How to fix black screen problem on Windows 10?

Windows 10 is a great operating system with many amazing features and proven reliability. However, it is still a software developed by humans, so it has its flaws thus various unexpected errors might happen from time to time. One of those errors we all are truly afraid of is a black screen on your computer. Why? Because we don’t know what caused the problem and the system does not show us any error messages, so it gets a bit hard to understand where to start troubleshooting.

A black screen can be caused by a lot of different things on your Windows 10 computer. For example, your video card driver is not working properly, or there is a problem with the display, or maybe something went wrong when you were installing the operating system, or applying the latest updates. Sometimes it just happens randomly.

Today we are going to discuss this common problem and explain what you can do to troubleshoot and get rid of the black screen on your machine.

How to fix black screen on my computer?

If you got a black screen while installing the operating system, don’t rush to bad conclusions. Depending on your computer specs and data on the device, the process might still be active, working very slowly, so you don’t see any progress. It may take up to several hours to finish the process.

In this scenario, the best choice you can make is just to wait – an hour or two. However, if it takes more than 3 hours, it is highly likely that the installation procedure is stuck. When that happens, you need to shut down your computer completely. You can hold the power button for 10 seconds or so to force shutdown your device. When it is done, you need to unplug the power cord as well.  

When you get a black screen on a Windows laptop in a similar situation, we recommend you to remove the battery for a quick shutdown. Alas, not all laptops have easily removable batteries.

When your device is completely deactivated, it is time to get rid of all non-essential peripherals connected to it. This includes printers, secondary monitors, network cables, phones, game controllers, and external storage devices. Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters is also a good idea. In the end, you should have only three things connected to the PC: display, keyboard, and mouse. Wait about one minute or so, then plug the power cable back in and attach the battery. Leave all previously connected peripherals aside, then turn your computer on.

In case it was just a small error during the installation, the process will be resumed and should complete successfully. When you get to the Windows 10 desktop, you can bring back all previously disconnected peripherals and devices.

If installation again, you need to keep all disconnected peripherals as it is and try to install Windows 10 updates manually again. If you got the black screen error during upgrading to Windows 10, try doing the same one more time but with a bootable USB flash drive.

Check all your video connections

It seems to be a very simple solution, but sometimes a faulty connection might result in a black screen. Your display just cannot receive the signal from your PC, so it shows only a black screen. If you have this problem on a desktop computer, you should check two main cables connecting the display with a power outlet and your computer.

Another reasonable idea is to switch to another video output. Video drivers can behave irrationally and often can try sending video signals to a different port for no particular reason (those ports are usually VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, Thunderbolt).  

Most computers and some laptops as well have discrete graphics cards, but modern processors also have integrated video cards. You can try to switch between those two to check the state of your discrete graphics card. Maybe it is something wrong with it.

If you are 100% positive that your graphics card is doing ok, maybe your display is to blame. If possible try to connect your computer to another monitor. If everything goes well with another monitor, then you have your culprit.

When your computer cannot detect the display, press the combination of Win key and P (Win+P) on your keyboard, then press P again, and hit Enter. Repeat this to cycle between all available screen options.

If you got a black screen after connecting your computer to a TV, be sure that your TV is turned on and that the correct input is selected.

Try waking up the display

On numerous occasions due to unexpected errors, Windows 10 fails to detect your display. In this case, you need to press the following combination of keys to wake up the display: Win+Ctrl+Shift+B.

On Windows 10 tablets the waking up procedure can be initiated by simultaneously pressing both volume buttons (“Up” and “Down”) three times. 

Disconnect all non-essential things

Just one external device is enough to cause the black screen error. That is why you need to disconnect all unnecessary peripherals. By “unnecessary” we mean those you don’t need to operate the computer normally.

If this helps and you no longer get a black screen, you have narrowed a list of suspects. Now you need to connect peripherals back one by one. Connect the first one and start your computer. If everything is ok, connect another one. When your monitor fades to black again, you will know the source of the problem instantly. Disconnect the device that causes the problem, reboot your PC, and a black screen is still there you will have to either get a new one or contact the manufacturer and ask for help.

Use Safe Mode to fix the black screen error

If all previous methods and tricks didn’t work and you know that the problem has nothing to do with your peripherals, it is time to go deeper and use more advanced techniques. First of all, you will need to boot your system in Safe Mode and troubleshoot it. There are multiple ways to activate Safe Mode. Here is one of the easiest ones: 

  • Start your computer.
  • When the sign-in screen loads, press the Shift key and hold it, then click the Power button that can be found on the bottom-right, and in the next menu click Restart.
  • In the advanced startup menu select Troubleshoot.
  • Go to Advanced options.
  • Select the Startup Settings.
  • Click the Restart button.
  • When you’re in the Startup settings, press 5 (F5) to select in Safe Mode with Networking.

If you cannot see anything on the sign-in screen due to the nature of the problem (black screen), you need to force the system to boot in Safe Mode. Start your device and wait for the Windows logo to appear. As soon as it appears, press the power button to reboot the machine. Repeat these actions three times to activate Windows 10 automatic repair. You will see instructions on the screen. Follow them and open the Advanced Options menu.

After you successfully boot in Safe Mode, you can proceed to troubleshoot. Follow the steps described below.

Try to reinstall your graphics card driver

Buggy video card drivers can often cause a black screen instead of the normal picture. Usually, it happens with drivers you installed with the Windows 10 update. There is nothing wrong with the update function. Just sometimes the driver itself might be corrupted or not installed correctly, which results in a black screen you see. To solve the problem with the buggy driver you need to uninstall it while in Safe Mode. When you are done, just let Windows reinstall the missing driver automatically after the next reboot.

  • Press Win+X on your keyboard and then click Device Manager.
  • Find the Display Adapters menu.
  • Right-click on the name of your video card and select Uninstall.

Quick note: you also can click the “Delete the driver software” to uninstall the driver from your PC. It is recommended but not necessary. If the system isn’t able to find the driver on the Internet, you will have to download it manually. The best way to do it is to visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website.

  • Confirm the action by clicking OK.

Now just restart your device to finish the procedure.

When the system is booted, Windows 10 will find that you are missing the video card driver and will automatically download and install it. Hopefully, this will solve the problem with a black screen. If you have been upgrading your system to Windows 10 from older versions and now getting a black screen, you need to visit the website of your video adapter manufacturer and download the latest video drivers available for your model.

Disable fast startup

In rare cases, the problem with a black screen is caused by the fast startup feature. You can deactivate it while in Safe Mode. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Select System and Security.
  3. Go to Power options.
  4. Find “Choose what the power button does” on the left sidebar.
  5. Select “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
  6. Uncheck the “Turn on fast startup” option.
  7. Save the changes made.
  8. Restart your computer to finish the procedure.

Keep in mind that your PC may not have this fast startup feature (it depends on the hardware configuration).

Alter or completely disable high contrast

Windows 10 has another feature in the store that can sometimes cause display problems such as the one with a black screen. Fortunately, it can be fixed in Safe Mode as well:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Select Ease of Access.
  • Open High contrast.
  • In the drop-down menu to appear select “None” to turn the feature off.

Restart your computer to finish the procedure.

Disable Run Once processes

Run Once process is another variable linked to a black screen in Windows 10. To kill those processes, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard to open Task Manager.
  2. Now you need to scan two tabs – Processes and Services – for RunOnce.exe and RunOnce32.exe.
  3. If you find something with those names in the Processes tab, click on it, and select End task. If you find something with those names in the Services tab, right-click it, and click Stop.
  4. Now click on the File menu.
  5. Click “Run new task.”
  6. You will need to restart your PC with the following command: shutdown -t00 -r. Type it and hit Enter or press OK to execute the command.

Restart your computer to finish the procedure.

Create a new user account

Creating a new user account might solve the problem with a black screen too. Before doing so, you need to be sure that your current user account is really the source of trouble. For this matter, you can create a new user account in Safe Mode. Follow these simple steps: 

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Use search and type “Command Prompt.”
  3. Right-click the Command Prompt app from the search results and select “Run as an Administrator.”
  4. In the new window that will appear, type the following command: net user tempuser /add
  5. Replace “tempuser” in the command with any name you want for your new user account.
  6. Now you need to give this account Administrator privileges by entering the following command and pressing Enter: net localgroup administrators admin /add
  7. Replace “admin” in the command with the name you selected for your account.

Restart your computer to finish the procedure.

In this method, we used Command Prompt to create a new account without relying on the Settings app. We did it due to the known bug when Windows 10 refuses to create a new account in Safe Mode. After the restart, you will be able to log in using your new user account. If the problem with a black screen is gone, then some errors in your old user account provoked it. In this case, you just need to switch to the new account and forget about the old one.