Re: Trouble with connecting external monitor...
1) DVI or VGA? Since you mentioned screw connectors not being there, I'm assuming VGA (my dv9700t doesn't have them either). Try turning the monitor off and back on. If that doesn't work, try reconnecting it. Also try changing display settings, setting it as the primary monitor, setting it as the only monitor, etc.
2) You can't upgrade the graphics card in a laptop. Laptops have no miniature PCIe slot equivalent for the graphics card, the chip is just built into the motherboard, along with the CPU, RAM slots, networking hardware, sound, keyboard/mouse controller, and everything else. This is why you should always make the jump and pay the extra money for the nicer graphics card when you buy the laptop, as you can't upgrade that part later (RAM and hard drive, on the other hand, are easily replaceable, so don't make these a priority when buying a new laptop, you can always buy more RAM or a bigger HDD on Newegg).