The only thing worse than a blue screen of death is a black screen of death. And the only thing worse than a black screen of death is a black screen that doesn’t even throw you a bone by telling you what’s wrong. With Windows 10, this can happen. Black screens during installations, updates, or at complete random have been reported by a number of users. Sometimes, nothing at all appears on the screen. Other times, you may have a mouse and keyboard but no desktop environment.

How to Fix Random Black Screens: Advanced Troubleshooting Options to Try

And then there are the black screens that happen out of the blue. Windows 10 new servicing model (i.e. endless patches and updates) means that Windows updates, patches, security fixes, and driver updates are often downloaded in the background and installed at night completely unbeknownst to you. If you want to manage which Windows updates get installed and when, you can, but if one has already snuck past you and given you a black screen, try booting in Safe Mode.

A corrupt user profile can sometimes trigger a black screen. Attempting to boot into Safe Mode, create a new user account, then attempting to sign into it might work.

The RunOnce Processes can also be a culprit. If you all see is a black screen after logging in, press Control + Shift + Esc on your keyboard; this will launch Task Manager. Go to the Processes and Services tab, then look for any instances of RunOnce32.exe or RunOnce.exe. If you find any that are running, stop the process, cancel the application, or end the service.

Click File > Run new task, type: cmd then hit Enter. At the command prompt, type:

shutdown -r -t 01

Then, hit Enter. This will restart your computer.

How to Use Safe Mode to Troubleshoot Black Screens

Booting into Safe Mode can be used to troubleshoot random black screens or black screens encountered during a Windows 10 install.

To get into Safe Mode, do the following: Turn your computer on and off three times. While booting, make sure you turn off the computer when you see the Windows logo.

After the third time, Windows 10 will boot into diagnostics mode. Click Advanced options when the recovery screen appears.

 safe mode windows 10

Click Troubleshoot.

 safe mode windows 10

Click Advanced options.

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Click Startup Settings.

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Click Restart.

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Press the number 4. This will start Windows 10 in Safe Mode.

 automatic-repair-6 safe mode windows 10

Sign in, press Windows key + X, click Device Manager, expand Display Adapter, right-click the display driver then click Disable. Restart your computer to see if setup completes successfully or you can boot to the desktop. If you can reach the desktop, check Windows Update or the manufacturer’s website for the latest driver.

 dev-manager safe mode windows 10

Are you Still Having Black Screen Issues?

Windows 10 black screen issues can be persistent and mysterious. If you’ve gone through all of the troubleshooting steps above and you are still having issues, your next step is to throw it out to the community. Let us know about your successes, failures, and frustrations in the comments or join us in the Windows 10 Forums.