How to fix the Camtasia 9 black screen errors in Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • If you're trying to playback recorded content in Camtasia and all you get is a black screen, start by determining if the video plays back fine on a different software.
  • A great alternative to Camtasia is Adobe Premiere, which is also the industry-leading video editing software. Follow through the steps below to complete the troubleshooting process.
  • Check out more similar solutions on our Video Software page.
  • Take your troubleshooting skills above and beyond and keep your Windows 10 device issues-free at all times thanks to our Windows 10 Errors Hub.
Camtasia 9 black screen errors
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Steps to fix black screen in Camtasia and playback recorded output:

  1. Download Adobe Premiere
  2. Select the Use software-only mode Hardware Acceleration Option
  3. Turn Off Antivirus Software
  4. Update the Camtasia Software
  5. Check the Canvas Dimensions

Camtasia is a video-recording software that you can record screencast videos in Windows with.

However, some users have stated on TechSmith forums that they see a black screen when they playback recorded output in Camtasia. Thus, the recorded Camtasia video previews are blank. This is how you can fix Camtasia 9’s black screen video previews in Windows.

How can I fix Camtasia black screen issues?

1. Download Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro

As unlikely as it may sound, the very first step in fixing Camtasia related issues is to try a different software. In fact, this is first of all a simple method of testing that the recorded content plays back fine on software other than the affected one.

A great alternative to Camtasia is Adobe Premiere, which is also the industry-leading video editing software that allows you to record and process footage in any format, from 8K to VR.

With native file support, lightweight proxy workflows, faster ProRes HDR, and the integrated Premiere Rush, you can craft and edit video content from any device.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Intelligent reframing by Adobe Sensei (optimize footage framing whether it’s square, vertical, 16:9, or in 4K resolution)
  • Lumetri Color tools (to make easy and accurate color grading selections)
  • Essential Sound panel to improve audio content and accelerate audio mixing
  • End-to-end VR 180
  • Step-by-step, interactive tutorials

Get Adobe Premiere Pro here

2. Select the Use software-only mode Hardware Acceleration Option

Numerous Camtasia users have confirmed that the Use software-only mode option fixes the software’s black screen previews. As such, the black screen error is often due to Camtasia’s hardware acceleration settings. This is how you can select the Use software-only mode setting in Camtasia 9.

  • Open the Camtasia 9 window.
  • Click the Edit menu and select Preferences to open the window shown directly below.
  • Select the Advanced tab on the Preferences window.

  • Then click the Hardware Acceleration drop-down menu and select Use software-only mode.

  • Click the OK button to close the Preferences window.
  • Then restart the Camtasia 9 software.

3. Turn Off Antivirus Software

Camtasia’s black screen error can also be due to third-party antivirus utilities. The antivirus software can block the software’s recording utility.

Trusteer Rapport, Zone Alarm, Webroot, and Anti-Key Logger are a few of the utilities that TechSmith confirms can conflict with Camtasia. So you should certainly at least disable those software, and any other antivirus utilities, you have running alongside Camtasia.

You can often turn off antivirus software by selecting a disable option on their system tray context menus. Alternatively, you can remove the antivirus software from the system startup.

That will ensure they don’t automatically run when Windows starts. This is how you can remove antivirus utilities from the Windows startup.

  • Right-click the Start button to open the menu shown below.

  • Select Task Manager to open that utility’s window.
  • Select the Start-up tab shown directly below.

  • Select antivirus utilities listed on the Start-up tab, and press the Disable button.
  • Then close Task Manager, open the Start menu and select to restart Windows.
  • To ensure there is no other software conflicting with Camtasia, you can also deselect the Load startup items option on the System Configuration window. To open the System Configuration window, press the Windows key + R hotkey, enter msconfig in Run, and click OK.

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  • Click the Selective startup radio button on the General tab if it’s not already selected.
  • Then deselect the Load startup items checkbox.
  • Press the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button to close the window.
  • Press the Restart button on the confirmation window to reboot Windows.

4. Update the Camtasia Software

Some Camtasia users have stated that updating the software fixed the black screen error for them. This page lists updates that have fixed various Camtasia bugs.

To check for Camtasia updates, click the Help menu at the top of the software’s window. Then you can select a Check for Updates option.

Check out this amazing guide to quickly learn how to record your screen in Windows 10 with the built-in tool.

5. Check the Canvas Dimensions

Also note that what appears to be a black screen preview might just be a tiny, invisible canvas.

One Camtasia user stated: It turned out the issue for me was that my Project Dimensions had somehow gotten set from 1,920 x 1,080 to 2 x 1. As such, it might also be worth checking that your canvas dimension settings.

To do that, click the Magnification drop-down menu at the top of the canvas and select Project Settings. Then select a more standard 1,920 x 1,080 dimension for the canvas from the Canvas Dimensions menu.

Alternatively, you can enter custom values for the canvas in the width and height fields. Press the Apply button to adjust the canvas.

Those resolutions will probably fix the black screen error in Camtasia so that you can playback recorded output.

Note, however, that there are also quite a few alternative freeware software you can record videos with, starting with Adobe Premiere Pro. This software guide provides further details for the best Windows 10 video-recording programs.

Let us know what worked for you in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about video recording software

  • Is Camtasia good for video editing?

Camtasia is a professional video editing software compatible with both Windows and Mac infrastructures. The tool has many powerful features that make it a good choice for videographers.

  • What’s a good recording software?

The best recording software currently available on the market are Adobe Audition (for audio especially) and Adobe Premiere Pro (for video content mostly). Both programs boast complex editing tools, user-oriented interfaces, multiple integrations with third-party plugins to streamline workflows, and comprehensive, step-by-step tutorials.

  • Does Windows 10 have a video recorder?

Yes, the feature is called Game Bar and it is used to record video content. Simply press the Windows key + G to bring it up, then press the red recording button to start.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2018 and was revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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