Many of the users have been facing a black screen issue where only a cursor is visible after logging in to their Windows accounts. This could be a peculiar issue to face as it renders you unable to navigate your PC using GUI elements.
There could be several reasons why you are facing these issues. Fortunately, the issue is well documented, and there are a plethora of methods you can try to resolve these errors. However, before you dive into this guide to troubleshoot the issue away, do take a look at the culprits of this issue to avoid any possibility of it happening again.
What Causes a Black Screen of Death?
The list of potential issues that can cause the black screen after logging in to Windows problem:
- Unplugged/ improperly plugged cables to the monitor.
- Graphics driver issue.
- Third-party services interfering with Windows startup.
- Damaged system files.
1. Check Monitor Cables
Note: This method only applies to users having a desktop computer.
First things first, before you go down the troubleshooting rabbit hole, you need to make sure that your monitor has a power cable and display cable connected properly to it. Make sure you disconnect all the cables and reattach them just to be sure.
2. Restart Your PC
Restarting your PC might seem very elementary or unnecessary. However, sometimes there could have been an issue with the update, or a third-party service/software might be creating an issue, and a simple restart can resolve it.
If you have a laptop computer, press and hold the
Power button to force shut down the computer. Wait for a couple of seconds, and then turn it back on.
In case you have a desktop computer, you can either press the physical power button on the CPU unit, or you can pull the plug and start afresh.
3. Disconnect All Peripherals
Many users have been able to resolve the issue by disconnecting all the attached peripherals to their computers except the keyboard and mouse.
There can be issues with the driver of a connected peripheral or its services interfering with the startup of Windows.
Restart your PC after disconnecting all the additional peripherals to check if this resolves the issue for you.
4. Reset Windows Explorer
Another method you can try is to reset the Windows Explorer. It is the process that renders everything that you see on your screen, and hence, restarting it might fix the issue for you.
However, do note many of the users on the Microsoft Forum were not able to see the process in their Task Manager. If that's the case with you as well, jump to the next task.
After logging in, press
Esc on your keyboard. This should bring up the Task Manager on your screen.
After that, ensure you are on the 'Processes' tab and then click on the 'Run new task' option.
After that, type
explorer.exe in the text box provided and click 'OK'.
You should now be able to see your Desktop screen. If not, move on to the next solution.
5. Try these Keyboard Shortcuts
To resolve the black screen issue, try the following keyboard shortcuts:
Windows logo key+
Delto wake the screen.
Windows logo key+
Bto restart the video driver and fix the black screen issue.
6. Clean Boot Your PC
Clean boot allows you to start your PC with minimal services and software. This eliminates the possibility of a third-party service or software causing an issue at the time of Windows startup.
There's a possibility that your issue might prevent you from following the steps below. In that case, simply mosey on to the next fix to get into Windows Recovery Options.
First, press the
R keys together on your keyboard to bring up the Run command utility. Then, type
msconfig and hit
Enter on your keyboard to proceed.
After that, click on the 'Selective startup' option and then click select the 'Load system services' option.
Then, click on the 'Services' tab and click on the checkbox preceding the 'Hide all Microsoft services' option. Then, click the 'Disable all' button to disable all but Microsoft services.
Next, click the 'Apply' button to save the changes and click 'OK' to close the window.
Now, restart your PC and check if the Desktop is loading all fine. If it does, you can check which service is causing the issue by enabling all third-party services one by one.
7. Boot into Safe Mode with Internet
First, power on your system, and at the first signal of boot up, press and hold the power button again for at least 20 seconds to shut down the system. If you are working with a Desktop PC, you can pull the plug on your PC.
Now, repeat the aforementioned process three times, and on the fourth time, allow your PC to boot up without any interruption. This will load the Windows Recovery Environment.
Note: For the Internet to work in Safe Mode, you might need to connect your PC with a wired connection if the Wi-Fi doesn't work.
Once the Windows Recovery Environment has been loaded, you can see the 'Choose an option' screen. Locate and click on the 'Troubleshoot' tile to proceed.
After that, from the 'Troubleshoot' screen, click on the 'Advanced options' tile to proceed.
Now, locate and click on the 'Startup Settings' tile to continue.
Then, on the next screen, click on the 'Restart' button present in the bottom right section of the screen to boot into the Safe Mode on your PC.
Once restarted, you will see a numbered list of the modes available. Make sure you press the number for the option 'Safe Mode with Networking' as it will allow you Internet access.
Update Graphics Driver
First, head to the Start Menu and type
Device Manager to perform a search. Then, from the search results, click on the 'Device Manager' tile to proceed.
After that, double-click the 'Display Adapters' option to expand the section. Then, right-click on the component listed under it and select the 'Update driver' option. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Next, click the 'Search automatically for drivers' option to let Windows search for a driver for you. Otherwise, if you have already downloaded a driver package, click the 'Browse my computer for drivers' option.
If you had previously updated the Graphics Driver and then started facing the issue, try rolling back the updates instead.
Perform Automatic Repair
First, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile.
After that, ensure you have selected the 'System' tab from the left sidebar.
Then, from the right section of the window, scroll down and click on the 'Recovery' tile to proceed.
Afterward, locate and click the 'Restart now' button to proceed. This will bring a separate window to your screen.
Next, click on the 'Restart' button from the alert to restart your PC immediately.
Once the PC restarts, click the 'Troubleshoot' tile to proceed.
After that, click on the 'Advanced options' tile.
Then, click on the 'Startup Repair' tile to commence the process.
You may be prompted to select your user account and provide credentials for it. Once entered, Windows will run the diagnostics and repair any issues found.
Edit Registry Files
After logging, press
Esc to bring up the Task Manager window. Make sure you are on the 'Processes' tab. Then, click 'Run new task'.
regedit in the text field given. Then, click 'OK' to launch the Registry Editor.
Then, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned directory in the address bar and hit
Enter to navigate to it.
After that, locate the 'Shell' DWORD file on the right section of the window and double-click on it.
Finally, overwrite the 'Value' field with
explorer.exe and click 'OK' to save the changes. Now, restart your PC and check if this resolved the issue for you.
Repair WinRE Image
WinRE stands for Windows Recovery Environment; if the image is corrupted or damaged, it may hinder the resetting process on your PC.
First, head to the Start Menu and type Terminal to perform a search. Then, right-click on the 'Terminal' tile and select the 'Run as admininstrator' option.
After that, click on the chevron (downward arrow) and select the 'Command Prompt' option.
Then, on the Command Prompt tab, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned code and hit
Enter on your keyboard to execute the command.
After that, restart your PC and launch the elevated Command Prompt, as shown previously in this section.
Now, on the Command Prompt window, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute.
If your PC still doesn't seem to start, Boot into the safe mode with the Internet again, as shown in the section earlier, and continue with the methods mentioned below.
8. Roll Back to a System Restore
If you have created a system restore point previously, you can easily roll back to it instead of resetting the PC. In case you are factory resetting the computer giveaway, you can initiate the process after restoring your PC.
Open the Start Menu and type
Control. Now, click on the 'Control Panel' tile from the search results.
After that, locate and click on the 'Recovery' tile from the grid of icons.
Next, click on the 'Open System Restore' option from the list. This will open a separate window on your screen.
From the separately opened window, click on the 'Next' button.
All created system restore points will be listed on the screen. Click to select the desired one and then click on the 'Next' button to initiate the rolling back process.
Next, a list of drives the rollback will impact will be displayed, along with the timestamp of the restore point created. You can also check the programs that will be affected; click on the 'Scan for the affected programs' button. A new window will appear on the screen.
On the new window, you can view the programs that will be deleted and the ones that will be restored (since no programs will be affected on the test PC, the list in the screenshot below is empty). Click on the 'Close' button to navigate to the previous window.
Finally, click the 'Finish' button to initiate the rollback process.
9. Fresh Install Windows 11
If even system restores fail to resolve the problem for you, the only option you have is to install Windows 11 on your computer fresh. You will first need to create an installation media if you have not already created it. Once you have the installation media, follow the below-mentioned steps.
There are mainly 2 ways to install Windows 11 on your computer fresh, either from the bootable USB or by mounting the ISO file. To showcase the process, we will be using the ISO file. Though the steps vary a little in the bootable USB method, the overall process remains the same.
Once you have downloaded the ISO file, navigate to the folder and right-click on the file. Then, select the 'Mount' option.
After that, head to the mounted drive and double-click on the
setup.exe to run the installer.
On the installer window, click on the 'Next' button.
After that, read the EULA (End User License Agreement) and click the 'Accept' button.
Once done, the installer will display the currently chosen configuration on the screen. To customize, click on the 'Change what to keep' option.
On the next screen, it is best to choose the 'Nothing' option in order to eradicate the problem once and for all. Then, click on the 'Next' option.
Finally, click on the 'Install' button on the installer window.
Once the installation is complete, you will have to go through the OOBE (Out of the Box Experience), which is a one-time setup of Windows 11.
The first screen on the OOBE will be for region selection. Select your country from the provided list and click the 'Yes' button.
After that, select the keyboard layout according to your region. This can be important because if a wrong layout is selected, some of the keys might function differently from what is intended. This can be changed later, though. Once selected, click on the 'Yes' button to proceed.
On the next screen, you will need to connect to a wireless network. Select one from the list and provide a password for authentication. Once connected, click on the 'Next' button.
In case you do not have access to the Internet at present, click on the 'I don't have Internet' button.
On the next screen, provide the name of your PC and then click on the 'Next' button.
After that, if your institution or organization creates your user account, click 'Set up for work for school'. Otherwise, select 'Set up for personal use' and click 'Next'. You will need to provide your Microsoft account credentials on the next screen.
After you are signed in, click on the 'Setup as new device' option to ensure no issues are carried forward in the fresh install.
On the next page, read all the privacy settings and toggle each per your requirement. They are not compulsory, so choose as you please. Then, click on the 'Accept' button.
Afterward, Windows 11 allows you to choose for which purpose you wish to use the PC. Select one from the list by clicking on the following checkbox. Windows will suggest tips and tricks, and you can click the 'Skip' button to move to the next screen.
Next, choose if you wish to use OneDrive to store your files. If not, click on the 'Only store files on this device' option and click the 'Next' button.
On the next screen, you might be prompted to opt for the 'Microsoft 365' service. You can either buy the service or try it for free. However, you can also choose to skip it by clicking on the 'No thanks' button.
The setup is now complete. Since it is a fresh install, you will hopefully not face any of the previous issues on your computer.
A black screen issue can be very vexing. However, using the methods mentioned above, you should be able to resolve it and get things working like clockwork again.