Here's how. I connect up some VGA display and set the video mode to say 1920x1080. Now I shut down and connect up a 1020x768 VGA display. In most cases what you wrote will happen.

No bad hardware at all. But I find folk no longer command the machines. That is, this is easy to correct by booting Safe Mode and setting the video mode there. And here's the problem, while Safe Mode is part of what we use to troubleshoot with, I find folk often respond with what is Safe Mode or ask how to change video modes. If you are going to get into repair use the web to fill in these basic areas.

You'll get there much faster.

If you suspect the hardware then try Linux next time as it's better at machine support out of the box.

-> Oh, another Windows nutty thing. If you have a machine with more than one video system say onboard and card, Windows may boot and show on one then switch to the other. Fun way to mess up a new tech.