You can get a blank or black computer screen on startup, while updating software, or in the middle of device usage. Sometimes you can resolve a black screen on Windows 10 or 11 by rebooting your device. But in serious cases, you may need to perform a system restore or reinstall the operating system (OS).
The black screen of death appearing on our own Windows 10 machine.
How to fix black screen on Windows 10
Here are some quick ways to fix a black screen on Windows 10:
Use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + P or Ctrl + Alt + Del to reset the screen’s graphics system. If the issue causing your Windows 10 black screen is a simple one, a keyboard shortcut can help solve it.
Hold down the power button for 10-15 seconds to do a hard reset on your laptop or PC and reboot your computer. If your computer won’t reboot and displays a black screen again, see the section below on fixing a black screen before login.
How to fix black screen on Windows 11
Similar to Windows 10, you can use a keyboard shortcut — Windows logo key + P or Ctrl + Alt + Del — to wake up your Windows 11 screen. Or, hold the power button for 10-15 seconds to reboot your device completely.
If these solutions don’t work, don’t worry: we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to diagnose and fix the issues causing the black screen of death, both before login and after.
Solutions for a black screen — before logging in
A black screen before your Windows login screen appears is usually easy to fix. You’ll just need to target the actual cause of your particular black screen issue.
Here are some ways to fix a Windows black screen before login:
1. Optimize your startup applications
If your PC or laptop displays a black screen on startup, try disabling some startup apps to optimize your boot. AVG TuneUp lets you turn off all non-essential applications and put them to sleep automatically. Its built-in Sleep Mode feature helps you get the most out of your RAM and CPU power so you have the resources you need at startup.
2. Check your cables and connections
If your otherwise fully-functioning Windows device suddenly displays a blank screen, check your computer cables connected to your monitor. There could be an issue with the connection or the actual cables.
Here’s how to check your cables and other important connections and peripherals:
Unplug and reconnect your video cables
Disconnect and reconnect all of your video cables — HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and VGA. Try blowing gently into the ports to clear any dust or other debris that might be interfering with the connection.
Unplug and reconnect your cables and peripheral connections.
Try a different cable
Constantly unplugging and plugging in cables causes them to wear out over time, and eventually, they break — especially if you use a laptop with an external monitor.
To check whether your cable is causing the black screen, try plugging in a different video cable that you know works, like the one from your TV. If you get an image instead of a blank screen with that cable connection, it’s time to get a new computer cable.
Try a different monitor
Your monitor display might be defective or set to the wrong source, which can also lead to a black screen. Try connecting to a different display if you have one. Or move from your monitor to your TV (or vice versa).
A blank screen on startup for a Windows 10 or 11 build might also be caused by a mismatch between your monitor and your display’s resolution.
For example, an optimized gaming PC might not work with a projector that can’t display the high resolution. If your Windows PC shows a “boot error” when connected to a projector, try hooking it up to a regular monitor. If the monitor displays images normally, your issue is likely due to a resolution requirement that your projector can’t handle.
3. Unplug all unnecessary accessories
External hard drives, USB connections, Wi-Fi antennas, VR headsets, and other accessories can cause issues during boot. If your computer screen is black on startup, unplug everything that’s not essential for your PC to work. Leave only your monitor, mouse, and keyboard plugged in, and restart your computer.
If you suspect it’s a hard drive issue, you can check for signs of hard drive failure and use CHKDSK commands to fix hard drive issues.
On a bigger desktop computer, try removing all unnecessary components, like sound cards and extra RAM (random access memory) sticks. If you still see nothing on your screen after startup, switch out the graphics card and upgrade your RAM completely.
4. Try a BIOS/UEFI reset and check the boot order
BIOS and UEFI are crucial programs that manage essential hardware configurations and ensure the proper launch of your operating system. BIOS is commonly used in older PCs, while UEFI runs on newer models. If you’re getting a black screen of death, try reverting to the default settings.
Here’s how to reset BIOS/UEFI:
Turn off your PC, then hit the power button to turn it back on.
Immediately during startup, you’ll get a prompt to hit a certain key to enter setup (usually F2 or the DEL key). Hit that key repeatedly.
Now, you can try two things:
Reset to default settings
Find an entry that says Load defaults (or Optimized defaults or something similar). Depending on your device build, BIOS/UEFI looks different. But the general wording of the entry should be similar. Selecting this option resets everything back to default settings.
Resetting a Windows 10 computer to its default settings.
Make sure your PC boots from its hard disk
The BIOS/UEFI also controls how your PC starts up. Your PC could boot from a hard disk, a CD/DVD (rescue disk), a USB thumb drive (to install Windows), or even a floppy drive. In the Boot Priority (or First Boot Device) settings, ensure the hard disk option is selected.
Setting the boot priority to hard drive on Windows 10.
You can also check your BIOS/UEFI performance by running a CPU stress test. If your computer fails the test and causes the black screen of death, your BIOS/UEFI drivers might be outdated. You can easily update your drivers with one of the best free driver updaters on the market.
5. Launch a Windows repair
If your PC boots to a black screen and you still see nothing, try launching a Windows repair, which is a set of tools and diagnostic utilities built directly into the operation system.
Here’s how to launch the Windows Startup Automatic Repair screen:
Restart your PC several times. Doing this repeatedly will launch the Windows Startup Automatic Repair screen. Click Restart. If it doesn’t fix the black screen issue, repeat this step and select Advanced options.
Click System Restore.
Once System Restore opens, select a system restore point that’s a few days old, or from a period before you started having black screen issues.
Hit Next, then wait for Windows to restore all necessary files and return to working order. In some cases, you might need to reinstall an application or an update that you installed after the restore point and before you got the black screen on Windows.
If the Windows Automatic Repair doesn’t work, you need to create a bootable Windows 10 drive, plug it in, and use the disk-boot tip above to make sure your PC boots from the USB drive.
6. Boot into Safe Mode
Windows Safe Mode launches your PC with the minimum drivers and programs running, which may help you avoid a black screen at startup. Safe Mode means only Windows launches — eliminating any interference from unnecessary programs or drivers.
Here’s how to boot Windows into Safe Mode:
Follow the steps above to launch the Windows Repair tool.
This time, click Startup Settings. If you don’t see that option, click See more recovery options, then click Startup Settings.
Next, click Restart. After a few seconds, you’ll see the Startup Settings screen.
Press 5 on your keyboard to launch your computer in Safe Mode with Networking.
Once Windows has booted up, your desktop in Safe Mode should look something like this:
Now, you can start eliminating potential causes of the Windows 10 or 11 black screen of death. Try these two methods:
First, uninstall applications that could interfere with your boot, like graphics drivers, audio drivers, or network drivers.
Then, disable all startup items using the Task Manager: Right-click your taskbar, select Task Manager, then go to Startup. Turn off everything in this tab by right-clicking each item and selecting Disable.