We’ve all had scary times in our lives.

One of mine is giving a speech in front of a crowd of hundreds.

The last few minutes of the Super Bowl LIV.

And the screen on my laptop goes black all of a sudden while I’m working.

The last one made me want to put together a list of the best fixes.

And so…

Read on to find out more:

  • What’s the real reason why laptop screens go black.
  • There are 9 easy and effective ways to fix a laptop screen that is black.
  • What the 30-1-2 method is and why it works to fix black screen problems. • A whole lot more…

Why is the screen on my laptop black?

The OS has a bug that makes the screen on your laptop black. Most of the time, it’s because an app in the background isn’t working right. To fix this, you need to restart your laptop. You can do that by pressing the power button and holding it down. If the problem is with your display driver, you can change it to an older version.

How to fix a laptop with a black screen? 9 ways

Windows laptops have this problem much more often than MacBooks.

So 5 through 9 are all based on Windows.

But you don’t need to worry if you use a MacBook.

You can still try the first four fixes. Then go to the Bonus section to find more ways to fix things.

So, let’s get started!

1: Make sure your laptop is on.  

Even if the TV screen or laptop screen is black. You should first make sure it’s turned on and running.

If a laptop is on, you will be able to hear the fans spinning.

Pressing the caps lock key is another easy way to check. See if the status light on it comes on. If it’s turned on, the problem is with your screen.

But if the light on the caps lock key won’t turn on…

Then there is something wrong with the power source.

And if so, plug your laptop into a different outlet.

Also, check the charger for any flaws.

Most laptops work with chargers from other brands, which is a plus.

So you won’t have a hard time finding a replacement if it breaks.

2: Use the keyboard to try to change the brightness of the screen.

In some cases, the black screen was caused by the brightness settings being set wrong.

You or someone else may have changed the brightness level by mistake.

It’s also a common reason why TV screens are dark.

So, look for the key on your laptop that lets you change the brightness. Most of the time, it is in one of the function keys.

From there, try to change the brightness level.

You only need to press F2 on older MacBooks. In newer models, you can use the touch bar to change how bright the screen is.

And for laptops with Windows…

It really changes. Depending on the company that makes it. But the key often has an image of a sun on it. So try to find that.

3: Turn off any outside devices

The problem isn’t always with the laptop. But with the external devices that were hooked up.

It might be an external hard drive. Or a speaker you plugged into the headphone jack or USB port.

Any of these things can break down. And then give your laptop a lot of trouble.

So try to turn off all outside gadgets. And see if it brings back the display on your laptop.

4: Restart your laptop

One of the most common things that can cause a black screen is a bug in the software.

And restarting your laptop is a quick and effective way to fix that.

Just hold down the power button. Wait until your laptop shuts down all the way.

Then give it one or two minutes. Press the power button again to turn it back on.

Do you still only see black?

Then try this different way to start over.

The 30-1-2 is what the experts call it. The numbers show how long you would have to hold down the power button.

30 sec. 1 minute. 2 minutes.

It works to drain extra power or static from your laptop. So, you can be sure that your laptop can restart all the way.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press the power button to turn off your laptop.
  2. Pull it out of the wall outlet.
  3. Unplug the laptop’s charger.
  4. Take the battery out of the laptop.
  5. Press the power button and hold it for 30 seconds.
  6. Plug the charger back into the computer.
  7. Connect the charger to the power source again.
  8. Press the power button to turn on the laptop.

If the screen is still black, repeat the steps. Do step 5 again, but this time do it for 1 minute. And if the problem keeps coming back, do the steps again. But for 2 minutes, press and hold the power button.

5: Use a Windows key sequence to refresh your screen.

If, after doing the 30-1-2, your laptop’s screen is still black…

The next thing you should do is refresh your screen.

There’s a quick way to do that on your Windows laptop.

Press the Windows logo key + B + Shift + Ctrl to do that.

When you press a key on your laptop, it will make a beeping sound.

And Windows will continue to make your screen look new. During the process, you might see your screen blink.

6: Start Windows Explorer over again

Now, if your screen is black but you can see the cursor, you can try to restart Windows Explorer.

To do that, you’ll need to use Task Manager.

You can try either of two things.

Method #1:

  1. Use your keyboard to press Ctrl, Alt, and Delete.
  2. Find and click on Task Manager.
  3. Click the tab called Process.
  4. Find Windows Explorer and make it stand out.
  5. Press Restart after right-clicking.

Method 2: Press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys on your keyboard.

  1. Choose “Task Manager.”
  2. Click File. It might be in the top left corner of the window.
  3. Click Run new task.
  4. Type “explorer.exe” without the quotes into the text box.
  5. Press OK.

Note: To get to Task Manager, you can also press Esc, Shift, and Ctrl.

7: Turn off your laptop’s antivirus software for a while

Windows Security, an antivirus program, is already built into modern versions of Windows.

Many people still choose to use third-party antivirus software, though. That’s fine. Everyone wants their laptops to be as safe as they can be.

But these third-party programs can also sometimes cause problems. A black screen is one example.

Also, you should try to get rid of your antivirus software. At least until you figure out how to fix the black screen on your laptop.

But to do that, you’ll need to start in Safe Mode.

In this mode, only the most basic files and drivers are used on your Windows laptop. When Windows users try to fix problems, they go into this mode.

With a black screen, it’s a little harder to restart in Safe Mode.

But don’t be afraid. I’ll show you how to do it.

How to turn on your computer in Safe Mode when the screen is black

Step 1: To turn off your laptop, press and hold the power button.

Step 2: To turn it back on, press the power button again.

Step 3: Press the power button to turn off your laptop as soon as it starts up.

Step 4: Press the power button again to turn on your laptop.

Step 5: Do steps 3 and 4 again, at least once more.

Step 6: Your laptop should now start up in Automatic Repair. Find the button that says “Advanced” and click it.

Step 7: Choose Troubleshoot.

Step 8. Click the “Advanced” button.

Step 9: Find the option for “Startup Settings” and click on it.

Step 10: Choose “Turn on Safe Mode” and click “Restart.”

Then, your laptop will restart and go into Safe Mode.

You should be able to delete your antivirus once you get there.

How to get rid of a third-party antivirus program

  1. Click on “Start.”
  2. Go to “Settings.”
  3. Find “Apps” and click on it.
  4. Click the option for Apps & features.
  5. Mark the antivirus software you use on the list.
  6. Click Remove.

After Windows removes your antivirus program completely, you can restart your laptop.

8: Choose Roll Back Driver.

The display driver on your laptop could also be to blame for what’s wrong with your screen.

Updates to drivers can sometimes cause problems. So rolling back the driver, or going back to the version it was in before, can be helpful.

To do this, you’ll need to restart your computer and go back into Safe Mode. Fix #7 on the steps will tell you how to do that.

Follow these steps once you’re in Safe Mode:

  1. Type “device manager” into the search box on the Taskbar and hit “Enter.”
  2. Look for Display adapters and press the arrow to open them up.
  3. Right-click on your display adapter and click Properties.
  4. Click the tab called Driver.
  5. Click Roll back driver.
  6. Choose “Yes” to move forward.

After that, turn your laptop back on.

9: Restore your system.

Did you know your Windows computer can go back in time?

At least, in a way. Through a feature called “System Restore.”

With this feature, it’s easy to undo changes in Windows OS. And change it back to a version that worked before.

It’s a great thing to have. Mostly because it saves you from having to reinstall your whole OS, which can be a pain.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Restart in Safe Mode.
  2. In the search box on your Taskbar, type “control panel.”
  3. Type “recovery” into the search box in the Control Panel and press “Enter.”
  4. Click on Recover.
  5. Choose Open System Restore.
  6. Choose Restore files and settings for the system.
  7. Press Next.
  8. Select a restore point.
  9. Press Next.
  10. Click “Done.”

Then, your laptop will restart itself.

Now, if none of these fixes fix the problem with your laptop’s screen, it’s probably a problem with the hardware.

Your laptop’s screen is most likely broken. It could also be a problem with the video card.

So you’ll need to talk to the company that made your laptop. And ask about how to fix it.

Bonus: How to fix a Mac with a black screen

You’ve already tried fixes 1 through 4. And the screen on your MacBook is still black.

Well, you could also try restarting from the macOS recovery menu.

How you do it should depend on what kind of computer you have.

Older MacBooks have Intel. The newest models, on the other hand, have Apple chips.

But I’ll show you how to start up again from macOS recovery for both versions.

Intel-powered MacBooks

  1. Press and hold the power button for 10 to 15 seconds.
  2. Wait about 30 seconds after your Mac shuts down.
  3. Press the power button again to turn it back on.
  4. As soon as your Mac starts up, press Command + R.

MacBooks that use Apple chips

  1. Hold down the power button until the Startup Options menu appears.
  2. Select “Options.”
  3. Hit the Next button.
  4. Choose Restart from macOS recovery.

If this doesn’t fix the problem with your MacBook’s screen, you’ll need to get help from Apple.

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September 2022