white screen fading to grey on power-on, does not display BIOS

Hi everybody. I am running win7 64x on a 14-month-old advent 5401 laptop, though I upgraded from vista at christmas time. since then this error has occured 3 times, but the first 2 times it seemed to resolve itself after a while of being shut off (the second time was this morning and I still didn't get the hint that I should backup while I had the chance, d'oh!). Basically, the computer freezes while I'm doing something not particularly CPU-intensive like browsing the internet or writing an essay (!) and I have to power-off using the button on the laptop. When I turn the power back on the screen is completely blank and does not even reach the BIOS screen nor make any typical beepy noises, although the fan does start up as if it were booting normally, but then one half of the screen begins to fade to grey - this is pretty much split right down the middle. Eventually the entire screen fades to black and turns itself off.

The first time this happened I walked to the library to get online to run a search and by the time I had got there the laptop was working again. The second time was this morning as I have said, and it started working again after I went to cook some noodles. About an hour ago it happened once again just as I was finishing up some work on Word. Fortunately the doc is backed up on dropbox.

I am not sure if this is a hardware or software problem because the screen does not immediately shut off like it might if it were disconnected somewhere internally. I have spent a while looking for answer to this issue on several forums and only once did I find someone who seems to have a similar problem, and they got absolutely no replies and the thread self-locked. I would greatly appreciate any help as it is right in the middle of exam period and this is NOT a good time to lose one's access to the net!

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I've just had another go and it responds to the fn+brightness key commands (i.e. screen goes darker and lighter on command), but it does not play audio or anything that usually happens when powering up. This is leading me to think that it may be a hardware issue after all. Just a thought. Any help still appreciated of course :)

Sounds like possibly a graphics card issue. With the previous problems you say you've had, your graphics card might be overheating which might cause it to shut off. Like you said, it might temporarily resolve by leaving the computer off, the card cools down. If it happens enough though, it will just fry something on the video card and will no longer work.

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