more or less connected to each other. 

Furthermore, most of them deal with the connection between your computer and monitor more than they do with the computer itself. 

How to Resolve “VGA No Signal” Problems?

Method 1: Do a Quick Check of Your Power and Cables

connect laptop with VGA cable

Before anything, it’s important to understand that the “VGA No Signal” is primarily a connection issue. As such, the first fix you can do is to troubleshoot your computer’s cabling. 

Start by checking if your VGA cable  is connected correctly and isn’t damaged. Then, trace the cable back into your CPU and secure the ports. Do the same thing in your monitor port. 

Supposing this is just the issue, the problem should be gone when you boot up your computer again. Otherwise, replace any cable that shows noticeable wear and tear. 

Alternatively, you can also remove the VGA cable, wait for a few minutes, secure the wires back, and restart your computer. 

Method 2: Double-Check Your Monitor Input Source 

VGA cable and VGA port

One other reason behind the no signal error is that your monitor’s input source isn’t plugged into the right device. 

This is more common in monitors these days, as these often have multiple available input ports. If this is the case, simply making sure that your VGA cable is in the VGA port should fix the problem. 

Method 3: Is Your Computer in Hibernation or Sleep Mode? 

Sleepmode in laptop

If your computer has been idle for a while, it will automatically revert to sleep or hibernation mode to save on power consumption. This stops the monitor from receiving any signal.

If this is the case, pressing Enter on your keyboard should turn your computer back on and fix the issue. 

Method 4: Make Sure Your GPU is Updated 

CPU updating

GPUs also get regular updates like many devices and technology, so an outdated one might no longer work with your VGA cable and monitor. This is even more likely if the update itself was big or significant.

So if it’s been a while since you last updated your drivers, we recommend checking the manufacturer’s website to check if a new update is already available. 

If there is, then downloading and installing it should be easy and fix your monitor’s no signal woes. 

Alternatively, if you’re using a Windows 10 and Windows 7 device, you can set your Device Manager to automatically update drivers. 

To do so, search up “Device Manager” on the taskbar and open it. Then, click on Display Adapters on the left side. When you see the device name, right-click on it and select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and click “Update Driver.”

Method 5: Boot Your PC Into Safe Mode (for Windows)

Safe mode on Window

If the problem continues, then you can boot your PC into safe mode and resolve it from there. 

To do this, open the Windows 10 ‘settings’ app, and look for ‘Update and Security.’ From there, look for ‘Recovery,’ then ‘Advanced Startup,’ and finally, ‘Restart now.’

The window for an advanced startup should appear, where you can then choose ‘Troubleshoot,’ then ‘Advanced options,’ then ‘Startup settings,’ and finally, ‘Restart.’ 

From the window that appears, click ‘F4’ to enable your PC’s ‘safe mode.’ Once your computer enters safe mode, you can then check whether the issue still exists. 

Method 6: (For Mac users) Use the Hidden Detect Displays Feature

A Macbook on a black table

If you’re encountering the same problem on macOS, you can help resolve this by clicking the Apple logo in the top left corner of the menu bar. From there, go to “System Preferences” and then “Displays.” 

Press and hold your Mac’s “option” key and wait for a “Detect Displays” button to appear. Once it appears, click it to see whether it fixes the problem. 

Method 7: (For Mac Users) Reset Your Mac’s NVRAM 

a person using her macbook

Sometimes, your Mac’s NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) becomes corrupted, leading to a host of technical glitches and issues. Luckily, resetting and cleaning this should be easy. 

Shut down your Mac and wait for about two to three minutes. Then, power it up and immediately press “Option” + “Command” + “P” + “R.” The macOS will restart, so hold down these buttons until it does.

Afterward, your Mac has now cleared the NVRAM, and you can go ahead and check whether the problem has been resolved. 

Method 8: Upgrade to a Better and More Modern Cable 

VGA cables

If the problem still exists, then it might be time for an upgrade altogether. 

The truth is, VGA is already an obsolete technology, and there are better alternatives you can use. Cables like HDMI and DisplayPort, for example, provide sharper resolutions and better refresh rates. 

These cables are also more common these days and are the standard that most modern monitors use.

Final Thoughts

VGA output port on laptop

Whether this is the first time you’ve encountered a no signal issue on your monitor or not, you’d be pleased to know that it’s a reasonably straightforward issue with easy fixes. 

However, if you have exhausted this already and the problem continues, then looking for a replacement cable and monitor might be the best course of action moving forward. 

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