Troubleshoot black screen or blank screen errors

የሚተገበረው ለ፦ Windows 10

We'll look at some things that can cause a black or blank screen: 

  • Connection problems with your monitor or screen
  • Display adapter driver update issues
  • Issues with recent system updates or installations

Let's go through some troubleshooting steps and check your hardware and software. The steps on this page might look complicated at first, but follow them in order, step by step, and we’ll try to get you back on track. You'll use safe mode for many of the steps because that will start Windows with a limited set of files and drivers to help you narrow down the problems. You can learn more about safe mode, or keep reading and we'll provide details when you need them. 

If you see a black or blank screen before you see the sign-in screen, try the following actions in order.

Action 1: Try a Windows Key sequence to wake the screen

Press the CapsLock or NumLock key and check whether the status light for the key turns on.

If the status light turns on:

  • When you're using a device with a keyboard connected to it, select Windows logo key  + Ctrl + Shift + B. If you’re in tablet mode, press the volume-up and volume-down buttons simultaneously three times within two seconds. If Windows is responsive, you’ll hear a short beep and the screen will blink or dim while Windows attempts to refresh the screen.
  • When you're using a desktop PC, select Ctrl + Alt + Delete, select an account, and sign in. If you can’t sign in, select Start  >  Power  > Restart  on the screen. If you don’t see Start  on your screen, press and hold the power button on your PC for 10 seconds to turn it off. Then press and release the power button to turn your PC back on.

If the status light doesn't turn on: 

Press and hold the power button on your device for 10 seconds to turn it off, then unplug your adapter. After 30 seconds, plug your adapter back in and restart your device.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 2 to check the connection between your device and the monitor or screen.

Action 2: Check your connections

There might be a connection problem with your PC or with your monitor or screen. Here are some things to try.

If you’re using a desktop PC:

  • Make sure your monitor is plugged in and turned on.
  • Unplug the video cable from both your monitor and PC, then reconnect them firmly. After you reconnect the video cable, move your mouse to see if the cursor moves on your screen.
  • Try using a keyboard shortcut to increase the brightness level of your monitor (look in the top keyboard row for a function key with a light symbol). This option may not be available for all PCs.
  • If you have a TV connected to your PC, make sure it's turned on and set to the input for your PC.
  • Try connecting to different video outputs on your PC. Sometimes driver changes can cause the video to be sent to a different display adapter or output.
  • If you have your own display adapter installed and connected to your monitor, try connecting your monitor to the built-in video on the motherboard.

If you’re using a laptop or tablet:

  • Temporarily remove it from the docking station if it's docked. Make sure the lid of your laptop is completely open after undocking.
  • Make sure the external monitor is turned on and plugged in.
  • Try using a keyboard shortcut to increase the brightness level of your monitor (look in the top keyboard row for a function key with a light symbol). This option may not be available for all PCs.
  • Check for damaged cables (DVI, VGA, HDMI, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort), loose connections, or faulty adapters (such as DVI-to-VGA). 

If you’re using multiple monitors:

  • Try projecting video to a different monitor. Select Windows logo key  + P, select a display option, then press Enter.

If your connections are good and you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 3 to remove third-party antivirus software.

Action 3: Remove third-party antivirus software

Sometimes third-party antivirus software causes black or blank screens. You can temporarily uninstall third-party antivirus software to determine if it's causing the screen issue, then reinstall it after your device is back up and running. Your device won't be unprotected because Windows Defender Antivirus kicks in if no other antivirus software is running. Get more info about Windows Security

To remove third-party antivirus software:

  1. Sign in to Windows using safe mode (you'll need to go to the section called “From a black or blank screen”).
  2. Select Start   > Settings  > Apps  (or System in older versions) > Apps & features .

Open Apps & features setting

  1. Under Sort by, select Name, and change it to Install date. 
  2. Select the third-party antivirus software you want to remove, then select Uninstall and wait for it to be removed. 
  3. Restart your device.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 4 to perform a clean boot.

Action 4: Perform a clean boot 

When you use a normal startup process for Windows, several applications and services start automatically and run in the background. This includes basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other installed software. Sometimes a background program can cause screen issues, but a clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs so you can troubleshoot software compatibility issues.

To test software compatibility:

  1. Perform a clean boot in Windows.
  2. Check the screen. If it isn't black or blank while you're in the clean boot environment, follow the steps in How to perform a clean boot in Windows—you'll need to go to the section called “How to determine what is causing the problem after you do a clean boot." By systematically turning the startup applications or services off and back on one at a time, then restarting your device after each one, you can figure out whether a startup application or service is causing the problem.
  3. When you finish troubleshooting, follow the steps in the section called ”Reset the computer to start normally” in How to perform a clean boot in Windows.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen after performing a clean boot, try the steps in Action 5 to determine if your graphics card is supported in Windows 10.

Action 5: Make sure that Windows 10 supports your graphics card

The best way to determine if there's a problem with your graphics card is to go to the website for your graphics card manufacturer and look for the latest and most compatible graphics card driver for Windows 10.

If you got to the sign-in screen but then your screen went black or blank, try the following actions in order.

Action 1: Try a Windows Key sequence to wake the screen.

If you're using a device with a keyboard connected to it, select Windows logo key  + Ctrl + Shift + B. If you’re in tablet mode, press the volume-up and volume-down buttons simultaneously three times within two seconds. If Windows is responsive, a short beep will sound and the screen will blink or dim while Windows attempts to refresh the screen.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 2 and see if you can open Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer.

Action 2: Try to open Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer

If there's content or a cursor on the black or blank screen, try to restart the Windows Explorer process. 

To open Task Manager and restart Windows Explorer:

  1. Select Ctrl + Alt + Delete, then select Task Manager.
  2. Under the Processes tab, search for Windows Explorer. Right-click Windows Explorer, then select Restart.
  3. If that didn’t work, select File in the top-left corner of Task Manager and select Run new task. Type explorer.exe, then select OK.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 3 to roll back your display adapter driver.

Action 3: Roll back the display adapter driver

If you see a black or blank screen after an update and Windows was operating correctly before that, it's possible the display adapter driver is causing the screen issue.

To roll back the display adapter driver:

  1. Sign in to Windows using safe mode (you'll need to go to the section called “From a black or blank screen”).
  2. Type device manager in the search box on the taskbar and select it from the results.
  3. Find Display adapters, select the arrow to expand it, then right-click the item under it and select Properties.
  4. Select the Driver tab, then select Roll Back Driver > Yes.
  5. Shut down your device, then turn your device back on.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 4 to uninstall your display adapter driver.

Action 4: Uninstall your display adapter driver

Driver updates for Windows 10 and many devices (such as network adapters, monitors, printers, and graphic cards) are automatically installed when you update Windows 10. It's likely you already have the most recent driver, but if you're seeing a black or blank screen, you can try uninstalling the driver to find out if it's causing the issue with your screen.

To uninstall the display adapter driver:

  1. Start your PC in safe mode. This is necessary before you uninstall your display adapter driver.
  2. In the search box on the taskbar, type Device Manager and select it from the results.
  3. Find Display adapters, select the arrow to expand it, then right-click the item under it and select Properties.
  4. Select the Driver tab, then select Uninstall Device.
  5. Select OK.
  6. Shut down your device, then turn it back on.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 5 to remove third-party antivirus software.

Action 5: Remove third-party antivirus software

Sometimes third-party antivirus software causes black or blank screens. You can temporarily uninstall third-party antivirus software to determine if it's causing the screen issue, then reinstall it after your device is back up and running. Your device won’t be unprotected because Windows Defender Antivirus kicks in when no other antivirus software is running. Get more info about Windows Security

To remove third-party antivirus software:

  1. Start your PC in safe mode before you remove third-party antivirus software.
  2. After your device is in safe mode, select Start > Settings  > Apps  (or System in older versions)  > Apps & features .

Open Apps & features setting

  1. Under Sort by, select Name and change it to Install date. 
  2. Select the third-party antivirus software you want to remove, then select Uninstall and wait for it to be removed.
  3. Restart your device.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 6 to restore your device to an earlier point using System Restore.

Action 6: Use System Restore

Use System Restore to restore Windows back to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. System Restore doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers. Restore points are created when you install a new app, driver, or update—or when you create a system restore point manually. To learn how to use System Restore, see the section called "Restore from a system restore point" in Recovery options in Windows 10.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, try the steps in Action 7 to uninstall recent updates.

Action 7: Uninstall recent updates

If you've recently installed an update, you can uninstall the update and see if that resolves the screen issue. 

To uninstall recent updates:

  1. Start your PC in safe mode before you uninstall a recent update.
  2. Select Start  >Settings  > Update & Security  > Windows Update  (then Advanced options for older versions) > View update history  > Uninstall updates.

    View your update history

     
  1. Select the update you want to remove, then select Uninstall. Note that some updates are required and can't be uninstalled.

If you’re still seeing a black or blank screen, follow the steps in Action 8 to perform a clean boot.

Action 8: Perform a clean boot

When you use a normal startup process for Windows, several applications and services start automatically and then run in the background. This includes basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other installed software. Sometimes a background program can cause screen issues, but a clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs so you can troubleshoot software compatibility issues.

To test software compatibility:

  1. Perform a clean boot in Windows.
  2. Check the screens. If they're fine while your device is in a clean boot environment, follow the steps in How to perform a clean boot in Windows—you'll need to scroll to the section called "How to determine what is causing the problem after you do a clean boot." By turning the startup applications or services off and back on one at a time, then restarting your device after each one, you can figure out whether a startup application or service is causing the problem.
  3. When you finish troubleshooting, follow the steps in the section called ”Reset the computer to start normally” in How to perform a clean boot in Windows.

If you restarted your device and now you see dots moving in a small circle on a screen that's black or another color, don't worry. That often means the updates are finalizing. In this case, there’s nothing you need to do except wait.

However, if these dots remain on the screen for too long after an update, you may have incompatible or mismatched graphics cards or drivers. Try the following actions in order.

Action 1: Restart your device

If the indicator light on your hard drive is off, which means there's no hard drive activity, restart your device.

If the restart doesn’t work, try the steps in Action 2 to unplug all unnecessary USB equipment.

Action 2: Unplug unnecessary USB equipment

Sometimes external devices can cause screen problems. Try unplugging all your unnecessary devices, then press and hold the power button on your device for 10 seconds to turn it off. Press and release the power button again to turn it back on.

If this doesn’t work, try the steps in Action 3.

Action 3: Learn more about how to troubleshoot Windows update issues

You can find more help with Windows Update errors and other issues in the following articles: