Thoughts From My Life

Acer Extensa 5420 Black Screen On Startup

Written by Neil Galloway

Well I have already screwed up my Acer laptop, but have managed to recover it (somewhat). I purchased the Acer Extensa 5420 in the end of December 2007 and been quite happy with the laptop so far.

Note: In November of 2009 I did have a power jack problem with my Acer Extensa.

I have been installing applications and I decided to upgrade to the latest ATI drivers for my ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400XT video card that is inside. I went to the ATI website and searched through their drivers sections. This is where I went wrong.

ATI's Site Does Not Provide Laptop Drivers

I was searching around for drivers and could not find the 2400 series drivers in the Mobility section so I downloaded the ones from the regular Radeon area. If I had read the fine print in the Mobility section, I would have seen that they do not provide drivers for laptops. The laptop manufacturer is responsible for this.

Anyhow, after I installed the driver package I downloaded, the laptop would only boot to a black screen. After some messing around I decided I would just to the restore from the hidden partition (feature on Acers) since I didn't have much on the laptop yet.

Note: After going through my steps below, I realized some things take a long time and I am wondering if I just let the laptop sit at the black screen for awhile if it would have finished something it was doing. You can try this if you want.

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Restoring From The Hidden Partition

It is pretty simple.

  • At the Acer screen on bootup, press F2.
  • In on of the screens there is a D2D option. Make sure it says Enabled.
  • Save your settings and exit.
  • At the Acer screen on bootup, press Alt-F10.
  • You will prompted from here on where you want to restore or not.

Notes About Restoring the Acer Extensa

The actual restore was only 7 minutes, but everything else seemed to take a long time. There were not a ton of screens to fill in, but there is a few. I let my laptop sit and chunk away through various parts for a few hours.

There are initial users to set up, some registration info, license agreements to accept, and some locale settings.

The most unnerving was that even after I rebooted and logged in for the first time, the screen was black except for a command prompt window that was up and running. I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and went into Task Manager to see what was going on. The CPU was running around 50% and it did this for quite some time (2o minutes), but eventually I was logged in. I think it was some sort of initial setup.

Getting Acer Extensa Drivers


NOTE: I have not yet done the steps below because I am still restoring my laptop.

I found the Acer Support website and if you are looking for any drivers, start with the Acer Drivers page. I had Windows Vista so I went into Vista and then Drivers to get the file VGA, but there is also another version (for XP users?) at VGA

There is a more viewer friendly version with their FTP viewing page. Just find Extensa and work your way into the drivers section from there.

Explore this site. You will find a digital copy of your manual and there is BIOS software as well.

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Related Posts

Acer Extensa Power Jack Problem
My Acer Extensa Laptop
Acer Extensa 5420 Laptop Review
Earn Revenue Online - January 2008 Recap
Earn Revenue Online - February 2008 Recap

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Category: Computers

Original Post: Friday, January 11th, 2008


Charlie and Nora Says:
2008-01-15 11:15:21
We too bought our first Acer Extensa 5420 in December. Since then, we have had to exchange the laptop four times. The problem is that we also get a blank screen (doesn't matter if we are online or playing a game on desktop). Microsoft referred us to Acer since Vista was preinstalled with laptop purchase. Acer keeps telling us that they do not know what the problem is and that we are the only ones who are experiencing it, according to them. Computer number 4 is three days old and last night it did it again. Plugged in or running on battery doesn't seem to matter. We have not downloaded or installed any drivers etc. Acer told us this morning that if we wanted to send it in (again, 3 days old) they could check it out. Not sure what we are going to do other than, if we do take it back, it won't be for another exchange. Do you have any other ideas as to what we could do? The only way to get the blank screen off is to do a manual shutdown on it. Other than this blank screen problem, we have enjoyed the Acer Extensa 5420. Thanks.
Charlie and Nora

Neil Galloway Says:
2008-01-15 11:21:25
Charlie and Nora,
Well that is a very annoying problem though. You are exchanging it for a new laptop and it is still black screening? That is very odd. I could understand if it was the same laptop and they were trying to fix it each time, but different laptops each time is weird. It would almost point to something else being wrong in the environment (bad power, network issues, virus on a networked computer that is spreading to the Acer each time).

I do notice with mine that it can take a longer time to boot up occasionally. This is after I have installed something or did an event that causes a reboot. I usually suspend it anyways, so I do not notice it. When you boot it up, try letting it sit for awhile and see what happens.

Very weird, I hope it works out and let me know the solution if you resolve it.

Maria Says:
2008-01-17 23:13:03
I came across this post as I was searching for "acer laptop black out". My new Acer Extensa 5420 (same model!) blacks out too. It's happened 3-4 times already. Out of nowhere, when I'm in the middle of working, it just seemingly dies. After the manual shutdown, it works fine again, but I'm definitely taking it back to the store tomorrow!

Heidi Says:
2008-01-21 16:20:53
I TOO am having screen blackout issues. I will be working on the laptop and all of a sudden the screen goes black and I have to do the manual shutdown to get it back up. It seems to me that Acer HAS to know of this problem!

Neil Galloway Says:
2008-01-21 17:37:04
Yeah, I would agree. I have seen a lot of search results come through this article now as well. All googling for black screen issues.

Leo Silva Says:
2008-01-23 00:47:37
Hmm... Interesting. I had the same problem. The screen on my laptop blacked out three or four times already and I've had it for less than one week.
I am downloading new drivers for my card and will keep you guys posted. If by some dumb luck I get it working I'll let you guys know (and probably post it on my blog, too).
Note to Neil: The drivers for your Radeon 2400XT are bundled with the Catalyst pack (

Heidi Says:
2008-01-23 18:57:24
Thanks Leo. I'll be watching for your post as to whether or not new drivers work. If not, Best Buy will be supplying me with a new laptop--I didn't pay for 3 yrs of maintenance for nothing!

Jen Says:
2008-01-23 23:27:10
I am also experiencing the black-out screen problem. I have owned my Acer Extensa 5420 since late december and it has blacked out probably 5 times. I am happy with the computer except for this issue, but it seems like I don't have a lemon. Can anyone tell me what the hell is going on? I hate that I randomly lose my work because of this issue. For all I know, it could happen right now and I will have to repost this. There is no way to fix the problem once its happened except for rebooting. THIS SUCKS.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-24 01:46:36
Hey guys. I'd been watching these comments as I'd been having the same problem. I asked one of the guys on, usually pretty intelligent guys and got the answer back that the problem is that there is a bad power chip on the motherboard.
I suppose it makes sense that it's a widespread hardware problem as opposed to any problems created with software/drivers (I already updated all my drivers to no avail) as many people are experiencing the same difficulty and B.Vista came preloaded on some of these computers (mine).
I can't be certain that it is this specific part, but I described the symptoms, status of my computer, etc.. and specifically asked which malfunctioning part would create this problem. If anybody has any feedback, it'd be greatly appreciated. I'm somewhat clueless on this issue, thus the asking more knowledgeable people.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-24 01:50:47
I don't know if it just posted my message, don't see it. Crappy net connection.
Anyway, asked somebody and they said it's a bad power chip on the motherboard.
Sorry if I double post. But I hope you guys get the info.

Dave41 Says:
2008-01-24 16:20:14
I also have this issue, but I am hesitant to just start exchanging computers if the problem is with the whole model. What I want to know is how replacement computers would have the same issue if this was a hardware issue. Perhaps Acer got an entire batch of defective motherboards installed in many machines of this model?

Also, it would be useful to know how often this happens to everyone- is it progressively worse? For me its about once a day.


Leo Silva Says:
2008-01-24 17:00:27
I got in touch the almost inexistent Acer Support ( through their website -- I can't find a contact number in the US anywhere. Here is what I wrote on Jan/23/08:

"1. The laptop screen blacks out and the machine will not return to activity. It has happened three or four times since I bought it, five days ago. The screen will turn black seemingly at no particular time or event. After the screen turns black there's no hard drive or cpu activity whatsoever. The notebook simply freezes and won't return unless booted manually by holding the power button down.

2. The wireless signal, although apparently "Excellent", is extremely poor at 3 feet away from the wireless router. The connection drops repeatedly at times. Other laptops in the house have excellent connection and no such issues."

Here is what "Online Agent-05" wrote in reply on Jan/24/08:

"Dear Leo Silva,

Thank you for contacting Acer America. We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

Based on the information provided I suggest your Acer product be checked by our authorized repair depot. You can set this up for service yourself by going to; click on the US or Canada then select the link for Depot Repair under Fix My Acer. I hope this is helpful.

Acer America
Online Support"

After reading a few articles about their poor tech support, I am afraid that wherever I take the laptop they may give me the run-around. I really like the laptop. It's very responsive. it has everything I need to get my work done, and the web cam is definitely a plus. But If this issue doesn't get resolved I'm afraid I will have to return it and spend a few extra bucks on another laptop and simply drop the Acer brand.

On a good note, I installed the video drivers for my video card (Radeon Xpress 1250) from the ATI website and even though the driver version is the same, the Catalyst Package installed the North Bridge Filter Driver v. 1.00.0000.1, which wasn't previously installed. I have no idea what that does, but my screen hasn't blacked out yet and I run it about 12-15 hours a daily.

If the issue is hardware related, like Ash Williams said, that won't fix it. Keep your fingers crossed.


azurplex Says:
2008-01-24 17:41:07
About screen blackouts.
The first thing to do is go update the video drivers from Acer\'s website. Hopefully that or the North Bridge Filter driver Leo mentioned will fix it up.
If it does We might suggest to Acer to direct future inquirys to that solution. Perhaps even a helpful link on their website for all those with the same symptom.

The user guide also talks about a feature that allows the screen backlight to shut off to conserve power (Fn + F6).
Try that.
Also check your power management and screen saver settings.
Make sure that the screensaver isn\'t set to a lockout security mode.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-24 21:03:13
I dunno. I'll try Leo's solution before I do anything else. I like my laptop, I don't want to have to take it in.
Leo, how long has it been since it's blacked out? I'm just wondering so that maybe I can find some hope on keeping all my stuff and not having to trade it in. Maybe I missed a driver when looking at the Catalyst and Acer website. To everybody else: I'm just curious, how often does your laptop have this problem approximately? I'd say mine does it about once every five days. Oh and does it have anything to do with WMP? I've noticed a few times that when I'm running, or after I've run WMP, the problem occurs.
Just wondering.
Thanks, John.

Leo Silva Says:
2008-01-24 22:29:58
John, It has only been one day since I updated the video driver, which I got at the ATI website ( This is a direct link to the Catalyst Driver v.8.1 package for Windows Vista (32 bit) provided by ATI. You can check out the other drivers here: of follow the ATI page according to your operating system and vidoe card here: Like I mentioned before, the package installed the "North Bridge Filter Driver" which wasn't installed before. I don't know if it makes any difference but if the symptom persists and the laptop crashes again I'll definitely let you guys know.
Big thanks to Neil for starting this post.
PS: John, I just noticed it: Ash Williams... hahah! (yeah, I was too slow to catch that one)

WayneB Says:
2008-01-26 08:30:11
I'm also experiencing this problem - I've seen it happen just 2 times so far, but I haven't used this laptop very much since purchasing it. I put in an inquiry to Acer support yesterday, but haven't heard back yet. Based on what I'm seeing on other sites, the problem is widespread. I suggest that everyone who experiences this problem contribute a posting to this blog and any other related to this issue that they can find. I don't think Acer will be able to ignore all of us for long, or I can smell a class action suit in the works. Hopefully someone will discover a fix before that happens.

Dave41 Says:
2008-01-26 15:09:33
Thanks to Neil for allowing us to start collecting commentary on your pages. Eventually one of us will find the solution I hope, but so far Acer has not really impressed me by being better than all the other typical big manufacturers. I also got the boiler plate response from them: The tech appears to know far less about computers than I, telling me the issue might be software related and I should revert to the factory installation- I am not doing that because I know for a fact its not applications I installed causing this, since there are no events in the Event List and no crash dump produced, even though I have made the setting in registry to force crash dumps for ANY crash event. Besides, this black screen issue happened before I had even installed anything that was not factory.

By the symptoms, I am sure this is either driver or hardware related, or else a problem within Windows Vista (I have heard about this exact behavior on other vista laptops) and is not caused by anything that wasn't on the laptop when I/we bought it. I was told however, that if I really want to go after a hardware problem to call a number for tech support- 1-800-816-2237, so don't bother with email support if you don't want to deal with the typical form letter type responses. So far I don't see a point to servicing or replacing, since the odds are good a replaced or fixed unit would have the same problem until Acer or someone figures out whats going.

I do agree with azurplex that checking other causes for a black screen is good. We should all be sure that this is in fact the same problem we are discussing- where the screen is NOT off or sleeping, just suddenly showing black and the machine must be rebooted. So far I think we are all talking about the same thing, and I agree the more who collect posts about this the better- so that Acer may be forced to act. I also suggest everyone call Acer and ask them about if they keep track of how many people have reported a problem.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-27 00:43:02
Hey Dave, helpful post. Yeah, that's my problem. I'll call tech support on Monday, let you guys know what kind of answers I get.

Also, if anybody has seen other threads of this same problem, as I have, please refer them to this blog. It's been really helpful to see a centralized point of reference, online

Jordan Says:
2008-01-27 11:17:32
I am having same problem. The screen would blackout randomly.

Mallikarjuna Says:
2008-01-27 12:22:25
Hello everybody,
I just bought acer extensa 5420 laptop from bestbuy. The cost is pretty impressive and the features of the laptop too for this cost. I have two problems with laptop \"THE SCREEN BLACKOUT\" that most of buyers are experiencing and \"HORRIBLE SPEAKERS\". I called acer about this and they say that i have to check if it is a battery problem. I tried removing the batter and running the notebook, still the screen blackout happened. So, I again has to contact acer regarding this.
The second problem is I found that the sound is not only less but the voice output is soo irritating, it appears like resounding and mixed up. Is it the same problem everyone is experiencing with respect to audio.

If any one has any suggestons or experiences kindly let me know. I am trying to solve these problems and i will post them if i get any solution..

Heidi Says:
2008-01-27 13:38:30
I continue to have the blackout screen problem. This time it happened after I had put my laptop into low power state for an hour. Acer never responded to my email regarding the screen blackout. Mallikarjuna, I have also experienced poor speaker quality. Several times it turned into shreaking static sounds and I had to pause the video clip. When I hit play again, the sound would be fine. This morning I watched several video clips and the speakers were fine. I'm listening to itunes right now and so far it's sounding good (for a laptop).

Mallikarjuna Says:
2008-01-27 21:37:08
Heidi.. Thanks for your note.. today i got a problem.. I started seeing "No Audio output Device is installed" and i could not get the audio. I am trying to install the audio but its not working. Can you tell me how can i go about it..

Leo Silva Says:
2008-01-27 21:46:58
After I installed the video driver update, the laptop screen blacked out about 3 times, 2 yesterday. I thought I'd give it another try and went back to BestBuy to get a replacement. So far so good, but who knows? It may have been only a defective batch. At least that's what I'm hoping for. Thanks to Dave41 for the phone number to Acer Support. If you bought your Acer Extensa within the last 30 days at BestBuy and it is still giving you trouble, this is the week to get a replacement. There's a $100 price cut ($549.99 - and if you insist hard enough you can get a Notebook Surge Protector for $10 like they advertise on the website, or you can get the Laptop, a wireless mouse, the surge protector and a case for $599.96 (

Heidi Says:
2008-01-27 21:47:32
Mallikarjuna, I'm sorry but I don't have any idea how to go about getting your audio to work. My sound just seems to be working fine now. Perhaps someone else here can help you?

WayneB Says:
2008-01-28 07:24:14
Leo, unfortunately Best Buy has a 14 day return policy for laptops. I think we need to collectively put the pressure on Acer to come up with a solution. It seems that dozens of people have written about this problem in online forums in the past month. That probably means that hundreds of others are experiencing it as well.

Heidi Says:
2008-01-28 08:48:48
Wayne, I spoke with Best Buy yesterday. I told them there were several forums on the net with approx 16 people having the same problem. I told them I was bringing in printed out copies of each forum and they said to bring the Acer in and they'd replace it, even though I purchased it on 12/30/07.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-28 12:00:11
Thank you, Heidi. Are they swapping disk drives with the new system, or do they expect you to reload everything from scratch? Where did you buy yours? I'm in Salem, NH

Heidi Says:
2008-01-28 13:01:25
Hi Wayne. I bought mine in Houston, TX. I went ahead and did a complete backup and have deleted all my files that I had put on this laptop. I will be taking it in first thing tomorrow morning. I'll keep you all posted as to what Best Buy does.

Neil Galloway Says:
2008-01-28 13:09:17
I was working on my laptop again last night. It has been working fine lately, but last night I rebooted for the first time in awhile. It showed the scrolling loading bar for awhile and then went to a black screen, never to return. I rebooted it and it loaded fine. It takes a long time to boot to the login screen though. This is very peculiar.

Dave41 Says:
2008-01-28 13:26:01
I talked with a tech at Best Buy about the problem. He says he has seen a similar behavior on several laptops, not all Acer, and that he believes this is a Windows issue, precisely a processor power management problem. His suggestion was as follows: navigate to control panel-> power options-> change plan settings-> change advanced power settings-> processor power management-> minimum processor state = set this to 100%. Also make sure the maximum state is set at 100%.

This seems reasonable to me, as he explained Windows cannot correctly manage some processors and brings them into a power state below where they can safely operate, thus the computer cannot recover. If you have all noted, nothing but fans and such work after the crash until reboot, USB and network are down, etc., so right now I have to agree with his assessment for lack of any better ones. From what he described this is the same problem we are having, so I have made the settings and will let you all know. I think he may be onto something, because most true hardware failure issues get progressively worse until total failure. I never was too sure about the "bad power chip" suggestion thrown out on another page for this reason. Hope this helps, I'll keep you all posted.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-28 13:51:51
Good find, Dave41! I had a suspicion that this might be a power management issue, so it seems that this could be the right track to persue. I'm gonna try setting this on mine also. I don't use my Acer on a daily basis however, so it may be awhile before I can determine whether or not it solves the problem for me. I'll stay tuned and let you all know if I have any new status. Thank you all for your participation in finding a solution! No thanks to Acer - shame on them for not researching this!

Heidi Says:
2008-01-28 21:39:50
Dave, as soon as I saw your post this afternoon, I followed the processor power change as you posted. I was REALLY hopeful that this would be the fix for the screen blackout. Unfortunately, just a few minutes ago I was watching a news clip and the screen on this laptop blacked out on me and I had to hard boot it. I'm really furious with Acer and tomorrow morning this thing goes back to Best Buy.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-29 00:31:24
Hey Heidi, that's crazy that you bought yours in Houston. I also bought mine in Houston, TX at The Woodlands location. How about you? And that just got me really excited to read that Best Buy will replace even after the 14 day thing.

Oh and with the audio situation, I just downloaded some program that'll boost the audio, I think off of this site actually. But anyways it's the ac3 filter. It works pretty well.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-29 06:25:36
Rats, I too was hopeful that adjusting the power management setting would solve this problem. Heidi, I fear that swapping machines will not solve the problem, since it appears to be widespread. After all, Charlie and Nora say they've swapped theirs 4 times! I think we need to somehow get Acer and Best Buy to find the root cause of this problem, or they're gonna be swapping out all of their inventory to no avail.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-29 07:32:36
Curious - is anyone running WinXP rather than Vista?

Heidi Says:
2008-01-29 09:17:18
Ash, I got mine at Willowbrook. Taking it back this morning and will let you know if they give me a hassle in person. I don't think I want an Acer if this is going to continue to happen. I'm taking in the postings from this site as well as a couple of others. Wayne, you are right that Acer and Best Buy need to find out the root of the cause of this problem! - I'm using Vista btw.

Heidi Says:
2008-01-29 11:47:04
I'm back from Best Buy. After discussing the issue with one of the techs and showing him the documentation of the problem (the printed forums), he said he was sending it to Acer. He believes it IS some sort of power issue. If, upon return of the laptop, the issue occurs again, the Service Manager will become involved and either I'll get a new Acer, or another laptop. I did tell them I was told on Sunday I would get a new laptop right away, but since I didn't get a name (I'm such an idiot), they wouldn't honor it. So that's where it stands with my Acer Extensa 5420--it's being sent to the manufacturer. It's supposed to be back in two weeks.

Akimet Says:
2008-01-29 11:58:59
I have similar screen black out for several weeks. I went to Best Buy yesterday and they told me that they will not replace it because I bought it over 14 days (I did not buy extended warranty). However, they shipped my Extensa 5420 back to Acer for troubleshooting and should be ready in 2 weeks. I agree with all of you that Acer did nothing to solve this issue so far.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-29 12:46:30
Heidi, sorry to hear that you got the runaround from Best Buy regarding the swap. It'll be interesting to find out if they have a fix for it - unfortunately you'll have to wait to get it back to find out. Could you ask them to provide details as to what they do to fix it (that is, if they do anything)? In the meantime, maybe someone will be able to isolate the problem.

Heidi Says:
2008-01-29 13:22:17
Wayne, I will definitely find out what they do (or try to do) to fix it and relay it back here. I want to thank Neil Galloway, also, for allowing us to use his website for this Acer problem. Of the 3 forums I found discussing this issue, Neil - yours is by far the best.

Neil Galloway Says:
2008-01-29 13:32:53
No problem Heidi. I'm glad this page has worked out for you guys. Hopefully a resolution is found and/or Acer finally deals with the issue.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-29 14:41:02
Yes, thank you, Neil! This is the most detailed discussion about this problem that I've found. It's ironic that your original problem was not the same, but it sounds like you may have subsequently hit upon it.

Heidi's Bro Says:
2008-01-29 23:32:10
After reading all of your posts, I'm most positive it will be hardware or bios related. Several computers I've worked on in the past have blacked out and locked up. This was usually due to poor cpu cooling (cooling fan not functioning properly or dead), or bios could not properly handle the temps and cause the lock. Heidi may remember our father's computer having similar issues after the cooling fan died, but it made a heck of a lot of noise before the fan died. Good Luck!

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-30 00:13:02
Heidi's Bro, that about the cooling fan sounds plausible to me. The CPU always seems to be running really hot and when the problem does actually occur, I can hear the fan noticeably speed up and run pretty high until I turn it off.

Also, I've found another problem with mine. The wall charger seems to sizzle/whine in a high pitch sometimes when I plug it in, even after it's been unplugged for a long time. I'm always afraid (most likely an unwarranted fear) that it's on the verge of exploding... as I dive for cover...
But seriously, anybody else notice that? It's somewhat hard to hear when it happens, just noticed it today.

Heidi Says:
2008-01-30 09:10:20
Ash, my power cord would get REALLY HOT any time it was plugged in. And I too noticed the fan speed up when the screen would black out. And I do remember my dad's computer doing that after his fan died.

mega Says:
2008-01-30 14:03:40
Hey guys I stumbled upon this blog looking for reviews on the laptop. Is there a crt/lcd function key? I know on my older dell occasionally with vista it blanks out at boot and I hit the fn + crt/lcd keys and then the screen would come back on. Though that shouldn't need to be done when you are using the laptop so I really don't know. Has anyone tried going back to xp to see how it works there because it might possibly be something with Vista. Just my two cents.

Doug Says:
2008-01-30 15:30:20
I just bought this model at BB today, even though I have been following this thread and was unsure if I wanted the headaches. I mentioned this problem to the geeks there and they said that they had heard of issues if you didn\'t have all the Vista upgrades installed. I\'m having them do that, so we\'ll see what happens.

MrJiim Says:
2008-01-30 17:55:34
Thanks Dave41 for your post! I used the fix you reported and I have had no problems since. I have also used the alternative Wireless LAN driver fix found on another forum to fix the issues I was having with the Atheros driver and weak or no signal with constant disconnects when using the wireless connection.

I don't know if this will help others but I also reinstalled the OS with a clean copy of Vista Ultimate and didn't install any of the Acer productivity software. This seems to be really helping the laptop run smoother and faster. I have had it running continuously since applying the processor power fix some 24 hrs ago and have been doing everything from video editing to simple web surfing and gaming and have had no problems... of course now that I have said that I'm sure the laptop will spontaneously burst into flames!

Dave41 Says:
2008-01-30 21:59:42
Hi all, I read the latest posts and have some thoughts:

I also have no problems since I used the power setting fix I mentioned earlier. Since it was too easy, I am sure it cannot be and I have just been lucky so far. ;) However, if my machine does stay in the clear after another week or two, I will post to tell you. Anyone setting the processor power management settings , remember to go back in and check that they were applied(saved) upon exit.

Personally I am not thinking its a BIOS issue or fan issue, since a BIOS problem is usually not so random or easily bypassed (in this case a reboot fixes me for a day or so whenever I had the issue). I am disinclined to think its temperature either because my laptop is in a fairly cool room when at home, and is on a cooling podium. I have monitored temps with software and my CPU fluctuates very efficiently from 40-50C in a regular cycle (the fan trigger seems to be at 50C and off after cooling to 40C). The temp is never higher than 50C, which is a safe operating temp for this type of processor (AMD Turion).

I also see concern about the power supply making noises and getting hot, which mine does also. Most of that noise and heat is probably due to the method used to rectify AC power to DC power inside the adapter (the black box on the cord). Its annoying but probably not anything to worry about, I have seen other supplies do it, and my Acer supply does it too, especially when recharging or otherwise delivering a lot of current.

MRJiim, I agree uninstalling the Acer software frees up some memory and enhances performance, I did that too. My 5420 is really very flawless except for the one issue of the blackouts, which I hope really are done with for good.

WayneB Says:
2008-01-31 07:01:56
Thanks for the great anaysis, Dave. I was about to go buy a laptop cooler (which I'll probably do anyway) but it's good to know that won't necessarily fix the problem. I hope the power settings are a fix, but Heidi had previously said it didn't work for her. I found another blog which discusses this issue as well -
I had a fairly heated exchange yesterday with Acer support thru their support site
I tried to inform them of the ongoing discussion on these blogs, but they are totally uninterested and continually closed my issue with a canned response, telling me the issue has been addressed by them telling me to call their 800 number. I tried to plead to their common sense, that if they could provide a configuration or software solution to us, that it would help them avoid getting hundreds of these units back for repair. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears. Towards the end of the discussion string, they weren't even reponding to further questions, they'd just close my ticket as "Solved". Boy, did that piss me off! I've been in the tech business for over 20 years, and I could NEVER imagine blowing off customers like that! These are brand new computers. I'm determined to find some legal recourse against Acer and/or Best Buy - they can't get away with this behavior. They must be made to take responsibility for their products. Sorry for venting, but I hope you're all as angry at Acer as I. Thank you all for your participation in this discussion, and thank you Neil for hosting!

Rodrigo Says:
2008-01-31 10:13:09
Hi, I just buy my Acer Laptop yesterday and the black screen problems is happening every 10 minutes or so which is very frustrating. I'm leaving the US back to my country next saturday so I really don't know what to do. I will take it back yo Best Buy but I'm not sure to get another Acer because the problem may continue when I'm not in the US making it even harder to get support. I will try the power configuration option and let you know if I don't see the problem any more, but what do you think, I should take the notebook to my home or return it back? Have you seen the compaq notebook similar to the Acer? Should I try to change it for that one?

Keith Roberts Says:
2008-01-31 10:43:08
I bought my Extensa 5420 on Sunday, and have not seen this problem yet. My father just asked me to get one for him as well; Doh! I'm curious, what is the manufacturing date? I believe I remember mine being 12/17/07 .. it is a sweet machine other than this defect!

WayneB Says:
2008-01-31 11:24:23
If I had the option, I'd return this machine and buy something else. I do like it, except for this problem, but there's no telling what this will turn into. Will it get worse over time, who knows? With all these people reporting this issue and the lousy support from Acer, I'd why chance it? I suggest getting out while you can!

blinkMD Says:
2008-01-31 12:55:11
hey guys, i just bought the laptop a few days ago and it blanked out on me 3 times... tried to return it but best buy was going to charge me a 15% restocking fee because they couldnt replicate the problem (totally bogus). i was pretty upset so i decided to keep the laptop (which i do like) and try to figure it out. if i couldnt, id bite the bullet and pay the restocking fee.

long story short, what i did was update the bios. my manufacturing date was something like 11/30/07 and my bios version was 1.14. i updated it to 1.15 ( and havent had any problems since. had it on for 48 hours straight running random programs/benchmarks and it seems to run great. the bios update was easy because acer used a simple program where it was pretty much point and click.

im hoping this is the end of it. if not, ill try dave's method. im also in houson and bought my acer at the galleria best buy on richmond.

AshWilliams Says:
2008-01-31 13:15:48
Mine has not done it in over a week. Thing is, I didn't really change anything as far as I can remember. I'm of the same mind as Wayne, though, in wondering if it would be a gamble to keep it over time. I do have a friend that had an Acer that started acting in the same fashion a year ago, and eventually did get worse. However, if mine hasn't done it in a week, I should be OK, right?

Dave41 Says:
2008-01-31 14:34:11
I didn't know about the latest Bios revision to 1.15 blinkMD, thanks. Its always good to have the latest BIOS- probably more important than the latest drivers for any other hardware. The Acer America site is awful, the Euro one has much better organization of driver/bios/utility files.

I must now reconsider my earlier statement that it this problem could not be BIOS at all- if the BIOS released was not mature and thoroughly tested for bugs before release, it is possible it had a problem. I am surprised they have revised it several times in 6 months, that seems fairly frequent for BIOS revision.

Anyway, I still have not had issues since early this week after setting the power management settings on the processor to 100%, been using it hours each day.

I cannot blame anyone who wants another machine, and if you can do so without costing yourself, why not? I probably would too. The Acer email support really is pretty boring and useless. AshWilliams, I am not sure if you are OK just because it hasn't happened in a week, but I hope so. I would say two weeks would be a safer time to watch the problem.

Keith Roberts Says:
2008-01-31 16:50:58
Here are the numbers from my Acer 5420-5687 I bought in Nashua NH this past Sunday. Mfg Date: KS 072118, System Bd/Bios: 2C/v1.16, s/n 75102443020 ... Interesting this is yet a later BIOS version than blinkMD found online!

blinkMD Says:
2008-01-31 18:12:38
1.15 was the latest i could find as far as the bios verson... if you know where we can get 1.16, please post the link. thanks!

blinkMD Says:
2008-02-01 00:07:10
im sorry to say that the bios trick did not work as it blanked out on me again today after being on for 3 days. I tried Dave's method and will see how that goes. Dave, are you still blank-free after changing the settings?

ArCane Says:
2008-02-01 01:52:20
Did anyone try running xp on this hardware?

WayneB Says:
2008-02-01 07:26:53
Here's a summary of our findings so far. I thought this might be useful as this saga progresses, especially if we attempt to involve a consumer advocate. Please let me know if I've left anything out (don't know how this will format here, so you may want to cut/paste to Word, etc.):
Problem: Screen blanks out and system appears locked up (no response from keyboard/mouse on Acer Extensa 5420 laptops
(1) This problem happens seemingly at random. Some people see it several times a day, others only occasionally
(2) Only way we know to recover is to power cycle (hard boot)
(3) Some people have exchanged theirs for a new unit, only to discover the new unit has the same problem
(4) Users have attempted to upgrade the video drivers for the Radeon Xpress 1250 video card - still experienced the problem
(5) There are no events in the Event List and no crash dump produced, even though the registry is set to force crash dumps for ANY crash event
(6) A user tried running from the power supply with the battery removed - still experienced the problem
(7) A Best Buy tech suggested tweaking the Vista power management settings, min and max processor state=100%. This doesn't fix the problem either.
(8) Temperature/fan issues have been ruled out. Dave41 gives a good explanation above, and experienced the blackout even while using a laptop cooler.
(9) Problem reported with BIOS firmware versions 1.14 thru 1.16.
(10) Reporting the problem to Acer via their web-based problem reporting system only results in a generic message telling you to return the unit for service. I've attempted to carry on a conversation about the problem via that channel, but I get no response other than a suggestion to call the 800 number.
(11) Best Buy will not acknowledge that many users are experiencing this problem, and will simply accept the unit for warranty repair. They have a 14 day return policy for notebooks, and will charge a 15% restocking fee if you wish to return the unit.

Keith Roberts Says:
2008-02-01 08:11:53
Excellent Summary WayneB! I'd like to add that in the 6 days I've had my system with BIOS 1.16 (which does not appear to be on the Acer website for download) I have not experienced the crash. I picked up another unit (same system board & bios versions 2C/1.16) for my Dad last night. The BestBuy (Nashua NH) salesman said he hasn't heard of ANY issue with this unit .. so the understanding with this second unit is I'll wait out most of the 14 day return before opening up the box to see how this forum plays out. Could the others having the crash please post: 1) Manufacturing date code, 2) bios version and 3) system board version (that was on the box, not sure where else it might be). That might with Acer customer support. Thanks /keith

Anonymous Says:
2008-02-01 08:47:26
I've got - System Bd/Bios: 2C/v1.14; Mfg Date: KS 071116. Do you know how to decipher the mfg date? I bought mine in Salem, NH on 12/30/08

WayneB Says:
2008-02-01 08:47:57
Sorry, that last post was me!

Heidi Says:
2008-02-01 10:44:40
1. Mfg date: 11/15/2007 (WayneB, I think your date is 11/16/07), 2. 2C/V1.14, 3. Can't find system board version.

WayneB Says:
2008-02-01 13:22:17
I just discovered that the v1.16 BIOS firmware is now on the Acer ftp site...

WayneB Says:
2008-02-01 13:48:52
Please note that I made an error in my previous summary. The problem has been reported here with BIOS versions 1.14 and 1.15, not 1.16. Also, please note that we have not yet determined that this is in fact a BIOS-related problem - we're still experimenting. Dave41 or blinkMD, I've opened the .zip file. What do I need to run to install?

Leo Silva Says:
2008-02-01 18:33:12
It may be a BIOS related problem. As I mentioned before, I was able to replace my laptop at BestBuy and have not had any problems in one week of daily and intensive use. The manufacturing date is close to the ones mentioned here - 12/19/07 but the BIOS version is V1.16 (BIOS release date: 11/14/2007)

NWMille Says:
2008-02-01 18:52:40
Hey everybody. First off, thanks for the great discussion. I\'m really glad to have found this. I just wanted to add my own data to the collection. I bought an Acer Extensa 5420 in Columbia, SC on the 1st of January. I had the blackout problem about once a day. I exchanged it at BB in New Haven, CT, on Monday and have had 3 blackouts since. My new 5420: Mfg date: KS 071203, System BD/Bios: 2C/V1.14. I haven\'t tried any of the suggestions here but am going to try the power management settings and updating the BIOS. Again, thanks.

Dave41 Says:
2008-02-02 00:28:39
Hi all,

I will make my last report on this issue because somehow my laptop was stolen (along with three others) out of a lab at my university today, what a heck of week- the thief even stole my cheese sandwich, no joke. I may or may not get the same model again when I replace it depending on what insurance says and other factors. However, as my final update to this discussion: I ran it five days with no blackouts with many hours of daily use. All I did was change power management settings and update the BIOS yesterday. If I get another 5420 I will rejoin the discussion.


CADude Says:
2008-02-02 00:39:15
Hi, I bought today from BB, Torrance, CA. Mfg date: KS 071207, System BD/Bios: 2C/V1.14. Why BB are selling old inventory(product with questionable bios)? Can some one please give step-by-step instruction to update the bios v1.16. i can see many layer of zip files. i think we have to extract the content and click on POM.bat. am i correct?

raleighlaura Says:
2008-02-02 20:46:13
Dave, sorry about your computer being stolen. That's terrible! I took a chance today and bought the 5420 in spite of knowing about this problems. I did the warranty, so I hope there is a fix. It has blue screened on me once already, and it's just a few hours old. I did the minimum processor rate setting, and now I've gone to the ftp site for BIOS version 1.16, and I'm afraid we've reached the end of my technical rope. Can someone tell me how to actually replace the bios? I have the file ready to unzip, but then I have no idea what happens next. Sorry to be such a tech-baby. Thanks!

AshWilliams Says:
2008-02-03 00:01:45
Hey guys, tried running that BIOS file but didn't work so now I have to make a boot disk (or CD) which is sorta inconvenient (no CDs or floppy drive) but oh well.

I found this site to be helpful on updating BIOS:

Dave, that sucks! Good luck.

blinkMD Says:
2008-02-03 01:25:03
open the ATI folder and execute POM116. make sure your power adapter is plugged in

Stylin Says:
2008-02-03 10:44:44
I purchased an Aspire 5102WLMI about 1.5 years ago. I am running XP and have experienced the blackout screen many times. I have not been able to find a solution for this. Today it got worse...I turned it on and it booted fine and once I typed in my password and hit enter it froze. I had to do a re-boot and when I turned it back on it made 3 beeps and then started running but my screen will not come up at all. The power button is on and the processor light flashes sometime like it is thinking but I can\'t see anything on the screen at all. Does this sound like it needs to go for repair or should I try booting from a disk?

AshWilliams Says:
2008-02-03 15:39:08
Stylin, that's crazy! It's the same exact problem that my friend had with his year old Acer (and why I'm scared of keeping this one).

Personally, I'd take it in pretty soon.

Dave41 Says:
2008-02-03 17:35:58
Hi all,

My insurance is replacing the stolen 5420, so I will rejoin the topic. As BlinkMD has wisely pointed out, when updating BIOS make sure you are connected to a reliable power source and touch nothing while it is flashing the BIOS update to the chip. You can render your BIOS chip and computer inoperable if the update is interrupted, which requires sending in for service in most cases.

I just got my new 5420 and have already updated the BIOS to 1.16 and set the power settings for the CPU to 100%. No blackouts on this one yet.


I have built several computers and seen a lot of problems, but I am not totally sure if you are having the same problem as we are or not, due to the details you provided. Can you further describe your problem as it developed over the year and a half? Beeping means the computer has a POST (power on self test) problem typically indicating a hardware failure of some type. If you cannot see anything on the screen you will not be able to see the POST error code if one is given. The light you see is for the hard drive activity, there is no indicator lights for CPUs. If the machine beeps like that every time you boot it now, you will probably have to send it in to replace whatever hardware element is causing the boot failure.

blinkMD Says:
2008-02-04 01:38:04
3 days without a black screen after the 1.16 bios upgrade.... anyone else care to update us on your status after you upgraded to 1.16?

Bill Says:
2008-02-04 13:55:07
I got my ACER Extensa 5420-5687 as a free gift from a vendor, and in using CPU-Z 1.4x (an excellent free tool which every PC user should have as a icon on their desktop), I verified that the BIOS is indeed 1.16 on this (Phoenix). Only thing I don't like about this laptop is the audio (RealTek HD audio) is really tinny and the bass drops out on my mp3/m4a's.

Other than that, the laptop seems quite solid, but you really can't complain when you get it for free :)

Andregospel Says:
2008-02-04 16:05:02
Hello everybody. I`m from Brazil and my sister has just arrived from Fairfield CA, and I would like to tell you I asked her to buy a Extensa 5420-5687 asking God that mine ACER comes without problems. Unhapply I did not happen. After recognize the problem I came to this site and was looking for a solution and waiting for good news untill discover what happened to mine ACER. It came with bios 1.14 and I changed to 1.16, the processor configutation, installed XP, Ubuntu, Vista. No success. So I had to do what I would not like. Taking out the comb memory called dimm2 made me discover that it was bad. Would you like to try and update us if the same problem is solved??? Thanks for all.

Gumby Says:
2008-02-05 01:44:54
I loaded TinyXP, what a bear getting all the drivers! still having some trouble with usb/flash drives. And I am getting the blank screen every few days, even with XP. BTW, alt-f10 isn't restoring vista from the recovery partition, can anyone send me a recovery disk iso?

Jun Penalosa Says:
2008-02-05 12:04:08
Hello everyone!

Thanks to this blog, It really helps me a lot to know more about my laptop. I purchase Acer extesa 5420 last week, and I find same problem on black screen, I just press the power button again and it ssays it is resuming the windows, maybe it just hibernating... When I setup for a wireless connection in my appartment, it cant connect when you are near the router, thats true you should be 3 ft more distance. aside from these, i really enjoy with my new laptop... I like the security settings in it like the PSD. Can you tell me how to upgrade my Bios to 1.16?

Thanks in advance!
HOpe to hear from you guys soon..

blinkMD Says:
2008-02-05 23:46:21
updated to 1.16. ran vista for like 2 days, no blackouts. changed to xp and it's been 3 days without a blackout.

Andregospel Says:
2008-02-06 04:40:13
Since I took the bad memory out no blackouts, running in a triple boot. xp/vista/ubuntu, did anybody do the same? Any success???

AshWilliams Says:
2008-02-06 18:49:58
It's been like 2 weeks for me. But the weird thing was, I didn't do anything at all that was discussed. Could it have been fixed with one of those automatic Windows updates?

ZZN Says:
2008-02-06 23:15:51
HI all !

I got the same "blackout" problem. pls explain what to do with the bios, or whatsoever' I have to change.
Thanks for everyone! Im not an expert :-\

KeeUp Says:
2008-02-07 12:51:30
I'm having the same problem. I took my computer in to Best Buy to return to Acer. Acer sent it back to the Geek Squad and said that it passed all diagnostics. They suggested I restore the Operating System. I don't think that would work because it simply restores the computer to how it was when I bought it. As we all know, the laptop was doing this from the very beginning. People who updated to BIOS 1.16, has it blacked out on you again?

jags Says:
2008-02-07 17:27:41
I\'ve been following these blog notes and have experienced the same blank outs on my Extensa. Interestingly, the browsing history just before a blank out clears, too. I\'ve had an IT guy at work install bios 1.16 yest and no problem yet.
I\'m amazed at Acer, though. The online tech support people said to reset to the original factory settings, as if that hasn\'t been tried. When I referenced this blog, they said thet had never heard about this problem, so told me to call the 800 tech support number and discuss it with them. I reminded them that they were tech support and suggested that THEY call the 800 number. I was then told to sent my Extensa back to them for inspection. Ya, right!
I\'ve copied their lack of acknowledgment to Best Buy and my state\'s (Michigan) Attorney General. How many others are victims of this problem and how many wasted hours and miles are we supposed to invest to fix their problem. Hopefully a recall or technical repair bulletin will be sent to all owners.

Stephanie Says:
2008-02-07 18:59:52
I purchased my 5420 about a week ago. I have had the blank screen happen at least once a day. I tried the link for the 1.16 bios update but it told me that the file or directory did not exist.

Is there another link to that update please?

Raymond Says:
2008-02-08 06:34:07
Try this link

Heidi Says:
2008-02-08 10:20:52
Hi everybody. I just got a call that my Acer 5420 is ready for pickup from Best Buy. It was sent in 10 days ago with the screen blackout issue. I called the Geek Squad and asked them to tell me what their tech center said was the problem. They said, oh it looks like it is an operating system problem. I told them to please see if the bios had been updated to 1.16 and if not, to please update them for me and call me when it was completed. I'll post again in a day or two and let y'all know if the bios update works, since it seems it has worked for those of you who have done the update.

Heidi Says:
2008-02-09 10:28:24
Well, I went in this morning to BB and the Geek Squad had not installed the updated bios. Even though I've got a 3 year service agreement with them, they cannot take responsibility for the possibility of the bios "corrupting" the motherboard. I was also told that if I did the update and it went "wrong", my warranty would be voided. So, now I have to call Acer directly and find out if the update is a manditory or voluntary update (for the 1.16 version). If it is voluntary, BB told me to request a return authorization number and have it faxed to BB. If it is manditory, BB will send it to their tech center to be installed...another 10 days of being without my laptop. I'm going to wait and see if it blacks out, first. They didn't do ANYTHING to it, so inevitably it will, I'm sure. Then I'll make my phone calls. I spoke directly with the service manager of the Geek Squad and he knows how upset I am with this whole fiasco.

Dave41 Says:
2008-02-09 16:55:56
Hi all,

On my replacement 5420 (see above about theft) I have had no blackouts. I updated it to BIOS 1.16 and turned off power management for the processor the first day I had it, last Saturday. A week in the clear. Personally I think one of those previously mentioned (BIOS or power setting) is the fix. There is also a slight chance that it is hardware problems on a select bad units, but I doubt it. This new one was manufactured about the same time as my old one.

To anyone with Geek Squad service, my condolences. Allow me to rant a moment: I find them to be one of the largest rip offs around, and they know much less about computers than they should (have not met one yet who knew more than I do). They charge 30 bucks just to install one item of software(two mouse clicks)?! 160 bucks to run a full system restore (we are talking about three mouse clicks or a few keys punched here)!? I know Acer tech support is equally unqualified and unresponsive, but at least its free under warranty, and both will hold your computer for many days. The Geek Squad where I got my replacement 5420 were imbeciles and made me wait three hours to remove all the preconfiguration crap they had done to the last available unit in stock. I refused to pay them for their lame spyware software and "personal customization" which amounts to 130 bucks paid for something a monkey can do in just over five minutes. Besides that, you have to pay a subscription to those horrid programs (Trend Micro and Spysweeper) while spybotSD and AVG are completely free and MUCH better at protecting your computer. The Geek Squad mainly preys on those without computer knowledge, and upon on convincing you that you cannot learn this stuff yourself.

I sincerely recommend as an alternative finding a small repair shop and checking their prices, or better, learning how to do some of the basic stuff yourself, its really quite easy. While there is some risk if something goes wrong, updating BIOS is a matter of 4 mouse clicks and takes about 2 minutes of your time. For the Geek Squad to refuse to do so is pretty lame. The Geek Squad has so many policies about what they will and will not do because their primary purpose is raking in cash whilst minimizing the resources they spend on customers behalf, not being knowledgeable and helpful. This is of course, all a matter of opinion.

If anyone wants to try to update BIOS themselves, I will post detailed instructions. The risk of course, will still be your responsibility, but the odds of something going wrong are low.

Andregospel Says:
2008-02-09 17:06:48
Hi all, I`ve just tested my bad memory into a HP Notebook and checked it is really bad, it didn`t work with the HP laptop. I`m working only with 1GB since I discovered the problem. Did anyboby try to change the memories? Any success? Let us be updated. Thanks.

Dave41 Says:
2008-02-09 17:25:25
Here are BIOS update instructions (ONLY FOR THOSE WITH THE ACER EXTENSA 5420-5687): I am going to make a general disclaimer first. You proceed with this BIOS update totally at your own risk. Although this BIOS update is pretty easy, there is a risk that if the update is interrupted or fails, or you do something wrong like use the wrong file, you will render your computer unable to function. I am not trying to scare you off, only making sure you know that neither I nor the owner/host of this webpage can be held responsible in any way in the unlikely event something bad happens to your computer by updating the BIOS. You have been warned that all responsibility is yours, so if you want still want to proceed: The first thing you need to do, before anything else, is plug in your Acer 5420 computer to wall power and make sure NOTHING will interrupt that power connection during the update, and that the laptop will not be disturbed in any way during the update. Second, download the latest BIOS version 1.16 here:

Next, Unzip the downloaded folder. There is a folder inside this unzipped folder called "HIB116WW1". Unzip that as well. Now after the second folder is unzipped you should see a folder called "ATI". Inside this ATI folder, click the file labeled "POM116", it is the one with the black, red and grey icon showing digits going onto a chip. The program will open and ask if you want to proceed, read and understand any warnings before clicking ok. Once the update starts, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING for any reason!!!!! The update program will tell you when it is done and should automatically reboot. At this point you are done with the BIOS update. I hope this helps, but if you think you are unsure still, best not to try it yourself.

Jordan Says:
2008-02-09 20:14:39

Thanks for the walk through. However, I am having trouble flashing the bios following your instruction. When I clicked the "POM116" file here is the result:

A "Open flash.sys Fail" error message pop up.

I also tried to manually install the bios by using WinPhlash and here was the result:

Basically a flash update failed message pop up.

I'm wondering am I the only one having this problem since you appears to be able to update the BIOS without any issue.

Thanks for any insight.

Jordan Says:
2008-02-10 00:42:31
I fixed the problem. Apparently, one has to be logged in as administrator before the BIOS could be flash.

I found a nice instruction on how to enable the administrator account here:

I hope the upgraded BIOS would fix all of the problems.

vinceremo Says:
2008-02-12 00:08:33
Three words... class action lawsuit. Acer knows about this and so does Best Buy. It suxx that i got introduced to the PC world with this comp. I'm a Mac guy and I couldn't resist the price of this PC (Piece of Crap). Sure enough it blacks out and Vista blows. Anyway we need to find a lawyer to represent us. I need to get my $549 back and some emotional compensation so I can get Mac Air.

vinceremo Says:
2008-02-12 00:20:13
Oh and one other thing too... Geek Squad guys are like the rejects of real geeks. Kinda like those football players from that Vince McMahan football show failure (I forget the name of the show) anyway... they dont know squat. They're like trying to romanticize geekdom but they're like ugly people who are stupid. As oppose to ugly smart people which is like Brad Pitt sexy.

CADude Says:
2008-02-13 16:11:44
It's approx 10 days since 1.16 BIOS update. No black-out so far (touch wood).

One question, Any one tried to upgrade RAM to 4GB on this Acer 5420-5687. Which one to buy? I can see many in market (200 pin or 240 pin, PC-5300 or PC 6400, etc). Any help will be appriciated.

Phil Says:
2008-02-15 13:33:35
I was also getting the black screens. I installed BIOS 1.6 and maximized the processor output and it seems to have worked. It's been 4 days and I haven't gotten a black screen yet. Even still, Acer really should address the problem and stop acting like they don't know what the hell everyone is talking about.

tom Says:
2008-02-15 23:20:25
ive had the laptop for 1month and a half and only had 2 black screens, i did not install new bios or do the processor output thing

ratchet Says:
2008-02-16 19:10:46
CADude, you may want to read this:

ratchet Says:
2008-02-16 20:12:15
Dave41, when I attempt to run the update I get an "System Power Error" error. I'm running without the battery, could that be the problem? Thank You!

ratchet Says:
2008-02-18 16:10:27
Since I never experienced the "black screen" (even with 1.4) I had to decide between "If it ain't broke don't fix it", which was probably the more prudent choice since the fixes aren't definite. Or, "Don't tempt fate". I chose the latter and all went well today with both the flash and ATI driver. Thank You for all your help!

raleighlaura Says:
2008-02-19 21:04:31
Hi all-
I wanted to report that even with Bios 1.14 (I haven't attempted to load 1.16, the disclaimer scared me appropriately), I haven't had the blue screen issue since I changed the power management settings. I've been using it mainly at home and in the evening, so it's not running all day and I generally don't have multiple applications going at once. So far, I'm hoping it is a power management issue and that all will continue to go well. Thank you for posting all of this info- it's been very helpful!

raleighlaura Says:
2008-02-19 21:04:31
Hi all-
I wanted to report that even with Bios 1.14 (I haven't attempted to load 1.16, the disclaimer scared me appropriately), I haven't had the blue screen issue since I changed the power management settings. I've been using it mainly at home and in the evening, so it's not running all day and I generally don't have multiple applications going at once. So far, I'm hoping it is a power management issue and that all will continue to go well. Thank you for posting all of this info- it's been very helpful!

Rusty14 Says:
2008-02-21 11:25:22
Hi Folks -- Was having the same blackout problem, but only once every few days. Still, annoying enough to try the Bios 1.16 fix described by Dave41. Got the same \"Open flash.sys Fail� error described by Jordan, so tried enabling Administrator by using the instructions on the webpage provided by Jordan. Couldn�t figure it out by these instructions � apparently not clear enough for this tech rookie. So found better instructions on the following webpage: Was able to enable (and then disable) Administrator by using these instructions, and then complete the Bios 1.16 install. Don�t know yet if it solved the problem for me, but hopefully this will help other folks at least try the fix on their own. By the way, I mentioned the screen blackout problem to two Geek Squad guys in Pleasant Hill, CA a few days ago. They said they had not heard of the problem, and from their body language and responses I actually believe them. So I think this issue is still fitering through the community, but clearly neither Acer nor Best Buy has done anything proactive to alert their teams or prepare a response/fix. Disappointing -- I\'m normally a big fan of Best Buy.

Bhasker Says:
2008-02-21 15:23:14
First things first. Dave41 and Jordan have given some invaluable contributions. Thank you both.
I did all the steps in the order they were unearthed:
1)Updated the Display Drivers from the ATI web site that installed the Northbridge ones as well. This did bring down the blank screen incidence.
2) Changed the power settings and also the processor settings. This reduced the incidence further.
3) And finally updated the BIOS to 1.16 and it looks like it's answered the issue very well.

Most of the times I used to get this when watching videos on cnn or youtube. But in the last week that I had updated it to 1.16, there's not been even 1 blank screen.

I have been watching the Bestbuy reviews for this product and there's a steady buying of this machine. Sometimes I get a feeling that people are buying this machine as though it won't be there tomorrow. Another thing I noticed in the 100 odd reivews was that the reports of the blank screen became minimal from the 30th review or so. But today I saw a couple of reports. I was thinking that bios verion 1.14 may have been on the laptops releasd earliest and with 1.16, the machine and the OS were pretty stable. But seeing the reports, I am pushed to think that it could be due to a power setting or the processor setting also.

yd Says:
2008-02-22 07:27:19
I have the same problem. It happens even I changed the power settings using Control Panel -- power options -- acer epower management. Did I do it correctly, or is there any other power setting I should change?
I do hope power setting may fix it, before I have to try the bios update.
I emailed twice to Acer, no answer yet.

Andibot Says:
2008-02-23 18:15:04
I am having the same problem everyone else is having. So I don't think it's necessary to repeat it. It happened the 3rd day that I had my laptop and does every few days, Sometimes even once or twice a day.
However, I have tried everything that was mentioned in this discussion except updating the BIOS--- I'm about to try that. I have not contacted Best Buy because I know what will happen... they will just want to exchange my laptop for another one. I worked for Best Buy as a Customer Service Rep for awhile so I know how they are. That, and, since I no longer live close at all to a Best Buy I don't want to waste my time driving an hour for nothing. I do have a 2 year service plan, so if I cannot find the answer to the problem myself I'll probably just bring it in. Although it doesn't seem to be getting anyone anywhere, I'm going to contact Acer after I post this about the problem.
This is really horrible and annoying to deal with, as I'm sure you all can agree.
Thanks for all of the input you guys!

AshWilliams Says:
2008-02-28 05:43:26
OK. Hello again peoplez. I wish I wouldn't have had to come back but ah well. My laptop hadn't done this for about a month, I figured I was good to go.

It just happened again. Has anyone actually figured out what it is? I'm pretty sure I'll just have to get Acer to fix it.

Gavin Says:
2008-02-28 11:52:12
2nd time now for the black screen to appear for me. I'm far from Tech savvy enough to fix the thing myself. Just really frustrated. It won't even start in safe mode for me.

JessHall Says:
2008-02-28 22:38:59
Hello, Just thought I'd add to the list. I bought mine about a month ago and within a few hours of having it home I had my first black-out. It only happens every couple days and this is the first I have tried to search the problem. Thanks to all, It has been very informative.

I have changed my power management settings and I am going to give it a few days to see if that helps (really not looking forward to trying to update the BIOS.)

Also, it is running the 2C/V1.14 BIOS and has a manufacture date of 12/04/07.


WayneB Says:
2008-02-29 09:01:12
I haven't posted here for the past month, but I just wanted to report that I updated my BIOS to v1.16 at that time. I haven't seen the black screen problem since, however I typically only use this laptop on the weekends. Still, so far, so good! Ash, it looks like you never got your BIOS upgraded? I followed Dave41's instructions above, dated 02-09, and they worked like a charm.

Rusty14 Says:
2008-02-29 14:57:33
Quick update from me: It's been over a week since I did the BIOS 1.16 upgrade. No blackouts since then, and I have not personally experienced any adverse consequences as a result of the upgrade.

Lisa Says:
2008-02-29 15:20:20
I've had this laptop since the first week in Feb.08. From about the 4th day of purchase until last week I too had the black screen trouble. Happened maybe once a day, if that. I had the husband update the bios and I adjusted the processer things suggested. It has been 8 days now and I haven't had a single black screen :-)

Anthony445 Says:
2008-03-02 21:22:54

turn off windows aero and you won't get blackouts. it has something to do with the graphics driver
(hope this helps someone)

otherwise try updating the bios ( i haven't done this yet)

acer extensa 5620g
intel t7300
ati radeon x2500
200gb hdd
2gb ram

KRS710 Says:
2008-03-03 04:53:57
Anthony - can you tell us how to turn off the AERO - I am not a techy and neither is my husband - I am not sure how to do that or update my bios. Thanks in advance for your help.

Rusty14 Says:
2008-03-03 18:16:35
Another annoying issue with the Acer laptop: automatically disconnects from my wireless network after a few minutes. Have to re-launch Explorer 2 times to get it to re-connect. The Geek Squad guy said it was just an odd annoying factory setting by Acer -- something about the default being to connect to other networks it detects. He attempted to describe to me how to fix, but he did not describe accurately. Does anyone know how to fix? Thanks in advance.

tom Says:
2008-03-03 20:21:31
again ive had the extensa 5420 for 2 months now and have experienced only 2 black screens in the first week and have experienced none afterwards, i googled how to turn off aero and found this site to be helpful for krs710
as for rusty, i dont use acer\'s program enet i think to connect to my wireless network so i dont reallly know what to do about ur problem but i think somewhere u can change the setting so that windows will automatically connect to ur wireless network and not disconnect when there are other networks

oh ya and i havent updated my bios or changed the power settings

Anthony445 Says:
2008-03-03 22:27:56
update your bios for your acer extensa 5620 at

download the bios version v1.31

when you have saved the file unzip it

then open the folder called winflash32

and doubble click the flie called "CLB-131.EXE"

it will ask if you want to flash your bios

(important!: make sure your batteries are fully charged and you are connected to a power outlet before you start)

click yes when it says it will replace your current bios

(you may notice your fans speed up during the update its probably normal)

when its ready your computer will automatically restart

and your done!

hope this solves your problem

KRS710 Says:
2008-03-04 01:27:43
Thank you so much! I will be trying this first thing in the morning! I will keep you posted on how it goes! You are all super! Thank you!

Anthony445 Says:
2008-03-04 03:43:09
my laptop hasn't frozen or blacked-out ever since i updated my bios to v1.31 so good luck

JCWilson Says:
2008-03-04 14:00:13
I am considering purchasing this unit if it goes on sale at Best Buy. I was just at the Saratoga NY BB store and noticed that the 5420's they have in stock have the 1.16 Bios on them.

zach smith Says:
2008-03-06 14:53:43
yeah i updated to 1.16 and didnt have blackouts for a couple days untill just yesterday i had one. Ive been following this thing for a while and i just have to say that ive almost given up solving this problem. im a+ certified and this is just baffling. It happens so infrequently that i dont really care anymore its just thaat fact that it can happen anytime that scares. And another thing ive noticed it only happens when im using a lot of cpu like over 60%. Mostly when im playing half life 2 in fact since the bios update thats been the only time

Andregospel Says:
2008-03-07 07:57:22
Hi all, I would like to remember you that even updating the bios from 14 to 16 I had the same problems and discovered the 1 of the memories was bad. Reading the posts since I resolved the problem, I think the problem comes from a imcompability between the 14 bios and the hardware, and if the person doesn`t update as soon as possible to the 1.16 Bios probably will loss one or maybe two memory as I had(in my case only one memory). So, even updating the Bios to 1.16 and still having the problem try to test 1 memory per time to see if both are still good, because I`ve tested mine supposed bad memory in another notebook and I`m sure it`s bad, so when I come back to USA I`ll take it to Best Buy to change it. Thanks for all.

ratchet Says:
2008-03-07 18:24:53
Should this notebook show only 1790kbs of RAM? If so, is it because of the shared graphics? Thank You!

Rich Call Says:
2008-03-09 10:03:36
I bought my Acer 5420 at the end of December 2007. Like everyone else I started getting the black screen at various times. I have the 1.14 bios on mine. I have 2 things and since I\'ve done these I\'ve not had a black screen. I did the Power management scenario that DAVE 41 suggested and I also took it into Best Buy ( they now do warranty work and I didn\'t have to send it out). He removed a lot of the ACER management software that I wasn\'t using anyway. He said that it really slows the machine down and could be what is causing the black screen problem. That was 2 weeks plus ago and to date I\'ve not had another problem.


Heidi Says:
2008-03-13 15:39:54
After going back and forth with myself as to whether or not to update the bios, I updated to 1.16 2 weeks ago and have not experienced any blackouts since. I am now pleased with my Acer Extensa 5420. Thanks to Dave41 for the excellent instructions on how to do the update. I was scared the whole 2 minutes it took to update, but it worked flawlessly.

Thirdcal Says:
2008-03-16 09:25:39
Hey everyone, I bought my Acer 5420-5687 in early January at a IL Bestbuy. Basically I have never had the issue of the blackscreen. What I did was bring my computer home, clone the Vista image(in case of return) and then put on XP Pro. Found drivers for XP after acer support basically told me none existed(lies). Thankfully the Europe site has them. This is running stock hardware, no bios updates or anything fancy. I am a heavy user, at work I use it to VMware a server 2003 rc2 standard and 2 test XP pro images at the same time. So it's on for 8 hours straight at work atleast 3 times a week and I use it for home use as well.

This is a great laptop and I doubt it's a hardware issue, I think it is tied to a setting in vista or a driver made only for vista. I plan to buy another because it is on sale again because of all the problems and I hope to get to the issue so I can assist you all in locating the exact problem & solution. A shame I dont get paid for this. I saw someone mention tinyXP having issues, that is to be expected.

IronMike139 Says:
2008-03-17 16:07:47
Hi everyone. Thirdcal, I just purchased an Acer 5420-5687 from Best Buy and plan to retrograde it to Windows XP Home Edition or Media Center. I was worried about obtaining the appropriate XP drivers, but it sounds as if you got them from Acer's European site. I'm on their FTP site now and downloading all the drivers. I'll have to check Device Drivers in my new Acer to see what hardware is actually installed on the laptop because there are drivers for some alternative hardware choices on the FTP site. Were these all the drivers you needed for your XP retrograde, or did you have to find some drivers elsewhere? I'd appreciate any further insight/comments on your part. Thanks.

Makoro Says:
2008-03-18 11:38:32
Hello everyone...I purchased a Acer Extensa 5420-5687 and I have one problem with it...The wireless internet disconnects constintly. Ill try to explain this the best I can...Ok I see on the taskbar an access point icon and the 2 computers with the earth on them...The one with the 2 computers can say connected and will remain connected but the access point one will say Disconnected and wont let me on the internet...and when I get online...5 minutes it disconnects or like it disconnects when I hit search on a search engine or something stupid like that, it seems the access point has to say connected to be aloud on the internet and the one with 2 computers seems to just not matter what it says...Someone please help me :(

tom Says:
2008-03-18 16:39:09
makoro, i dont understand, do u mean there are 2 icons, with one saying connected and the other disconnected? is this problem only on the acer and not on other computers?

Thirdcal Says:
2008-03-18 20:23:26
IronMike139, No worries those drivers are all you will need. You will find there are 2 types of drivers for some hardware, like the cam for example. This is normal as many brands sometimes use different parts in their computers to decrease costs. You just have to have to see what Vista was installed with, if not then trial and error works. As a side note, keep that FTP link bookmarked. They seem to do well to keep it updated.

Vasco Says:
2008-03-20 02:47:17

Just bought my first laptop, the model of discussed in this thread. Could someone confirm, is it a good idea to make the power setting modifications as well as the BIOS update as a precautionary measure? Only had laptop for 8 hours, thankfully no sudden black screen yet.

tom Says:
2008-03-20 11:16:03
well i did not do the power seettings change or bios update and my laptop hasnt had a signle back screen since the week i bought it. ive had the laptop close to 3 months now.

also considerin that u just bought ur laptop, the bios could alrdy be v1.16 so check first. theres really no harm to doin the power setting change though, cept possibly lower battery life

JOe Says:
2008-03-20 13:31:50
To be completely honest, I think it's the computer overheating. I think it just happens very easily.
I'm using a program called speed fan which is supposed to control my computers fan speeds, but acer does it in such a way where speed fan can read the fans.
But, it still gives me the temperatures of everything.
My hard drive usually sits around 118-122 which is normal. Although randomly it will jump up to about 131(where it happens to be now, actually) and if I don't cool it down fast, it will go black.

Sometimes I notice that it will shut off at 118 degrees, which is ridiculous, but if I start my computer up fast enough, and take a look at least one of the other components is around 125 degrees. THere's HD0, which is my HDD, and temp1 temp2, which I'm guessing the two AMD processors, and then the core temperature.
So my guess is that if any of these heats up to far, it causes the computer to shut down.
So the only solution I can think of is to get another fan installed...or sit the computer on some ice until it cools down!

JOe Says:
2008-03-20 14:00:36
My mistake, that should have said speed fan CAN\'T read the fans..

Vu Says:
2008-03-20 19:08:56
@ JOe

I don't think its because of overheating. I'm using speed fan also and all temps are above normal and mine havent blacked out. I'm pretty sure its because of the outdated bios. I updated bios right away after getting my laptop so i don't know how it would have acted if i didn't but i dont think its because of the temp. do you know of a program that would read the temps accurately? i don't know if speed fan is reading it accuractely because i don't understand why all the temps including the hd and core are above normal temp.

JOe Says:
2008-03-21 00:39:02
Hmm, I don't know of any other programs off the top of my head , but they shouldn't be that hard to find.
The temperature, in my opinion, does seem to make sense, seeing as when it says 131 degrees, its about the time it starts to burn my leg off!
I updated my bios to the latest, and it blacked out within the next few hours, so I believe thats a no go, unfortunately.

Glance Says:
2008-03-21 00:58:42
I have been having the same problems as most of you on this thread. I bought my Acer laptop for college sometime around Christmas this year, and in the first day it blacked out. It has done it every day or two since i bought it, and other than that there's no complaints. Although it does get a little hot on my lap as some of you noted. I really would like to figure this problem out.. Extensa 5420, Radeon ATI 1250 integrated..

Josh Says:
2008-03-21 09:19:00
Makoro -- I had a similar problem and resolved by upgrading the firmware on the router, Netgear MR814v2.

Razzy Says:
2008-03-21 19:32:20
I just bought a new acer 5420 last week and finally i had the time to hook up my printer so i put in the disk and it didnt read it so i went to my computer tried to open the drive there & it popped my disk out asking to please install a disk...WTF? Do i have a faulty disk reader or is there such a thing as it not being able to read disks? URGGGG I bought it at best buy & im about ready to throw it out the window already---any advise?? THANKS

Phil Says:
2008-03-21 22:01:11
I just wanted to update my post from 2/15. Since updating the BIOS and jacking the processor output to maximum the computer has not black screened in over a month. Thanks again to whoever posted that initial suggestion. I have to admit though, the Acer tech help service redefines "bush league."

JOe Says:
2008-03-21 22:35:05
I've updated my bios and got the screen almost right after. Although I don't know how to change the processor output, so could anyone update me on how to do that?

Oh and, to anyone still getting this problem, and trying to figure it out, hopefully this means something.
I've had the problem on both Vista and XP...I didn't get it on Ubuntu, but I only used that for a day, so does anyone have experience with this on Linux?

Also, heres an idea that my teacher brought up when I told him about the problem. it's possible that the cpu is overclocked. I can get the clock speed and just about any other spec on the computer, but I don't know what an average clock speed is...does anyone know?

IronMike139 Says:
2008-03-22 20:03:05
Thirdcal, the hardware drivers from the acer-euro site installed without issue on my XP partition. However, that site only had a driver for an Agere modem and the modem in my 5420 is a Conexant HDAUDIO Soft Data Fax Modem with SmartCP. I've looked everywhere for an XP driver for this modem, but with no success thus far. Unfortunately this seems to be a relatively new modem and it is one of those accursed combination modem/sound card models. I can live without a fax/modem (who uses them anymore with the advent of wireless broadband?) but having no sound is more problematic. I fear that an XP driver may never have been created for this combo modem. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. On a related issue, I downloaded the Acer ePowering technology software from acer-euro and it appeared to install, but the ePowering framework crashes every time I start it, despite multiple reinstalls. This is a minor issue, but any thoughts on this issue would also be appreciated. BTW, when using my XP partition, the speed is equivalent to my "newest" desktop with an Athlon XP 2.16Ghz processor.

IronMike139 Says:
2008-03-22 20:10:29
Razzy, my 5420 has what appears to be an LG super-multi DVD rewriter. I have used it to burn a DVD video and the DVD played without a problem in a standalone DVD player; however I also used it to burn a recovery disk using Paragon Hard Disk Manager and after booting up with this disk, the hard drive and the DVD drive fall silent before the Paragon software appears, even after a 15 minute wait. And yet I used this same disk to boot up in a Toshiba laptop with XP preinstalled and it opened up the Paragon software. I don't know if the preinstalled Vista OS or the DVD writer is causing this problem, however.

Brad Says:
2008-03-23 20:45:18
Hey guys I was having trouble with the black screen, so I started looking around the web and found this site I saw how many people were having problems and couldnt believe it. So I called acer tech support and the guy acted like he didnt know that it was a problem, but suggested that I drain the computer of all its enegry. this is done by unplugging your laptop, taking out the battery and holding down the power button for 30 seconds. I thought to myself well this isnt going to do anything to help my problem, but I did it anyway. He said if that didnt work I could send it in have them check it out and most likely get it sent back to me saying that there was nothing wrong. Well anyway I thought that I would give it a try to see if it did anything before I sent it back in and now im on my third week with no black screen. If you havent already tried it give it a shot and see if it helps you.

Glance Says:
2008-03-23 23:21:34
Brad how exactly does this work? i tried doing what u said and no power was drained at all... interesting that this somehow helped ur computer not black screen. I've been having trouble with it a lot so any help would be great. Thanks :]

mark Says:
2008-03-23 23:57:08
FOR BLACK SCREEN PROBLEM_ try updating the system BIOS . Write an email to Acer support requesting the new system BIOS update.

mark Says:
2008-03-23 23:59:30
try checking comments on the BEST BUY website.

JOe Says:
2008-03-24 01:49:34
What he means is that you take out the battery, and just hold down the power button on your computer.
It doesn't drain the power from the battery, but what it does is drain any left over power thats would still be running through the computer. I tried doing that, and I'm hoping its going to work. So far so good, but it's only been a few hours!

Mike Says:
2008-03-24 13:26:16
Well I've had this laptop since late December. I've been getting the blackout crash ever since the first few weeks. On average, I get this once a week.

I think this might be something to do with the battery or the way the power management deals with the battery when it's plugged into the AC power. I noticed that every so often, if I leave the laptop on for say one day, the battery will go from a fresh 100% reading on the taskbar meter, to a 99%. This will continuously decline until 96% where it will then read 100% after I leave it alone.

I don't really know if this is an overheating problem, but my buddy who has the exact same laptop (we both ordered them from TigerDirect only a week apart) has a cooling pad on his and he has never had this happen.

Usually, the only time I have had this issue is once when I was playing a video game and the other times randomly when I'm on the internet watching a video, or listening to music.

I initially thought it might have something to do with the external drive that I have connected to my computer, but it doesn't appear that way.

Anyway, I have NOT updated my BIOS, and I have not updated this computer at all, other than windows updates.

There was a period of time, probably most of January or somewhere between mid Jan and mid Feb where the problem seemingly disappeared. I am now thinking that this is simply a software problem with something Acer have on the computer, or furthermore something Windows installed during a scheduled update.

I might give that "power drain" thing a shot later on.

I'll let any of you know if I find anything that works.

Brad Says:
2008-03-24 17:49:06
Im not really sure if there is anyway to know if the power is being completely drained from your computer. I cant remember if my power button flashed or not when I did it. My neighbor is an IT specialist and he told me that when you drain all of the power from the computer it resets the bios im not sure if this is what is causing my computer to not have a black screen or not. Fyi I have not updated my bios. It seems this problem is hit and miss with no real pattren. I have a hard time believing that simply draining the computer from all its power will stop what seems to be a hardware or software error but who knows maybe it could be that simple. All I can say is that so far its done good for me and I wanted to see if it could help anyone else

Mike Says:
2008-03-24 20:19:02
I have been monitoring my computer closely over the past several hours. I have even checked the CPU core temperature and I found it to be running roughly around 45-47 degrees Celsius.

This usually happens when I am on YouTube now that I think about it. Other than that, there is rarely a crash. I am almost positive that this is a software error with acer or windows.

Brad Says:
2008-03-24 20:42:24
To Mike

Now that you menchan it I recall a couple of weeks ago when I was in Best Buy I spoke with a man who was returning his Toshiba that he had just bought a few days earlier, when I asked him why he said because his computer was having a black screen come up and he believed that it was the processor. He thought that the amd processor was fighting with windows, what ever that means. I would say that this is simply not true. But this does raise Suspicions about widespread software problem.

Jack Says:
2008-03-25 05:09:40
I just bought an acer 5420-5687, should I return it while I still can? With all the problems you all have had I am wondering if I should get a different brand. I did go to the acer website to see how their support was before coming across this site. The acer support left much to be desired. My model was not even listed.

IronMike139 Says:
2008-03-25 10:22:47
To Jack: I bought my 5420 from Best Buy on Mar 17. I've been running it relentlessly since then and have had zero problems. Even Vista is running swiftly since I opted out of the Aero settings. I forgot to mention earlier that the outside of the box stated the laptop contained bios version 1.16 and when I entered bios setup, it also states bios version 1.16. So perhaps Acer finally got the message with this model and updated the bios before the laptops left the factory.

Mike Says:
2008-03-25 13:09:04
@ Brad:

I don't really know what that's about, but it doesn't seem likely considering I've only ever had one pentium powered computer in my lifetime. Everything else has worked fine.

Then again, it's not impossible. I think it's a software bug or a really picky overheat problem.

Brad Says:
2008-03-25 13:20:33
To Mike

I know all I have ever had is computers with amd processors and I think they are great. I believe the guy was mistaken. What I find interesting is that he is having the same problem with his toshiba that most people are having with their acers. Which makes me wonder if its vista or another software problem but I have heard of people running xp on the 5420 and having black screen problems as well. Might just have been a Coincidence but its somthing to think about.

Mike Says:
2008-03-25 15:19:51
@ Brad

For certain. I pretty confident that this is not an issue with only Acer computers. I have another acer here, an Aspire series with XP on it, and I've never had this happen, even when it used to overheat, it was a different type of shutdown.

JOe Says:
2008-03-25 18:36:16
Ya know...I tried draining the power as suggested, and I haven't had a black out in two days *knock on wood* it's only been two days, so obviously it doesn't mean it definitely worked, so so far, so good. My computers been running generally cooler too. I left it on all night, and it still lived (which I don't think I've been able to do yet)
So I suggest everyone at least give it a try, it seems to have worked for me.

Mike Says:
2008-03-26 09:31:44
@ Joe

That's strange that your computer can't live through the night. I leave mine on sometimes for days, and it's fine.

You should turn a laptop off when you're done with it anyway, it's damaging to the battery to leave it on all night for many days.

JOe Says:
2008-03-26 13:44:17

Oh yes I know, I don't normally leave it on over night
I just happened to fall asleep with it on
...twice, haha.
And neither time did I actually wake up with it still working

Mike Says:
2008-03-26 15:42:49
@ Joe

Vent was probably blocked I'd say. My other Acer had a slight issue with overheating too, but I think it was RAM related. The machine had 512 with 128 shared video. Added a gig stick to it so that my parents could use it with a monitor to replace their old desktop that just gave out.

Works fine now, stays on all the time, haven't had any issues.

Also, I haven't had a black screen in a few days now.

sgum Says:
2008-03-26 22:53:17
I don't think the blackout screen is just an Acer problem. I was on Skype with a friend and when I tried to enable video for the built-in webcam from my Acer 5420 PC I got the black screen and had to reboot manually. The next day when the same friend tried to Skype me and enable video on his two-year old Dell laptop running XP he got the same black screen. This has never happened to him before. Sorry for throwing a wrench into things, but I've been trying to track down this problem for a few weeks myself.

JOe Says:
2008-03-27 03:05:17
it just died on me
I was doing pretty good too...
I think it's because I changed the power management because I was getting awful battery life

Does anyone elses freeze up for about 5 seconds before it dies?

Lukero Says:
2008-03-27 05:40:28
Hi all,
I have an Aspire 4920G and everything was fine without blackouts until I started playing games like Medal of Honour and Call of Duty. I would play halfway then the whole thing starts to lag then the screen blacks out. The fan will start speeding up and the computer will just turn itself off.

The next time I turn it on it loads very slowly so I had to manually shut down the computer and restart it. After this it starts up pretty smoothly.

I've read this discussion and this is what I did:
1) Installed updated drivers from ATi website
2) Updated my BIOS to v1.20

Yep, I only did those 2 steps today so I'll keep everyone updated on whether the computer still blacks out when I play those games.

Mike Says:
2008-03-27 11:23:31
I haven't had one for a week until about five minutes. It's just surprising how random it is, makes you kind of wonder if it is a hardware issue after all.

Brad Garrett Says:
2008-03-27 13:18:11
to Mike

What happened. did it blackout on you.

Glance Says:
2008-03-27 18:25:18
ever since i did that "power draining trick" my computer hasn't blacked out for over 3 days now, everything is running great. I'll report back if there's any issues later -- peace

Killer Kowalski Says:
2008-03-28 09:43:51
Hello I am new to this forum, but not new to the topic. I have an Extensa 5420 that I purchased from Best Buy. With Vista, I did not have the black screen issue. However, I downgraded (well it's an upgrade to me actually) to XP Pro. As soon as I installed XP Pro, I started having the black screen issue. However, after installing the AMD CPU Patch (from windows update, or AMD's website) and setting power settings to "Minimal Power Management" the problem *seems* to have gone away. Also, I have had BIOS v 1.16 installed since I bought the machine. I think the BIOS and the power management for the CPU go together to fix the problem, and neither one alone will fix it. Thanks for all the help, and I hope I have helped someone else.

JOe Says:
2008-03-28 10:45:03

I had the black screen issue with vista
But I think you're right
I updated my bios a week or two ago
And since I have my batter to minimal power management, it seems to stop the black screen. When it happened last time, I had taken it off, now that I have set it back, still not getting and black screens.
Unfortunately, that gives terrible battery life...but its still a fix!

Brad Says:
2008-03-28 13:20:00
Well guys it seems people are having luck trying many different things that are working for them. Thats great, at this rate we will probably find a permanent fix for the problem before acer does.

JOe Says:
2008-03-29 03:49:45
Well, if can find out what exactly changing the power management to "Minimal Power Management" does, that'd probably place us a lot further, because it'll let us figure out whats causing the black out, which means getting a fix is that much easier!

Lisa Says:
2008-03-29 12:25:51
Udate: been a month since we did the bios update and adjusted power settings, have had no other blackouts.

A A Says:
2008-03-31 09:53:08
Bought this s*** on 3-29-08. It already has BIOS 1.16 and video driver version 403. I got that blackscreen in 5 minutes after turning on and had many more times after that.

IronMike Says:
2008-04-02 19:14:29
To AA: Sorry for your problems. I bought my 5420-5687 2 weeks before you did from Best Buy and have had zero problems on both the factory-installed Vista partition and the XP partition I subsequently created. Mine also came with BIOS 1.16 pre-installed but the Display Adapter listed in my XP partition is an ATI Radeon Xpress 1250 with an ATI driver, version 8.383.0.0 dated June 13, 2007.

JOe Says:
2008-04-04 14:54:54
Damn...I thought it was working
But it's blacked out twice on me today...

Caliruble Says:
2008-04-05 16:21:22
Hey guys,
I bought my 5420 during the last week of 2007 and my ACER has been blacking out about 4 or 5 times a week and it really has become annoying... I will be keeping an eye on your forum.

Glance Says:
2008-04-06 08:58:18
So the sucking the power out of the computer worked for around a week, and ever since then it's been blacking out like twice a day. Realllllly freaking annoying, I'm about to shoot ACER and all it stands for. Someone find a solution!

Heidi Says:
2008-04-06 13:49:35
I updated my bios o ver. 1.16 back on March 2, 2008. I have not had one blackout since that time. All I can say is that updating the bios cured my black screen issues immediately.

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-07 07:23:50
Hi all. I had to do 2 things to fix the problem. Updating the bios to 1.16 and take out one of the memories, now I`m working with only 1gb of memory. I think the problem is in the energy management and we must update the bios to fix, and if the problem still happens, the problem may be damaged another part of the computer, in my case the memory, so I suggest you to take out one memory per time and see if they`re ok.

Good luck!

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-07 07:29:03
After figure out the problem and fixed it I installed the XP, VISTA, and UBUNTU 7.10 in a triple boot, and all of them work very well and I haven`t seen any problem since then.

Brad Says:
2008-04-07 16:00:46
Sorry to hear that the power drain didnt work guys. My computer has still not had any blackouts since I did it and its been a little over a month.

JOe Says:
2008-04-08 02:07:29
Yea draining the power only worked for about week here too. I really hope its not a memory problem like has been suggested. I paid for 2gigs of memory, I'd like to be able to use all 2 gigs.

Glance Says:
2008-04-08 20:06:57
@ Joe, i agree man, this is my laptop for college, i gotta get this thing working properly before it fails in the middle of a paper. not to sound like a huge noob but can someone explain to me (as easy as possible) how to update my BIOS? I'm not exactly a computer expert but i can follow directions pretty well :]

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-08 21:10:59
@Joe, I`m trying to help everybody to find the problem, not only to accept it, if the problem is in the memory, as it was with mine, you should go to best buy and ask for a new one, how I`m in Brazil, I`ll do it when I go to USA.

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-08 21:11:52
@Joe, I`m trying to help everybody to find the problem, not only to accept it, if the problem is in the memory, as it was with mine, you should go to best buy and ask for a new one, how I`m in Brazil, I`ll do it when I go to USA.

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-08 21:13:10
@Joe, I`m trying to help everybody to find the problem, not only to accept it, if the problem is in the memory, as it was with mine, you should go to best buy and ask for a new one, how I`m in Brazil, I`ll do it when I go to USA.

JOe Says:
2008-04-10 01:11:19
Oh, I completely understand...
I'm just saying, we shouldn't have to take out any ram and use less then we paid for.
On a completely unrelated note
I did some searching and can't find it anywhere
...does anyone know where I'd be able to buy a replacement lcd screen for this computer?
...don't ask.

tom Says:
2008-04-12 20:29:47
you probably wont be able to find a replacement lcd screen specific to the acer 5420 since i think all laptop screens are based on the same standard, but i think it would be rather expensive to replace the lcd screen not to mention difficult too, usually when the lcd screen on a laptop goes, people buy a new laptop rather than getting the screen replaced, you could try asking acer customer service how much it would cost to send in your laptop for a replacement screen but i bet it would not be worth it. curious to know what happened to the lcd screen though

JOe Says:
2008-04-12 23:28:15
I saw one on ebay (from a store not just a user, so I'm hoping its legit) for $153.
I can't justify spending at least $650 on a whole new laptop when just the screen is cracked.
I went to the website, and it just said that my laptop was bought at Best Buy, and suggested I bring it there
So I plan on doing that tomorrow...
And basically, I shut it too hard, and it cracked
It's not bad, and I can live with it for now
But it's only a matter of time before my parents find out or something, and start complaining, so I figure I'll just fix it fast, even if I have to shell out the $200ish

ronan Says:
2008-04-17 00:49:58
i also have an acer laptop and but it's quite old. aspire series. i do get blackouts and it's really annoying. the music would go on and play but you cant see anything on the screen. i would often reboot and get it running normally again.

this morning, however, after rebooting, i couldnt get past the acer startup screen. it's just black with a very annoying blinking prompt cursor.

thank god i have a spare dell d630 so i was able to find a solution, and luckily stumble upon your page. thanks a gazillion! im thowing away my acer btw. it's just crappy.

ronan Says:
2008-04-17 01:12:12
whoa. ive just finished the alt-f10 thing. crap, i lost 12gb of mp3s. well, it's better than a big black brick.

thanks for the tip! my system is up and running again.

mariliz Says:
2008-04-19 21:45:10
GOOD PEOPLE HELP! i'm mariliz from the Philippines and I'm having a problem with the same laptop, acer extensa 5420-5687.
my boyfriend apparently tried to dual boot my pc into xp and ista but he failed..
now im runnig xp on my computer, but i want vista back. an in xp i dont get sounds.. and when I checked the device manager, there is no sound device available there. I've read iron mike's thread but in my case, there are no yellow marks in my device manager so i really dont know what to do.. ive also tried insatlling realtek drivers into my pc but it doesnt solve my problem.. pls help me coz my mom's really mad at me coz the shipping's really costly, she bought it in n.y.c, and she shipped it to me here in the philippines for almost 100$. pls help.. thanx! and can i get iron mike's email too? thanks!

Jess Hall Says:
2008-04-20 02:20:26
Just wanted to update you on my fix. I changed the power management settings and though it didn't fix the problem, it did seem to make them happen less often. I then turned of the Windows Aero graphics and that did the trick. I haven't had a black screen since, and it's been almost a month now. I am still running the 1.14 BIOS. I hope this helps someone!

Glance Says:
2008-04-20 21:51:12
what exactly are Windows Aero graphics?? and how do you turn them off? this black screen problem is the only thing separating me from a tight computer. thanks a lot --

JOe Says:
2008-04-21 04:09:07
Windows Aero is the main theme used by Windows Vista. You should be able to turn it off in the display properties box. Turning it off seems to have worked for some people. But it's not a fix for everyone, seeing as I'm using XP, so I can't get the Aero theme, but I still get the blackouts, unfortunately.

IronMike Says:
2008-04-21 16:23:53
To Mariliz:

Can we hear more details on your situation? How did your boyfriend attempt to install XP on the Acer? I hope he set up a second (third, really on this Acer, since there is a somewhat hidden recovery partition) partition separate from the Vista partition before trying to install XP. If he did, and installed XP on this separate partition, then your Acer may still have the Vista partition and you merely lack the tools to access it. You will need to install a boot manager in XP to access the Vista partition. For more information, see this article:

It describes the procedure for using VistaBootPro to create a dual-boot screen that comes up shortly after you start the laptop. Be careful to follow the instructions exactly, or you will end up in Vista without being able to get back into XP without also installing VistaBootPro in Vista as well. That happened to me, but i don't recall the exact details, but I was finally able to access both Vista and XP partitions from the dual-boot screen.

Mike Says:
2008-04-22 15:08:28
Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted here.

I have no had any blackout/freezes in close to a month.

I turned off my screen saver, did a virus scan, defrag, spyscan and scandisk. Have had no trouble since then.

mariliz Says:
2008-04-23 23:33:02
to: Iron Mike

thanks! i did it.. but my only problem now is i dont have the sound device in the device manager of xp but i have it in vista. and there are no yellow marks in the device manager of xp. but there's just no audio.. thanks again!

glance Says:
2008-04-25 10:12:15
i recently installed WOW on my computer, i used to be a frequent player and started up again. Playing this game for about 2 hours 99% of the time i get a blackout. It's driving me insane as you can imagine. I'm about ready to run this laptop over with my car if i cant find a solution soon. Just thought id update you all on my situation :]

Philip Says:
2008-04-26 18:06:50
I\'ve had the Extensa 5420 for about 2 weeks and I\'ve experienced 2 black screens. More frequently is the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE; I\'ve been trying to narrow down the culprit. From this forum I\'m immediately upgraded to BIOS 1.16 and have updated VISTA to SP1, any drivers that I could find from the Euro FTP site that were newer I\'ve updated. I have tried the power plan options and have even turned off the aero transparancy in Vista. So far I\'ve found that this is THE best source of information for those of us with these Acer Extensa\'s. I pretty much made the purchase based on the same criteria as those posted here.

IronMike Says:
2008-04-26 20:36:35
To Mariliz:

Glad you were able to access the Vista partition again. As for the XP partition, I am puzzled by the absence of any yellow marks in your device manager. I can think of 2 possible reasons why you don't have yellow marks and I did. First, we installed different versions of XP. I installed XP Media Center Edition whereas you might have installed the vanilla XP Home Edition. Moreover my XP Media Center Edition CD includes SP2 whereas an older XP Home Edition does not (I think?), so perhaps the older XP Home Edition simply doesn't recognize the existence of the combo modem/sound card on your laptop. If you haven't upgraded your XP partition to SP2, try doing that and see if yellow marks appear in your device manager. If that doesn't work, we can explore the 2d possibility that occurs to me: attempted installation of the modem and sound card drivers. Let me know how it goes, other people reading this forum may have problems similar to yours.

JOe Says:
2008-04-26 21:57:50
Most games seem to be causing black outs it seems
at least for most people
although Doom 2 doesn't seem to do it
Just for the record :D

couldn't be a DirectX sort of error...could it?
Since it happens in both XP and Vista, I'm trying to think of things that run on both that could cause the error (unlik the Aero theme)

Philip Says:
2008-04-27 18:35:17
My build is pretty new so what I did was do the recovery partition to see what changes were made that could affect the "black screen". I did find that after the rebuild, that there are 4 drivers that Vista cannot find. 2 are the network drivers. Atheros wireless and the Marvell wired driver. I'm going to let the computer sit for a couple of days with the "fresh" build to see if the black screen happens. Problem is that it's so random that unless I gave it a week per change I might never be certain which one it is if it is a driver at all. I did flash to the 1.16 BIOS. One thing of note is that I got this Extensa 5420 as a factory refurbished computer so someone probably returned this one as a black screen culprit before and I'm either inheritting the problem (which implies that it's hardware) or that they just rebuild it and that problem appears to go away. Well we'll see...

Philip Says:
2008-04-28 11:27:30
So with a fresh install from the recovery partition I was still able to see the black screen (of death). 1.16 was already done prior to the rebuild. There were 4 devices without drivers, VGA, Webcam, wireless and wired LAN adapaters. I did not even try to put these in. I did enable my wireless connection and I left the computer overnight to find the black screen the next day. The return policy at the store where I bought it was only 7 days; but they give a 30day warranty and I still get 2yrs from acer. I think I'm going to bring it back to see what they say about it.

JOe Says:
2008-04-28 12:57:32
Just to help narrow the problem down a little bit
I replaced my LCD in the computer, but not with another Acer LCD, it's a Sony Vaio screen, but it's still the same size and such. But it still blacks out, which means the black out aren't caused by something like a bad batch of LCDs for this computer, or anything like that.

Philip Says:
2008-04-28 15:05:11
Ok, so we know this happens with XP and Vista. But what of those that are using Linux? Have they also experienced this Black screen? That would help to narrow down an issue from ATI or some other driver as the offending party. I\'ve restored my recovery partition again and just changed the power settings to keep the CPU on max all of the time. Is anyone using the AMD dual core optimizer?

Philip Says:
2008-04-29 15:02:03
I ran clean for 16hrs; but then the black screen appeared after I did a closed lid test to see if I could make it happen. I took it back to the store to have it sent back to Acer for service. The build was clean as could be, factory fresh and then only power changes and a mouse driver. I did add a readyboost device as well. Well I will be sure to burn in the machine that comes back from the depot work as fast as possible. My MFTR date was 2007 as well.

JOe Says:
2008-04-29 20:21:46
I tried asking about Linux a little while ago and got no response, so I'm guessing no one here uses it. I used Ubuntu a few months ago, but only for a few days. But if you'd like me to reinstall it, I'll run it for a week or so, just to test if I get the black screen with it too.

Andregospel Says:
2008-04-29 22:10:56
Hi all, I`ve told before, that I use XP, Vista and Ubuntu in a triple boot and didn`t get any problem since I updated to 1.16 and take out 1 bad memory.
So, if u feel confortable, try the same.

Good luck and God bless

Philip Says:
2008-05-01 07:46:19
Andre, that is interesting. I was contemplating switching RAM. Instead I did a memtest86 on the laptop with a boot-CD. It found no faults in the RAM. I've sent mine back to the depot already; but the next thing I do will be to see about the RAM. I didn't want to spend my own money to change out the RAM; but removing one might help prove/dis-prove. The reason I was going to change the RAM was to go to 4GB; but seeing as I was going to loose a small portion of that due to the 32-bit limit I wasn't sure it would be beneficial.

Lukero Says:
2008-05-01 09:24:03
Hmm, I haven't had any blackouts until today, when I had 2.

Darn Acer, read this forum!

Jason Says:
2008-05-01 19:40:55
Not sure if this is the best place for this but I guess it's worth a shot.

The laptop doesn't boot up so I decided to use the restore disc. When I choose to restore to the factory default system - and I choose yes to overwrite all files on the C: drive - it tells me to insert the (RCD [Backup Disc DVD1/CD2]) but I don't have this disc!

Does anyone have this disc?

tom Says:
2008-05-01 23:24:39
Jason, im sorry to say but i think the backup disk is the disk you were suppose to make when u first got the computer with the use of one of acer's proprietary software, think its acer erecovery mmanagement? sorry to say but w/o the disk i am unsure of what u should do.

anyways for the people that are using linux on their acer 5420, i have a problem with getting the wireless to work, any1 managed to get it to work?

ps, i havent had a single blackout since the first week i got it, in which i got 2, and i didnt change anything, still running on bios 1.14 and i use this laptop pretty heavily, bout 3-5hrs a day, 20 or so hours a week

tom Says:
2008-05-01 23:25:34
forgot to say i got mine 4months ago on dec 31, 2007

JOe Says:
2008-05-02 01:58:03
I remember getting the wireless to work on Ubuntu, I just can't remember what I went through to do it. But do a check through the Ubuntu forums, I remember finding the answer on there, without having to user a wrapper.
If I do find the answer though, I'll let you know.

rachet Says:
2008-05-03 11:44:58
I've had mine since the end of January and have never had the black screen, although I don't use this a whole lot. I performed all of the tweaks/upgrades as soon as I purchased it. I'm an idiot in that I didn't read any Best Buy reviews until I opened the box or I would have purchased a different one in the same price range. The really unfortunate part about all of this is the fact that this is obviously a defective product but nothing much will come of it, based on the experience with my daughters Toshiba. A Satellite A75 that always ran hot and kept shutting down, finally ruining the motherboard. There apparently was a secret warranty, because it was fixed for free at age 3.5. Then recently I found a letter that my wife never showed me that there was a $50 class action settlement. $50!!! Point is, that is about as good as this issue will ever be resolved if at all!

ratchet Says:
2008-05-04 16:05:21
Perhaps this could help with the diagnosis.

"AMD Power Monitor Version 1.2.1 - AMD Power Monitor displays the current frequency, voltage, utilization, and power savings of each core on each processor in a system. This version of AMD Power Monitor supports systems with Athlon FX, mobile AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon X2, AMD Turion 64, AMD Turion 64 X2, AMD Sempron, mobile AMD Sempron, AMD Phenom, AMD Opteron, and AMD Opteron Third-Generation processors."

JOe Says:
2008-05-07 13:55:24
I've tried running the power monitor.
Doesn't help x.x

melissa Says:
2008-05-07 18:12:37
So i have had my Acer extensa 5420 since December 29th. I started having black out screen right away but thought it may be due just to playing online games. This happens very random and I am so frustrated with it. I emailed Acer today and hope they respond with something that makes me happy...we shall see. I can't find an 800# for them anywhere. I haven't tried to mess with any BIOS(not even sure what BIOS are) or the aero(whatever that is) I just really wish I could find a permanant solution for my constant frustration. It is a good laptop for just basic stuff but i pity the people who lose all there work when it blacks out.

Andregospel Says:
2008-05-08 15:11:43
Hi all, I`l like to add this information, I`ve installed the Ubuntu 8.04 and both Video and Wireless are working very well, I also installed the compiz and it`s great to see the whole power of the Linux as I`ve never seen before in my last two ACER`S.

Philip Says:
2008-05-08 16:19:52
Well Acer emailed me when my 5420 arrived in their depot for service (for the black screen) and emailed me again to say that it had been returned to the shop where I took it in. Six days turn around seems pretty good. But the question remains, did they do anything or do they know what the problem is? Has anyone actually sent it into depot and got a working one back? Otherwise I'm just going to keep returning it for depot service, as I only get 7 days to determine if the problem still exists or not.

aegipan Says:
2008-05-09 12:58:49
i have this problem but i notice that it has to do with the power saver option that turns your screen off automatically after inactivity. my best solution has been to close the lid on the laptop and after it has gone into standby i open it again and it works without losing anything. i dont know if this is any of your problems but it is a suggestion until the proper fix has been created.

Philip Says:
2008-05-12 18:26:37
Hey everyone, I got my laptop back from the store where they sent it back to Acer for service. I was complaining about the Black Screen. Well I only had the computer on for about 2hrs and I got it again. So this bites! I could just take it back and complain that it's the same thing happening over and over again. I found one thing that is interesting, the computer is actually still working but you just can't see the screen. So it's not frozen or anything.I left it doing nothing and then I could blindly start the Acer Tour from my FRESH factory rebuild. They just wiped the HDD and re-installed everything. I don't think they actually did anything to it physically. Well I guess I'll keep it for another day and then take it back. Too bad, this is just a bunch of money doing nothing but irritating me now. I think I'll go order a Dell while I'm waiting on this one.

I hooked up an external monitor to it now so that the next time it happens I'll see if it is the video card. I tried it after it went black but I didn't know if the monitor was already detected or not. It is now and we'll see what happens.

Brad Says:
2008-05-12 19:07:12
Well guys another strange thing happened to me over the past three weeks. I was browsing th internet and all of the sudden I heard a pop and saw somthing shoot out of the side of my laptop. When I looked closer I realized that the blank insert had shot out of the side of my laptop and whenever I tried to put it back in it wouldnt lock back in the slot. The next day I took it back to best buy and they obviously couldnt take it back because it wasnt within their 15 day return period. They told me they could try to fix iot there and if they couldnt they would ship it out to get it repaired. about a week and a half later I picked it up they told me that the motherboard had to be replaced. When I got home and tried to power it up windows wouldnt load. I noticed that in the notes that they gave me when I picked up my laptop said that all of the hardware passed but there were problems with the operating system and they recomended a restore. I attempted restoring it from the hidden partition but no luck. The next day I took it back up and explained my problem once again they told me they would try to restore it. I got a call later that day saying that the partition was damaged and that I would have to bring in recovery disks. I called acer and got the disks sent to me in about a week. I took the disks back up to them and let them do it in case there was still a problem after the restore. The next day I picked it up and they told me that everything was working fine. I told them that I wasn't leaving the store until it started up without any problems and sure enough it didnt. Thats when I started to get loud with them, I couldnt take it anymore, I told them I wanted my money back and that I gave them enough chances and in about fifteen minutes I got my money back. The mananger of the geek squad told me that there was a recall on this model and that most of the motherboards were faulty. The next day I decided to buy an hp
its a great computer. Just thought I would share my experience that I had with acer and best buy. Hope they fix anyones problems that they have with their laptops. It looks like they are just a bad batch.

Philip Says:
2008-05-13 07:30:48
I discovered yet another phenomenon with my 5420. I was trying to discover a way of repeating the black screen event. It would seem that shutting the lid of the computer several times might help to trigger it; but it's not a guarantee. Otherwise sitting around and waiting for it can take a very long time. I did get the black screen again, i can tell because the front lights appear different when it does not go into sleep mode properly. Upon opening the lid I see that the power button is green and not orange yet. So there I am with the black screen, I think damn, I'll just take it back to the store like this to show them. I close the lid and leave to get the packaging. I open the lid again to see if it's still 'black' and much to my total shock, it went to sleep. I pressed the now orange power button and voila, it comes back to life! Now I do not know if any of you have tried this; but it's worth a shot.

I am tempted to try a couple of things, First is to replace Vista with brand new copy of Vista Home Premium 32-bit and second is to try adding a 2GB single memory stick.

I had at one point considered upgrading it all to the 64-bit version of Vista since then i can add in 4GB of RAM. but now I'm getting close to half the cost of the original computer.

I'm going to give it 1-2 more days before I ship it back to Acer.

JOe Says:
2008-05-13 13:49:57
It's really quite odd that when it goes into standby it works again. But I guess it could make sense.
What I've been kinda thinking is that it's a faulty connection with the harddrive, because everything with the computer still works, the chrager beep, the contrast and such, but theres no harddrive activity. Who knows...

Philip Says:
2008-05-13 18:30:52
I decided to try 4GB of dual channel memory so I bought some value OCZ RAM and opened up the back and swapped out the low grade Hyundai DDR2 for these. I also found that one of the Microsoft Updates for the Atheros or Yukon Marvell driver causes a blue screen of death due to power state failure. I've since done a factory refresh. I also found that Acer had replaced the Vista image on my laptop after it came back from service. So I guess they did something to it. If the 4GB experiences a black screen I'm going to go down to a single 2GB stick to see what the difference is.

Philip Says:
2008-05-15 01:15:06
Update to my 4GB experiment. I still received a black screen. Second one since receiving this back from the Acer depot. I still find that when shutting the screen and letting it sit for a while that it actually goes to sleep (recorded in the event log). I also found a strange error with the SD card reader. I get an O2SDRDR error message. I have a 4GB SD card that I was originally using for ReadyBoost; but now I've just made it regular storage to transfer files. I'm going to remove it for a while to see if that is contributing. I do have to admit that even running on 3.3GB of RAM that the computer is MUCH more responsive.

JOe Says:
2008-05-16 13:09:40
I've never gotten the reader error...but hey if thats it, maybe it's the card reader drivers?
I'll try uninstalling them...and I'll see how long it goes without a blackscreen

JOe Says:
2008-05-17 13:43:53
I uninstalled the card reader drivers. I haven't gotten a black screen yet, but it's only been a few hours. It often happens when I leave my computer on when I go out, so I'll see if it does it today.
Anyway, I was just saying, to anyone worried about not being able to use the card reader without the drivers. It still does work, just as a standard windows drive. But reads and everything just fine.

Philip Says:
2008-05-18 15:37:27
I stopped using the card reader; but I also added 4GB of RAM to my computer. I had received 2 after getting it back from the factory (stock 2GB still); but none since the 13th of May after a rebuild. The 2 main drivers that I added were the ATI driver (8.402-070731a-051830C-Acer) and the Wireless driver ( I also removed all the symantec product offerings from the computer; but I doubt that would contribute. I switched to AVG. I got most of the Vista updates as well. No black screens so far.

JOe Says:
2008-05-22 04:00:41
So I've uninstalled the card reader drivers
But for the last 3 days or so, I've been using Ubuntu, and no blackouts at all

Lukero Says:
2008-05-22 07:46:45
I think the most likely problem would be the vista power management problem. Gah, then I'll have to dual boot now. :(

JOe Says:
2008-05-22 11:59:22
I get the problem in XP though, I don't even have Vista on this computer anymore.

JOe Says:
2008-05-23 23:45:22
Aaaand, black screen even with card reader drivers removed.
So I guess thats a dead end

Philip Says:
2008-05-24 16:23:43
The only other thing that I've done then is to remove the standard 2GB of RAM and replace it with 4GB of "better" RAM (OCZ). XP and Vista 32-bit I could understand; but Ubuntu users also see this? If that's the case then it's nothing to do with the OS. Any one try Windows 2003 Server?

Like I said, I put in those 2 other drivers. I haven't seen a black screen so far; and I've been pushing it by playing some intense games (Company of Heroes and World of Warcraft).

blacksrcreenbitten Says:
2008-05-25 19:31:07
hi everybody
I purchased the same notebook from bestbuy on 01/01/2008. I got $100 off by signig for comcast and the specs seemed to be very good for that price. I like this computer except for the black outs that are being discuseed here.
I reinstalled my widows vista to factory windows right after I entcoutered this problem in Jan 2008, but it didn't work. Since I was out of 14 days return period and the problem wasn't frequent and the laptop for good for that price I didn't pay much attention to it. Last week it happened 3-4 times while I was watching a movie on you tube. I wrote an email to acer and got the same reply that they gave to every one. I took it to best buy they ran the diagnostics and said that my computer is fine. I took it back and now for the first time in more than five months I googled this problem and came across this thread.
It seems that this problem is related to the whole Extensa 5420 model. After reading the tips given in this very long thread my head is spining.
Possible solutions mentioned here are
1) upgrade BIOS, which is scary.
2) change video card drivers.
3) speed up the fan.
4) downgrade to XP.
5) Drain computer energy.
6) Change RAM.
Some body plz tell me which one is best. It's strange that this thread started more than 5 months ago and now one came up with the solution.

businesseliteinc Says:
2008-05-27 20:43:24
Hello to everyone...this is my first time here, but after several months of blackouts I had to go searching...amazed and greatful that I ended up here and so many others have researched this problem. I to have an Acer 5420 purchased in November of 2007 that came with bios version 1.14. After reading just about every entry I did the bios update and changed the settings as instructed above..its been three days and no blackouts (usually it happens at least once a day) wanted to say thank you for all the posts and help, I love this laptop, and hated thinking I had to get rid of it...I'd like to know if Heidi or or Dave41 have had any issues to this date?? thanks again.

tom Says:
2008-05-28 01:02:47
its been a while since i made a post, but i too have not have a single blackout since the first week i bought it, ive had it close to 6months, im pretty sure its somekind of software glitch as ive had no blackscreens for so long without doing any adjustments such as updating the bios or changing power settings, im thinking its a software glitch from a program, maybe one of acer's proprietary programs, ive idsabled them all, or maybe the norton antivirus it came with which was hard to uninstall

aside from the cheap quality keyboard, where several keys became hard to push (stuck like) which i remedied by jsut stabbing it really hard with my finger several times, this computer has been fairly reliable, im a teen so i use this computer fairly often, mostly to surf the net, go on aim, listen to music, dl and watch videos, listen to music, etc. ive also been able to get ubuntu on dual boot, so overall this computer has been great for me,the wireless is decent but for some reason it cannot connect to some routers, i think this is a vista problem and i will eventually switch to a wireless n router and buy a wireless n card for my laptop so doesnt really matter. any1 looking for a similar computer can go to officedepot and look at the acer extensa 5620 going for $500 which has almost the same specs as this laptop, except better processor and 3gbs of ram

Philip Says:
2008-06-03 06:13:00
I've still been running stable. The only thing I've done to change the situation is to change all of the RAM. Some might want to try the other suggestion of removing 1 stick of memory. It has been reported in XP, VISTA and Ubuntu so it cannot be the OS, especially if Linux also experiences this. The 1.16 BIOS didn't do anything for me. Now I did not get the black screens that often and since my machine was new I was keeping it on and using it to try and force the black screens to appear more frequently. Now that I swapped out all the RAM I can even play games which heat up the computer pretty good. I've upgraded the video drivers and drained the battery with no improvements as well. Again for the price that all of us paid for this notebook it is a great deal. I can't complain too much. there are so many more expensive notebooks with lesser video cards.

blackscreenbitten Says:
2008-06-03 17:30:40
I installed the vista service pack 1 when I posted last time. I didn't have a black out since then (more than a week).

Mentaly_unsound Says:
2008-06-06 11:14:05
Ok, I also had the black screen problem. I really only read through half of the above comments but Ill say my peace and I have another question.

I did get the black screen quite often when I first purchased this machine. Though I bought a cooling fan and this seemed to immediately fix the problem. The only time I ever get it now is on hot days or when Im really bogging down my computer with tasks and other things that result in the fan not being able to cool down the machine fast enough or how I have the computer sitting. So for me it seemed to be a temperature issue as I very rarely ever get the cursed black screen anymore. Other then the fan I have done nothing else to try fixing this problem.

Ok, now my new question has to do with something another user said earlier. Like a curse from the pits of the underworld as soon as I read the post it started happening. My internet connection now goes in and out constantly. I get disconnected every few seconds to minutes with no warning or reasoning behind it. Ive done nothing at of the norm and Ive had this computer for 3-4 months, no problems till just recently.

I tried disabling tcp/IPv6 as another site suggested, no luck. Im not the most computer savey when it comes to drivers and other things of the such as I spend most my time with video editing and website development. There for I'm at a loss when it comes to fixing this and I have found little information about it. Im hoping someone can let me know if this is a problem with this computer, acer internet management or something else and how I can fix it if possible.

glance Says:
2008-06-08 16:27:28
where can a extra cooling fan be bought at? i'm hoping this can solve my problem as i remember all the times i've had this problem i've been running the computer real hard. games or downloading music.

JOe Says:
2008-06-08 16:31:17
So I've just formatted my computer again, and put XP back on it. I did all the updating, right up to SP3, and all the driver updates in about two days.
The computers still having over heat problems
It hit 140 degrees before, which is the highest its ever gone without shutting off on me.
But it's been about a week or so, and it hasn't shut off at all on me.
I don't know what did it, but I hope it's fixed
*knock on wood*

max Says:
2008-06-09 23:50:16
hello, i have acer 5420, I would like someone to help me with directions to power management settings. I tried to follow dave's direction but i dont see where to change the 100% thing ,
i went to control panel,power options and then advernced.all i see there are options and power buttons.someone help.

ratchet Says:
2008-06-10 07:35:04
max, Control Panel>Power Options

max Says:
2008-06-10 13:30:06
ratchet thanks for the responce, am begging you to give me a detailed info like i said in the first post I have been to power options and advanced,may be i dont know what exactly to change but i didnt see anything like processor power in there.I have acer extensa 5420 xp.I really want to fix the black out thing is killing happens all the time.

ratchet Says:
2008-06-11 16:18:53
max, I'm on the desktop about to go to a graduation party tonight. I'll power up the Acer tomorrow evening and give you the details. Try running without the battery and see what happens. I've never had the problem but I don't use it a whole lot. I did update the BIOS to the 1.6 right after I bought it.

ratchet Says:
2008-06-12 13:50:05
max, like an idiot i didn't read the reviews about this pc at BestBuy until after I purchased it back in Jan. when I read about the bs I did some updates and have never had the problem but maybe I don't use it enough.
Are you sure your battery isn't just dying on you since they don't even last two hours?
Relative to the power settings, I believe either Acer or Vista turns the power to the Balanced or Power saving mode automatically if you aren't plugged in. I believe the fix was to make sure you run on High performance.
I'm going to copy the fixes I did from this blog:
"It has only been one day since I updated the video driver, which I got at the ATI website ( This is a direct link to the Catalyst Driver v.8.1 package for Windows Vista (32 bit) provided by ATI. You can check out the other drivers here: of follow the ATI page according to your operating system and vidoe card here: Like I mentioned before, the package installed the "North Bridge Filter Driver" which wasn't installed before."
Now go to this post (Dave41 Says:
2008-02-09 17:25:25) and update to 1.6 if that is not what your BIOS is. The one thing I remember is to make sure you look for "Vista" downloads and not just laptops. It was one of the last pages you go to while following Daves directions. Don't forget to check you BIOS, here is how:

MAX Says:
2008-06-13 10:15:08
I think am getting defeated, I updated my bios to 1.16 but the blackout thing has continued, and this time i get colours it can freeze and displays a plain green colour. I have windows xp but i see a sticker with windos vista near the tourch pad.but i have reinstalled windows xp. ratchet any ideas? on what to do.ati wedsite wont allow me to download any thing other that the pool window that pops p.Ratchet make my day.

ratchet Says:
2008-06-13 14:27:14
sorry max, I don't have a clue! Indeed, I'm sure there are posters in this thread that know way more than I do.

ratchet Says:
2008-06-13 14:42:32
More complaints here: I went to the Best Buy site to read reviews in case anyone came up with a fix and they don't even sell it any longer.

Philip Says:
2008-06-14 08:53:06
Like one of the other guys tried. He REMOVED a stick of memory and he found that it helped. I did something similar in that I replaced the memory with 2 sticks of 2GB OCZ ram and I have yet to experience the issue. I believe that I have tried everything else, BIOS, power settings etc. I'm still using Vista. I know that getting the Vista updates for the wireless and wired network adapters will spell doom and I would recommend against doing that. People have posted that this happens in XP, Vista and Linux. So I am highly sceptical about it being OS based. Other posters have tried using cooling fans and that didn't provide a solid answer. I could jinx myself and go back to the old 2GB of RAM to see if that re-produces the problem; but that is for another weekend.

JOe Says:
2008-06-14 17:59:05
I just remembered
The one different thing(as far as I can recall) with my computer since I've formatted is that I installed the Acer Mobility Center Plug-in.
I've still had no that COULD have something to do with it.
It's in the FTP somewhere, give it a shot, maybe it'll help? I have no idea what it does, but if it works, then awesome!

MAX Says:
2008-06-15 08:08:03

am writing this message because all along I have been looking for a message like this thanks to Ratchet,I have finally broken through my acer extensa 5420 no longer brings the black screen,all I did was update the bios from v1.14 to v1.16 then I uninstall ed anything o do with ATI catalyst then I downloaded from this link Here I went to windows xp professional/Home / Radeon/ HD 2400 Series (PCIe)
the file I downloaded is Radeon ATI 8-5_xp 32_dd_63030.exe
I would like to buy a hard disk for this laptop, right now I have 160gb I would like something bigger like 250 or more because I want to edit video with this machine. what else should I change, and where can I buy the hardware.

JOe Says:
2008-06-26 13:57:58
Nevermind on the Mobility Center Plug-in
I just got the black screen.
It's been a few weeks though...

JOe Says:
2008-06-26 13:59:04
Nevermind on the Mobility Center Plug-in
I just got the black screen.
It's been a few weeks though...

JOe Says:
2008-06-26 14:00:45
Shoot, double post. Sorry.

freemale221g Says:
2008-06-27 00:23:29
How do you reset the bios password???
I have an Acer Extensa 5620 - 4025 and I can't get past the bios with out a password.

freemale221g Says:
2008-06-28 13:34:08
I turn on the laptop and gets a far as a password promt for the bios and goes no further.

JOe Says:
2008-06-28 14:13:57
I could be crazy, but isn't the only way to reset the bios password to short circuit the chip?

THat site might help.

In other news, I've only gotten the blck screen once since installing the plugin.
But this computer has been breaking down on me, and the broken hinge was the last straw.
I'm going to best buy tomorrow and demanding a new computer.
I'll let everyone know how that goes.
Good luck with the black screen everyone.
Has anyone ever gotten it repaired from ACER and not gotten the black screen anymore?

Philip Says:
2008-06-30 20:21:15
New BIOS 1.17 is up on the FTP site. Has anyone tried it out? It was just posted on 12-JUN-08. I haven't had any black screens since replacing my RAM so I'm not so inclined as to flash just yet.

Glance Says:
2008-06-30 21:42:58
i've turned my computer to performance mode.. and always kept it plugged in and havent gotten a black screen ever. I've been playing games such as WoW and stuff and it's all good.

JOe Says:
2008-07-01 02:15:24
I'm not gonna try the bios update just yet
I'm shipping this off to Acer tomorrow

Philip Says:
2008-07-01 16:50:03
I updated mine 1.16 just before I decided to send it to Acer too. Neither made a difference really.

ratchet Says:
2008-07-02 16:22:10
Still have never had the black screen but I still suspect it's because I under use my PC. Anyway, I have a general question. I had immediately flashed 1.16, so now we have 1.17. What is the purpose of BIOS upgrades? Considering all the problems I'm inclined to go by the motto "If it ain't broke...".

freemale221g Says:
2008-07-12 00:26:07
web page didn't help any.
I would remove the bios battery in the laptop if I knew where it was located. It wouldn't be a problem if taking the cover off a laptop was as easy as taking off a cover on a desktop. It the laptop would just boot I could fix it with a BIOS recovery program or flash the BIOS.

JOe Says:
2008-07-13 18:14:01
I still don't have my computer back from Acer.
Would you believe they wanted over $700 to fix my LCD? THats more then I paid for the computer.
Anyway, @freemale
Yea, removing the cover is ridiculously difficult, I'd say if you can't find anything from a web search, call up Acer, they might be able to help you. If you can supply some proof that you own the computer, they should help you with that.

Also, has anyone tried the new bios? Anything different? I'll test it out..if I ever get my computer back.

Mike Says:
2008-07-17 06:05:51
It's been months and I've had 0 issues with this computer. I don't know what the hell the blackouts were about, but it obviously had something to do with vista because I haven't updated anything on this other than windows updates.

ratchet Says:
2008-07-18 06:00:52
Well despite my better judgement I flashed to v1.17 this morning. Not sure what the upgrade was for but all went well. I will say this, it took like a gazillion unzips to get to the .exe file!

JOe Says:
2008-07-18 11:12:21
I just got the computer back from Acer right now. I'm on it currently, and have been using it for about 2 hours.
It instantly started over heating, so that's strike 1. for Acer repair depot (Who I've already had lots of problems with)
They replaced my CPU, which I'm not entire sure why they did it, but who knows.
I'll let you know if I get any black outs.

ratchet Says:
2008-07-18 20:14:59
What temperatures are you looking at. Mine usually runs in the mid to high teens+100 Fahrenheit. If I'm running a scan it will be in the 120s. It was at 123 for over 20 minutes today but never faltered.

JOe Says:
2008-07-18 22:47:29
Usually it's the HD and the Core that run the hottest, then the processors jump in.
My computer when running normal the HD is about 118 and the core around the low 100s.
On the other hand, when it overheats, it shoots up to 133 and the core just keeps going.
But I have had it hit 160+ on me quite regulary.
Not much of a laptop, huh?

tom Says:
2008-07-19 11:40:51
curious wat are you guys using for your temp readings?

JOe Says:
2008-07-20 14:03:27
I use Speed Fan to read the temperature

It's also supposed to control your fan speed, but it seems to me like the way Acer has their fan installed, it can't really read it, so it can't take any control of it.

ratchet Says:
2008-07-22 11:06:42
I use
It's just for the HD, not MB.

jarrett Says:
2008-07-25 16:51:17
I have a 5420-5687 and would like to know how much RAM it can hold. Best buy says 2gb max, some websites say 4gb max, Acer doesnt seem to know.

Phillip, what model do you have?

JOe Says:
2008-07-25 20:36:08
So I got the computer back about a week or two ago from Acer and it blacked out on me today.

That's two people that this has happened to, so I wouldn't suggest even bothering to send it back to them, they obviously aren't going to do anything about it.

JOe Says:
2008-07-31 00:37:03
Someone said this:
he problem is between the ATI card and the AMD processor. I'm not going to wait on that... its been going on for months on a lot of different models.

I think it may be a Turion problem.
I got another black screen a few minutes ago, the second one since they returned it 'fixed'

ratchet Says:
2008-07-31 13:43:00
I've never had the problem but I don't know whether it's because of my preemptive action, the way I use this notebook or just dumb luck. I purchased it around the end of January and it came with the .14 BIOS. After learning about the problem I flashed to .16 and recently to .17. I also installed the latest ATI drivers and the North Bridge Filter Driver. I also just did that again as there were new drivers available. I haven't been in a position where I would need to run the pc with the battery for very long (which I don't think lasts long anyway) so I am usually always using High performance in the power settings. I suggest you try all of these. Another suggestion would be to write a letter to PC World (or some other national forum) about what is happening with this model. I know I've seen where they have a column that helps consumers who are getting terrible customer service. It may not run every month but I know it's sometimes in the mag. I think that the fact Best Buy quit selling these is a real flag.

JOe Says:
2008-07-31 19:48:46
Writing to PC World is a good idea, I think I'll actually try that.
Do you know where you found the Northbridge filter Driver?
I've searched around the AMD/ATI site and can't find it

tom Says:
2008-07-31 23:41:58
im like ratchet except i did not take any preemptive action such as flashing bios and dling the newest ati drivers, my computer is fine, i run it on battery quite a bit, lasts about 2 hours on a full charge

and best buy quit selling these becasue manufacturers are always rolling out new models

Anonymous Says:
2008-08-01 07:34:13
Joe, everything is on this linked page. I guess it\'s South Bridge. lol

ratchet Says:
2008-08-01 18:20:28
The Anonymous is me, forgot to enter ratchet. Good luck!

David P. Says:
2008-08-13 18:29:14
Seeing how on paper this is such a great laptop no wonder so many others have it...and its troubles. I am going to try the system restore. Wish me luck and I will chime in to share the results.

David P. Says:
2008-08-13 18:34:24
Oh! I do have some info on me now. I too have had this "black screen of death" But since I've been runing it off the included battery (which like all included batteries has a short life span) I've assumed it was the battery dying. Anyone else doing the same?

David P. Says:
2008-08-15 23:15:35
The restore seems to have helped. I can go online now and things run smoothly...except for when I put in a game. I've followed your instructions from above and I'm about to finished installing
from the link you posted. Let's see if my tinkering pay's off.

Caleb McKay Says:
2008-08-29 14:14:52
For the people who still seem to have the black screen issue: this was a problem that affected this laptop's chipset and would occur when the processor speed was stepping up and down. Setting CPU to 100% did fix the problem, but kills battery life and is no longer necessary. Download the latest BIOS update from ACER and the problem goes away (and then set your power saving options back to the default so you can get more than 45 minutes out of your battery).

JOe Says:
2008-08-30 11:44:40

I don't believe that is true.
I've had the latest bios for a little while, and the other day I got the black screen 3 times in just a couple of hours.

hiren Says:
2008-09-05 08:20:00
my acer extensa 4420 works fine but as sooon as i connect to the power cord it turns black ...the machine works even in the black off but its not usable stage ....and as i remove the cord and restart it it works other words i can not use it when its charging...?????

solution please...

Sridhar V Says:
2008-09-06 09:20:21
Hi Friend,
I have bought an Acer Extensa 5420.
It was shipped with Vista.
But I want to install XP.
I am having problems with the ATI drivers.
Pl suggest me the link.
The one I installed gives me ati2dvag error with blue screen & the system hangs.

Here are the drivers I tried.
TM5710_VGA ATi v.8.371

Thanks in advance.

dawar Says:
2008-09-07 15:53:51
well i have acer 5420-5038 its athlon x2 and its overheating

JOe Says:
2008-09-23 20:58:28
@Sridhar V

I put XP on mine too, the CPU and VGA drivers here worked for me:

AaronC Says:
2008-10-09 08:00:43
Well, here are my .02. I picked up my Extensa 4420 at Staples about 2 weeks ago. A couple of days in, while updating Vista I installed the newer ATI Radeon drives via Windows Update. After restart I got an error message that whatever I had installed had some kind of death inducing conflict with ATI Catalyst. THEN the keyboard quit working, the screen went black, and it died.

I was able to reboot and rollback the system to pre-ATI update, and things seemed to be ok. Then the black screens started. About once a day, and generally during WMV or similar streaming video use. I was especially p.o.'d when the Black SOD loomed large over the debate on 10/7/08. NPR's coverage filled in for 10 min while I shut down, rebooted, etc. I watch CNN's stream in the kitchen on the Extensa and this has caused the black screen a couple of times so far.

After googling up this great site (thanks to all posters above!) I checked my BIOS, it was already v1.18, so I left that alone and used the D2D recovery to get a fresh start. Per Max's post above, I removed anything to do with ATI Catalyst. Video gets weird, don't panic. Rebooted, and installed the Windows Update newest ATI Radeon drivers. Rebooted, and so far everything is great.

Another problem I was having that may be confused with/similar to this one is that I was getting "Windows was not shut down properly" errors and inability to wake up after closing the lid requiring a complete shutdown and reboot. After extensive trial and error post ATI fix, I have determined without a doubt (in my case) that this was caused by ReadyBoost. I had a 4GB PNY SD HC card installed with all 4GB avail to boost. Things did seem to be speedy, but for whatever reason sleep mode almost always resulted in a system freeze ended only my holding down the power button and rebooting. After stopping ReadyBoost, problem totally gone. Restart ReadyBoost, problem immediately back. I am able to insert card and use ReadyBoost and remove card before closing the lid with no issues if need be. I plan to just leave it out for now.

So that's my story. I hope some of that will help you resolve your issues. Thanks again all!

JOe Says:
2008-10-12 02:29:06
So guys, I've been in a fight with the Better Business Bureau (who are barely worth anything) the credit union, and Acer to get something done over this.

I sent my computer in to be fixed a few weeks ago, and it came back worse then when they sent it to me, granted the black screen happens way less often, but it still happens. They gave me an ATi Radeon X1200, compared to the X1250 I got when I bought it.
Their customer support is THE rudest people I have EVER spoken to in my life.

But in about two weeks I have a 'mediated conference' with a customer support rep of Acer. They keep telling me to send it back and they'll fix it, but they tried that once and it didn't work so we're giving up. So we're going to have this conference with them and either get a new computer back or, preferably, my money back.

So guys, I think the only way to ever fix this problem is if everyone gets in touch with the Better Business Bureau ( and files a complaint against Acer.

Eventually they'll help you through the process of getting in touch with Acer and fixing the problem somehow. Otherwise you're stuck with a computer that doesn't work.
I'll let you know how the meeting goes with Acer when it happens, it's scheduled for October 27th

AaronC Says:
2008-10-16 14:30:05
Follow up to my post on 10-9-08

It's now 10-16-08 and I've had no problems with my system since taking the actions described in my post above. I've purposely been using it as much as possible (few hours a day) and heavy on the video - and all appears to be well.

Fingers crossed.

Pe-nY Says:
2008-10-17 16:56:56
HI everyboody i also have an extensa 4420 AMD athlon dual core from Best Buy And never had problems whith blackouts it runs Vista Home premium 32 bit.
The only thing that sucks in this laptop I meen is battery life. Can somebody tell me about thier battery life in acer extensa ? ...

AaronC Says:
2008-10-20 07:12:03
My 4420 (same processor and OS) seems to get about2 hours of battery while running video. It gets a little more when just web browsing. I'm not impressed, but I use it almost exclusively in the house and for media, so there is always a plug available. I've been trying to use it with the battery disconnected to protect the battery from wear, but worry about the battery compartment being open. Wish there was a dummy that could be clipped in.

JOe Says:
2008-10-20 22:09:59
I get about an an hour and fifteen minutes when just web browsing.

With average laptop battery life being around 4 hours, I personally find this ridiculous unacceptable.

Jennilee Says:
2008-10-28 23:33:11
I've got an Acer Extensa 5420 and I've been having a different sort of problem. Every 8 weeks or so, my touchpad and keyboard just stop working at the Windows start-up screen. I have to plug in a USB keyboard and mouse to get into my Windows account. Then I see that i/o drivers and my sound are borked.

I downloaded some stupid driver update software in an effort to fix things, but instead ended up making things worse. The USB keyboard and mouse quit working too. So I had to do a system restore.

This is the third time I've had to do this and I've not even had my laptop 9 months. Can I send it back to Acer? I'm tired of re-installing my software and losing files (Though most of the important ones are backed up)

Ignacio Says:
2008-11-06 08:57:55
Hi there... Ive been havinf this kind of problem too. Mine is an Aspire 7530, the cause seems to be somehow related with heat.. I state this cause i got the laptop about 2 months from now. When i started using it (installing software and stuff) it gave me the gray screen once.... Then about 3 weeks from the first time it gave me another,, :S... But now.. as we are entering summer time here in Argentina (:P) the error comes about 3 times a week. I already tried setting the energy to 100% as was stated above, but it still crashes :S... Only 3 times a week... The thing is that, we are just entering summer... i wonder how my laptop will respond to the middle of it :S...

nblynch Says:
2008-11-09 21:11:16
Has anyone experienced overheating with the Extensa 5420?

Blainville Says:
2008-11-11 08:06:33
Aspire 6530 do the same black screen randomly, one time on the web an other time at doing nothing. Bought at BestBuy in Quebec Canada. It\'s not temperature related, it happen at around 40 degrees on the CPU. It did the problem 5 times in the first week, I bring it back to the store and they changed it. The second one do it also. And yesterday, the screen stuck white with vertical black bars. A problem like this might be the supply of the graphic witch is not stable or a problem inside the graphic chip. I will bring it back to the store before my 14 days ends up.

tom Says:
2008-11-11 23:33:43
yep i've experienced overheating with the extensa 5420 where the computer would turn off, this usually happens when i leave it on the bed, sofa, carpet, etc.

selarion Says:
2008-11-24 04:24:35
I bought my Acer Aspire 6530, used it for 5 days in which it randomly blacked out about 15-20 times (I use it quite often).. I ended up exchanging it at BestBuy and got a new one.. it's been about 10 hours since I've been using this new one and exactly the same thing happened twice already, and i expect the third time to happen while i type this post.. random black out, only way to get out of it is to hold the power button

im gonna return this soon and get myself a toshiba..

1SCS Says:
2008-12-11 14:56:04
Explain about this Windows Update ATI Radeon Driver. I have uninstalled my drivers and when I go to Windows Update, there are no driver updates. Where do I get a good driver that won't cause this??

Franklin J Says:
2008-12-15 02:18:04
Hi everyone, blah, what a story eh. To think we spend good money on this kind of technology to do great things with it and we end up spending all our free time trying to fix the problem in the first place.

Selarion and Blainville:

I too just purchased the Acer Aspire 6530, on Friday Dec. 12, 2008. I was amazed and the quality of this machine, was so happy. Then....duhn, duhn, screen! I was out Xmas shopping on Sunday, earlier that morning I set the laptop up to download some downloads and when I got back the entire system just starting acting up. I read all the posts here, about 2 hours worth of careful reading.
I'm not sure how this all applies to an aspire 6530 but I'll tell you now they certainly do not have any support drivers or updates on the Acer Canada site for this model and I hate to tinker with this without the right guidance let alone downloads.
Overall, I work hard and dream big, so when I buy a laptop it's gonna be put to good use. I'm out 699.99 CDN and have a chip on my shoulder with Staples in Moncton, NB. I've tried everything to get it going and in the end the screen goes blank and I can't do jack with this. I'm not impressed and am terribly disappointed.
I will return this notebook, after two days of using it sparingly, and request a full refund. I am officially moving away from Acer brands. I'll let you all know how this pans out.

I want to thank the host here for allowing us to gather and talk/share about our common problem. It's very difficult to find black screen issues on google as good as this place.

Nicholas Jackson Says:
2008-12-18 20:54:40
I have an Extensa 5420-5038, purchased in July 08 from CC. So far no problems to date...just got back from a 18 day trip to worked fine in the wifi spots in Dublin and Barcelona...and again on a cruise ship 12 days coming back to the states. The only problem I seem to be having is finding a extended battery for present I get a little under 2 hours on battery. It is running Vista Home Premium...have all the drivers updated with the freeware program....drivermax....

Leo O Says:
2009-01-12 01:41:20
Hi, first time browser to this site. I have an Acer Extensa 5420, I never had any issues with it, the only problem I have is the Acer elock Management fuction prompts me for a password in order to use the CD drive, card reader or any USB ports. I never set up this feature (I would remember if I did). Even when I tried to reformat the PC it keeps asking for a password. Please Help!

Ben B Says:
2009-01-15 18:32:53
Hi Guys, firstly i am so sorry to hear the grief some of you have gone through especially in the earlier posts. I have just purchased a second hand Acer Aspire 5610 that was sold as spares "blank screen on start up". Having spoken to the seller in more detail i found that he had gone through the same experience as most of you, i.e. ocassional blackouts progressively getting worse over time. So by my reckoning i had got a laptop at the worst stage of this problem. I am pretty competent with repairing desktops/laptops and have managed to repair this machine and have had no further problems.

So here's what i know....

Immediate thought when deciding whether or not this machine was worth buying was a fault with the RAM modules or a glitch/fault on the motherboard. Sure enough, tested RAM one stick at a time and found one stick had blown. To start off with i just used the one stick of RAM until i knew the everything else checked out.

Laptop now powered on however still had occassional issues with slowing down, and blank screening (very rarely). I checked over the motherboard for obvious faults i.e. bad connections etc, but found nothing. I then flashed the BIOS to the most recent version found via google search.

BEWARE - (i) Most of the BIOS updates come with full instructions, read them!!
(ii) If you have a UPS (un-interuptable power supply) then use it. If for whatever reason the power suddenly gets pulled away from a machine flashing a new BIOS, you might as well be turning your laptop into a (very expensive) paperweight.
(iii) Try and find the correct BIOS version in more than one place during your google search to ensure you have the right one, the wrong one will end up along the same lines as point (ii).

Once the BIOS was flashed i loaded a clean install of Win XP Pro, not a fan of Vista. After fully checking out Acer's disks that shipped with the laptop i DID NOT use them. Later after futher testing added 4gb of new RAM.

That's it, this Aspire has run smoothly ever since. I think there are definately some issues with the preloaded software that have caused some peoples headaches, and the RAM that was in the laptop (i think was the original RAM) didn't seem to be of the highest quality. Acer's idea of customer service is definately up there with that of a salesperson you have just said "no" to, i've found sites like this one are generally the best source of info. (thank you)

If i can help anyone else get to the same result i will try my best, however having read all of the posts there appears to be more than one common fault. P.S. this is not something that has just affected a batch of laptops, i also own a (you guessed it) Acer Travelmate 2700 that used to have similar problems.
Good luck to all of you still with issues!

Ben B Says:
2009-01-15 18:45:00
Leo O - If you are still having issues i think i can sort you out, although i need to know what operating system you are using to give you a correct walkthrough guide. I don't know if you are techie (i'm not being patronising) so if you don't know look under control panel then system or system info. :)

Alexis Fogg Says:
2009-01-18 18:12:30
Hey to all having the blackout problem, it is a simple fix, i feel sorry for those who have made exchanges, when the screen blacks out, find the BLUE Fn key next to the control button, press this down and keep pressing and while doing this, hit the F6 key twice, your monitor will light up again and will work just fine.

Ben B Says:
2009-01-19 07:27:13
Alexis - Thanks for the post. Certainly this may help a few people out, also worth mentioning that as well as doing what you suggested (turns backlight on/off) that people try holding function (Fn key) and repeatedly pressing F6 key. However reading the posts above and seeing that this problem has not been fixed by Acer tech guys, and they have even replaced many machines, it is unlikely that this is the problem for most people here. It was certainly something i checked and i have to believe that Acer's techies (however inept) also tried this as one of the very first checks.

Patricia Says:
2009-02-15 13:02:52
I also had an issue with my extensa within the first few days of purchase. I bought mine at best buy and they refused to fix it without charge since I had not bought the warranty. However, I called Acer customer service and requested the install discs to wipe out the hard drive and make it factory fresh. They sent me the discs free of charge and I wipe the hard drive and installed everything new. I have not had any issues since and have had my pc for over a year now. I think my issue was because mine was a display model and best buy had to remove some of their advertisement programs off of the computer and did something wrong. Since I work with computers, I was not afraid to try the fix myself. I probably did a better job than Best Buy would have done anyway.

Jess Says:
2009-02-23 12:59:58
I\'m struggling with this black screen right now w/my dad\'s Extensa 4420. The black screens had been happening sporadically over the past month (bought at Staples in October 08), but a hard reboot would usually bring the screen back (I thought he was jogging the power cord out of the port, actually, and the battery was dying on him without his notice).

However now I know I\'m wrong on the power cord thing (shame on me) - last week the thing just blackscreened for good and has seemingly died. I started googling and came upon this blog...holy crap. :(

The main problem for me is that the computer won\'t power up long enough to do anything, and the black screen never goes away, so power wouldn\'t help anyway.

With the battery in and direct current, the computer won\'t power on at all. Battery out with just direct current, I can get a green light on the power button, but the computer won\'t boot. It beeps softly and seems to try twice, then shuts off again.

Other than Vista updates, I haven\'t done anything with Bios or drivers - I would if I\'d known of these problems earlier, but now I can\'t get there from here, so to speak.

Haven\'t called Acer yet (UGH), since I want Dad to locate the dang receipt first, but I just wanted to add a voice here. Thanks to all above for posting their fix attempts and expertise.

It\'s really a nice computer otherwise, my dad\'s first ever (he\'s disabled and a recently reformed Luddite), so this is really disappointing for us.

Here\'s to a fix for all of us one of these days. :)

Valderama Says:
2009-02-25 06:53:15
I have Extensa 5620 which my company provided to some of my coworkers also. Both I and a coleague of mine have the same blackout problem as you all have. The simple solution is not to reboot the machine, but to press Fn+F6 (backlight). It seems that there is a HW problem with the display, and on some models, if you tilt the screen, the backlight goes out.

Jess Says:
2009-02-27 00:18:34
Tried that, Valderama. No love.

Emailed Acer, they suggested the 30second \'power drain\' to reboot, but while that gives me a brief power up, it still won\'t boot. They also said not to install any Acer drivers via Vista updates (ookay). But also told me if I\'ve got nothing working to send it in, which I\'ll be doing tomorrow.

Eric Says:
2009-02-27 13:03:26
I've had my Acer for over a year now (read: warranty is out). The blackouts started happening as soon as I got them, but I read somewhere that changing power options would help. I did that, and the frequency dropped off to where it was actually usable for almost a year (black outs every week or so...) and the value/cost justified the blackouts. However, I reformatted from Acer's partition (which is not anywhere near a real reformat, keeping all the possibly corrupt data on the E: drive and it's too quick to be a real reformat. All it did was essentially erase all the preferences I had changed in Vista. To my surprise, the blackouts came back with a vengeance, multiple times a day, even multiple times an hour. I tried the old tricks with no success. Now I'm getting incredibly frustrated. When I'm using Gmail chat, it will black out and it doesn't show I'm signed off, annoying many of my coworkers. When I'm working on a word document/excel spreadsheet, the most recent autosave doesn't always catch everything.

The worst part: sometimes it will just power off soon after rebooting and will continue to do so a couple of times. In addition, every once in a while it refuses to recognize my correct password at login, forcing me to restart for it to work.

I'm at the end of my patience with this computer. $500 got me roughly 14 months of service, the last 2 or 3 months being completely miserable. Unless there is some panacea for this problem, I am about ready to throw it off a roof, videotape it, and post it on YouTube, linking to any official Acer videos and posting it to Digg, making it very clear in the video that Acer has refused to acknowledge the problem's existence. I've called tech support multiple times with, "Did you know this problem is quite common?" and have always been told, "No, this is the first I've heard of it." Unless they have thousands upon thousands of tech support people such that each caller reaches a new Acer rep, I don't believe it. I've emailed Acer with links to these web pages with no response. Acer is not a well-established computer company in the US yet, and they are shooting themselves in the foot by not rectifying this.

I hope there is some real solution. BTW, this is the second time I'm rewriting this comment because it blacked out while I was doing it--don't have autosaves to help me here. I get more reliable internet access from my iPod Touch.

Jess Says:
2009-02-28 23:01:59
Is it bad that the UPS guy knew the Acer repair depot address by heart when I packed off the laptop yesterday?

PC Says:
2009-03-04 13:52:22
As I posted previously with my Acer I had the blackouts, sent it back to depot and got it back to find another blackout. I updated the BIOS, blackout. I replaced the RAM for 4GB of quality RAM and I have not seen any black screens thankfully!

Jessica Says:
2009-03-08 16:10:21
I have the Extensa 5420 purchased in Feb 08 from Best Buy. I posted about a year ago (when all the blackouts originally started) and in changing the power settings the blackouts all but disappeared. Now I have a new but very similar issue. It is with the power cord itself. The box will overheat and cause my compy to shut off. As long as I keep the power cord on my homemade cooling rack (a wire rack with an old power supply fan wired in) or run off battery power I do ok. I want to make clear this is not the laptop itself that is overheating but the AC adapter that connects to it. I have contacted ACER but haven't heard back yet (not that I really expect to.) Thanks to all that have contributed and I hope everyone can get their machine working again. :)

Jess Says:
2009-03-14 10:56:51
Got Dad\'s comp back a few days ago (all told we were without it for about a week). They replaced the hard drive and battery and reinstalled the OS and all seems okay after a few days of running, shutting down, powering up. No black screens to date. No charges as it\'s still under warranty.

So far so good. :)

Dan Says:
2009-03-18 21:09:29
Jess, I have a similiar problem with an Extensa 4420. When it goes into "sleep" mode, it's a crap shoot whether it will wake up. Sometimes it wakes up normally, sometimes it wakes up with a blank screen and nothing I do will bring it back.

At one point, I could just hard reboot, but lately sometimes it won't boot up again (tries twice like you said). That was really annoying, but fiddling with battery in/out, holding the power button down, etc would usually bring it around.

Three nights ago, it powered off permanently, or what it seemed like. no matter what I did, it wouldn't boot. I was just about to take it back to Best Buy when it magically came to life.

I know it's on its last leg. I guess I just need to take it back and home BB will do something about it.

Jess Says:
2009-03-21 16:04:52
Dan, firstly - condolences. Secondly - I skipped the retailer altogether and went directly to Acer about this, since I figured that was where it would wind up anyway.

I emailed them first:

Got a response, filled out form, mailed it in with a nice note outlining the problems. No communication other than an email that it was received and later shipped back with repairs done free since it was still under warranty. The tech handwrote what was done on my letter in addition to a print out of replaced parts and a further 90 warranty on the repairs.

I was expecting a fight (seems like standard operating procedure these days), but it was done with no complication at all for me...other than having to do it in the first place.

So - I hope you have a similarly simple experience getting this problem solved.

Been 2 weeks and the problem seems to have been resolved thus far. *hopes*

Good luck to you! :)

Dan Says:
2009-03-22 19:24:16

Thanks for the link. Went there and entered my serial number. I got this back:

According to our system, this unit was purchased from Best Buy.

"Best Buy is an Authorized Service Center for this Acer product, please visit your local Best Buy store for technical support and repair. "

Looks like I'm screwed... I can't wait to talk to the "Geek Squad" about this one.

First, I have to hope it "acts up" in the store. Right now it is highly intermittent. Then if/when it does, I have to be able to convince them that it has nothing to do with the software I am running (it's dual partitioned with Windows and Linux)... that it's a hardware problem that never makes it to software. I'm sure they will just blast the factory image back to the hard drive and tell me it's fixed. Ughhhh....

Jess Says:
2009-03-24 22:46:17

I got ours at Staples...and because it was such a crazy time (health issues), I honestly don't remember if I ever got around to registering for the Staples warranty...! I guess I didn't since they accepted our comp without delay.

Dan, in my email to Acer I also listed out many of the suggestions found here, none of which worked nor could be employed due to the comp's utter deadness. Might want to bring along a similar list to Best Buy? Just to put them on notice that it's not an isolated problem.

Godspeed. :)

PS: Here's the email I sent Acer, for what it's worth.

"We were very happy with the Extensa 4420-5239 until last month when sudden black screens began occurring with no rhyme or reason. Only a hard reboot would bring the normal Vista sign in screen back up, until last week, when a hard reboot no longer was possible: the computer wouldn't shut down at all, no matter how long the power button was depressed.

We disconnected the power cord and let the battery die overnight then recharge the next morning, but still no luck, in fact the computer would now not power up at all. Removing the battery and relying on direct current only will allow the computer to start, but it will not fully boot up (it seems to attempt this twice, beeping softly, then gives up and shuts down). And the black screen never goes away, so any BIOS or driver updates, or even booting in Safe Mode are not possible.

Holding down the Fn key and tapping F6 (backlight activation) during the attempted startups doesn't work. Nothing seems to work at this point, actually.

A simple Google search for 'Acer 4420 blackscreen' brings up many results for this very issue - it is not uncommon, apparently. Here are some of the suggestions I've seen for this problem (none of which I can use since I have no power or screen to try any of them):

- update the BIOS. This seems to be a major issue that has helped some, but not others.
- set processor power management settings to 100%.
- apply all most recent Vista updates (although this may be a cause too)
- remove Acer energy management software
- don't use the Vista AERO interface
- test RAM sticks, some are bad
- update ATI drivers
- apply the latest AMD cpu patches
- replace bad power chip on the motherboard

All we've ever done is allow Vista updates, never updated anything else driver or BIOS-wise. There's nothing on the machine that is out of the ordinary, it's basically as it was when we bought it.

There is now nothing I can do to even further troubleshoot this computer without a screen nor boot, so I request an authorization number to send it to Acer for testing, service, repair or replacement if necessary.

Thank you.


ratchet Says:
2009-04-04 06:45:05
Well it's been about 14/15 months with the 5420 from BB with no issues (I think). I made the mistake of reading the reviews from BB customers after I opened the box or I wouldn't have even purchased it. I did update the BIOS and vid drivers several times. It gets light use, usually doesn't even have the battery in it. I do have a question though! I've only ever installed applications as 32 bit, am I wasting performance by not using things at x64? I'm 61 so don't completely understand all of this. Thank You!

Cristian Says:
2009-06-01 11:18:12
The black out problem is happening to me with a new Timeline Acer 3810T. At least 10 times now. It is brand new and have tried to change the power save settings upgrade drivers and vista....doesn't mater...the problem does not go away. I will try to see if I can change it tomorrow for another brand laptop.....this is really incredible that Acer has this happening to many different models and has still not identified the problem.

Benjamin Says:
2009-06-06 12:46:16
hi guys I'm Ben and i have just spent an hour and 40 minutes reading this whole thread i seem to be having the same issue here with my acer extensa 5420 one difference in my laptop is that i have a bios edition 1.17 not 1.16 so i assumed that whatever fixes the issue in 1.16 would be included in the 1.17 bios so i did not flash back to 1.16 (and no i do not have a copy of 1.17 it was installed in my machine when i bought it :-( ) im going absolutely mad!

but i think i found out something else. i do not experience the screen blackout at random. I only experience it when the computer goes into hibernate or sleep mode and after i open the lid or try to wake the computer up i experience the same problem as you guys were it does not respond and the only way to shut it off is the hard boot. but when i put the computer to sleep without closing the lid via hitting fn + f4 the computer will wake up perfectly and i do not experience the problem.

im curious if anyone else has bios update 1.17 and knows a diffrent solution to the problem
thanks so much

DSpice Says:
2009-07-29 16:44:43
I have a client with an Extensa 5420 that was just dropped to me, black screen at start up, powers on, but quickly powers off within 10 seconds. I've known Dell laptops to do this and all it took was a little soldering to fix. But from reading about it looks like everyone gets the black screen after the computer has booted up? Has anyone found a solution. Acer of course won't admit to it being an issue, and this laptop is out of warranty. I am about to purchase a replacement mainboard, but wanted to see if there was any update to this issue, like a sure fix? Thanks

Joel Says:
2009-08-03 22:37:23
Omg Guys! I need your help! Whoever has Acer Extensa 5420-5670 (Vista Home Premium) Please Contact me @

I need your recovery ISO for my laptop. I installed another operating system and lost all my drivers, now I am constantly crashing every 30 minutes! Please help! I need it to run my laptop!

John Dubroc Says:
2009-08-10 02:40:59
Hi my name is John I bought my laptop last year in feb at BB in Houston. I have only had minor issues that wasn't a big hassle until yeasterday. It shut down on me and when it tries to boot back up it will get stuck on a black screen only showing the mouse pointer witout going any furter. I have left it like that for hours thinking it might eventually load windows but no luck yet. Anyone have any ideas or sollutions it would be greatly appreciated.


John Dubroc Says:
2009-08-10 08:42:01
To solve my problem I used the recovery disc for my 5420-5687 and it did the trick no more problems loading windows or freezes or having to reboot from black screen which was only a few times. But if you have the recovery disc from BB when you bought. boot from those disc and that should clear up any issues you might be having. Other than Geek squad and Acer jerking people around.

Sue Says:
2009-08-20 09:40:58
Just FYI if you are still trying to solve this given the date of your post. I had this problem too and fortunately got it in to be repaired with one day left on the warantee for it is a known problem of overheating of chip on motherboard and it is a faulty chip that they replace for free while on warantee.

Sal Says:
2009-08-28 22:29:33
ATI does not support Vista notebooks, however, you can install the desktop version driver for your graphics card by using MobilityModder. Do a google search for it and follow the instructions. Works perfectly and you won't be disappointed. This works best because you dont have to bother with Acer's out of date drivers from their site.

Jess Says:
2009-09-27 10:50:16
An update from me: after prolonged illness, my dad passed away in July. I wanted to make a slideshow of pics to show at the funeral luncheon, went to use his comp to do this screen again. Same issue as back in March.

I\'m throwing it away.

Michal Miksatko Says:
2009-09-30 20:58:30
Hi . I have a extensa 4420 which I bought last year and recently I was having same problem like many of you. When I turn it on it would flash hdd and cd light and after few seconds it shut down . Sometimes it would power up but more frequently it didn't. I red many posts and tried all possible but nothing worked . So I thought maybe there is a problem with CMOS battery . So as a last resort I took whole notebook completely a part. Look at the battery model , recheck ALL possible connectors to motherboard and pushed on them to make sure there are properly seated. After that a have put everything back together and tried to power it up . It came up right away without a problem. It has been two days and not a single problem. I tried to power it on and off more than 30 times ever since and it still works . That tells me that ether CMOS-battery or some connector to motherboard or maybe even memory was not seated properly . It may have got lose carrying laptop around. I hope it will help at least to some of you .
Please be careful if you decide to take the notebook a part .

Mark Says:
2009-11-17 21:14:13
Hey, I am an acer extensa 5420 user who also had the same problem with the laptop overheating and the laptop shutting itself down. I have had the problem since I bought it but decided that I would keep it because I liked other things about the computer. In time, the problem became progressively worse and more annoying, so I took matters into my own hands. Once downloading CoreTemp, a program that tells you the temperature of your CPU, I realized that the temperature of my CPU was way over the top(normal temp should be no more than 50 degrees celsius from what i've read, my CPU was running at over 100 degrees celsius at points, but mostly around 80 or 90). I decided to take the laptop apart and inspect the situation. Once I removed the fan I noticed a thick layer of dust that was cloth-like. After removing that and using an air duster, my temp runs on average at 40 degress celsius and max at 50. I haven't had any black screen since, and this was about 6 months ago.

Charles Says:
2009-11-27 06:01:08
hey guys, i have started reading all inputs from this thread since yesterday, for yesterday is when my black out problems started. bought my 5420 last march of 2008, never had this problem until yesterday. blacks out during reboot, blacks out when idle for few seconds, when powered up immediately goes to black screen, most of the times boots up fine and works great for hours, its just random. bios has always been 1.16 from out of box.
- i disabled aero
- set power management to 100 (both min and max)
- remove Acer empowering technology widget from startup
- upgraded bios to 1.17
- tried the drain energy trick
- tried with 2 battery packs
- tried with power cord and w/o batter
- reseat hardisk and memory cards

its still same thing, still getting the black screen - power button is lit up but no activity on harddisk

Anyone tried something unique that has worked so far?
any combination out there?

m mattei Says:
2009-11-28 21:02:31
Same problem with only a handful of hours on it. I'm presently writing this from my desktop since the laptop isn't working. My "MAC" little brother is just shaking his head at me and I hate it when he's right. Please, any solutions out there?

Mike Says:
2009-11-29 10:41:33
I had the same problem with my wife's. After several disassemblies, I noticed that my bios changes were gone each time that it black screened when it was powered up. So far so good on hers now. Took it apart one more time and installed a new CMOS CR2032 battery and all seems to be good. It's a pain because it's on top of the board and you have to take the display, keyboard, and palmrest off. We'll see if it comes back. BIOS on this one is 1.17 and none of the other changes worked for me.

Jayne S Says:
2009-11-29 20:16:55
I have had my Extensa 5420 since Feb 2007 and for the most part I truly love it - of course as soon as the warranty ran out the trouble started - it appears to continuously overheat. Not sure if it is the fan, the battery or the power cord. I went to Acer site and saw the recall on numerous Aspires for the same reason and sent an email to see if the problem was ocurring in the Extensas as well. The reply I got was - my warranty has expired and for "XXXX" amount of money I could purchase additional support and then they would answere my question????

Charles Says:
2009-12-07 07:24:51
I just noticed when i don't shut it down, (just hybernate) the problem doesn't seem to occur. Been 2 weeks now. I haven't tried reformatting it using the resource cd, i figured after trying that and the problem is still there, this is definitely a hardware issue.

chris Says:
2010-01-13 20:41:01
thanks alot for this!

Kevin Says:
2010-03-20 19:21:57
my computer will sometimes blackout when I am installing software anyone else has this problem.

Alex Says:
2010-05-05 12:38:31
The problem is with over hiting! The temperature rises up to 77 C (that's very hot for a cpu!!!) ... if it's over that, it shuts down.

Phil Says:
2010-05-11 16:44:11
I have an Extensa 5420-5687 that developed the \"Black Screen at Startup\" quite a few months ago. After trying everything I could find on the net including this great site.
Today I took it out dusted it off, and totally by chance I tried starting it with the CD drive door open (I was getting ready to place a disk in it. But hit the power button first, it suddently started. I then tried a restart (which never worked) and (still with CD drive opened) it started. I then shut down and cold started, it worked. Then I put the battery in and tried that, it too worked.
When the door was closed it went back to not starting again. Hope this might help somebody else

Jordan Says:
2010-10-09 14:05:36
Hello guys, I last posted here almost two years ago with screen blackout problem. I am here to regretable to inform that my extensa finally died. It was most poorly constructed piece of poo I ever have misforunate of owning. The motherboard on the laptop was completely fried due to overheating caused by dust blocking the only fan outlet. Of course, before the motherboard was fried, the cd rom drive also was broken, the letters from keyboard started to peel off. If anyone ever offer to sell or give you an Acer Extensa, just dump it to nears trash can. Honestly, it's not worth the trouble.

Oh by the way, I won't ever buy another computer from Acer again.

Jordan Says:
2010-10-09 14:09:10
Oh if anyone still has the blackout problem, another thing you could try is open the laptop and clean out the dust that accumulated on the fan. But make should you backup your data before you try that.

Good luck!

Ammar Says:
2010-10-10 10:25:37
I'm on an administrator account but I still get the "open flash.sys fail" error.


Alex Says:
2010-12-08 17:05:02
The laptop overheats - thats the problem.
I installed linux, lowered the cpu freq to 800mhz and the temp is 60-70 C. Never restarts

jc Says:
2010-12-11 01:57:27
how did you solve for the black screen start up???

Ole Laursen Says:
2011-05-10 03:10:50
After more than two years of freezes, I think I might have finally found my problem. If you take the laptop apart at the bottom and check the heatpipe cooling system, you'll notice that the CPU and GPU are not at the same level. So when you tighten the screws on the cooling plate, the it sits at an angle to the GPU, which means small contact area.

I've tried removing the gum-like cooling paste on the GPU and applying a layer of fresh cooling paste, thick in the end with the gap. Haven't had a freeze since then. If they come back, I'll try inserting a thin copper plate, maybe a coin, between the cooling plate and the GPU to bring it to the same level as the CPU.

Vicki Says:
2011-06-19 18:31:27
After freezing and black screen problems, I finally noticed my time wasn't correct on bottom right corner which is a sure sign the cmos battery needs changing. So I changed the cmos battery 2032 in mine, and hasn't had any problems since. Now whenever I close my lid, it comes right back on when I open it. Hope this helps someone!

Keith Rich Says:
2011-08-22 13:21:58
Hello guys!!

The solution to acer extensa 5420 black screen problem is to remove cmos battery (cr2032) and reseat it or replace it. The battery socket by designed is positioned upside down therefore the least little shift the battery might move out of place or fall out.
the design of the battery socket is flawed and needs to be changed by acer. I had the experience with a hp invent micr tower that could not start because of a slack battery (cr2032) terminal. the bios needs to be updated to v1.17 and the power option needs to be set to 100% on both min and max power.

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