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black screen

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I am trying to fix a dell system owned by me parents. The monitor screen is black pretty much all the time. If you toggle the power button, the screen display comes one and looks fine, you can even move the cursor and click on programs, etc but only for about 3 seconds before the screen goes black. You can do this over and over and eventually make your way to system restore but in the end, a message appears saying that you can't restore to that point. I have tried 7 or 8 different restore points to no avail. Booting in safemode also doesn't work, the computer does boot to safe mode but with the same black screen problem as in normal mode.

Any ideas?
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