Black screen – Meaning, Causes & Solutions


The appearance of black screen, whether it is on one’s smartphone or PC, is not as uncommon as one might think. In recent years, no matter how well large companies develop quality software, in many cases problems can be encountered that show the famous black screen, with all the attendant consequences.

The inability to view the screen in many cases, however, is due to unceremonious factors, which can be solved in a very few minutes by taking the right precautions and handling some signs of malfunction in the best way possible. The next few lines will delve into the causes, solutions, how to recover files, and prevention to be implemented to best deal with the black screen. It is emphasized that the following paragraphs will focus on the appearance of black screen in Windows 10/11 operating systems and not on smartphones, such as iOS and Android.

Black screen: what it means

Before examining the causes that can cause a personal computer to go black screen, it is appropriate to understand what is meant by this term.

The presence of a black screen identifies a monitor that does not give video signal to the screen, generating the inability to use the operating system. This condition can be generated by several factors, but involve the same symptoms: a complete absence of graphic elements on the screen.

The nature of this phenomenon can be either hardware or software type, radically changing how it is resolved.

Black screen: the causes

In order for us to have a clearer idea of the black screen phenomenon, it is essential to analyze the most common causes of such a phenomenon.

1. Incompatibility
2. ROM corruption
3. Hardware
4. MBR
5. BCD
6. Malware
7. Update
8. Video drivers
9. Cables
10. Thermal Throttling

Incompatibility: one of the most common reasons for black screen, especially related to Critical_process_died code or the like, concerns the incompatibility of applications or software installed on the operating system. In many cases people make the mistake of installing two very similar software programs that conflict with each other over folders of the same type or corrupt files. In this case, you should reset the system or delete one of the two software to verify that the problem does not occur again.

ROM corruption: additional cause that can induce a black screen is Read only Memory (ROM) corruption or incompatibility. Whether a false contact is formed or there is a corrupt file within the application being used, the operating system, unable to access the information to play the file, will first display an error message on the screen and then a black screen.

Hardware: significant hardware problems can be found in many cases. In this case, the presence of the black screen can be generated by several factors: video card, motherboard, RAM, or power supply. To resolve this issue, action should be taken by replacing the damaged component and verifying that there is scope for booting the operating system with complementary hardware.

MBR: The black screen may also occur when there is a system file or Master Boot Record (MBR) error. From a technical point of view, the operating system will start its boot process, but it will fail to complete it due to a different boot technology. In many cases it will be necessary to change the MBR to GPT to restore compatibility between the hard drive and other components, at the expense of a necessary formatting of one’s hard drive, whether mechanical or SSD.

BCD: Although a difficult condition to detect, one of the causes of black screen is Binary Code Decimal (BCD) errors, which identify all those operating system problems present when the operating system is unable to boot. In most cases it is only necessary to check for BCD inactivity and restore it, but a separate chapter will be devoted to this issue in the next few lines since it requires a specific resolution process for Windows 10/11 operating systems.

Malware: running into malware, be it Adware, Spyware, Ransomware or any other type, can cause the operating system to go black screen. In most cases malware acts directly on system files and damaging them prevents them from functioning properly. The ways of resolution in this case are different, in addition to removing the malware present it is advisable to restore the entire system with a backup in order to completely eliminate damaged files and potential threats.

Update: As much as Windows should necessarily be updated periodically to limit exposure to malware and improve its performance and features, in many cases you may encounter a failed update. An unstable update or simply the inconvenience of a power failure during the update can present an unpleasant black screen. In this condition, the ideal solution lies in restoring the operating system or installing your Windows from scratch.

Video drivers: when a black screen occurs, among the main reasons is definitely the video card. As you can easily imagine, the on-screen video signal comes directly from one’s GPU, and this can affect the display of the operating system. The video card, however, can present either a black screen given by a hardware problem or a software problem. In fact, different problems can be encountered: from connector breakage, to video card damage, to cable damage, and of course from installed software drivers. In this case, there are many ways to intervene, and they need to be evaluated individually.

Cables: a cause not to be underestimated for black screen is incompatible or damaged cables. A quality cable connects one’s computer’s video card to the monitor, in case the cable is damaged or not compatible with the panel one would get a black screen initially or while using the PC.

Thermal Throttling: an often underestimated cause of black screen is attributed to Thermal Throttling, which is that power-saving technique that a computer component uses to avoid reaching the breaking point by applying a lowering of frequencies and reducing temperatures. In case one’s hardware system has too high temperatures, usually for the processor above 100-110°C, the operating system will go into protection by showing black screen and stopping processes suddenly.

Black screen: solutions for Windows PCs

The appearance of the black screen might be frightening at first for those who have never experienced such an issue, but barring special conditions, it is not difficult to remedy this annoyance. There are really many ways to solve it, but some interventions can be categorized as more effective than others.

1. Checking the cables
2. Monitor
3. Reboot
4. Peripherals
5. Video driver reset
6. Enter safe mode
7. Power supply
9. Default settings
10. Boot
11. Restoring Windows
12. Automated applications
13. Explorer
14. Lowering temperatures

Checking cables

As mundane as the approach may seem, checking the leads is critical to not doing other types of investigations. Verifying that the cable is properly connected to the video card and monitor is the first step in eliminating discounted assumptions. Corrosion of the cable or a cut on it can also result in a black screen, as it would make the connections unusable.

In case you have a processor with an integrated video card, then you would need to connect the HDMI or Display Port cable directly to the motherboard, checking that the BIOS is updated to be compatible with the CPU APU.


In case the cables show no signs of wear and tear and are perfectly connected to the hardware components, it would be good to check the monitor as well. In this case, it is important to take a look at the monitor’s powersupply, verifying that it is connectedto the electrical outlet and that it is working properly. To verify that the monitor is working, it is advisable to connect it to another PC to eliminate any doubt.

If you had multiple monitors installed and connected to the video card, to do a quick check of the screens just type the key combination Win+P on the keyboard, pressing it several times will change the projection mode and you will be able to see the icons on the screen if there is a software problem.


One of the rules that will never go out of fashion in computing is: reboot your PC and everything will go back to working as before. Many people do not know that shutting down the PC with a Windows 10/11 operating system is not the same as completely shutting down all processes, as these will remain partly in memory. Only restarting the operating system will actually close the processes and clear the caches. With the reboot you could eliminate the black screen, but in case you had no input on the screen, how to do it? Pressing CTRL+Power on the keyboard and selecting Enter on the keyboard will automatically restart the PC.


One of the ways to understand and eliminate the black screen is related to external devices. Unplugging all elements external to the motherboard will help to verify which component is producing the black screen. USB hubs and external hard drives, if they were the primary source of booting the operating system, might present the black screen after a few minutes of use.

Video driver reset

As anticipated in the previous lines, the video card is in many cases the number one suspect of the black screen. You need to update or reset the video drivers to verify that the problem is purely software. To restart the video drivers, simply type the key combination Windows+CTRL+SHIFT+B on the keyboard. In case no on-screen items show up, you will need to update the video drivers.

To do this, you should use external software that removes them altogether and then installs them from scratch. The best known and free software is DDU. It is recommended to perform the uninstallation and driver installation operation from Windows Safe Mode.

Enter safe mode

In addition to installing video card drivers from the Safe Mode of Microsoft’s operating system, you can also use your PC from this mode to check for problems of any kind. To start Safe Mode you need to go to Settings, Update and Security, Recovery, Advanced Startup, and click Restart Now.

When the operating system restarts, a blue screen will appear with several options to select; clicking on the 4 key will start Safe Mode. If, after a few minutes of use, there are no problems with Windows, then the operating system has been corrupted by malware or incompatible software. It will need to be restored to its last operating state.

Power supply

In many cases you may also have power supply problems, that is, your power supply is damaged or cannot deliver enough power to handle the load of other hardware components. A system that needs to deliver 500 W of power may present black screen if powered by a 300W power supply, as it will not support the load.

Changing the power supply will avoid this inconvenience, as well as preserve the safety of other hardware components within the system.


In order to have a stable and always working PC, it is necessary to verify that the BIOS is up to date, as much as this statement is true, it is equally important that the installation of the same is done in the best way, otherwise it may cause a black screen. Both BIOS, and UEFI for the most up-to-date systems, must be installed according to the procedure reported by the motherboard manufacturer.

By going to the motherboard manufacturer’s official website, you can access the Drivers section and download the latest BIOS available for your motherboard. By downloading the file and uploading it to a blank pen drive, from the motherboard boot you will need to access the BIOS settings and start the update procedure on the pen drive.

Default settings

If you did not want to install the new BIOS, you could restore the default settings of the motherboard and try to restore the PC’s working state. Within the UEFI there is a section called Load defaults or Default settings, clicking on it and selecting Optimize will start the factory reset. Usually it does not have too significant positive feedback.


If you had multiple hard disks on which there were different operating systems, you could opt for secondary booting in order to verify that the problem was due to the booting hard disk.

Starting the computer will bring up a Boot screen, with which you can choose the hard drive with which to start the system. The select boot button depends on the motherboard manufacturer. Selecting the secondary HDD with the operating system, if it does not show errors with black screen, then it means that the primary storage medium has a problem.

Windows Restore

One of the most common resolutions to eliminate the black screen altogether lies in initiating a procedure to restore Windows to its last optimal use condition. By turning on and off your PC with a black screen a couple of times, the Windows automatic protection tool will start the screen for automatic recovery. In case it does not appear, you will have to go to Computer, Advanced Options and select the option Restore System Configuration.

A screen with the heading Repair System will appear on reboot, from which you will need to select the last restore point made, or start writing files from a Windows boot flash drive. We recommend using Rufus as a third-party software to create a reliable flash drive.

Automated applications

In case the black screen still appears after logging into the system, you should try to disable all automatic applications. This is done by typing the key combination CTRL+ALT+DEL on the keyboard and selecting within the Task Manager the Startup section.

Right-clicking on active applications will suffice to select Disable to close the process.


Solution that can have a very high success rate is to run explorer.exe, more commonly known as Explorer. To start this Windows function, you should type the key combination CTRL+ALT+CANC on the keyboard and click on Task Manager. You can also speed up this process by directly typing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.

From this window select the File item and then Create a new task. A small window will appear where you enter explorer.exe and click Ok. At this point the desktop should reset and the home screen should appear without any problems.

Lowering temperatures

If the temperature of one’s hardware was too high, the system would present a black screen. In order for this to be eliminated, it is advisable to lower the overall temperature of the PC, video card and processor in the first place, making it easier to operate. Using a better heatsink could prevent the black screen from recurring whenever the system becomes particularly stressed.

Black screen: recover files on Windows

As much as the Windows black screen does not erase the files on the operating system, it is undeniable that in most cases a file system restore or formatting is necessary to use the PC again. In order for this to happen without losing one’s most important data, one can proceed with file recovery in several ways. The quickest and easiest one is the creation of a boot disk.

The first step is to fully format a USB flash drive, preferably larger than 8GB and with at least a USB 2.0 interface, in order to speed up data exchange. At this point, you need to connect the flash drive to your PC and run software to create a bootable disk, some of the best solutions include EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition and Rufus.

Starting the software you have to select the USB drive and click on Create a boot disk. After a few minutes, you will be able to use that tool as a source to boot the operating system, freeing yourself from the black-screened hard disk.

Entering the BIOS of the motherboard will require selecting the pen drive as Boot and waiting for a reboot on it. Once inside the operating system you will be able to copy the indispensable files on the damaged hard disk to the pen drive.

Black screen: MBR correction

Causes for the presence of a black screen include one related to damage to the MBR. This can be eliminated by proceeding with specific software capable of restoring corrupted files in the system.

Among the most widely used software is EaseUSPartition Master, with which you can first create a WinPE boot disk and then rebuild the MBR file with the dedicated function. There are a number of free software programs on the Web capable of doing this, but in many cases it is advisable to convert MBR technology to GPT if you owned an SSD. In this case, however, you would need to completely format your SSD and do a clean installation.

Black screen: BDC correction

In case a Windows Binary Code Decimal (BDC) error occurs, you could opt for a fix directly from the command prompt.

To apply this method of resolution, you must boot the operating system from your hard disk; if it shows the black screen from the start, opt for a DVD, installation CD via optical drive.

A screen will appear on the screen where you will need to choose the option Repair the computer, and immediately afterwards Troubleshoot. From here select the Advanced and Command Prompt item.

Within the command prompt window you will need to type the commands: bootrec /Fixmbr, bootrec /FixBoot, bootrec /ScanOs, and finally bootrec /RebuildBcd, respectively.

Once this is completed you must type Exit and restart your computer. If the problem was related to the BDC, Windows should no longer present the black screen. This procedure is also valid on Windows 11 with the latest update.

Black screen: the importance of prevention

The appearance of a black screen on Windows, as much as it can be coped with by the methods just listed, in many cases needs some steps to eliminate its most dangerous conditions. In order for a fast system restore or data recovery to be achieved, you should take into consideration:

1. System backup
2. Official WHQL drivers
3. Update the BIOS with the correct procedure
4. Heatsink
5. Avoid sites http://

1. System backup: making a full backup of your operating system is the first step in recovering it. You can start a backup process by creating a Windows Restore in the dedicated section in the control panel, or save your most important files directly to your cloud.

2. Official WHQL drivers: when installing video drivers for your GPU, be it Nvidia, AMD or Intel, you should always download those certified with WHQL written on them. This type of driver is more stable and eliminates all potential black screen problems.

3. Update the BIOS with the correct procedure: when updating the BIOS, it should be done according to the method highlighted in the previous lines. Performing an update via the desktop could be fatal to the computer and induce not only a system formatting but also the replacement of some hardware components. Changing the video card BIOS must also be done by a specific process.

4. Heatsink: replacing the heatsink with a better performing product will greatly limit thermal throttling and high temperatures. Each heatsink is marketed according to the heat generated by the processor used, choosing the most suitable one is the best move.

5. Avoid http sites: black screens occur in many cases due to malware, a condition in many cases related to browsing web platforms not protected with https:// certification but only with http:// certification. Avoiding unsafe websites will also limit exposures to malware and, of course, downloading files that can damage the operating system and create incompatibilities between installed applications.

Black screen: conclusions

The appearance of the black screen is not as rare as you might think; incompatibility conditions and hardware issues inevitably result in the familiar death screen. As much as one can almost always intervene with a forced resolution, the best solution remains to prevent potential malfunctions. A Cloud Backup and creating a periodic restore point will definitely help.