I fired up the computer to start my day off checking me email, and my primary monitor stayed dark. At first, I though the display had died, or that the graphics card might have been the culprit, but Windows recognized that the monitor wasn't working and switched the primary display to my second monitor. (That's very cool programming, by the way.) I did some basic troubleshooting, including pulling up the device manager and discovered that the computer didn't see the monitor as a plug and play compatible monitor and had loaded a generic driver for that monitor. The second monitor was still recognized as the Viewsonic monitor and it was using the right driver.
I swapped the monitors between ports on the graphics card, and the problem moved with the monitors. I swapped the primary with the secondary monitor using the Windows controlpanel, and then using the nVidia control panel and the problem stayed with the same monitor. At this point, it was clear to me that the problem was with the monitor so I called tech support.
First there was the communication gap. I speak English as a first language. The nice young man on the other end of the call did not.
Second, I understand basic troubleshooting. The nice young man on the other end did not.
He tried to tell me that the problem was probably with the driver and wanted me to download the most current one. I explained to him that I had two identical monitors on the computer. Both monitors were using the same driver. One monitor worked; the other didn't. Obviously, it wasn't a driver issue. Following his script, he insisted that I download and install the latest driver.
I called back and got another tech support rep. This time she was a nice young woman who had trouble with the English language. I explained the situation to her, including the fact that I had updated the drivers, swapped monitors and cables and that the problem followed the monitor. Her suggestion was to try the monitor on another computer. I explained to her that I had already accomplished that step of trouble shooting by placing the monitor on another port of the video card. She insisted that I had to try the monitor on another computer to verify that it was a monitor problem.
I did it.
The monitor still didn't work.
I called tech support again and got the young lady again. I explained what I had done, and said I needed to return the monitor for service since I had proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the monitor was defective. Apparently, I hadn't done enough. She wanted me to get another cable and see if that fixed the problem.
Seriously? A cable?
I explained that I had already changed cables when I changed computers, and again when I had changed ports on the graphics card earlier, but the cable must have been the next thing in her script because she wouldn't move off of it. I finally asked her to escalate the call because it as clear that she had no understanding of the situation, and relatively little knowledge about how a computer works. She agreed to escalate the call and promised that I would hear from Viewsonic within 48 hours.
Two days later, and nothing.
So I called tech support once again, and told the person, who spoke American English very well, that I wanted a return authorization number so they could fix the monitor, and asked him why I hadn't heard from them within 48 hours as promised. He read through my file, agreed that I should have gotten a call back, issued the RA, and asked me a serious of specific,detailed questions about the symptoms and my system configuration. I gave him the operating system, the CPU, the graphics card,and the monitor model. I told him I was running two identical monitors on the system, the one worked, and the other didn't. I told him that I had moved the monitor between ports on the graphics card, and onto another computer running a different operating system. I told him that I had downloaded the most current driver and installed it. Through all of this, the problem stayed consistently with one monitor.
He listened carefully, took good notes, and said he was going to put this problem to the senior tech support guys, because it was something very unusual. He promised an email within a day or two to let me know what they came up with. That was on Sunday. Wednesday, I got the following email:
Dear Mr. Hailey,
Thank you for contacting ViewSonic Customer Support.
In regards to your current case number C987318, we have heard back from our technicians about the issue of your monitor not being identified as a plug and play monitor. What they suggested is to uninstall all the monitor drivers on your computer and restart the system to install the actual drivers for this monitor.
If this does not correct the issue please contact us again so that we can further assist on this issue.
Thank you for allowing us to assist you.
John ViewSonic Customer Support.
This from the best guys they have. Once again, for the slow students in the room, I have two identical monitors running on this system. One works no matter where it is plugged in; the other won't work no matter where it is plugged in. This cannot be a driver issue. Period.
I'm shipping the monitor back tomorrow.
Now here's the best part. My other monitor? It did the same thing about 8 months ago. I called Viewsonic tech support and the guy I talked to recognized the problem instantly, said it had happened on a lot of monitors of that model, and gave me an RA instantly.
I guess he left the company and took all the brains with him.
So, when it comes time to replace my monitors, it's a fair bet that they won't come from Viewsonic.