How to fix Mozilla Firefox black screen issues

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Among the many irritations people have with their internet browsing experiences is the computer screen suddenly turning black, and blank. The problem happens with most browsers, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Opera Mini all included. But it appears it is with Firefox users that the problem causes the most frustration.

Often, this error happens without warning and while you are already logged into Firefox. It happens randomly and for varying lengths of time. That the problem locks you out of all the pages you are currently browsing also seriously affects your productivity. And, in the more severe cases, it can stop you from working altogether.

What causes black screen issues on Firefox?

Judging from the reports by the many people who have encountered this problem, there could be several causes for it. Some have only started facing the problem after installing a new driver, extension, antivirus, or other forms of software.

Other people say they only started noticing the issue after they upgraded to Windows 10. Yet there are also quite a few who don’t recall installing any new software prior to this problem cropping up.

From all this, you could assume that this isn’t a Firefox problem per se. Yet almost all of the people who face this problem are quick to add that, while this is happening with Firefox, the other browsers work just fine.

You can then deduce that this is not necessarily a Windows 10, or any other OS, problem. Rather than this is a Firefox problem.

How to fix black screen on Firefox

We could advise you to just drop Firefox altogether and switch to another browser. But browsers are tricky, once you choose one, you want to stick with it because you will likely have invested a lot of effort in installing different extensions that may have become central to the way you work. So switching browsers may not be an option. At least not immediately.

There are a few fixes you could try to resolve the black screen problem from within the Firefox browser. But what if you can’t even access the Firefox browser itself? We thus must start with those fixes that do not need one to be logged into the browser. We will then consider the other fixes after.

Solution 1 — Scan your computer for viruses

Whenever your computer starts to misbehave your first suspicion is usually a virus attack. Unfortunately, these have become quite common and everyone, especially those who work online, is at risk.

Another common source of viruses are external devices, like memory sticks and external hard drives, that you connect to your computer. Before you consider the other fixes, you should perhaps first scan your computer for viruses.

If you didn’t have a good antivirus software or firewall program installed on your computer, this is the time to install one. Just make sure the antivirus copy you install is licensed. But perhaps you need to clean your system first. There are many good virus removal tools you could use.

Scan your computer for any viruses you may have picked up. Any one of those viruses could be causing the black screen problem on your Firefox browser. After the scan, restart your computer and see if you still face the same problem.

Solution 2 — Uninstall recent software

If the problem starts to occur after you have recently installed a new piece of software on your Windows computer, there is a big chance that software could be interfering with your Firefox browser. It is not uncommon for antiviruses to interfere with other software you currently run on your computer.

In fact, randomly installing third party software has many risks for your computer. And if you have installed more than one such software, you may want to make a list of these and uninstall them one by one. Ideally, you will want to uninstall them starting with the one you installed immediately before you started encountering this problem.

Simply open your Windows OS control panel and navigate to the Programs and Features folder. After each uninstall, restart your computer and bring up your FireFox browser to check if the problem still persists.

An instance where this quick fix has been proven to work is where people started facing this problem after recently updating their graphics driver. The problem was fixed by simply undoing the update and reverting to the previous version.

Of course, you do not have to uninstall your antivirus and firewall. Simply disable them one at a time. If the problem continues after you have disabled and uninstalled all the programs and software you suspect could causing the problem, you should move onto the next fix below.

Solution 3 — Disable Hardware Acceleration within Firefox

There are people for whom this problem only crops up intermittently, but still frustratingly too often. This means there are times when the browser actually does work.

The advantage here is this allows you the chance to try those fixes you can only try from within the browser. Disabling the Hardware Acceleration feature has been known to fix this black screen problem.

Hardware Acceleration is meant to improve your browser’s performance by enabling the hardware to take over functions that the software on your PC isn’t able to execute as efficiently.

But the feature tends to clash with some graphics processors and drivers, which can cause this black screen problem to occur. Disabling the feature may thus solve the problem.

Follow these steps to disable Hardware Acceleration:

  1. Click the settings icon in the top right corner of your Firefox browser and select the Options tab,
  2. Click the General folder – it should be at the top – and navigate to the Performance folder, 
  3. Uncheck the Hardware Acceleration option. The default settings have it always checked: 

Solution 4 — Start Firefox in Safe Mode

Starting your Firefox browser in Safe Mode enables a possible fix for the blank screen problem. This because a potential cause of the problem could be an extension you recently added to your browser.

By default, starting your Firefox browser in safe mode temporarily disables all extensions on your browser. This is also a good way of temporarily disabling the Hardware Acceleration feature, just so you can be sure it is not the source of the problem.

A quick way of starting your browser in safe mode is to hold down the shift key while you are starting the browser. Otherwise, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the settings icon in the top right corner of your screen. It is marked by three horizontal bars sitting on top of each other,
  2. On the screen that pops up, right at the bottom, there is a help icon marked by a blue ? icon, next to the Customize icon. Click that icon to open the help menu,
  3. Click the ‘Restart with Add-ons Disabled…‘ option,
  4. Click Restart on the popup screen that comes up,
  5. Click the Start in Safe Mode when the Firefox Safe Mode window comes up,
  6. Go ahead and check if the problem still comes up.

Suddenly being faced with a black screen that refuses to go away at a time you have important information, or even fun stuff, to access is frustrating. Hopefully, one among the possible fixes we have discussed here should solve this problem for you.