Full guide: how to fix black screen in Windows 10

You may get black screen problems with Windows in two different scenarios: when you are installing a new operating system or when Windows is booting. Depending on the case, we have different tips that should help you with the problem.

If you see the black screen during Windows installation, it does not always mean that something is wrong. Depending on your PC specs, installation procedure might take a few hours to complete. During that time, your OS may be working in the background. The best bet would be just to wait, especially if you know that you have an old computer or too much data on storage devices. However, if the installation takes more than three hours (which is abnormal), then there is a possibility that the procedure is stuck.

When you know that the installation is dead, try to turn your device off. You can do that by pressing the power button for ten seconds or until your PC shuts down. Don’t forget to unplug the power cable. If you are using a laptop with a battery that can be easily removed – do it as well (if possible).

If you had multiple external devices connected to the computer, you must disconnect them all including external HDDs, printers, cables, and so on. Ideally, you should have only your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters should be disabled. Wait a few minutes and reconnect the power cable (and laptop battery if you removed it). Leave other devices aside. If it was just a random freeze during the installation, it should continue and finish the procedure.

If the installation aborts with an error without saving the progress, leave your disconnected peripheral devices as it is and try to install Windows 10 updates manually. If you were trying to update your operating system to Windows 10, you could try it again using a bootable USB flash drive or DVD with Windows 10 image. If you don’t know how to create a bootable USB flash drive – look for the guide on our website that explains how it is done.

Check your video connections and ports

If you get the black screen before signing in Windows, it is highly likely that your monitor is not connected properly or maybe connection cables are damaged. Usually, loosely connected cables are two blame, so check both ends – the one connected to your monitor, and the one in your system unit.

If cables are ok, the problem could be in damaged ports. If you have several video outputs, try to use another one. Sometimes video card drives can go wild with no apparent reasons and stop transmitting the video signal to the proper video output port (VGA, HDMI, DVI, Thunderbolt).

If you have a discrete video card (an individual component connected to a motherboard), and your microprocessor has an integrated graphics solution, you can try to switch to the integrated video card. If it solves the problem, then you will know that your discrete video card is broken.

Another component of your computer that can be broken in this situation is your monitor. Try to connect another monitor to your PC or laptop to be sure. If your computer cannot detect the new monitor, press Win+P, then again P, and hit Enter.

For the situation when you have your computer connected to a TV, be sure that you turned the TV on and checked what input you are using to connect devices.

Waking up the display

Windows is not an ideal operating system and sometimes fails to detect your display. You may wake up the display manually by pressing the combination of Win+Ctrl+Shift+B. Your display will blink once, and you will hear a beep sound. Nothing to worry about. If you are using a tablet, you can wake up the display by simultaneously pressing volume buttons three times.

Disconnect external devices

Your external devices may also cause the black screen problem. Start with disconnecting all peripheral devices. If it solves the problem, you may start reconnecting them one by one in order to find out what device is responsible for the mess. When the black screen is back after adding a new device – congratulations, you have found the faulty device. Disconnect it again and reboot your computer. Check that device for visible physical damage (ports, cables, etc.) and contact the manufacturer for assistance. Alternatively, you can go to a service center for testing and repair or just replace the device completely.

Use Safe Mode to fix problems with the black screen

When you are 100% positive that no external device is responsible for the black screen, you need to go deeper and boot in Safe Mode to find out what’s causing the problem. In order to boot in Safe Mode, you need to follow these instructions:

  1. Reboot your computer.
  2. When the Sign in screen loads, press Shift and hold it. At the time click on the Power button in the lower right corner of the screen and select Restart. If you cannot see anything due to the black screen, you need to forcefully reboot your PC again when the blue logo of Windows appears. Repeat this three times in a row to trigger Windows auto repair mechanism. Then follow the instructions on-screen to open the menu with advanced options.
  3. When in the menu, click Troubleshoot.
  4. In the next menu, select Advanced options.
  5. Click “Startup Settings”.
  6. You will see a list of options, where you need to select Safe Mode with Networking (number 5 or F5).

After you successfully boot in Safe Mode with Networking, you can try to solve the black screen problem using one of the methods detailed below.

Reinstall video card drivers

Another issue that might be responsible for the black screen demonstration is going to be graphics card drivers – especially new, unstable versions or those you might have sneaked in with the latest Windows update. Sometimes drivers are not installed properly, or some error might have occurred in the process of installation, which results in you seeing that black screen. In this scenario, you can delete drivers using Safe Mode, and then boot Windows normally and allow it to automatically reinstall needed drivers.

  1. Press Win+X and select Device Manager from the menu that will appear.
  2. Go to Display Adapters.
  3. Right-click on your graphics card and select “Uninstall.”
  4. Press “OK” to confirm device uninstall.
  5. Reboot your computer.

After the restart, Windows 10 will automatically search for missing drivers. It will download and install the driver you deleted. It may help with the black screen. However, if you get black screen problems on the computer that was updated from previous versions to Windows 10, you should better go to the official website of your video card manufacturer and download updated drivers there.

Turn off fast startup

Sometimes black screen appears because you have the fast startup option enabled on your computer. In order to disable it, you need to activate the Safe mode and follow the instructions written below. To boot into the Safe mode, we recommend you to use the System Configuration tool (you may know it by the filename msconfig.exe). Go to the Start menu and search for “system configuration.” Double-click it and go to the Boot tab. In that tab, you need to select “Safe Boot” (minimal). The system will tell you that the changes will take effect only after a restart, so save all your current progress and reboot your computer. After the restart, the device will boot into Safe mode. Now do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to System and Security.
  3. Find Power Options.
  4. On the left sidebar, click on “Change what the power buttons do.”
  5. Select “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
  6. Uncheck the box “Turn on fast startup (recommended).”
  7. Save changes.
  8. Reboot your computer.

Note: depending on your PC configuration, Windows might not activate the fast startup feature.

Disable the high contrast feature

The high contrast might be the cause of the black screen problem as well. You can deactivate this feature while in Safe mode. These five steps will get the job done:

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Go to the Ease of Access menu.
  3. Find “High Contrast” on the left sidebar and click it.
  4. Select “None” from the dropdown list to disable the feature.
  5. Reboot your computer.

Disable Run Once processes

The process Run Once is also on the list of suspects responsible for the black screen. To kill Run Once processes in Windows, follow these instructions:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. In the Processes and Services tabs find RunOnce.exe and RunOnce32.exe.
  3. If you have found those processes in the Processes tab, right-click them and select “End Task” from the context menu. If you have found the mentioned processes in the Services tab, right-click them and select “Stop.”
  4. Now click “File” atop all tabs in Task Manager.
  5. Run new task.
  6. Type this command to reboot your computer: shutdown -t00 -r
  7. Click “OK” to allow the system to perform a restart.

This concludes our final solution for fixing the black screen in Windows 10. We hope that at least one of the methods we explained today will help you to get rid of this annoying problem.

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