Kim Barloso

Black screen on Windows startup: What to do if your computer won't start


I hate to be trivial, but the so-called "black screen problem" when the operating system boots after the computer is turned on is one of the most common problems faced by both desktop and notebook computer owners. The operating system that fails to boot or the model of hard drive are of no particular importance in diagnosing the problem. About how to remove the black screen when booting Windows 7, Windows 10 on your computer and laptop, the causes of the failure we will tell you further.

This guide will be supplemented, so feel free to ask questions, I will clarify technical points and solve your black screen problems as much as I can.

Content :

  1. Fixing the cause through safe mode
  2. Display or component problem
  3. Conflicts between video driver and system
  4. Programs blocking Windows from booting
  5. Returning to Old OS state
  6. Loading via LiveCD and problem diagnosis
  7. Black Screen when reinstalling the OS
  8. Mirrors have corrupted the boot or system /files
  9. Reinstalling Windows from bootable usb
  10. Resume Windows at boot
  11. Frequently asked questions
  12. Answers to the readers

The most frequent reasons of black screen on boot

Let us first list the most common problems, that cause black screen without operating system booting (in other words black screen when computer starts). In rare cases a user not only sees a black screen but also a cursor after booting. Causes:

  1. A conflict of the operating system preventing the normal loading of the graphical environment.
  2. Video driver problem (incompatible with the current operating system: e.g. Windows 10 or Windows 7, up to XP)
  3. The hard drive on your computer or laptop failed
  4. Windows OS fails and does not boot correctly (not in safe mode)
  5. Other hardware problems or system conflicts
  6. Windows cannot come out of sleep

Running Windows in safe mode on your computer

One of the most likely reasons, why Windows or another operating system does not start is a system conflict which may cause the OS to not work correctly after startup. This may be caused, for example, by the fact that the user installs incompatible software or drivers that conflict with Windows, and when turning on the laptop / PC the conflict will manifest itself with an unpleasant side - in the form of a black screen. How do I fix it?

Luckily, Windows developers have provided the option of safe login mode which is intended exactly for fixing various compatibility issues. By entering safe mode, you will be able to remove all the problems on your computer, resolve conflicts so that you can then boot your Windows OS normally.

How to enter Safe Mode

How to enter Safe Mode on your PC:

  1. Remove from the PC all media devices which may affect Windows booting (flash drives, disk drives, etc.)
  2. Reboot or power on the PC, depending on its current state. If your PC (laptop or desktop variant) has several operating systems, then select the appropriate one from the list and then press F8 key again to enter safe Windows boot mode.

Next, you may select one item in the boot options in Safe Mode and may solve black screen issue on your laptop or desktop.

Monitor or hardware issue

The reason for black screen may lie on the surface: the monitor is broken. This might be because there is no contact between the monitor and the video card or the power cable is damaged/not plugged in. So be sure to check the connection.

As for the laptop, it is unlikely that the matrix has "fallen off" from the motherboard. You need a good reason for it to break down: for example, mechanical impact on the display. When doing so you will see that the screen has obvious damages: scratches, broken pixels, etc.

Besides the monitor, it is advisable to examine the system unit. Check whether the video card is fixed in the corresponding socket on the motherboard and whether there is voltage supply to all PC components. This has to be done only if you have the know how to disassemble/assemble a PC/laptop.

Solve video driver conflicts, if the computer does not start, displays a black screen

Example of similar problem:

I installed Windows 7, 10, restore to factory defaults (native Windows image). But nothing works. Simply put, with Windows 10 first power on everything is ok and everything is fine, but as drivers become on video card (intel hd3000 and radeon 7600), flicker and black screen happens, after that recovery and safe mode does not work. That is, Windows 10 dies, after installing drivers black screen.

If you think that the black screen issue may be related to a conflict of video card drivers on your computer or laptop, then:

  1. In the secure boot menu, select "Enable low resolution video mode".
  2. After successfully logging into your operating system through Device Manager or Control Panel, remove the conflicting ATI / NVIDIA video driver.
  3. Reboot your PC
  4. Motherboard and video card drivers may conflict. You should try different driver combinations. If you need to re-install Windows, please create a restore point and roll back to the original restore checkpoint, if a black screen appears.
  5. If the OS boots correctly in normal mode (Desktop and Windows cursor appear) then the black screen issue is really related to incorrect behavior after driver installation. Go to the video card manufacturer's website and download the latest version to your hard drive and try to update the drivers again.
  6. If the black screen persists, try other solutions to the problem described in this handbook, for instance remove "harmful" programs.

Remove driver issue

Remove programs conflicting with or blocking the OS startup

I cannot start Windows 7. When I turn the computer on, after "start Windows" I get a black screen, and then it doesn't start. No cursor. I restart the computer, I am given the choice of how to boot Windows, I choose normal mode - and everything turns on, sometimes I need to restart several times. I don't use normal mode, I use Ccleaner and I have Avast antivirus and I don't update any drivers. What might be the problem?

In this case the sequence of operations to fix the problem will be about the same as in the above mentioned case. The only difference is that you need to select "Enable Safe Mode" in Windows boot mode. Then, in this boot mode, you need to enter Control Panel and sort by date of application installation in the "Programs and Features" window. Analyze what you have installed lately: it may be the conflicting applications that cause black screen and inadequate booting of Windows OS from the system drive on your computer. One of the best programs to uninstall applications is the free CCleaner utility.

How to remove unnecessary software with CCleaner

Uninstall unnecessary software and services from the Windows autorun

There is a very good utility called msconfig which may speed up Windows boot up. Though modern machines boot quickly, optimizing the boot process may make the black screen disappear for a few seconds.

  1. Start - Run. In the window enter msconfig.
  2. Services Tab - Here you may disable unnecessary services.
  3. The Autorun tab - To enable/disable programs at boot.

In Windows 10 you may disable the autorun items through Task Manager (Autorun tab). The status of the application is indicated in the status bar.

Use a restore point to roll back the system on your computer and fix the problems on your computer

It happens that the cause of the OS crash cannot be identified, removing drivers and programs that cause conflicts does not help: Still a black screen appears at computer boot.

What to do to solve the problem? Should I reinstall the operating system? If the Windows operating system is still booting when the computer is switched on, do not hurry to "bury" it. Our first advice is to try to rollback the Windows operating system to a working state, using a restore point (it may be done by booting from Safe Mode).

If the computer does not start then use the previous restore point of Windows

Use the bootable CD to repair errors and diagnose the black screen

When the black screen appears it is advisable to check the computer, the operating system for viruses. You may do that with a "live CD". We suggest using the 4MRescueKit boot disk to enter system recovery mode. In addition to the virus scan itself, the 4MRescueKit livecd includes data recovery modules, file backup and a disk manager like PartitionMagic. Even if it doesn't help you get rid of the black screen of death, you can at least prepare to reinstall your operating system or test the health of your hard drive in this mode. The Live CD fixes problems regardless of the version: it may be Windows or Linux.

The 4MRescueKit Starter Kit helps to resolve software errors on the disk

Black Screen during Windows reinstallation

I had a black screen and cursor, I reinstalled the Windows and still cannot reinstall it completely. After the first reboot, during the installation process, black screen and cursor popup during Windows boot.

Resolve the problem.

  1. Try another installation disk or version of Windows.
  2. The reason for the black screen and aborted boot may be either hardware or software. For instance the hard disk contains bad sectors or the usb stick or the disk, from which Windows is installed, is corrupted.
  3. Try to install the operating system on a different partition of the hard disk.

In viruses have corrupted Windows system /files

Many computer viruses may delete or corrupt important system /files. As a result, a black screen appears after you boot Windows, though the cursor may be displayed and respond to your movements. Virus removal does not always help to solve the problem, but you can try.

How to check your hard drive for viruses if Windows won't boot? You need a working computer you can attach the hard drive to. After booting under Windows, install free Dr Web CureIt antivirus. CureIt contains the current virus databases.

Video Tutorial :

Download Dr Web CureIt

Select the hard disk to scan and start the scanner.

If after detecting viruses black screen still appears at Windows boot, then you should look for other reasons.

Write recovery flash drive and reinstall Windows

After updating Windows 7 - black screen in any mode: normal, safe - no difference. I have tried to recover Windows via installation disk - no luck.

Answer . Install Windows 7 from scratch or directly install Windows 10, you will kill two birds with one stone: upgrade and resolve black screen issue with Windows 7 startup.

One of the most drastic ways to avoid black screen at boot is to reinstall the stable operating system. Once upon a time many of us used an install CD/DVD to solve such problems (see above). After Window 7 appeared on the desktop PC market, the necessity to use a disk drive decreased little by little and today the most convenient way of installing Windows is to create a bootable flash drive and restore to boot mode from a usb-drive. Anyway, read a practical guide on how to make a bootable windows 8 flash drive.

One of the best programs to write Windows to flash drive is Rufus . The utility is available in Russian, it's free and usually writes fail-safe usb flash drives to install Windows.

Download Rufus here

The worst thing that can happen: your hard disk failed

One of the most pessimistic outcomes. If you see a black screen and you can still see the cursor, then your hard disk is working. If you see nothing but a black screen, no OS booting, it is possible that your computer cannot see your hard drive, and therefore Windows cannot boot. Here you can read tutorials which will allow you to diagnose your hard disk and find out if there is an opportunity to repair and restore your data by booting your operating system or better to go straight to the store and buy a new HDD for your computer or notebook.

Hard Disk Repair

Resume . In this guide I have tried to recall and collect from the Internet the most complete list of problems which cause a black screen on a PC. OS version does not matter much, Windows 8, "tens" or generally obsolete XP. If none of the methods did not help, if something is unclear or you have your own ways to solve this problem - please ask questions and add your ideas in the comments.

Frequently asked questions

After entering the bios password, there is no Windows 7 boot icon, monitor is disabled (power saving mode), f8 key does not work.

  1. Try to zero the BIOS by removing the battery from the motherboard.
  2. The power saving mode would not work right after booting, the problem may be related to one of the hardware components. Check connectivity between video card and motherboard, between video card and monitor, etc.
  3. If everything is fine with your BIOS but Windows 7 will not boot, please reinstall the operating system. Apparently this is the easiest method to get rid of the black screen.

After upgrading to Windows 7 from 32bit to 64bit you started getting black screen. When I connect to a TV set it works.

Maybe you have not installed drivers for your monitor or graphics card in the 64bit version. Check the manufacturer's web site to see if your monitor supports this OS. It is suspected that your particular vga monitor is not supported by this edition of Windows. Try to boot Windows using Safe Mode or with option "Enable Low Resolution Video Mode (640 × 480)".

I am using VirtualBox with Linux. Turned off the virtual machine, after startup it shows a black screen with lower left underline.

If you keep the virtual machine in Suspend state, you shouldn't have any problems at all. If you have shutdown your virtual machine then Linux will try to boot when you turn it on. Why a black screen with an underscore is displayed after a reboot of Linux is a separate issue. Check the key settings of the virtual machine. If the error persists then try installing Linux on the Vmware Player.

Nothing appears when the computer is switched on. The camera is working and the computer is powered on. Is the problem the RAM or the hard disk?

To diagnose the problem it is advisable to recall the previous events. Did the computer exhibit any symptoms of a breakdown (hard disk noise), have you deleted any system /files from the disk, etc.? This will help narrow down the list of possible causes. Next - keep track of the stage at which the black screen appears. If the hardware initialization is successful, it means that the problem is with the operating system - that is, Windows doesn't start. In this case it is advised to reinstall the OS from bootable flash or disk.

Replaced the video card. When I startup my PC, BIOS is working, but after it, it just comes to a dark screen. Is it due to Drivers?

It is possible. Go to Windows Safe Mode, remove the old drivers and install the new ones. Then reboot the PC. If it does not help, please read the entire article.

Answers to readers questions

I have a black screen after entering Windows, I have tried everything but nothing helps: I have switched on the computer - black screen, nothing to do about it. The thing is, the black screen only appears after I update my video card drivers. If I put standard VGA, everything runs and works fine.

Before that, I also reinstalled Windows completely and it started somehow unexpectedly with "nothing". How to fix black screen on windows boot?

Answer . One of the key ways to resolve OS and driver conflicts on your computer is to go to your video card manufacturer's website and download the latest drivers or stable drivers, not in beta version. When downloading, make sure to specify your operating system in the same bit size (32- or 64-bit). It is also possible that your video card is outdated and not supported by modern operating systems, particularly Windows 10.

If your notebook displays a black screen, try updating the drivers

I have a Windows 10 Operating System installed. While trying to recover the OS from the system image a crash occurred. Now, black screen with flickering cursor in the top left corner when powering on. All I can do is to turn on the computer and enter Bios.

Answer . If you see only black screen and cursor, it is a sure sign that the OS cannot boot (you have already understood the problem).

If the Recovery Console or Windows 10 installation disk do not help to roll back the OS to the original state or restore point, create a bootable usb flash or new disk to recover or install the OS from the scratch.

No folder would open, I decided to run Windows Restore. The notebook showed a black screen with cursor when I started/started Windows. I did the following steps according to your article, but screen is still black. Please help me.

Answer . If you get a black screen when starting windows even after recovery, it makes sense to reinstall the operating system on your laptop in another way, e.g. via USB stick or disk boot mode. Since, according to your problem description, the cursor still appears at boot, this is a software error and not a hardware error.

An external box was connected via usb to format an ext3 file using PartitionMagic. After formatting followed the restart of the notebook, no reboot followed but instead a black screen displaying error loading operating system... The notebook didn`t start and didn`t react on any keys... OS XP ... How to be, there is almost everything on it, there is a 2nd PC with Windows 10. In other words, the laptop works - but the screen is black.

Answer . Fortunately, your laptop is dealing with a software failure, not a hardware failure. All you need to do is reinstall your Windows operating system. After that, the black screen of death will no longer make itself known. If your laptop has a floppy drive, use a bootable disk to restore the OS. Otherwise you may need a bootable USB stick, it is not difficult to burn it, read the instructions here.

I have a black screen when I start my computer. Nothing appears on the monitor when I turn on the computer but the system box is working. I did one trick: took the power out, pressed the power button for 5 seconds, let go, put the power cord in, turned on the PC - it worked fine. After 3 days, same thing, but that trick doesn't work. I'm thinking it's for the wrong shutdown. I turned off last time I had some programs still running (Windows 7 I have) and the Desktop does not appear after booting up. What to do if my computer is black screen?

Answer . You need to approach the problem comprehensively: make sure that the motherboard and power supply unit are working properly, that all wires have been connected to the right power sockets, that PC components are tightly connected to the sockets (for instance very often the "black screen of death" is caused by incorrectly connected video card). Maybe the problem is software and not hardware (except from your question it is not clear if Windows is booting). In this case a reinstall from bootable CD or LiveCD recovery would help.

Help me understand what's wrong with my PC. My Windows 7. After starting, a black screen and cursor appear, then it asks me to select Windows 7 and either boot or regular boot. After pressing these, it starts booting and throws back to the same settings.Same problem with booting in safe mode. It does not offer anything further, no window to enter explorer.exe.

Answer . If trying to boot Windows 7 you have a black screen and the cursor keeps appearing, no matter what mode you have chosen, it is likely that you have deleted or modified Windows system /files. A clean reinstallation of OS or recovery from Windows 7 boot disk will help. Select "System Restore" in the boot menu and then use Bootrec.exe utility. More steps are described here.

I have AMD Radeon video card with 512mb memory, it is not pulling new games and I found on internet how to increase memory of integrated video card through bios. I changed some settings in bios and set 1gb memory, my pc rebooted and I looked in the specs of the video card and yes indeed memory increased. Then I started playing games, an hour or so passed and my mouse got frozen and kept going off and on and finally stopped working, I decided to reboot the pc and then I just saw a black image with a number in the corner on my monitor. Computer had refused to turn on, after about half an hour of clicking the mouse and keyboard on the screen appeared "welcome". The PC turned on, but the mouse still didn't work, I rebooted again - and again a very long black screen when booting the computer. What could it be and how do I get rid of it? This is what happens when you overclock your graphics card. You need to go into your BIOS and reset it to factory (default) settings. Maybe it is because of your BIOS setup that Windows doesn't start.

You are still in luck: Such overclocking may lead to problems with video card temperature, up to and including the overclocking of components (e.g. CPU).

In general you should not always trust these overclocking instructions. Even if they contain correct information, if you lack the right skills you may end up with not only a black screen but also black smoke from the system unit :).

I do not know why it started, may be after defragmenting the hard disk, after updating Windows or similar. Every time before booting Windows black screen is displayed for 10 minutes and only after that the welcome screen appears. BIOS is definitely booted first, I pressed F2 to check BIOS priority of the boot device. Also the console carriage (bottom slash) sometimes appears during the black screen. What may be causing a black screen when booting Windows? Not only may you set the boot priority in the BIOS, you may also disable unnecessary devices (e.g. disk drive). However this would not avoid the situation.

The reason may lie in the fact that Windows, during booting, is trying to find the correct library or to load a component which does not exist. Go to Startup menu and disable all unnecessary items. You can also disable unused Windows services via msconfig and remove unnecessary applications on your computer. In general, it is advisable to optimize the operating system and remove conflicts.

You can also analyze Windows boot stages through the built-in Event Viewer. This utility will show how much time each process takes to boot when the operating system starts.

If time allows, reinstall the operating system. On modern computers reinstallation takes no more than half an hour, and this is a more rational way to solve the black screen problem, than searching for hours of troubleshooting. Sooner or later any Windows OS has problems.

I have this problem. I'm running Windows 8.1, install a third party theme, i decided to remove, i deleted the entire themes folder from windows, not all /files were deleted, but ok, i rebooted computer and after selecting OS, i got black screen and, no, cursor and bottom toolbar appear and disappear, advise me how to get rid of black screen? No recovery point, no image either, well no OS disk either.

Answer . If possible, find USB Boot or similar image on the Internet and write it to flash drive. Find the Themes folder on the Internet or on a disk and copy it, as administrator, back to the place you removed the /files from.

Without the installation disk it is unlikely you would have any other way to get rid of the black screen.

Good afternoon, my computer was freezing since evening. In the morning I turned it on and the screen showed error 0x00000e9. I tried recovery through typing and F8 button as described, no change in the screen. I turned the computer off and touched all the wires. I black screen turned on, turned it off and did not change the black screen. I threw my Windows CD-ROM in, system is buzzing, I can hear it starting up but I still get black screen. What should I do next

Stoyla 8.1 everything was flying, the system completely on ssd, then I had to reinstall win 8.1 to win 10 after reinstalling, a couple days everything was fine, now after startup black screen and cursor is hovering 3-4 minutes after slowly and with glitches but it runs

When starting up black screen. All indicators are lit, tried just restarting, for the first time it worked, but then again black screen. I connected to tv, everything worked fine, what is the problem?

I have Windows 7 booting normally at first. But if I turn off the computer and turn it on again not in 10 min but before, I get a black screen, without cursor. The monitor light blinks at the same time, which I noticed tells me that it will be a black screen all the time. But still after that Windows 7 boots - as evidenced by the Windows 7 welcome sound, but the screen is still black and no cursor visible. I have to press the button on the system box to shut down. I have updated the video card drivers to the latest version from the manufacturer's website. System restore does not work. The viruses and malware have been removed. How can I fix black screen?

While installing AMD drivers brightness cut off abruptly. Rebooted, boot select menu is activated. On normal power on very low brightness, can only see anything with flashlight. Brightness is on standard and screen is dark. It comes with Windows 7 operating system. Please advise me what to do.

I have Windows 8.empty at work. well a couple of small /files.It takes a long time to open the file. And generally takes a long time to load. In the other office on the computer too 8.made him a bootable flash drive. Can I use it to restore my computer? When restoring on mine without the flash drive writes that "some /files are missing. Insert the recovery disk." as I am only a user. I'm afraid of screwing up the system completely.Otherwise it works fine and boots fine, just takes a long time.

Hello, the following situation happened. Lenovo tablet stopped working, I press the power button the screen does not respond, but I can see the backlight. Was broken screen, but a year has passed since the incident and everything worked well, and in the last few days, the screen just faded, and in parts, but immediately react to turn on. What could it be and how do I fix it?

“Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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Kim Barloso