How To Fix Laptop Turns On But The Screen Is Black

Experiencing a laptop that turns on but only shows a black screen can be a frustrating ordeal. This common issue can stem from various causes, ranging from simple power glitches to more complex hardware malfunctions. Fortunately, with the right approach, you can often diagnose and even resolve this problem yourself. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive and easy-to-follow pathway to troubleshoot and fix the issue of a laptop that powers on but fails to display anything. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the potential causes and the steps you can take to get your laptop back to its optimal state.

a. Preliminary Checks

When faced with the issue where your laptop turns on but the screen remains black, it’s crucial to start with some basic checks. These steps are simple yet vital in narrowing down the cause of the problem.

1. Confirming Power Status

Firstly, ensure your laptop is indeed powering on. Look for indicators like the power LED being lit or the sound of the laptop’s fan or hard drive. These signs confirm that the laptop is on, despite the black screen.

2. Listening for Boot Sounds

Next, pay close attention to the sounds your laptop makes. Does it seem like it’s booting up normally? For instance, the Windows startup sound or the hard drive spinning up are promising signs. They suggest that the issue might be with the display rather than the entire system.

3. Brightness Check

A surprisingly common oversight is the screen brightness. Make sure it’s not turned down too low. Try increasing the brightness using the keyboard shortcuts, usually involving the ‘Fn’ key combined with one of the function keys (like F11 or F12).

4. Check for External Influences

Also, check if there are any external devices connected to your laptop. Sometimes, peripherals like USB drives or external monitors can cause conflicts during boot-up. Unplug these devices and restart your laptop to see if the screen comes back to life.

5. Power Cycle Your Laptop

Lastly, perform a power cycle. Turn off your laptop, remove the power cord and battery (if removable), and then hold down the power button for 15-20 seconds. This action discharges residual power and can sometimes resolve minor glitches causing a black screen. These preliminary steps are the first line of defense in resolving the ‘laptop turns on but black screen’ issue. They are simple yet effective and often overlooked in the rush to find a solution. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, further troubleshooting might be necessary. However, these initial checks are a crucial starting point in diagnosing the problem.

b. Power and Battery Issues

Addressing power and battery issues is crucial when your laptop turns on but displays a black screen. This section delves into common power-related causes and how to troubleshoot them.
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1. Battery Check

Start by examining the battery. A faulty or improperly seated battery can cause power issues. If your laptop has a removable battery, take it out and then reinsert it, ensuring it clicks into place securely. If the laptop doesn’t have a removable battery, skip to the next step.

2. Hard Reset

Performing a hard reset can resolve numerous power-related issues. First, turn off your laptop. Then, disconnect the power cord and remove the battery (if possible). Hold down the power button for 15-20 seconds. This step drains residual power. Reconnect the power supply (and battery), and turn on your laptop. Check if the screen lights up.

3. Power Supply and Cord

Inspect your power supply and cord. Ensure they are in good condition and properly connected. A damaged cord or faulty power supply can prevent your laptop from receiving enough power, leading to a black screen.

4. Charging Port Check

Examine the charging port on your laptop. Dust, debris, or damage in the port can interfere with charging, affecting the laptop’s power status. Gently clean the port if needed, being careful not to cause damage.

5. Alternative Power Source

Try using a different power source. Sometimes the issue might be with the power outlet you are using. Connect your laptop to a different outlet to rule out this possibility. Power and battery issues can often manifest as a laptop turning on but with a black screen. By methodically checking each of these aspects, you can either resolve the issue or eliminate these factors from your troubleshooting process. If the problem persists, further investigation into other potential causes will be necessary.

c. Hardware Troubleshooting

When your laptop turns on but the screen remains black, it’s essential to delve into hardware troubleshooting. This section focuses on practical steps to identify and possibly resolve hardware-related issues.

1. External Display Check

Firstly, test your laptop with an external monitor. This step can help determine whether the issue lies with the laptop’s screen itself. Connect your laptop to an external display and switch to the external display mode using the appropriate function key. If the external monitor works, the issue likely resides in your laptop’s screen or its connection to the motherboard.

2. Reseating RAM

Next, consider reseating the RAM. Memory issues can sometimes cause a black screen. Turn off your laptop and remove the power source. Open the back panel, locate the RAM, and gently remove it. Then, reinsert it carefully, ensuring it’s firmly in place. This process can resolve issues stemming from loose or dirty RAM contacts.

3. Checking for Overheating

Overheating can lead to a black screen. Feel your laptop for excessive heat, particularly near the vents and processor. If it feels unusually hot, allow it to cool down before restarting. Regularly cleaning the vents and fans can prevent overheating.

4. Graphics Card Examination

For laptops with a dedicated graphics card, the card could be the issue. If possible, connect an external graphics card and see if the screen displays correctly. This step might require professional assistance.

5. Inspect for Physical Damage

Finally, inspect your laptop for any signs of physical damage, especially if it was recently dropped or impacted. Physical damage to the screen or internal components can cause a black screen. Hardware issues can be complex, but by methodically going through these steps, you can identify whether a hardware problem is causing your laptop to turn on with a black screen. If these troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the issue, it might be time to seek professional help.

d. Software and Drivers

In scenarios where your laptop turns on but the screen is black, software and driver issues could be the culprits. This section explores how to address these potential problems effectively.

1. Booting in Safe Mode

Begin by booting your laptop in Safe Mode. This process starts your computer with a minimal set of drivers and programs. To enter Safe Mode, restart your laptop and press the F8 key (or Shift + F8) before the Windows logo appears. Choose ‘Safe Mode’ from the options. If your screen becomes visible in Safe Mode, software or driver conflicts could be causing the black screen.

2. Updating Display Drivers

Outdated or corrupted display drivers can lead to screen issues. While in Safe Mode, update your display drivers. Go to Device Manager, expand ‘Display adapters’, right-click on your graphics driver, and select ‘Update driver’. Follow the prompts to complete the update process.

3. Reinstalling Graphics Driver

If updating doesn’t help, try reinstalling the graphics driver. In Device Manager, right-click on the display adapter and select ‘Uninstall device’. Then restart your laptop; Windows will attempt to reinstall the driver.

4. Checking for Windows Updates

Ensure your laptop is up to date with the latest Windows updates. These updates can include crucial fixes for display issues. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and click ‘Check for updates’.

5. Rolling Back Recent Changes

If the black screen issue started after a recent software installation or update, consider rolling back these changes. Use System Restore to revert your system to an earlier state. You can access System Restore in the Control Panel under ‘Recovery’. Addressing software and driver issues is a vital step when your laptop turns on but only shows a black screen. By following these steps, you can often resolve the problem without needing to delve into more complex hardware troubleshooting.

e. Advanced Troubleshooting

When facing the challenge where your laptop turns on but the screen is black, advanced troubleshooting might be necessary. This section covers more technical steps that require caution and precision.

1. BIOS/UEFI Reset

Start with resetting the BIOS or UEFI, which are crucial for hardware initialization at startup. Turn off your laptop, then turn it back on and immediately press the key to enter BIOS setup (usually F2, DEL, or ESC). Look for an option to reset to default settings, often labeled as ‘Load Optimized Defaults’ or similar. This reset can resolve issues stemming from incorrect BIOS/UEFI settings.

2. Checking Hard Drive Health

Next, check your hard drive’s health. A failing hard drive can cause a black screen. If possible, connect the hard drive to another laptop or use a bootable USB with hard drive diagnostics tools to assess its condition.

3. Testing RAM with MemTest86

To rule out memory issues, use tools like MemTest86. Create a bootable USB with MemTest86, boot from it, and let the tool run a thorough check on your RAM. This process can take several hours but is effective in identifying faulty memory.

4. GPU Stress Test

If you suspect a GPU issue, conduct a stress test. Use an external monitor to perform this test if your laptop screen is black. Tools like FurMark or 3DMark can stress test your GPU to check for stability and performance issues.

5. Inspecting for Loose Internal Connections

Finally, inspect your laptop for loose internal connections. This step requires you to open the laptop, so proceed only if you are comfortable doing so. Check the connections between the motherboard, screen, and other components. Ensure all cables are secure and in good condition. Advanced troubleshooting requires a careful approach but can be highly effective in resolving a black screen issue when your laptop turns on. If these steps don’t resolve the problem, it might be time to consult a professional technician.

f. Operating System Issues

When your laptop turns on but the screen is black, operating system issues might be the root cause. This section provides a detailed guide to addressing these problems.

1. Windows Recovery Environment

First, access the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). Restart your laptop and press the F8 key (or Shift + F8) repeatedly before the Windows logo appears. In WinRE, you can perform various actions like system restore or startup repair.

2. System Restore

Use System Restore to roll back to a previous state. In WinRE, select ‘Troubleshoot’, then ‘Advanced Options’, and finally ‘System Restore’. Choose a restore point before the issue started. This process can reverse recent changes that might have caused the black screen.

3. Startup Repair

If System Restore doesn’t solve the issue, try Startup Repair. In the WinRE, navigate to ‘Troubleshoot’ > ‘Advanced Options’ > ‘Startup Repair’. This tool automatically fixes problems that prevent Windows from starting.

4. Windows Safe Mode

Booting in Safe Mode can help diagnose the issue. In WinRE, go to ‘Startup Settings’ and restart your laptop. Press 4 or F4 to start in Safe Mode. If your screen works in Safe Mode, the issue might be due to software or drivers loaded in normal mode.

5. Checking Disk for Errors

Check your disk for errors using Command Prompt in WinRE. Navigate to ‘Troubleshoot’ > ‘Advanced Options’ > ‘Command Prompt’. Type chkdsk /f /r and hit Enter. This command scans and repairs disk errors and can take some time to complete.

6. Reinstalling Windows

As a last resort, consider reinstalling Windows. This step should only be taken if all other solutions fail, as it will erase your data. In WinRE, go to ‘Troubleshoot’ > ‘Reset this PC’ and choose ‘Remove everything’. Ensure you have backed up important files before proceeding. Operating system issues can be complex, but with these steps, you can systematically identify and resolve the problem causing your laptop to turn on with a black screen. If these methods do not fix the issue, it might indicate a more serious hardware problem, necessitating professional repair.

g. Professional Assistance

When dealing with a laptop that turns on but has a black screen, seeking professional assistance is often the best course of action, especially after exhausting basic troubleshooting steps. This section guides you on when and how to seek expert help.

1. Identifying the Need for Professional Help

If you’ve followed the troubleshooting steps outlined in the previous sections without success, it may indicate a more complex issue that requires specialized knowledge. Particularly if you’re uncomfortable performing hardware diagnostics or if the laptop has sustained physical damage, professional expertise is advisable.

2. Choosing the Right Service

Selecting a reputable service provider is crucial. Look for certified technicians, especially those authorized by your laptop’s manufacturer. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family. Ensure the service center has experience with similar issues or specific expertise with your laptop’s brand.

3. Preparing for Service

Before handing over your laptop, back up important data if possible. Remove any personal or sensitive information from your device for privacy reasons. Provide the technician with a detailed account of the problem and any steps you’ve already taken to try to resolve it.

4. Understanding Service Terms

Familiarize yourself with the service terms. This includes warranty coverage, estimated repair time, and cost. Ask if they provide a diagnosis before performing repairs and if they charge for it, especially if you decide not to proceed with their service.

5. Post-Service Care

After the repair, ensure you understand any maintenance tips or follow-up actions recommended by the technician. Ask for a summary of the work done and any warranty or guarantee on the repair service. While troubleshooting a laptop that turns on but has a black screen can be done at home, some issues require professional intervention. By carefully selecting a qualified technician and preparing your laptop for service, you can ensure the best possible outcome.


Troubleshooting a laptop that turns on but has a black screen can seem daunting at first. However, by methodically following the steps outlined in this guide, you can identify and often rectify the issue. Whether it’s a simple fix like adjusting the brightness settings or a more complex solution involving hardware or software diagnostics, the key is to proceed with patience and caution. Remember, if these solutions don’t yield results, or if you’re uncomfortable performing any of the more technical steps, seeking professional help is a wise decision. With the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to restoring your laptop’s functionality and getting back to your daily digital routine.

FAQs on Laptop is on but the screen is black

  1. What to do when your laptop is on but the screen is black?

    • Check Power and Brightness: Ensure your laptop is fully charged and the brightness is not set to the lowest.
    • Perform a Hard Reset: Disconnect the power, remove the battery (if possible), and hold down the power button for 20 seconds to reset.
    • Connect an External Monitor: Determine if the issue is with your laptop’s screen.
    • Boot in Safe Mode: Restart your laptop and try booting in Safe Mode to diagnose software issues.
    • Update or Reinstall Drivers: Outdated or corrupted graphics drivers can cause display problems.
  2. Why does my computer start but the screen is black?

    • Hardware Issues: Problems with the graphics card, RAM, or motherboard can cause this issue.
    • Loose Connections: Check internal connections, especially if the laptop was recently moved or dropped.
    • BIOS/UEFI Problems: Incorrect BIOS settings or updates can result in a black screen.
    • Overheating: If the computer has overheated, it might start but fail to display anything.
  3. Why is my laptop powering on but no display?

    • Faulty Display: The screen itself might be damaged or malfunctioning.
    • Graphics Card Issue: If you have a dedicated graphics card, it might be failing or need reseating.
    • RAM Problems: Defective or poorly seated RAM can prevent the display from working.
    • Motherboard Issues: A problem with the motherboard can result in power without display.
  4. What do you do if your laptop turns on but it’s a black screen and you just see the mouse cursor?

    • Windows Explorer Restart: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager, find Windows Explorer, and restart it.
    • Update Drivers: Specifically, update your graphics and mouse drivers.
    • Run Windows Troubleshooter: Use the built-in troubleshooter to diagnose display issues.
    • System Restore: If the problem started after an update or new software installation, consider performing a system restore to a previous point.
    • Virus Scan: Perform a full system antivirus scan to rule out malware causing display issues.

Next Steps: Contact Volta PC Upgrade & Repair

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and your laptop’s screen still remains black, it might be time to seek professional help. In such cases, contacting Volta PC Upgrade & Repair can be a wise decision. They offer expert services in diagnosing and repairing laptops with display issues. Their team of skilled technicians can provide the necessary laptop repairs or upgrades to get your laptop back in working order. Don’t let a persistent black screen hinder your productivity; reach out to Volta PC Upgrade & Repair for a reliable solution.

Contact Volta PC Upgrade & Repair Today!

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