Forget the Blue Screen of Death, there is another BSoD in town. Black screen issues in Windows 10 are the new bane of existence for some computer users. But the black screen problem isn’t anything new. It has been around for ages. What makes the black screen so ominous is the utter lack of any error messages. There are no clues to the problem, just darkness. The following tutorial will help you troubleshoot and fix your black screen issues.

black screen

What Causes The Black Screen Of Death

We’ve all seen it. But what causes the black screen of death? In most cases the black screen is caused by software. But in some cases it can be caused by hardware, such as a faulty or disconnected cable preventing the signal from being displayed on a monitor. Or if you have a laptop that has a black screen upon boot, you might have a bad back light in the LCD.

You might also see a black screen with a flashing cursor. This could indicate a device connected to the computer is faulty or that your boot option has changed from the hard drive to another device. Try removing any external devices connected to the computer and see if this fixes the issue.

The computer might also be choosing a display that doesn’t exist. If you feel you have booted into the Windows environment, try hitting the Windows key + P to cycle through your display options. You may need to do this several times before anything appears on the screen.

You might ultimately need to download a Windows 10 USB media to reinstall or repair your current installation. You can get the media directly from Microsoft if you have a valid product key.

Fixing A Black Screen On A Laptop

If your laptop has a black screen, try the following:

  1. Reboot the machine. Do you see anything in the beginning, such as the BIOS screen before it goes black?
  2. Do a hard reboot by holding down the power button. While this is not normally recommended, this will shut down the laptop if it has fallen into a hibernation mode it cannot recover from.
  3. If the laptop is in a docking station, confirm the docking stations power adapter is connected.
  4. If docked, try undocking the laptop and restart it.
  5. While powered off, remove the battery and power adapter. Open the lid and hold down on the power button for twenty seconds. Replace the AC adapter and battery and try powering on again.
  6. Use a VGA or HDMI cable and hook the laptop up to a TV or monitor to test an external screen. If the external screen works, you likely have a defective back light on the LCD panel.
  7. If you get no external display, confirm the video input is set correctly on the monitor. For example, if you are using an HDMI cable, make sure the monitor’s input is set to HDMI.

Fixing A Black Screen On A Desktop

  1. As with a laptop, reboot the machine or perform a hard shutdown, if necessary.
  2. Try connecting the desktop to a second monitor or a TV to confirm the monitor is not bad. If you have a different cable, try that, as well.
  3. Check the input on the monitor to make sure it matches the cable type. If you are connecting with a VGA cable, the input on the monitor should be set to VGA.
  4. Disconnect any USB drives connected to the desktop and restart the computer.
  5. If your desktop has both an integrated graphics card on the motherboard and an add-on graphics card, try switching to the other graphics port and see if the screen comes up.

Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Booting into Windows 10 Safe Mode will enable you to go in and undo any changes that might have caused your black screen issues.

  1. Restart your PC. When you get to the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key down while you select Power, then Restart.
  2. Choose an option screen following the reboot.
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  4. Your PC will reboot again and you will be presented with a list of options. Select 4 or F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode With Networking.

If you are able to get into Safe Mode With Networking, this could indicate a bad graphics driver. Visit the graphics card manufacturer’s website and download the latest graphics driver and install it. If you are already running the very latest, try rolling back the driver.

Type Device Manager into the search box and then expand the Display adapter option. Right-click on your adapter, select Properties, and then click the Driver tab. Next, click the Roll back driver option to revert to the previous graphics driver. Reboot the computer to see if this corrected the black screen problem.

If none of these techniques fix your black screen issue, try our other computer troubleshooting tutorials.