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Black Screen of Death: What It is? Causes, and Fixes

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You have probably heard of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), which is a prevalent error display on the Windows screen whenever there is a system fault. However, it isn’t in every case that the letter B in BSOD represents the color blue. There are times it means Black.

Unlike the blue screen of death, the black screen of death may be more challenging to fix as it usually doesn’t display any error message. It’s an empty black screen, generally with a movable mouse pointer and nothing else.

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Featured in this article are some of the common causes of a black screen and quick fixes that you will find useful.

What causes a black screen on a computer?

Various issues may lead to the black screen on your laptop or computer. Read further for solutions to the most common causes:

  • Windows Update
  • Incomplete Windows 10 installation
  • Software and driver errors
  • Display issues
  • Power supply problems
  • Overheating

All of the above can cause a black screen in your windows laptop or computer. The upside, however, is that almost all black screen of death issues can be solved. If you are to install windows 10, whether unto a formatted hard drive or from a previous version to a new one, errors may occur.

Amongst the errors is the so-called Windows 10 Black screen of death, which can happen in this case if:

  • Setup is stuck: If this has occurred and there is an absence of HDD activity, power off the device by pressing down the power button for five seconds. Make sure to disconnect any non-vital peripherals, then start up the computer again. Setup will restart; if it does not restart, and you are trying to update from an old to a new Windows version, try to install using the media creation tool.
  • A device driver has failed: In such a case, kindly reboot the laptop or computer into a safe mode.
  • Setup is still in progress: In this case, you have to check if the hard drive LED blinks. Setup is most likely again running, but it is running slow, which might happen as a result of the age of your computer. In most cases, Windows 10 should install in a couple of hours.

When installing Windows 10 and you hit a black screen, it might be discouraging and cause you to give up. In such a case, you may be using old hardware; you may need to consider an alternative operating system.

Windows 10 Update: Black Screen of Death Issue

On the Windows 10 systems, an unfinished Windows update may cause a black screen of death. What typically occurs is that the system restarts as a part of the system update process and you are given a login screen. Nevertheless, after you type in your password, the Windows 10 starts to hang with a black screen after the login.

The mouse will be responsive; you will likely see a few desktop icons, but there is no taskbar. As a matter of fact, Windows 10 is completely stuck with a black screen of death.

To fix the problem, all you have to do is to hold down the power button on your computer or on your laptop to turn off the computer. With a cold start, the system should boot correctly.  If all of these don’t work, we will share other tips.


Software Error Causes Windows Black Screen

Usually, a black screen error is caused by a simple software glitch. Such will most likely occur when you are dealing with a program that will overtake your whole screen. The most typical culprit of the black screen of death is media players that are running in full-screen mode or PC games.

In an instance like this, the computer otherwise should appear to function well. It should be easy to reproduce a diagnosis. Launch the program for a media player or a game, then view only in full-screen mode.

However, it can be challenging to solve this issue; especially if the bug is in the software, there may be no way to fix the problem. You can attempt to fix it by running the program using a different resolution.

You can also try to run the software as an administrator. If the issue persists, it means the program is ancient, try to enable windows compatibility mode.

Faulty connection or display error

Another prevalent cause of a black screen is a video error. No matter what the specific problem is, no video output equals a black screen. Windows may even show a Blue screen of death, but you may never see it.

Before you get too worried, check your video connection. See to it that both ends of your NDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort cable is seated firmly, and the cord is not damaged.

Did you upgrade your monitor?

If you have just upgraded your monitor, make sure that your connection is capable of handling the resolution. Some HDMI and DVI versions cannot handle resolutions of more the 1080p.

If all of these easy solutions do not work, it is possible that you are dealing with video adapter problems. If there is a discrete video card, take out your card and connect to your motherboard’s integrated video.

Does your monitor work?

If your monitor works, then the problem you are dealing with is a video card one. Try to update to the latest available driver version. If you only updated the driver version recently, try to revert to the old driver. Also thoroughly inspect the video card for any visible signs of defect, such as charred electronics or broken cooling fan.

If the monitor does not work when connected to integrated graphics, you may be dealing with a monitor issue. You can check it by connecting it to a different computer.


If your monitor doesn’t work on another PC and doesn’t work on yours, then you are most likely looking at a hardware issue somewhere else that affects the ability of the video card to work. The likely candidates include the power supply, the motherboard, and the hard drive.

Overheating can cause windows black screen

All computers naturally generate heat. You have to get rid of this heat in order to keep the system running; components can become damaged or locked up as a result of overheating. Thankfully, all computers are created to shut down before that happens.

This will often lead to a featureless black screen, which sometimes will be followed by a restart, and other times will not. In a lot of cases, an overheating incident may be as a result of the processor or the video card.

As earlier discussed, it should suspect your video card to be the problem if you have a black screen when the computer seems to be working (the hard drive light is active, the fans are on).

If the processor gets overheated, the black screen will often prompt a reboot or an automatic shutdown of the computer.

Overheating can most times be solved by opening up your PC and getting rid of the cobwebs. Suck up every noticeable dust using a vacuum but do well to avoid the internal cables and dislodge all stubborn dirt with compressed air.

Also, be sure that all fans are in working conditions, and replace any fans that do not work. If the issue continues after all these steps, you may have a flawed processor or video card, or a faulty cooler.

Repair a Black Screen of Death in Safe Mode

Driver and hardware issues leading to a black screen of death issues can be fixed in safe mode. If your computer hangs with a black screen, restart it and hold down F8 or Shift and F8. This should be able to boot the PC into safe mode.

Are you unable to reach safe mode in any way? You can try to turn off the PC and turn it back on during the Windows splash screen. On the third trial, the PC will automatically boot itself into safe mode.

While the safe mode is running, click on the advanced options button, then you can Troubleshoot> Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.  Select option 4 in the subsequent screen and enable safe mode then wait for the Windows Safe mode to begin.


While the safe mode is running, click on the advanced options button and troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings> Restart, When the subsequent screen shows up, select the fourth option, and enable safe mode, and wait as the windows safe mode start.

Once the screen is booted, press the Windows+X to access the quick link menu, then pick Device manager. When you get here, expand Display adapters then right-click the device and choose disable.

Restart your computer and recommence the windows ten installation. If the installation is successful, you need to run windows update in order to download the most recent device drivers, and fix the black screen of death problems.

Dealing with a black screen? You may need to check the PSU

If you have been managing a faulty power supply unit, it may cause your PC to have a Black screen of death problem. It can be challenging to diagnose a PSU problem, and you will likely come to it through the elimination process. If you have checked all other hardware and none of them is overheating, then the most likely culprit is the power supply.

The only way you can know for sure is by replacing the PSU. However, you must try the other methods first as this is the last resort.

If you found this article helpful, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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