We’ve all had nerve-racking moments in life.
Mine include delivering a speech in front of hundreds of people.
Watching the final minutes of Super Bowl LIV.
And my laptop’s screen suddenly turning black while I’m working.
That last one actually inspired me to compile the best fixes.
Continue reading to find out:
- What actually causes laptop screens to turn black.
- 9 easy and effective ways to fix a black laptop screen.
- What the 30-1-2 method is, and why it’s effective in resolving black screen issues.
- And a lot more…
Why is my laptop screen black?
Your laptop’s screen is black due to a glitch in the OS. The most common cause is a malfunctioning background app. Restart your laptop to fix this issue. You may do that by pressing and holding the power button. If it’s an issue with your display driver, you may roll it back to a previous version.
How to fix a black screen on your laptop? 9 ways
The black screen issue’s much more common in Windows laptops than MacBooks.
So solutions #5 to #9 are all Windows-based.
But if you’re a MacBook user, don’t worry.
You may still try fixes #1 to #4. And then jump to the Bonus section for more troubleshooting options.
With that, let’s get started!
#1: Check if your laptop is running
Whether it’s a black TV screen or a black laptop screen. You first need to check if it’s powered on and running.
With a laptop, you’ll hear the fans spinning if it’s actually on.
Another easy way to check is by pressing the caps lock key. Check if its status light turns on. If it’s on, then the issue’s with your display.
But if the caps lock key’s light won’t turn on…
Then it’s a problem with the power source.
And if that’s the case, plug your laptop into another outlet.
Also, check for defects on the charger.
The good thing about most laptops is that even non-brand chargers will work.
So if it’s defective, you won’t have a hard time looking for a replacement.
#2: Try to adjust the screen brightness using the keyboard
In some cases, the black screen resulted from incorrect brightness settings.
You or someone else may have accidentally turned down the brightness level.
It’s actually also a common cause of dark TV screens.
So look for the key on your laptop for brightness adjustment. It’s usually in one of the function keys.
And try to change the brightness level from there.
In older MacBooks, you just need to press F2. In newer models, you can adjust the brightness through the touch bar.
And for Windows laptops…
It actually varies. Depending on the manufacturer. But the key usually has a sun-like icon. So look for that.
#3: Disconnect external devices
Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the laptop. But with the connected external devices.
Any of these devices can glitch. And then cause various problems to your laptop.
So try to disconnect all external devices. And see if it restores your laptop’s display.
#4: Restart your laptop
A software glitch is one of the most common causes of a black screen.
And a quick and effective way to fix that is to restart your laptop.
Just press and hold the power key. Wait until your laptop completely shuts down.
Then give it a minute or 2. And then press the power key again to turn it on.
Do you still have a black screen?
Then try this alternative method of restarting.
Technicians call it the 30-1-2. The numbers refer to how long you’d need to press and hold the power button.
30 seconds. 1 minute. 2 minutes.
It’s effective in draining excess static or power in your laptop. Thus ensuring that your laptop can do a complete restart.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn off your laptop by pressing the power button.
- Unplug it from the outlet.
- Detach the charger from the laptop.
- Remove the laptop’s battery.
- Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds.
- Reconnect the charger to the laptop.
- Plug the charger back into the power source.
- Turn on the laptop by pressing the power button.
If you still have a black screen, repeat the steps. Only this time, do step #5 for 1 minute. And if the issue persists, repeat the steps. But press and hold the power button for 2 minutes.
Here’s a video guide on how to do the 30-1-2 method:
#5: Refresh your screen using a Windows key sequence
If your laptop’s screen is still black after doing the 30-1-2…
The next step’s to refresh your screen.
Your Windows laptop has a shortcut for that.
To do that, just press the Windows logo key + B + Shift + Ctrl.
After pressing the keys, you’ll hear a beeping sound on your laptop.
And Windows will proceed with refreshing your screen. You may see your screen blink during the process.
#6: Restart Windows Explorer
Now if your screen’s black but you see a cursor, you may attempt to restart Windows Explorer.
You’ll have to access Task Manager to do that.
There are 2 methods that you can try.
- Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard.
- Navigate to Task Manager and click it.
- Click the Process tab.
- Look for Windows Explorer and highlight it.
- Right-click and press Restart.
- Press your keyboard’s Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys.
- Select Task Manager.
- Click File. You may find it in the top-left of the window.
- Click Run new task.
- On the textbox, type in “explorer.exe” but without the quotes.
- Click OK.
Note: Alternatively, you may also press Esc + Shift + Ctrl to access Task Manager.
#7: Temporarily uninstall your laptop’s antivirus software
Modern Windows already have a built-in antivirus called Windows Security.
However, many still opt to install 3rd party antivirus software. Which is fine. We all want our laptops to be as safe as possible.
But at times, these 3rd party software can also cause issues. Such as a black screen.
So you should also try to uninstall your antivirus software. At least temporarily until you fix your laptop’s black screen problem.
But you’ll need to start in Safe Mode for that.
It’s a mode where your Windows laptop uses only the most basic files and drivers. Windows users enter this mode when trying to fix various issues.
Now with a black screen, restarting in Safe Mode’s a bit more complicated.
But don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the steps.
How to restart in Safe Mode when your screen’s black
Step #1: Press and hold your laptop’s power button to turn it off.
Step #2: Press the power button again to turn it back on.
Step #3: As soon as your laptop boots up, turn it off again with the power button.
Step #4: Once again, press the power button to power your laptop back on.
Step #5: Repeat steps #3 and #4 at least one more time.
Step #6: Your laptop should now restart in Automatic Repair. Look for Advanced options and click it.
Step #7: Select Troubleshoot.
Step #8: Click Advanced option.
Step #9: Look for the Startup Settings option and select it.
Step #10: Select Enable Safe Mode and click the Restart button.
Your laptop should then restart and enter Safe Mode.
Once you’re there, you should be able to delete your antivirus.
How to delete your 3rd party antivirus software
- Select Start.
- Select Settings.
- Navigate to Apps and click it.
- Click the Apps & features option.
- Highlight your antivirus software from the list.
- Click Uninstall.
After Windows completely uninstalls your antivirus, go ahead and restart your laptop.
#8: Use the Roll Back Driver option
Your laptop’s display driver is also another likely cause of your screen issue.
In rare cases, a driver update may cause problems. So rolling back the driver, or reverting to its previous version, can help.
To do this, you’ll once again need to restart and enter Safe Mode. You may refer to Fix #7 on the steps for that.
Once you’re in Safe Mode, follow these steps:
- Type in device manager in the Taskbar’s search box and press Enter.
- Look for Display adapters and expand by pressing the arrow.
- Right-click your display adapter and click Properties.
- Click the Driver tab.
- Click Roll back driver.
- Select Yes to proceed.
Restart your laptop afterward.
#9: Perform a System Restore
Did you know that your Windows laptop can time travel?
At least sort of. Through its System Restore feature.
This feature allows you to reverse changes in Windows OS easily. And revert back to a version that was previously working.
It’s a great feature. Mainly because it spares you the hassle of reinstalling your entire OS.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Restart in Safe Mode.
- Type in control panel in the search box in your Taskbar.
- Type in recovery in the Contol Panel’s search box and hit Enter.
- Select Recovery.
- Select Open System Restore.
- Select Restore system files and settings.
- Click Next.
- Select a restore point.
- Click Next.
- Click Finish.
Your laptop will then restart automatically.
Now, if none of the fixes resolve your laptop’s screen issue, it’s likely a hardware problem.
There’s likely damage to your laptop’s display. It may also be an issue with the graphics card.
So you’ll need to contact your laptop’s manufacturer. And ask for repair options.
Bonus: How to fix a black screen on a MacBook
So you’ve tried fixes 1 to 4. And your MacBook still has a black screen.
Well, another possible fix is by restarting from macOS recovery.
The process should vary depending on your processor.
But I’ll provide the steps to restart from macOS recovery for both versions.
MacBooks with Intel
- Press and hold the power button for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- After your MacBook turns off, wait for about 30 seconds.
- Press the power button again to turn it on.
- Press Command + R as soon as your MacBook boots up.
MacBooks with Apple silicon
- Press and hold the power button until you see the Startup Options menu.
- Click Options.
- Click Continue.
- Select Restart from macOS recovery.
You’ll have to contact Apple for support if this doesn’t fix your MacBook’s screen issue.
You may chat with an agent through their support page.