Experiencing a Black Screen on the Windows 10: A Complete Guide to Fixing the Problem

Experiencing a Black Screen on the Windows 10: A Complete Guide to Fixing the Problem

/ Shayne Sherman

Windows 10 is the latest and most reliable operating system released by Microsoft. However, despite the build quality and functionality of the platform, there have been numerous errors reported by users from around the world. One of the most common is the screen black-out as the system boots up. There are other scenarios where the black screen has been reported, leaving users confused.

To understand and fix the issue, it is important to know what might be causing it. This article takes you step-by-step through the details and solutions to the problem.

The Causes of the Black Screen on Windows 10

There can be a variety of different factors causing the screen to go black in Windows 10. Ranging from random unidentified errors to graphics driver installation bugs, different users have identified multiple problems that lead to this issue. While the exact reason behind the issue can vary from one user to another, here are some causes that have been identified as of now:

  1. While the setup is in progress: Migrating large collections of data between devices can cause a black screen while the Windows installation set-up is still in progress,
  2. Video output is being routed to a different source: The video output cable might be plugged into another source like a TV or a different display driver. This happens when the display configurations from your previous system are not carried to the new one effectively,
  3. External devices: This is regarded as the most common factor causing the issue. Errors during installation of device drivers or when an external device like a mouse or keyboard is plugged in can cause the screen to black out completely,
  4. Updating drivers: Outdated drivers can cause the black screen issue too while they are being updated.

It is important to note that these are just a few issues that might cause the problem. Other users might experience the problem at different points during the installation.

Highlighting the source is important because the appropriate solution varies depending on it. Given below are the details of how to fix the issue on your Windows 10.

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Fixing the Black Screen on Windows 10

Users have reported black screens on their Windows 10 systems at a number of different stages. As a result, each situation has to be treated differently, and a solution has to be proposed in accordance with that. Therefore, here are step-by-step solutions to some of the causes:

Fix #1: While the setup is in progress

The Windows 10 screen can blackout while the installation is still in progress. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the system has shut down or crashed too. The setup might be running in the background, and only the screen could have gone blank.

The only solution in this regard is to wait. And you’ll have to wait for a considerable amount of time. If the screen doesn’t come to life after 3 to 4 hours, you will have to force shut down the system and begin all over again.

Step 1

If the setup crashes before completion and the screen goes black, hold down the power button to turn off the computer.

Step 2

Once this is done, remove any peripheral devices that are connected to the device, e.g., printers, controllers, external hard drives, etc. Only leave the essential mouse, keyboard, and monitor connected.

Step 3

Wait for about 60 to 90 seconds and then turn on the computer without reconnecting any other devices. Ideally, the system should boot and complete the installation process if the crash was a small problem.

However, if the system still crashes, use a different source like a bootable USB flash drive to install the Windows 10 operating system.

Fix #2: Video output is being routed to a different source

A major clue to video output being re-routed is when the screen goes black before the sign-in screen. It is important to note that this might not be the only cause, but it is a potential issue that might be causing the black screen.

At times, in Windows 10, the video driver can change, and the output can be routed to a different port like HDMI or VGA, etc. There are a number of ways in which this issue can be rectified.

  1. Switching connections: You can attach a different display unit to verify if your monitor or display peripheral is working appropriately,
  2. Verifying output settings: Press the Windows icon + P at the same time on your keyboard and hit enter to toggle different display modes. You will have to hit ‘Enter’ a couple of times before the right option can be selected.
    Navigate Windows 10 output settings
  3. Display not detected: In other instances, Windows 10 might not detect the display. To fix this, you can press the Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B on the keyboard to turn on the display.

Fix #3: Using Safe mode

If none of the above options work, you will need to reboot your system in Safe mode and fix the problem from there. Given below is a step-by-step guide on how to do this.

There are a number of ways to boot your Windows 10 in safe mode. The process you choose will depend on whether you experience a black screen after the sign-in screen or before that. In the case of the former, follow the steps given below:

Step 1

Start your computer.

Step 2

When the sign-in screen appears, hold down the Shift key and then click on the Power icon. Select Restart.

In case the screen blacks out before the sign-in window appear, you can follow the steps listed below:

Step 1:

As the initial blue Windows logo appears, press the power button and reboot the system. Repeat this step three times to enter Windows 10 automatic repair.

Step 2:

A ‘choose an option’ screen will appear with three options;

Navigate windows 10 troubleshoot option

Step 3:

Under this menu tap the Troubleshoot option. This will lead you to the following screen:

Navigate troubleshoot advanced options

Step 4:

Under Advanced options will be six options including ‘Startup Settings’:

Navigate advanced options

Step 5:

Click on the ‘Restart’ button

Restart startup settings

Step 6:

After you hit ‘Restart’, another Startup Settings window will appear. Press 5 or F5 on this screen to enter ‘Safe Mode with Networking’

Navigate followup startup settings

This will reboot the system in Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a minimalistic version of Windows where only the most essential programs are running, and everything else is disabled. It allows you to detect whether the black screen problem is being caused by something running on the PC or not.

Once in Safe Mode, you can continue following the troubleshooting steps being discussed here.

See Also: How to Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 10

Fix #4: External devices

Extra peripheral devices plugged into your system can cause it to crash on a number of occasions. To pinpoint the source of the problem, you will have to follow a manual procedure because this is one of the most effective ways to get to the root cause.

Step 1:

Disconnect all external devices,

Step 2:

Restart your PC,

Step 3:

Reconnect each device one by one to identify which one is causing the problem,

Step 4:

Once the device becomes known, install updated drivers for the device to help fix the issue.

Fix #5: Updating drivers

This section will deal with drivers as a whole. This is because several issues might arise with drivers for different hardware, and the solutions similarly vary from updates to reinstalls or rollbacks, etc. Given below are some of these troubleshooting options:

Modifying the display driver:

The display driver can be rectified or modified in a number of ways. These include completely reinstalling the driver, and rolling back or updating it. All options are accessible through the same menu, however, whether each is available or not will depend on your specific system conditions. Given below are the details:

Step 1:

Press the Windows key + X to access the power user menu. Here click on “Device Manager.’

Navigate device manager

Step 2:

In the window that appears next, expand the ‘Display adapters’ section,

Navigate display adapters

Step 3:

Right-click on the adapter being displayed. A drop-down menu will pop up giving the following options:

Navigate display adapter properties

Step 4:

Now you have a number of options to choose from. You can choose to update the driver or uninstall it. It is important to note that if you uninstall you’ll have to re-install the driver manually from an external source like a CD if the system can’t find the driver online.

Another option is to roll back the driver to a previous version. This will only be available if there is a previous version that was updated. To roll back a driver, select ‘Properties’ on the drop-down menu. The following selection will appear under the ‘Driver’ tab:

Select driver settings

If there are no previous versions available, the option will be grayed out. In this case, you’ll have to update or uninstall and reinstall the driver.

Other issues that cause black screen issues

There are a variety of other problems that cause a black screen in Windows 10. Since users have mentioned these potential factors, it is worth mentioning how to fix them too.

Fast startup crash

Windows 10 was introduced with a new feature known as ‘Fast Start-up.’ This allowed the system to boot quite rapidly allowing enhanced user experiences through increased performance. However, users have reported black screen issues as soon as the system boots up.

Experts, therefore, have identified this feature as being the prime culprit behind it. One way to address this problem is by disabling the Fast Start-up. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1:

In the Safe or normal mode, open Control Panel,

Step 2:

Go to ‘System Security’

Step 3:

Click on ‘Power options’

Step 4:

In the left pane, click on ‘Choose what the power button does.’

Navigate power options in system settings

Step 5:

Select to ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable.’ This is an administrative action that will require respective permissions and any passwords that you might have programmed.

Step 6:

The following window will appear when you click the above-mentioned option. You can see that the ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’ is checked. Uncheck this box:

Uncheck fast startup option

Step 7:

Click on ‘Save Changes’

Step 8:

A system restart will be required to complete the task.

Summing up

There are a number of reasons that have been reported on a variety of platforms. While it is impossible to cover every issue, some of the most common and their solutions are readily available.

If none of the troubleshooting steps listed here work for you, it is advisable to take your system to a qualified professional for further inspection.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.