This is the issue where your screen goes black with just the cursor on it. When you boot the PC, you get nothing but a black screen. This issue is known as BSOD (black screen of death). BSOD happens when the login screen goes black or blank. At this point, the operating system is supposed to load the shell, but if for some reason it has been corrupted, damaged, or its permissions changed, it won’t be able to load the shell. The issue can also be caused by a corrupted VGA driver or a corrupt boot environment. The good thing is that this issue is software-based, so it can be fixed with a little bit of troubleshooting. In this guide, I will list down all the methods that have worked for me in the past; therefore, you need to try all the methods as well and stop at the one that works for you.
Short Test for Windows 8/8.1/10 (Laptops with Batteries)
If you are a Windows 8/8.1 user, take these steps before troubleshooting further, as doing so may fix the issue. First, remove the battery and then reinsert it. Restart the computer, and repeatedly tap the F8 key while holding the Shift key. Check how Windows starts up. If the issue still exists, continue with the steps below.
Safe Mode Guide for Windows 8, 8.1, 10, 7, and Vista
For all steps ahead, we need to boot the system in Safe Mode. This section will explain how to boot up in Safe Mode on Windows 8, 8.1, 10, 7, and Vista. Also, when you first start in Safe Mode, it would be advisable to back up all your important files on an external disk, USB, or thumb drive.
Restart your computer; you can perform a force restart if there are no buttons or options visible. To do this, simply hold the power button for a few seconds until the PC or laptop shuts off. Then, turn it back on and repeatedly tap the F8 key until you see the advanced boot menu. When you see this, choose ‘Safe Mode with Networking.’
Method 1: Perform a System File Checker Scan in Safe Mode for Windows 8/8.1/10/7/Vista.
After you have logged in to Safe Mode with Networking, hold the Windows key and press R. Type ‘cmd‘ in the Run dialog and click OK. Then, type ‘SFC /scannow‘ in the black command prompt and hit Enter. Wait for the System File Checker (SFC) to finish scanning. After it has finished scanning, reboot the computer and check if you are able to log in. If not, boot back into Safe Mode and continue with the steps below (System Restore).
Method 2: System Restore in Safe Mode (Windows 8/8.1/10/7/Vista).
Assuming you have now returned to Safe Mode using the steps explained above, please follow these steps:
- Click the Start button, type ‘system restore‘ in the Start Menu’s search, and press Enter. Alternatively, open Run by holding the Windows key and pressing R, then type ‘rstrui.exe’ and click OK.
- Click the System Restore option from the search. After it loads up, place a checkmark next to ‘Show More Restore Points‘ and click ‘Next’.
- Select a restore point by looking at the dates when your computer was working fine. Click ‘Next‘ and ‘Finish.’ This will initiate the system restore, and the computer will reboot once the process is complete. If the black screen issue persists, proceed to the next method.
Method 3: Remove VGA/Display Driver in Safe Mode (Windows 8/8.1/10/7/Vista)
Reboot back into Safe Mode. After you have logged in, follow these steps:
- Hold the Windows key and press R.
- Type “hdwwiz.cpl” and click “OK.
- Expand Display Adapters (note your display adapter’s name).
- Right-click on it and select Uninstall.
- After it has been uninstalled, restart the PC in normal mode and re-download the latest drivers.
Method 4: Regback – Restoring Registry Hives
In this step, we will restore the registry. To do that:
Reboot your system and start hitting F8 and F12 repeatedly. When you reach the Windows Safe Boot Screen, choose the topmost command to start the Startup Repair for your Windows. Press Enter on the keyboard (usually defaulting to US or the corresponding country setting), and then for Login, press Enter again (entering the password if applicable).
From inside here, click down to the bottom-most option for Command Prompt. A window should open and should have administrative rights assigned to it. You will also notice the letter X:\ as the drive you are on. That’s because you are in a virtual, or rather, boot alternative to your true operating system. So, we need to get to your real copy of Windows.
At the command prompt, type: “C:\” and hit Enter. You should see “C:\” displayed, which means you are now on your C: drive.
Type and hit “Enter.
You are now in the root directory, where you can view all of your folders.
Type ‘dir /o/p’ and hit enter. This will now display a list of directories from your computer. They should look familiar to you. As this list scrolls by, hit the spacebar to continue (the /p makes it pause so you can read them all) until you reach the bottom where the Windows directory is. If you see a <dir> Windows, you are most likely on the correct drive.
Now, type the following and hit Enter.
From here, you will want to type.
We are looking for the RegBack directory, so type and hit enter.
Type ‘dir’ and you should see the following files in CAPS: DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, along with a date and file size next to each of them. If the dates listed next to them are within the past few days or weeks, this is where you want to be. Now for the fix!
xcopy cd C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBack C:\Windows\System32\config
You will receive a prompt asking you (Y/N/A). Select A for All. We primarily need to change the SYSTEM file, but it doesn’t hurt to change them all. You should now receive a reply stating that all five files were copied. At this point, you can type “exit” and press enter, which will take you out of the Command Prompt.
Exit each screen, then reboot your computer; you should see your Windows 7/8/10 again.