How to Fix Windows Black Screen of Death

Fix Windows Bule Screen Of Death Featured2

Getting a black screen on Windows, also known as the Windows Black Screen of Death, is a common system issue that has yet to be addressed properly by Microsoft. This may be partly because it is very hard to pinpoint the exact reason behind it. This tutorial covers the most effective ways to get rid of this problem.

Tip: can’t rename a folder on your Windows PC? Here’s what to do.

Why I Am Getting a Black Screen Of Death?

Various reasons could be behind the Black Screen of Death (BSoD) in Windows, ranging from the hardware elements of your computer to the latest software you installed. The following is a list of the most common factors that could be causing the issue:

  • Windows update that is pending or not completed
  • Issue with monitor or screen
  • Malware infection
  • Computer is constantly overheating
  • Problem with your PSU (Power Supply Unit)
  • Problems with the graphics card
  • Issues with the installed drivers

If you’re seeing the BSoD issue before you’ve had a chance to log in to your computer, then it’s probably due to a malfunctioning driver or hardware problem. If the error pops up after login, there’s probably something wrong with your operating system. The first four solutions below tackle BSoD showing up before login, while the rest target the error popping up afterward.

1. Check the Power Supply, Cables, and Connections

First, you should check all of the cables and connections of your computer, including the power supply unit (PSU), connections from your system to your monitor, power supply to the monitor, and so on. One common scenario occurs with a properly functioning monitor with no signal from the system, making the screen appear black.

Although it may seem minor, bad cable connections and power supply issues can be the main reasons the system isn’t running properly. A simple tightening of the connections may fix the Windows Black Screen of Death.

On the other hand, if you suspect there’s a physical issue with a cable, you should try to get a new one and make sure that you’ve unplugged any accessories connected to the system.

Another thing you may want to check is the graphics card, to see whether it’s connected properly and working. If you discover that the card is either physically damaged or not detected by the computer system, you may have to replace it with a new one. In some cases, such as when you’re getting error code 43, you may be able to fix the malfunctioning GPU by applying one of these fixes.

2. Restart Your PC

More often than not, a simple restart of your Windows system can do wonders, especially if the PC has been running for a while.

"Restart" option from Shutdown menu in Windows.

If a simple glitch is causing the Black Screen of Death, you’ll be able to get rid of it by rebooting your PC. Press on Start and then on the shutdown button. Select “Restart” from the menu that appears.

Good to know: which is better? Find out whether it’s recommended to shut off your PC or put it to sleep.

3. Load Default BIOS/UEFI

Loading default on BIOS/UEFI can also solve the issue of a Black Screen of Death. This process will reset the system to its default settings without affecting or erasing the stored data on the system.

  1. Restart your computer and press the relevant key to enter the BIOS/UEFI setup. The key varies based on your PC’s manufacturer and should be displayed on the screen. Common keys include Esc, Delete, F1, F2, F10, F11, and F12.
  2. After you enter the BIOS/UEFI of the computer, look for the “Load Default” option. This may have a slightly different name, depending on the system, but its effect will be the same. You’re most likely to find it under the “Exit” tab.
"Load Setup Defaults" options in Exit menu in BIOS.
  1. Select the “Load Default” option.
  2. For the UEFI setup, you will need to enter the Windows recovery mode and navigate to “Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> UEFI Firmware Settings.”
"UEFI Firmware Settings" options in BIOS.

Note: while you are on BIOS/UEFI, make sure to check the system’s boot drive. It should normally be set to the SSD or HDD drive where Windows is installed. According to reports, the Black Screen of Death issue tends to appear when your OS drive is not set as the default/primary boot device.

4. Update All Drivers in Safe Mode

If resetting to the default BIOS/UEFI didn’t fix the Windows Black Screen of Death issue, try switching to Safe Mode. Doing this will load Windows with the minimal applications and drivers, thus potentially removing the BSOD from your PC. While in Safe Mode, it’s a good idea to update all of your drivers.

  1. Restart the computer multiple times; it will automatically go into Recovery mode the third time. Alternatively, restart your Windows from the sign-in screen while pressing the Shift key, thus restarting your Windows and going into Recovery mode.
  2. Click “Troubleshoot.”
Troubleshoot option In Recovery mode.
  1. Select “Advanced options.”
Advanced Options In Recovery mode.
  1. Head to “Startup Repair” from the menu.
Clicking on Startup Repair in BIOS.
  1. You can click the “Restart” button to see a list of options related to Safe Mode.
Restart button under "Startup Settings,"
  1. Choose “Enable Safe Mode with Networking,” and the system will boot up.
Enabling "Safe Mode with Networking" option.
  1. After the restart, right-click the Start button and choose “Device Manager.”
Opening up Device Manager from Start.
  1. Find and update your display adapter’s driver by right-clicking it and selecting the appropriate option.
Updating display adapter drivers via Device Manager.
  1. Once the update is completed, restart your computer normally, and hopefully the Black Screen of Death issue will have been eliminated.

Tip: not sure you want to switch to the latest Windows? Read on to learn some good reasons to upgrade to Windows 11.

5. Terminate All Unnecessary Applications

Unnecessary applications launched at startup can be another concern, as they tend to overload the system and lead to overheating. This may eventually result in the Black Screen of Death. To address this issue, close these apps using Task Manager.

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys to bring up a list of options.
  2. Click on “Task Manager” to open the utility.
Switching to 'Startup" tab in Task Manager.
  1. Select “Startup” at the top to see if you can remove any unused and unnecessary applications from the list.
Disabling startup apps from Task Manager.
  1. Right-click on an application to disable it.

Good to know: if you’re still dealing with File Explorer issues, learn how to fix the most common ones.

6. Restart File Explorer

Malware and viruses have become a serious threat to our devices. If your computer has been injected with malware, it may end up corrupting your user shell, resulting in you not being able to use any of the GUI functions of Windows. To confirm that the user shell is not compromised, follow the steps below to check and restart the “explorer.exe” file.

  1. Open Task Manager as shown above.
  1. Click on “File -> Run new task.”
"Run new task" from Task Manager.
  1. Type regedit in the box and tick the “Create this task with administrative privileges” box, then hit “OK.”
Typing "regedit" in "Create new task" window.
  1. This will open the Registry Editor. Navigate to the following path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Double-clicking the Shell key in Registry Editor.
  1. On the right, look for the “Shell” key and double-click it.
Opening Shell key in Registry Editor.
  1. Check to see that the “Value data” is set to “explorer.exe.” If it’s set to something else, this means your computer is infected with malware.
Shell value data check.
  1. If the “Value data” is intact, go back to Task Manager and create a new task. Input “explorer.exe” in the box and hit Enter. This will restart your File Explorer, and after a reboot of the computer, full functionality of your PC may return.
Typing "explorer.exe" in "Create new task" window.

7. Restore Windows to the Previous Version

Sometimes, an incomplete installation of a Windows update can result in the Black Screen of Death. You can only solve this by properly completing the update or reverting the OS to its older version.

  1. To complete the update, restart the computer and let it update itself or try going on the Safe Mode to finish the update process.
Checking for new Windows updates.
  1. Alternatively, to restore Windows to the previous version, go to “Troubleshoot -> Advanced options” again.
Uninstall updates from Advanced Options.
  1. Choose “Uninstall Updates” and follow the instructions on the screen to uninstall the latest update on your computer and restore the old Windows version.

Wrapping Up

The Black Screen of Death is by no means the only error plaguing Windows. There’s an entire host of Blue Screen of Death errors to deal with as well. Read on to learn how to solve error code 0x000000f, as well as how to get rid of the WHEA Uncorrectable error in Windows.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Husain Parvez

Husain Parvez
Husain Parvez

Husain has been around the internet ever since the dial-up days and loves writing about everything across the technosphere. He loves taking tech apart and see what makes them tick, without necessarily putting it all back together.

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