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Why is My Laptop Screen Black?

In this guide, I’ll cover a few of the most common issues that can cause a black screen on your laptop and how to fix them.

A black screen is usually not a good sign. In most cases, it means that there are parts in the computer that are failing. It can be a graphics driver problem, but one cannot be sure without running some diagnostics.

If you are using a dual-screen setup, then there can be clashing drivers too. But you’ll have to go through a bit of trial and error before you know the exact reason and go on to fix it.

Here are some of the most common scenarios that you might face:

My keyboard lights up, and I hear it turn on, but I cannot see anything on the screen?

If your keyboard lights up, but there is no display, then that means that the system is getting powered up, but the GPU might having problems, your internal disk drive is corrupted or damaged, your display is damaged, or LVDS cable might be loose (This cable hooks your motherboard to your display).

Lastly, there is a chance that this may be a software issue if this happened recently after a Windows update, or a driver update on your computer.

When I hook it up to an external monitor, I can see a display, but not on my laptop display

Displaying on an external monitor helps you identify whether or not your GPU is failing. A failing GPU, no matter what display you connect to, wouldn’t display anything. This still doesn’t root out a driver issue with your display, but you can be reassured it is either a software issue or a hardware issue at this point (i.e. LVDS cable loose as described above, or a damaged display).

When I hook it up to an external monitor, I still don’t see anything

Just like the previous problem, this is also a case of driver issue, but also look at your settings and whether or not they are optimized for a dual-screen setup. (Assuming your laptop screen also isn’t black). Check the connections and also the cables. More often than not, a bad cable can also cause a lot of problems that you won’t identify till the last moment.

Next Steps

Backup All Your Data

When troubleshooting display issues, there is a chance that your data may get corrupted, or you might lose it altogether. Especially if you try to role back drivers, reformat the operating system, or build up the courage to open up your laptop and DIY a screen replacement.

If you have important data on your system, it is important that you back up all of it either on the cloud or a separate hard disk.

This is only possible for a DIY if you can hook up to an external monitor, and navigate your operating system. If you have no display, you’d need special software and tools to remove your hard drive, hook up to an external adapter, perform a data recovery to an external data source.

Hard Reset or Safe Mode

Option 1: Remove the battery of your laptop if you can, and keep it disconnected for at least 30 seconds, then reinsert battery. Note, this is only possible if you do not have an internal battery. This step usually won’t work for most modern laptops i.e. circa 2018 & newer.

Option 2: Start the computer in safe mode. This startup method allows you to run the computer without any drivers or software. This is a great way to troubleshoot your display issues are because of software. If your display is visible here, then you know it is not hardware, and it is software.

To learn how to start a computer in safe mode, just search your laptop model + safe mode. You’ll find which set of keys you must press at start-up to enter safe mode. It depends on the BIOS of your computer, but more often, you just hold F8 immediately after you turn your computer on.

Basic Troubleshooting

External Monitor Test

A corrupted graphics driver or issues in the display itself can cause a black screen. There could be a problem with the display backlight going on too. To test this, attach one external monitor to your desktop or laptop and restart your computer. Use a VGA or HDMI cable to hook up the other screen and see if the display comes up on the new screen.

You can press F4 till the display can be seen on the attached screen. If you can see some graphics on the now attached screen, then there is an issue with the graphics driver of your computer. If both the screens are black now, then it is best to take the laptops to a service center.

Reset RAM

If the RAM on your system is loose, then you will get no image on the screen. This would be advise only if you’re comfortable opening up electronics, have the right tools, otherwise you’ll do more damage than good.

To do this, all you have to do is touch a grounded metal object, and all the static electricity will be dispersed. Just remove and reinsert all the RAM, and you will be good to go.

You should be able to get the image on screen if a loose RAM was the reason for the black screen.

Operating System Reinstall

If none of the above-mentioned troubleshooting steps work, you can always reinstall the operating system on your laptop. Of course, this only really works if you can see the display, so if you cannot access an external monitor, this is kind of hard with everyday tools available to you.

Reinstalling an OS is easy and can be done by everyone. It is a great way to reset your computer, and you’ll be able to make sure that the issue is hardware-based if the reset does not solve your problem.

Visit Gophermods

We at Gophermods will be more than happy to be of service. Our experts have years of experience in the field and will be able to diagnose all your problems in no time. Contact us for the best service in the area, and we will be more than happy to help you out with all your computer repair needs.