I've come across a friends acer laptop whose 15'' screen has partially stopped working. I say partially because only about 2/3 of it displays windows properly without issue, which is shrunk to fit this diminished size. The other third remains black, no streaky lines or anything that would indicate physical damage, and my friend assures me that it was just like that one day after he booted it up. The diminished size is shown throughout the POST and even on an alternate OS (i loaded up a Linux distro).

Is this problem hardware related (which I'm beginning to fear) or can this some freaky BIOS or software issue (which I doubt) that can be fixed by updating the BIOS or re-installing windows?