Black Screen of Death?

I recieved the 'black screen of death' on my Windows 10 PC, about a week ago. I've tried everything to fix it, and unfortunately, nothing has helped. It is a black screen with a blinking white underscore in the top left hand corner. 
 

Question Info


Last updated October 11, 2019 Views 485 Applies to:

Hi Sarah,

We are looking at a couple of possible reasons behind this incident. Mainly, a corrupted system file that caused the functions of your system to stop, pause, loop, or basically produce incomplete results. However, before we proceed to troubleshooting, we would just like to ask some questions first.

  • Are you able to boot your computer to any workable environment? (e.g. desktop, safe mode? etc.)
  • What are the steps that you have done so far?
  • Was there any changes to the computer prior to this concern? Installed update? Installed software?
  • Was there any particular application/software that you were using when you encountered this error?

Based from your post, our main objective is to be able to boot to a workable environment. Kindly try the suggestions below:

Method 1: Windows recovery

Let us first try to enter Windows Recovery mode. If we're successful, we should be able to fix the computer in no time. Repetitively tap the F8 key continuously before the Windows log appears until you end up on the Choose an option screen.

Once successful, you will usually be presented with 3 options. Select Troubleshoot. From there, select Advanced options. Finally, select Startup Repair first.

Method 2: Media Creation

This is an alternative solution to be able to boot successfully. However, you will be needing an installation disc with Windows 10 inside or if you don't have that, you can proceed by downloading the Windows 10 ISO files from this link. You can save it in an external device such as A Flash drive with at least 8GB of free space.

Once you have Windows 10 installer. Have it connected/inserted into your computer.

Here are the steps that you will be following next:

  1. When your computer starts, wait for the manufacturer logo to check the option for boot menu, it will usually be F12.
  2. The boot menu key might differ with each manufacturer. If you are unable to find the boot menu key, you may refer the user manual.
  3. Restart the computer, when the manufacturer's logo is displayed, keep pressing the Boot menu option key to enter the boot menu and change the boot option to CD\DVD ROM (in case you create DVD). Select USB in case you create USB.
  4. Save then exit.
  5. PC should end up on an installation screen. You will still have an option here to retain your old files. Please follow the onscreen instructions.

We'll be waiting for your response.

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I had the same problem but then I came across this video and it worked! 

→https://youtu.be/x7FTQV0oZYk?t=349

Hope this helps!

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I had the "boot to black screen" problem in 2016 and went through all sorts of gyrations before implementing Sharath Srinivasa's suggestion in his August 6, 2015 reply. I tried attaching an external monitor to my laptop (Lenovo T500), without success, and eventually disabled one of the two display adapters, which seemed to resolve the problem.

Unfortunately, each time Windows 10 does a cumulative update, it enables all display adapters. So when the machine finally boots for the last time it is to a black screen.  I've had this problem two or three times since 2016, most recently two weekends ago (3/11/2018), and so I was forced to implement Mr. Srinivasa's approach yet again -- which was to force a shutdown while booting three times in succession, then when in recovery environment after booting the fourth time, select Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then Startup Options, then Restart, then press F5 for Safe Mode With Networking, then open the Device Manager, look at your Display Adapters and see if you have two that are BOTH enabled. In my case I have an on-board chip set for video plus a Radeon HD3650 card. I disabled this card and rebooted, and after a few very slow starts, it started to boot up normally again.

It is disheartening to have to do this each time there's a cumulative Win10 update. I have a Lenovo T520 with only one display adapter, and it updates without this black screen problem each time.

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I had the same problem in my office.  By the end of a week of OS 'Upgrades???' (LOL), all of my Window-10 "Fall Creator" version machines were doing the same thing.  I found that a massive number of users were experiencing the same problem (or, variations).  I fought the problem for 3 weeks, trying every approach offered by MS and tech-bloggers.

It became a Whack-a-Mole.  I'd fix a PC and it would self-destruct on the next update push.

Forget about trying to enter SAFE MODE, by pressing F8.  MS (in their infinite wisdom) disabled this feature.  You can re-enable it.  But, you have to find a way to RUN a CMD window as ADMINISTRATOR. Since you're not able to access your desktop, you have to do it outside of the GUI environment. In either case, you must enter the command: 

>bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

(COPY and PASTE without the ">").  This will re-enable the F8 functionality.

However, please READ ON, for another way to get back to your desktop and information you'll need, even if you choose the F8, Safe Mode approach.

I could get machines back up and running, by using a Win-10 ISO DVD, that I created on a working machine.  (You can do this too.  Find a Windows machine 7, 8 or 10, doesn't matter, that's still working and browse over to MS's "Media Creation Tool" download.  It's free.  Make sure that you choose to use it to create a WIN-10 ISO DVD.  If your machine is Win-10 PRO, then make sure your ISO is PRO, too.

I don't recommend that you choose the 'CLEAN INSTALL' method that is pushed by MS.  If you do, you'll get the PC back up and running. But, all of your application software will need to be re-installed, EVEN MSOFFICE.  What a pain in the neck that choice was.   The worst part is that it doesn't solve the problem of the black screen and spinning wheel.  Since once MS upgrades to the Fall Creator version(more like Fall DESTROYER version) the problem will re-appear and all of your effort will have been wasted.

After realizing that Clean Install was a bust, I started using the Recovery RESTORE feature (DVD ISO option).  I Restored to a date before the failure mode and the machines got up and running.  Not much lost this way.  I highly recommend it.  (Hopefully, you have 'Windows Protection' ON, so that the RESTORE method is available to you.  Otherwise, your other options are limited.)

One last option to get back to your desktop and eliminate the Black Screen of Death (with spinning wheel) is to disconnect your wireless mouse and wireless keyboard, before booting.  Use a wired mouse and keyboard.  (More info about this method, below.)

NOW, THE <permanent, I hope> FIX:  After you get a machine back up and running, it will want to update to the latest OS version, with all of the latest OS 'fixes'.  BEFORE it can download and install and upgrade you must do the following:

1.  Open WIndows-10 SERVICES (If you don't know how to do this, Type the word SERVICES into Cortana and she'll provide you with a Best Match LINK) and change "AppReadiness" to "DISABLED" by double clicking on its ICON.  (You'll need to STOP it first, if it's running). Be sure to click on APPLY, before closing the AppReadiness window. Next, be sure to CLOSE SERVICES.

2.  Go to Windows:   SETTINGS > SYSTEM > POWER & SLEEP > ADDITIONAL POWER SETTINGS > "Choose what the Power Button Does" (it's a LINK on the upper left of the window) > Click on the link "Change Settings that are currently unavailable" and DISABLE (uncheck) "Turn on Fast Startup".

The combination of these two changes SHOULD eliminate the BLACK SCREEN with SPINNING CIRCLE of DEATH after MS attempts its next OS upgrade and or 'fix'.  (Even with a USB mouse and/or keyboard)

However, if you're using a Logitech wireless mouse and/or wireless keyboard, you may have to disconnect them and replace them with WIRED VERSIONS, or, perhaps, another manufacturer's wireless mouse - keyboard.    I had Logitech mice (no wireless keyboards) and I had to go to wired mice to guarantee that the problem disappeared completely.  It's some kind of USB problem that seems to be isolated to Logitech wireless devices.  Disabling the AppReadiness Service feature should take care of this problem, even for Logitech.  However, I haven't had time or desire to test this theory.  I need to get my office back up and running, productively.

GOOD LUCK!

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