You've heard of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), a common Windows error screen that appears when you encounter a system error. But the B. in the BSOD doesn't always stand for blue.
A black screen of death can prove to be more difficult to resolve because it does not display an error message. It's just a black screen, often with a moving mouse pointer, but no other Windows features.
Here are some common black screen of death causes and solutions.
What causes the black screen of death on Windows 10?
Various problems can cause the black screen of death. In this guide we give you solutions to the most common causes:
Incomplete Windows 10 installation
Software and driver errors
All of these can cause a Windows computer to get stuck on a black screen. Any Windows 10 computer can suffer from this problem – desktop or laptop. Even a Microsoft Surface Pro can have a black screen of death.
Fortunately, almost all Black Screen of Death cases can be resolved.
Install Windows 10 and the Black Screen of Death
When you install Windows 10, whether you are upgrading from a previous version or to a formatted hard drive, errors can occur.
Below that is the Windows 10 Black Screen of Death, which in this case can occur if:
- The setup is still in progress: In this case, check to see if the HDD LED is blinking. Setup is likely still running but slow, possibly due to the age of the computer. Windows 10 should be installed within a few hours in most cases.
- Setup is stuck: If this happens and there is no hard drive activity, turn off the computer by pressing and holding the power button for five seconds. Unplug all non-essential peripherals and turn them back on. Setup should restart. If it doesn't and you're upgrading from an old version of Windows, try using the media creation tool to install.
- A device driver has failed: In this case, restart the computer in Safe Mode. For more information, see the "How to Fix a Black Screen of Death in Safe Mode" section.
If you install Windows 10 and hit a black screen of death, you might be stopped from moving on. If that's the case and you're using old hardware, consider a free alternative operating system.
A black screen after the Windows 10 update
On Windows 10 systems, a black screen of death can be caused by an incomplete Windows update.
Usually the system is restarted as part of the update and a login screen is displayed. After entering your password, your Windows 10 PC is stuck on a black screen after signing in.
The mouse responds; You may see some desktop icons. There is no system tray. In short, Windows 10 has a black screen.
To fix this problem, simply press and hold the power button on your PC or laptop to turn off the computer. A cold start should cause the system to start properly. If not, check out our tips on how to restore Windows 10.
Software error causes black screen on your PC
A black screen error is often caused by a software bug. This is most common when you are working with a program that takes up your entire screen. Typical culprits are PC games or media players running in full screen mode.
In these cases, the computer should appear to be working fine. The diagnosis should be easy to reproduce. Simply launch the program for a game or media player and view it in full screen mode.
However, solving the problem can be difficult. If the problem is in the software, there may not be a solution. You can try to fix the problem by running the program at a different resolution.
Also try running the software as an administrator. If that doesn't help, it may be time to update the software. If that doesn't work, you may need to revert to an older version of Windows for this app. Use another computer if you have one or install a previous Windows operating system in a virtual machine.
When a black screen of death is just a display glitch or bad connection
Video glitches are another common cause of the black screen of death. No video output means a black screen no matter what the problem. Windows might even present a blue screen of death – but you would never see it!
Check your video connection before you get too worried. Make sure that both ends of your DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort cable are secure and that the cable is not damaged.
Have you just updated your monitor? If so, make sure your connection can handle the resolution. Some versions of DVI and HDMI cannot handle resolutions above 1080p.
If these simple solutions don't work, you are likely having problems with video adapters. If you have a discrete graphics card, remove the card and switch to your motherboard's built-in video.
Is your monitor working? Then the problem is with the graphics card. Try updating to the latest available driver version, or if you did recently, revert to an old driver. Also, check the graphics card for any obvious signs of a defect, such as: B. a defective fan or charred electronics.
However, if the monitor does not work when connected to built-in graphics, there may be a monitor problem. Check this by connecting to another computer. If the monitor works with another PC but not yours, there is likely a hardware problem elsewhere that is affecting the graphics card.
Your Windows black screen error could be related to the motherboard, power supply, or hard drive.
Overheating can lead to Windows black screen errors
All computers generate heat. This heat has to be dissipated in order to keep the system running. High temperatures can block and damage components. Fortunately, computers are built to shut down before this happens.
Overheating usually results in an odd black computer screen, which may or may not be followed by a restart.
In many cases, overheating is caused by the graphics card or processor. As mentioned earlier, if you get a black screen when the computer otherwise appears to be working (the fans are on, the hard drive indicator is on, etc.), suspect the graphics card is on.
When the processor has overheated, the black screen usually results in a restart or an automatic shutdown of the PC.
Often times, overheating can be fixed by opening the PC and cleaning the cobwebs. Use a vacuum to suck up any obvious dust (avoiding internal wires, of course). A can of compressed air can remove stubborn dirt. Also, check that all fans are still working and replace any fans that are not working. If the problem persists after following these steps, you may have a defective cooler or graphics card and / or processor.
Fix a black screen of death in safe mode
Hardware and driver problems leading to a black screen of death can be fixed in Safe Mode.
If your computer hangs with a black screen:
Restart the computer
Stop F8 or Shift and F8 to start the computer in Safe Mode
Can't you enter Safe Mode this way? Turn the computer off and then on again during the Windows splash screen. On the third attempt, the system will automatically start in Safe Mode.
In Safe Mode:
click Expanded options then Troubleshooting
From here go to Advanced options> Startup Settings> Restart
Choose option 4, Activate Safe Mode
Wait for Windows Safe Mode to start
After booting, press Windows + X.
Select from the Quick Link menu Device manager
Expand Show adapter Then right click and choose Deactivate
Restart the computer to start installing Windows 10 again
If successful, run Windows Update to download the latest device drivers and resolve the black screen of death issue.
Computer stuck on a black screen? Check the power supply
A faulty power supply unit (PSU) can cause your PC to hang with a black screen. But how can you fix a black screen of death caused by the power supply?
Finally, power supply problems can be difficult to diagnose. A process of elimination can usually find the problem, but this can take some time. If you've already checked other hardware and none of the components have overheated, the power supply is likely a culprit.
In some cases, the power supply may not even be faulty. Upgrades to power-hungry new graphics cards or processors can affect the power supply. In short, your computer is not receiving enough power.
The only way to know for sure by swapping out the power adapter Since this is a last resort, work through the other solutions first.
Fix death black screen using these tricks
The black screen of death is usually caused by a software bug (or Windows Update), but it can often be repaired.
Black screens that appear to appear randomly are usually the result of a more serious hardware problem. This requires repair or replacement of the components. In either case, there is almost always a solution.
11 tips to fix Windows 10 blue screen error
What is a blue screen in Windows? How do you fix blue screen errors? Here are some fixes for this common Windows problem.
About the author
(1464 articles published)
Deputy Editor for Security, Linux, DIY, Programming and Technology explains. He also produces The Really Useful Podcast and has extensive desktop and software support experience.
Christian writes articles for Linux Format magazine and is a Raspberry Pi hobbyist, Lego lover and retro gaming fan.
By Christian Cawley
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter to receive tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive offers!
One more step …!
Please confirm your email address in the email we just sent you.