Troubleshoot Black Screen Problems

Edited by Sean Zylow, Eng

If your PC experiences a black screen after upgrading to Windows 10, here are some troubleshooting steps you can try. NOTE: Tutorial applies to Windows 10 only.

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Black Screen and Not Signed In

If your PC experiences a black screen after upgrading to Windows 10, and you haven't signed in yet, try the following steps:

  1. 1
    Check your connections.
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    1. If you're using a desktop PC, check to see if your display is plugged in and turned on. Also, try connecting to different video outputs on your PC. Sometimes a change in driver can cause the video to be sent to a different display adapter or output.
    2. If you have a TV connected to your PC, make sure it's turned on and set to the input for your PC.
    3. Try projecting to a different monitor. Press the Windows logo key + P, press P, and then press Enter. Repeat this step to go through the different screen options.
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  2. 2
    Start your PC in Safe Mode.
    There are two ways to start your PC in Safe Mode using a recovery drive or installation media. If you've already created a recovery drive using a USB drive or DVD, follow the steps in the first section below. If you don't have a recovery drive, you can create installation media to start your PC in Safe Mode follow the steps in the second section below:
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    1. Use a recovery drive. To start your PC in Safe Mode using a recovery drive:  
      1. First, make sure your PC is shut down. Connect the recovery drive to your PC, and then turn on your PC.
      2. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart.
      3. After your PC restarts, select 5 or F5 to restart your PC in Safe Mode with Networking. If your PC won't start in Safe Mode with Networking, try steps 1 and 2 again, and then, after your PC restarts, select 3 or F3 to Enable low-resolution video.
      4. Once your PC is in Safe Mode, open Device Manager by typing device manager in the search box on the taskbar, select Device Manager, and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. If you see two items under Display adapters: Right-click the added display adapter (for example, Intel HD 4000 or AMD Radeon HD 4200), and then select Disable > Yes. To see if that worked, shut down your PC, disconnect your recovery drive, and then turn your PC back on. If that doesn't work, restart your PC in Safe Mode (see steps 1-3), return to the Display adapter section in Device Manager, enable the display adapter, and then disable the other display adapter. If you see one item under Display adapters, in roll back the driver or uninstall the display adapter. To roll back the driver, open Device Manager and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. Under Display adapters, right-click the item and select Properties. Select the Driver tab, and then select Roll Back Driver > Yes. To uninstall the display adapter, open Device Manager and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. Under Display adapters, right-click the item and select Properties. Select the Driver tab, select Uninstall > OK.
      5. Shut down your PC, disconnect your recovery drive, and then turn your PC back on.
    2. Use installation media. To start your PC in Safe Mode using installation media:  
      1. On a working PC, go to the Microsoft software download website and create Windows 10 installation media.
      2. Insert the installation media you created, and then restart your PC.
      3. On the Install Windows screen, select Repair your computer. (If you're not seeing this screen, your PC might not be set up to boot from a drive. Check your PC manufacturer's website for info on how to boot from media, and then try again.)
      4. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot. From there, you can use Safe Mode. Select Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart.
      5. After your PC restarts, select 5 or F5 to restart you PC in Safe Mode with Networking. If your PC won't start in Safe Mode with Networking, try steps 2-4 again, and then, after your PC restarts, select 3 or F3 to Enable low-resolution video.
      6. Once your PC is in Safe Mode, open Device Manager by typing device manager in the search box on the taskbar, select Device Manager, and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. If you see two items under Display adapters: Right-click the added display adapter (for example, Intel HD 4000 or AMD Radeon HD 4200), and then select Disable > Yes. To see if that worked, shut down your PC, disconnect your installation media, and then turn your PC back on. If that doesn't work, restart your PC in Safe Mode (see steps 2-5), return to the Display adapter section in Device Manager, enable the display adapter, and then disable the other display adapter. If you see one item under Display adapters, roll back the driver or uninstall the display adapter. To roll back the driver, open Device Manager and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. Under Display adapters, right-click the item and select Properties. Select the Driver tab, and then select Roll Back Driver > Yes. To uninstall the display adapter, open Device Manager and select the arrow to expand Display adapters. Under Display adapters, right-click the item and select Properties. Select the Driver tab, select Uninstall > OK.
      7. Shut down your PC, disconnect your installation media, and then turn your PC back on.
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Black screen and signed in

If your PC experiences a black screen after signing in to Windows 10, try the following steps:

  1. 1
    Unplug your external devices.
    Sometimes, your PC's external devices can be the cause of problems. Try unplugging all your devices, and then plugging them in one at a time.
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  2. 2
    If that worked, but one of your devices causes your display to go black when you plug it back in, unplug your devices again, plug them in one at a time�"except the device causing the problem�"and restart your PC.
    If you can determine which device is causing the problem, contact your device manufacturer for support.
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  3. 3
    If unplugging external devices doesn't fix the problem, start your PC in Safe Mode and then try the following troubleshooting steps below.
     
    1. Restart your PC. When you reach the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key and select the Power button, and then select Restart.
    2. After your PC restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup settings > Restart. After your PC restarts, you should see a number of options. Press 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with networking.
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  4. 4
    Once your PC is in Safe Mode, reinstall your display adapter driver.
     
    1. Type device manager into the search box on the taskbar, and then select Device Manager.
    2. Expand Display adapter.
    3. Right-click the display adapter and select Uninstall > OK.
    4. Restart your PC.
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  5. 5
    There might be a problem with one or more RunOnce processes.
    If you're in Safe Mode and want to shut them down:  
    1. Right-click Start and select Task Manager.
    2. Check both the Processes tab and Services tab�"look for any instances of RunOnce32.exe or RunOnce.exe. If you find any that are running: In Processes, select the item, and select End task. In Services, right-click the item, and select Stop.
    3. Restart your PC.
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Categories : Windows

Recent edits by: Sean Zylow

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