How to Fix a Dell Laptop Black Screen

Get your laptop back in action quickly and easily

A wide variety of problems can cause a black screen on your Dell laptop; however, there are more than a few simple steps you can take to fix this glitch.

Most of the time, black screen issues will be resolved by easy troubleshooting instead of hardware repair or replacement, depending on the condition of your laptop and its age.

If your laptop's display has been physically damaged, i.e., by a spill or a power surge or has suffered a catastrophic crack, these kinds of tips are going to be less valuable. It's then more likely you will need to repair or replace the screen itself.

Cause of Dell Laptop Black Screen

Unfortunately, there isn't one common cause of this issue. The most crucial bit, though, is finding out if the problem is with your laptop's actual display or if there's an issue with Windows connecting to it and outputting an image.

If, for example, the screen itself in your Dell laptop gets fried and won't power on or display anything, this is a hardware issue that you can only solve by repairing or replacing the actual display.

Depending on your laptop, this may not be the most complicated process. Still, it often requires experience and specialized tools to get done efficiently, so you'll likely have to take your computer to a third party.

If the display on your laptop isn't the problem, which is more likely the case, this opens up the door for a ton of troubleshooting because from BIOS tweaks to simple restarts and everything in between, there are lots of ways to stop Windows from displaying a black screen.

How to Fix a Dell Laptop Black Screen

Modern Dell laptops run Windows 10 out-of-the-box, so these tips are best suited to Dell laptops released in 2015 or later. However, these tips will often work with older laptops and the many laptops out there not made by Dell.

  1. Restart your computer. A fresh, cold boot from a powered-off state can solve a remarkable number of computer problems. Plus, it's more complicated than you think to reboot your PC the right way because Windows 10 offers various ways to speed up the boot process by not entirely shutting down.

  2. Start Windows in Safe Mode. If you can't get an image to display turning on your computer normally, try booting up in Safe Mode. If you can get into Safe Mode, you'll know your display isn't broken, and there are further troubleshooting steps you can take in this mode, like updating graphics drivers or Windows itself.

  3. Try connecting a monitor to your laptop. If Windows recognizes a second display, you can take further troubleshooting steps to fix your laptop's display, like updating Windows or your graphics drivers.

  4. Update your graphics drivers. Often, graphics drivers can cause display issues. Installing the latest version of them can fix a black screen. You can update your drivers from within Safe Mode or on a monitor connected to your laptop.

  5. Update Windows. Like out-of-date graphics drivers, sometimes missing an important Windows update can cause issues. You can update Windows from within Safe Mode or on a second monitor connected to your laptop.

  6. Update the BIOS. Sometimes the problem can be at a level lower than Windows. If the above steps don't work for you, try updating your laptop's BIOS, which often doesn't get updated from its launch firmware and can cause problems.

  7. Clean install Windows from scratch. If even updating your BIOS doesn't work and there isn't a reason to believe there's a hardware problem, booting your computer from Windows installation media and reinstalling your OS will likely fix any software issues.

    Usually, we would advise you to back up your computer before reinstalling Windows. In this case, this likely won't be possible, so make sure you have access to any critical files elsewhere, or you may want to consider bringing your laptop to a technician to attempt to fix it without losing data.

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