How to Fix Windows 10 Black Screen Errors

Introduction

It won’t happen often, but there may be a time when something goes wrong and your PC will display a black or blank screen. You may or may not have your mouse cursor on screen.

This guide will walk you through correcting this problem.

Windows Black Screen error

Note: If you have a laptop go ahead and connect it to power. A drained battery may be the reason you're seeing a black screen.
A laptop being plugged in

? What kind of black screen error are you having?

  1. Black screen without cursor
  2. Black screen with cursor

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It won’t happen often, but there may be a time when something goes wrong and your PC will display a black or blank screen. You may or may not have your mouse cursor on screen.

This guide will walk you through correcting this problem.

Windows Black Screen error

Note: If you have a laptop go ahead and connect it to power. A drained battery may be the reason you're seeing a black screen.
A laptop being plugged in

Tap any key on your keyboard or move your mouse to see if your system wakes up.

When you're going to be away from your computer for a time or just have to step away for a cup of tea, Windows 10 has a variety of settings that will help you save power and your place.

What is Sleep Mode

Windows 10 power options showing sleep mode

Sleep mode is best used when you're only stepping away for a short time. It will force your computer to enter a low power mode and power down your monitor. When you return, simply tap a key and it will resume where you left off with all the same windows open.

What is Hibernate Mode

Windows 10 power options showing hiberanate

Hibernate is like sleep mode, but goes a little farther. This mode will save your spot in a file on your system. Designed for laptops, it forces your computer into an even lower power mode.

  1. Open the Start Menu.
    start menu icon

  2. Choose the Settings icon.
    settings icon

  3. Choose the System icon.
    system icon

  4. On the left side of the screen, choose Power & sleep.
    system menu with power and sleep highlighted

  5. Change Screen and Sleep settings as needed.
    Power and sleep settings with turn off time choices highlighted
Complete the following steps if you're using a monitor, or skip if you aren't.
  1. Ensure that the power cord is securely plugged in from the wall to the monitor & PC.
    Power Cable
  2. Check the video cable to make sure it is securely plugged into the PC and the monitor. If your computer supports more than 1 video port, try plugging the cable in a different port.
    Monitor with the cable plugged in
    Monitor plugged into desktop
  3. Ensure that both your computer and monitor are powered on. This will usually be indicated by a light on the monitor and computer.
  1. Locate the power button on your computer. Hold it down until you hear the hard drive turn off and any lights go out.
    Power button on a laptop
  2. Turn the system back on.
  1. From the Log In screen select the Power icon.
    Log In Screen Power icon
  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted
  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    Log In screen restart icon
  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop
The next steps will help you reinstall your video driver.
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Display adapters to expand this section, and see the devices in them.
    Windows 10 device manager showing display adapter
  4. Double click one of the devices under one of these headings to show its properties. Select Driver.
    Device properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Uninstall Driver.
    Windows 10 uninstall driver prompt

Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

The drivers may come with the peripheral on a disc or you can download them from the manufacturers website.

Method 1:

  1. Insert the disc that came with your device into the computer.
  2. You may get a pop-up on the screen asking you what you want to do with the contents of the disc. Choose the option that allows you to install or run the software from the disc.
    Windows autorun pop-up.
  3. If you don't get this pop-up, click on the Windows button on the bottom left corner of the screen, then click on File Explorer or its icon.
    File Explorer placement in Windows menu.
  4. In the File Explorer, look for the disc drive and double click it to open its contents.
    Windows File Explorer with disc drive highlighted.
  5. Look for the Setup or Install file and launch it, then follow the instructions to install the drivers onto the computer.

Method 2:

  1. Open a web browser on your computer.
  2. Navigate to the manufacturers website.
  3. Look for the Support heading on the website and click on it.
    Example of support heading placement on manufacturer website.
  4. The place where the drivers can be downloaded from varies by how the manufacturers website is designed. Sometimes you can find them under the Downloads section, other times under Software or under Drivers, or even a combination of these words.
  5. You can either find the needed drivers by typing in the peripherals name and model in the search field like in the image above or you can find them by clicking through the categories of devices like in the image below.
    Category based device search on manufacturer website.
  6. Once you've located the driver for your device, click to download it and save it onto your computer.
  7. Launch the downloaded driver and follow the instructions to install it on the computer.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Select the Start Menu, and type in rstrui. Select rstrui from the list.
    Start menu search for rstrui with Start menu, search field, and search result highlighted.
  2. System Restore will open. Select Next.
    System Restore welcome screen with Next highlighted.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Select Next afterwards.
    System restore with restore date and Next highlighted.
  4. Confirm your restore point by selecting Finish.
    Confirm restore to restore point with Finish highlighted.
  5. A message warning you that once started, the system restore can't be stopped or undone. Select Yes to proceed.
    Confirm system restore with Yes highlighted.
  6. Your system will take a few moments to ready the system restore.
    Readying system restore.
  7. Your screen will turn blue, and the system restore will begin.
    System Restore in progress

    It can take a long time, over an hour in some cases, for System Restore to complete.

    Do not turn off or power down your computer during a System Restore. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into power so the battery does not run out during this process.

  8. Your computer will reboot on its own when complete.
  9. After returning to your Desktop, a message letting you the System Restore was successful is displayed. Select Close.
    System Restore complete with Close highlighted.

The next steps will reset Windows.

In order to continue we need to know if you want to backup your data.

Windows 10 comes with its own backup software.

To begin you'll need an external drive.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.
    Windows 10 start meny with start and the settings gear selected.
  2. Select Update & Security.
    Windows 10 settings page showing update and security highlighted.
  3. Select Backup.
    Windows 10 update and security settings page showing backup highlighted on the left side.
  4. Make sure your external drive is connected and select Add a Drive.
    Windows 10 backup settings page showing add a drive highlighted.
  5. Select your drive from the drop down list.
    Select drive with D highlighted.
    Backups will start automatically, you do not have to make any other changes.
  6. Windows 10 will now make a backup every hour of C:\Users\<your username>.
  7. If you want to change these settings click More Options beneath Add a drive.
Performing a Windows 10 Reset keeps your personal files, settings, and apps that came installed on your machine intact. For portable devices: Before proceeding with a Reset, make sure the device is connected to a power outlet to avoid power loss during the reset process.
You will lose any and all customized settings made, as well as any extra programs you've installed since you first got your computer.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu.
    Windows 10 Settings
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Recovery.
    Update and Security Settings menu with Recovery highlighted.
  5. On the left, under Reset this PC, select Get started.
    Update and Security settings Recovery options Reset this PC section with Get started button highlighted.
  6. Select Keep my files.
    Reset this PC with Keep my files highlighted.
  7. Take note of any apps that will need to be reinstalled, then select Next.
    Reset this PC apps list with Next highlighted.
  8. At this point, the system is ready to be reset. This process may take quite a while, and the system will automatically restart when needed. Select Reset when you're ready to continue.
    Confirm reset with Reset highlighted.
  9. Windows 10 will start the reset process and may reboot several times while running. Follow any on-screen instructions that may require your attention.
    Windows Resetting PC
  10. Once the process is complete, you may use your system again.
  1. From the Log In screen select the Power icon.
    Log In Screen Power icon
  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted
  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    Log In screen restart icon
  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Select the Start Menu, and type in rstrui. Select rstrui from the list.
    Start menu search for rstrui with Start menu, search field, and search result highlighted.
  2. System Restore will open. Select Next.
    System Restore welcome screen with Next highlighted.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Select Next afterwards.
    System restore with restore date and Next highlighted.
  4. Confirm your restore point by selecting Finish.
    Confirm restore to restore point with Finish highlighted.
  5. A message warning you that once started, the system restore can't be stopped or undone. Select Yes to proceed.
    Confirm system restore with Yes highlighted.
  6. Your system will take a few moments to ready the system restore.
    Readying system restore.
  7. Your screen will turn blue, and the system restore will begin.
    System Restore in progress

    It can take a long time, over an hour in some cases, for System Restore to complete.

    Do not turn off or power down your computer during a System Restore. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into power so the battery does not run out during this process.

  8. Your computer will reboot on its own when complete.
  9. After returning to your Desktop, a message letting you the System Restore was successful is displayed. Select Close.
    System Restore complete with Close highlighted.

The next steps will reset Windows.

In order to continue we need to know if you want to backup your data.

Windows 10 comes with its own backup software.

To begin you'll need an external drive.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.
    Windows 10 start meny with start and the settings gear selected.
  2. Select Update & Security.
    Windows 10 settings page showing update and security highlighted.
  3. Select Backup.
    Windows 10 update and security settings page showing backup highlighted on the left side.
  4. Make sure your external drive is connected and select Add a Drive.
    Windows 10 backup settings page showing add a drive highlighted.
  5. Select your drive from the drop down list.
    Select drive with D highlighted.
    Backups will start automatically, you do not have to make any other changes.
  6. Windows 10 will now make a backup every hour of C:\Users\<your username>.
  7. If you want to change these settings click More Options beneath Add a drive.
Performing a Windows 10 Reset keeps your personal files, settings, and apps that came installed on your machine intact. For portable devices: Before proceeding with a Reset, make sure the device is connected to a power outlet to avoid power loss during the reset process.
You will lose any and all customized settings made, as well as any extra programs you've installed since you first got your computer.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu.
    Windows 10 Settings
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Recovery.
    Update and Security Settings menu with Recovery highlighted.
  5. On the left, under Reset this PC, select Get started.
    Update and Security settings Recovery options Reset this PC section with Get started button highlighted.
  6. Select Keep my files.
    Reset this PC with Keep my files highlighted.
  7. Take note of any apps that will need to be reinstalled, then select Next.
    Reset this PC apps list with Next highlighted.
  8. At this point, the system is ready to be reset. This process may take quite a while, and the system will automatically restart when needed. Select Reset when you're ready to continue.
    Confirm reset with Reset highlighted.
  9. Windows 10 will start the reset process and may reboot several times while running. Follow any on-screen instructions that may require your attention.
    Windows Resetting PC
  10. Once the process is complete, you may use your system again.
  1. Locate the power button on your computer. Hold it down until you hear the hard drive turn off and any lights go out.
    Power button on a laptop
  2. Turn the system back on.
  3. Repeat this process until you reach the Choose An Option menu.
    Windows 10 Troubleshooting menu
  1. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  2. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  3. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  4. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  5. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Select the Start Menu, and type in rstrui. Select rstrui from the list.
    Start menu search for rstrui with Start menu, search field, and search result highlighted.
  2. System Restore will open. Select Next.
    System Restore welcome screen with Next highlighted.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Select Next afterwards.
    System restore with restore date and Next highlighted.
  4. Confirm your restore point by selecting Finish.
    Confirm restore to restore point with Finish highlighted.
  5. A message warning you that once started, the system restore can't be stopped or undone. Select Yes to proceed.
    Confirm system restore with Yes highlighted.
  6. Your system will take a few moments to ready the system restore.
    Readying system restore.
  7. Your screen will turn blue, and the system restore will begin.
    System Restore in progress

    It can take a long time, over an hour in some cases, for System Restore to complete.

    Do not turn off or power down your computer during a System Restore. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into power so the battery does not run out during this process.

  8. Your computer will reboot on its own when complete.
  9. After returning to your Desktop, a message letting you the System Restore was successful is displayed. Select Close.
    System Restore complete with Close highlighted.
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