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A Monitor Firmware Update Story - Samsung SyncMaster 300 is reborn!
#1
This is going to be a long story.  My brother in law had challenges with his 2012 PC - a decent i7 Dell Inspiron.  For the last two years every now and then the monitor would be "dark".  So when he took it to a computer shop to check out, for the last two years every few months they would fix something in the computer that they thought was responsible for the dark screen of the monitor.  Some of the theories were the memory was corrupting due to issues with the mother board.  I was in Canada at the time.

More current, the same thing happened a couple of months ago, it got one of the fixes again.  So when the monitor went dark again last week, I recommended my brother in law who had lost trust in his computer to go to another computer shop for a second opinion.  Long story short, based on the previous theories of the other computer shop, recommendation was to ditch the computer.  The computer shop suggested that my brother in law buy a pre-built computer (a no-brand imported from China) and the idea was that the content of his "old" computer would be ghosted on the pre-built computer.  Expectation was he would get a computer that would be a clone of the "old computer", i.e. with Windows 7, and with his Windows 7 Microsoft Games, which is one of the main reasons he wanted to stick with Windows 7.

Long story short, today my brother and law asked me to help him "unbox" his new computer.  And guess what.  After we connected everything, the monitor had a dark screen. Tongue  So I then got my brother in law to march to the computer store with monitor, cable of monitor and computer so the computer shop could see what we see.  The computer shop technician "with great authority" said that the monitor VGA unit of the monitor was faulty.  We could take the monitor for fixing somewhere, but no doubt it would flare up again soon.  So the recommendation was to get a new monitor.  My brother in law and I then checked out a few monitors and thankfully he didn't buy one immediately as he didn't have his credit card with him. He planned to do the purchase the next day (tomorrow). I then asked him, since the monitor had been written off as defunct, whether I could take it home with me and check it out. Both of us thought that it was a faulty monitor and I wouldn't fix it, but I wanted to know exactly what was up (for fun). 

So this is what I did.  I checked the monitor info - Samsung Syncmaster SA300.  I then checked VGA digital only and nothing came up.  I kept Googling deeper and deeper until I found a discussion where someone thought to load Firmware and it had worked for him.  The suggestion had a great response from others with the same monitor and exact same problem.  I then connected the "defunct" monitor with its VGA Cable to an old laptop of mine that I didn't care much about - a 2011 Thinkpad.  I then was able through Control Panel of Windows 7 on the laptop to see that the laptop detected the Samsung Monitor.  So now I understood that this Monitor is maybe not as "defunct" as the computer shop thought it was.  Next I went to the Samsung Website downloads section, keyed in the Monitor info, and downloaded the Firmware Update that was available for the Syncmaster SA300.  I still can't believe how easy it went.  I just clicked on the .exe firmware link after it had been downloaded to the laptop, and during the install process the laptop identified the exact monitor the firmware had to be loaded to.  The monitor then shut off after the upload of the firmware and when I turned it back on, the screen was fixed.  A magic fix!

This is still not the end of the story.  So I let the computer shop know I'd fixed the monitor.  At that time I (with my brother and law through the computer shop) still thought the old PC was "defunct". Following the "fix", I took the monitor to my brother and law so we could check the "new" PC.  We were happy and relieved he didn't have to buy a new monitor and were looking forward to a spiffy new computer.  Wow, the colors of that monitor are  awesome.  Like a SyncMaster reborn.  BUT, when we started the new PC it wasn't a cloned PC.  Not sure what it was.  First view was a pop-up of Microsoft Teams.  Which had never been used by my brother in law before and was never downloaded on his old computer before.  Then after that a Skype pop-up that obviously was freshly installed and added to the startup, whereas I had helped my brother in law remove Skype from the startup before.  There was also a 30-day Norton Anti-Virus trial software that didn't belong to the old PC.  But worst part was when we clicked on the games shortcut, it showed a popup that it had trouble with graphics and something about hardware acceleration problems.  This error message didn't want to go away and the Games Window was completely spoilt - it didn't want to come up as it is supposed to.  

I then phoned the technician of the computer shop and we moved to TeamView.  Initially he tried to make us believe that the link was looking for software in the old computer. I was watching all of his moves in TeamView and then realized this guy was fumbling in the dark.  Then just to make things more suspenseful, the technician somehow got the Windows 7 updates going (whereas in the previous "defunct" computer they had not been automatic but "let me choose").  So when we logged out and in, 194 updates had to be loaded during log out, then configured when we logged in again, Windows 7 did not like it, the configuration was rejected by Windows 7 and had to revert to the previous version again.  Another long wait.  And so after all of that imagine how frustrated we were when the original pop-up looking for the graphics card was still there.  The technician finally admitted the truth that the new PC graphics card was intended for use with Windows 10, not Windows 7.  The computer shop should never have suggested that my brother in law get a new PC for Windows 7.

Any way, at the point where we realized that the new PC was not meant to work with Windows 7 graphics card, I gave up and just for the fluke of it (exactly like with the "defunct" monitor in the morning) decided to hook up the old "defunct" PC with the "supposed to be defunct" monitor that had been fixed with firmware.  Not sure what the technician had done to it, but Windows initially had serious issues when I turned on the old PC, but it was alive and kicking and absolutely no issues with the monitor.  Wow, the miracle of Windows!  It offered to repair itself to the last time it was working OK, and I went along with it.  And it worked.  My brother in law's old "defunct" PC is alive and well.  Everything works, games, printer, sound, everything.  Better than ever before.  So I guess tomorrow my brother in law and I will be returning this new PC and asking for return of at least the cost of the PC.  My brother in law had to pay a huge sum for the tech cost of transferring the data (ghosting) that was so very badly done - but at minimum he wants his money back for the new PC.

So many lessons learned today.  A frustrating but at the same time very educational day.
Terminal
Thank you to Post4VPS and VirMach for my awesome VPS 9!  
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#2
Quote: For the last two years every now and then the monitor would be "dark". So when he took it to a computer shop to check out, for the last two years every few months they would fix something in the computer that they thought was responsible for the dark screen of the monitor. Some of the theories were the memory was corrupting due to issues with the mother board. I was in Canada at the time.

More current, the same thing happened a couple of months ago, it got one of the fixes again. So when the monitor went dark again last week, I recommended my brother in law who had lost trust in his computer to go to another computer shop for a second opinion. Long story short, based on the previous theories of the other computer shop, recommendation was to ditch the computer. The computer shop suggested that my brother in law buy a pre-built computer (a no-brand imported from China) and the idea was that the content of his "old" computer would be ghosted on the pre-built computer. Expectation was he would get a computer that would be a clone of the "old computer", i.e. with Windows 7, and with his Windows 7 Microsoft Games, which is one of the main reasons he wanted to stick with Windows 7.

Long story short, today my brother and law asked me to help him "unbox" his new computer. And guess what. After we connected everything, the monitor had a dark screen.

How to, as a computer tech store, rip off money from customers that don't know much about computers and tech - 101.

That computer store... I highly doubt they diagnosed things properly. All they were after was probably the money.

Desktop computers almost never or very rarely drive things like the brightness of a computer monitor (notebooks are a different thing and even on notebooks the brightness of external screens cannot be controlled). So selling a customer a new computer when the monitored used clearly seems to be having an issue is a absolute money grab action. Pretty much like nowadays car mechanics start changing parts randomly in cars when issues start to happen... this is causing costs and not resolving the actual issue that will come back after some time again. WHY? They don't do the proper diagnosis or partially even lack the knowledge. Same with that computer shop.

Reading your story further confirms that your brother in law should NOT go to that place ever again. This kind of people hurt the reputation of many other hard working and professional small computer tech stores. Sloppy work, wrong diagnosis, only looking to sell and etc. all signs for a bad computer tech store in terms of service and support. Now if they would have admitted everything straight from the start there would actually be no issues since everyone can make mistakes but charging the customer over and over, letting him buy a new computer, paying a lot of money for that "ghosting" and still not having fixed the actual issue... no way this is in good faith.

I'm sorry you and your brother in law had to go through such unprofessional piece of PC workshop.
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#3
@Hidden Refuge  Thx for your feedback that hit just the right notes.  It was exactly the conclusion of my brother and law and I as well.  This morning we went to ask for money back and return of "new computer". Based on that the Windows 7 system ghost was unsuccessful and should never have been attempted on a new PC that has been created for Windows 10.  We could probably have started a war, but decided to go the "nice" way.  The owner of the computer shop apologized over and over again.  He doesn't want to take back the computer though.  And wants to compromise with going the route of changing the mother board of the "new computer" to resolve the issue of the graphics card that Windows 7 can't talk to.  I'd like to see what the end result is going to be.  Both my brother and law and I are feeling sorry for the staff who are involved.  It's tough times and no doubt their jobs are on the line.  The invoice said no exchanges allowed, but in South Africa there is a law that allows us to return goods that have been sold in the circumstances they have been sold to my brother in law.  It was a tough decision, but my brother and law chose not to go the "law" route for now and give them a chance to redeem themselves.  The owner in his "sales speech" for this compromise route said that once they've completed the ghosting we will have a meeting to check whether it is as we want to have it. My brother in law also thinks that since the Dell Inspiron is old (2012) it may be a good idea to have the new computer as a backup. And the owner as well as staff seem to be very alert to want to make it work, so hopefully all of it will work out OK.

Must say however this experience rattled both my brother and law and me. I guess on the positive side though I learned a lot. And when I was thinking about this during the day in the back of my mind, I was wondering how my experience here at the Forum and learning from people like you about Googling things and doing one's research contributed to fixing the monitor.
Terminal
Thank you to Post4VPS and VirMach for my awesome VPS 9!  
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