Encountering a black screen on your computer can be unsettling. In this guide, we will address the most common causes of the Black Screen of Death, and provide practical solutions to fix it right away.

Keep reading to restore your screen’s functionality!

What Is the ‘Black Screen of Death?’

The Black Screen of Death refers to a problematic situation where a computer screen turns entirely black, indicating a severe system error or hardware failure.

This issue is most commonly associated with Windows operating systems but can occur in others like macOS and Linux.

Unlike the Blue Screen of Death, which displays error messages and diagnostic information, the Black Screen of Death is characterized by a complete lack of visual output and often an unresponsive state.

This means that the screen shows nothing but black, and the computer does not respond to input commands like keyboard strokes or mouse movements.

The black screen typically occurs during the boot-up process, preventing the operating system from loading, but it can also happen unexpectedly while the computer is in use.

Its sudden and non-informative nature makes troubleshooting particularly challenging, often requiring a process of elimination to diagnose and resolve the underlying issue.

12 Reasons for Getting a Black Screen

A black screen on your computer can be caused by a variety of issues, ranging from minor software glitches to serious hardware problems.

Here are some common reasons for encountering a black screen:

1. Display Issues

The most straightforward cause of a black screen is a problem with the monitor or its connections. This could be due to loose or damaged cables, incorrect input source selected on the monitor, or the monitor itself malfunctioning.

2. Graphics Card Problems

Issues with the graphics card are a common cause of black screens. This could be due to a failure of the graphics card itself, improper installation, or outdated or corrupted drivers.

3. Operating System Errors

Sometimes, the operating system may encounter errors during startup, leading to a black screen. This could be due to corrupted system files, unsuccessful updates, or software conflicts.

4. Power Supply Problems

Inadequate power supply or failing power components can lead to a black screen. This is because the computer’s components, including the display, may not receive enough power to function.

5. Overheating

Overheating of the CPU, graphics card, or other components can cause the system to shut down or fail to boot, often resulting in a black screen.

6. Hardware Failures

Other hardware issues, such as a failing motherboard, RAM issues, or problems with other internal components, can also lead to a black screen.

7. BIOS/UEFI Issues

Problems with the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which is responsible for booting up your computer, can result in a black screen. This could be due to a corrupted BIOS, incorrect settings, or a failed update.

8. Software and Driver Conflicts

Sometimes, newly installed software or driver updates can conflict with existing system settings, leading to a black screen.

9. Malware Infections

Certain types of malware can interfere with system operations and cause a black screen.

10. Sleep Mode or Hibernation Glitches

Occasionally, a computer might fail to wake up properly from sleep or hibernation mode, resulting in a black screen.

11. Loose or Damaged Internal Connections

Loose or damaged cables inside the computer, such as those connecting the hard drive, can cause a black screen.

12. External Devices

Sometimes, connected external devices like USB drives, external hard drives, or secondary monitors can cause conflicts that lead to a black screen.

5 Ways to Fix the Black Screen on Your Computer

If you’re faced with the frustrating experience of a black screen on your computer, don’t despair. In this section, we’ll delve into a variety of strategies to troubleshoot and resolve this issue.

From simple checks to more in-depth fixes, we’ll guide you through the steps to identify the cause of the black screen and how to get your computer back to its normal state.

Fix A Black Screen #1: Check Your Cords

If you have a desktop computer, go through and check all the cords that connect to your monitor. Most monitors have two main cords plus (maybe) some additional cords for sound.

Check both ends of every cord that isn’t hardwired into your monitor to make sure they’re well-connected.

This will fix many black screen problems.

Fix A Black Screen #2: Make Sure Your Computer Boots

If your computer isn’t booting, you’ll get a black screen, so make sure your computer actually turns all the way on when you press the power button. This applies to both desktops and laptops.

Press the power button and then listen to your computer and watch its LEDs. Your computer fans should turn on, making noise. If you have a magnetic hard drive, you should hear it working to load Windows or Mac OSX.

If you have wired networking (ethernet), you may have lights where the cord connects to your computer—see if they start flashing. If you have wireless, you should have a light that indicates that the wireless adapter is active.

If your computer doesn’t show the above signs of life, something is probably wrong with your computer, not your monitor.

Laptop problems are hard to diagnose, so you’ll probably need to send your computer for repair. Desktop problems can be diagnosed by using a Power-On Self-Test (POST) code checker which you can buy on eBay for just a few dollars.

Fix A Black Screen #3: Try A Temporary Monitor

This applies only to desktops: borrow a computer monitor from a friend and see if it works with your computer.

At the same time you borrow the monitor, also borrow your friend’s monitor power and display cords (if they aren’t hardwired in), that way you can test everything at once.

If your friend’s monitor and cords work with your computer, then you know one of your components is broken. Try every combination of parts until you find the faulty part—and then replace it.

Fix A Black Screen #4: Try An Install Disk

Some people get a black screen from an operating system problem, such as an incorrect display driver. In this case, your monitor will probably work during your computer’s boot up, but then it will suddenly stop working.

If you get this sort of problem, you will need to boot in Window’s Safe Mode or reinstall Windows so you can change the driver. But before you do that, you want to verify that this is actually the problem. You can verify it by using a live CD such as the Windows install disc or a free Linux Live CD such as Ubuntu. You don’t need to install anything—just run the disc until it displays a desktop; if the desktop displays, then you know your monitor black screen is caused by a bad video driver.

Fix A Black Screen #5: Use A Flashlight

Modern LCD monitors have two main parts:

  • a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) which creates images;
  • a backlight that illuminates those images.

In modern displays, the backlight is usually a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) that should last thousands of hours, but sometimes they stop working prematurely (especially if you have a laptop which you abuse).

It’s typically impossible to fix an LCD display for less than the cost of a new display, but you (or a repair shop) can often fix the backlight if that’s all that is broken.

So how do you find out which isn’t working? Use a flashlight.

Turn on your computer and your monitor and wait for them to boot up fully. Then get the brightest flashlight you own and point it at the monitor on a steep angle (so the glare doesn’t hit you directly).

If you can see an image (such as your desktop), then the LCD display still works; it’s the backlight which is broken, so take your computer to a repair shop to fix your computer black screen problem.

Wrapping Up

Encountering a black screen on the computer can be a challenging and often perplexing issue, but with the right approach, it’s usually fixable.

With the insights and steps provided in this guide, you’re well-equipped to tackle the Black Screen of Death and restore your computer’s functionality.

We’ve explored a range of potential causes and corresponding solutions, from basic checks like ensuring cable connections to more complex troubleshooting steps involving hardware and software.

Remember, the key is to approach the problem methodically and patiently.

If the issue persists despite all efforts, seeking professional assistance is advisable.