How do I fix a black screen with cursor in Windows 10?

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Users have reported that they are getting black screen with cursor on Windows 10, so let’s see how to fix this problem.

Here are the solutions you’ll find in this troubleshooting guide:


How can I fix Windows 10 black screen with cursor?

You can also watch our video troubleshooting guide below to learn what methods to use in order to fix black screen issues on Windows 10.

1. Windows 10 black screen with cursor before login / after update

1.1. Use Windows Key + P shortcut to switch displays

If you’re getting black screen before login on Windows 10, you might want to try using Windows Key + P shortcut to switch displays. To do that, follow these instructions:

  1. Press Windows Key + P shortcut to open Project menu.
    project-menu
  2. Project menu will now open, but you won’t be able to see it. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.
  3. Now press up or down arrow key a few times and press Enter.
  4. If you are successful, your screen should appear. If your screen doesn’t appear, you might have to repeat this step a few times.

For some reason, after update to Windows 10, your project mode might change to Second screen only, and you need to change that by following our instructions.

We’ve had this issue, and it was fixed after 6 or 7 tries, so it crucial that you be persistent.

We have to mention that if your account is protected by password, you’ll have to log in first. To do this, press Space or Ctrl, enter your password and press Enter.

This can be tricky, because you’ll be doing this on black screen, so it might take you a few tries.

If you need more information on how to switch displays on Windows 10, take a look on this detailed guide.

1.2. Uninstall your graphic card driver

If you have black screen with cursor issues, you can try pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc or Ctrl + Alt + Del in order to start Task Manager. From Task Manager you’ll be able to start Device Manager by doing the following:

  1. Press File > Run new task.
  2. Enter devmgmt.msc and press Enter to run it.
    devmgmt

If Task Manager is moving too slow, make it faster with the help of this article. But if you can’t open it, you might have to access Safe Mode and uninstall install display drivers from there. To access Safe Mode do the following:

  1. While your computer boots keep pressing F4 or F8 (it might be a different key on your computer) to access Boot Options. Since Windows 10 boots a lot faster than its predecessors, this might not work, so only way to access Boot Options is after few restarts.
  2. In Boot Options choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings.
  3. Your computer will now restart, and you’ll be presented with list of options. Choose Safe Mode with Networking (or any other Safe Mode option).

Want to add Safe Mode to the boot menu? Here’s a guide on that. In the case that you can’t access it, follow these steps to get things working properly.

In order to uninstall the drivers, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and choose Device Manager from the list.
    device-manager
  2. When Device Manager opens, locate your graphic card, right click it and choose Uninstall. If asked, make sure that you check Delete driver software for this device.
    confirm-uninstall-driver
  3. After you’ve uninstalled the driver, restart your computer. Windows 10 should start normally and black screen issue should be fixed.

Did you know that the latest GPU drivers offer more stability and security? Get them right now!


1.3. Disable onboard graphics from Device Manager

If your computer has both onboard and dedicated graphics, make sure that you disable your onboard graphic from Device Manager. To do that, you might have to access Safe Mode, if your Windows 10 won’t load.

Once you start Device Manager, do the following:

  1. Locate your onboard graphics.
  2. Right click it and from the menu choose Disable.
    device-manager-disable
  3. Restart your computer, and check if the issue still persists.

If Safe Mode won’t accept your password, easily fix it by following this step-by-step guide.

1.4. Disable Dual monitor from BIOS / disable CPU Graphics Multi-Monitor

  1. While your computer boots press F2 or Del (it might be a different key on your computer) to access BIOS.
  2. When BIOS stats you need to find and disable CPU graphics function or Dual monitor function.
  3. Save changes and restart your computer.

Also, if you have CPU Graphics Multi-Monitor option, it’s also suggested that you disable it in order to fix this issue. After you’ve disabled this option, save changes and restart.


This is the only BIOS access guide that you’ll ever need! Bookmark it for future troubleshooting.


1.5 Connect your monitor with both cables to your computer / connect additional monitor

This is a bit unusual solution, but users have reported that it fixes black screen before login problem.

According to users, if you have a monitor with two connectors, such as DVI and HDMI, you need to connect your monitor using both DVI and HDMI cable.

After you’ve done that, you can turn on your computer and check if the problem is resolved.

Some users also suggest that you might be able to fix this issue by attaching an additional monitor, so if you have an extra monitor, try connecting it to your PC.

Even if this doesn’t fix the problem, your second monitor should work without any problems.

1.6 Update your BIOS

Some users claim that you can fix black screen with cursor after update by updating your BIOS.

Updating BIOS is a procedure for advanced users, and if you don’t do it properly, you can cause permanent damage to your hardware, so please keep that in mind.

In order to perform BIOS update, you need to go to your motherboard manufacturer’s website and download the latest version of BIOS for your motherboard.

In most cases, there should be an instruction manual on how to update your BIOS, so make sure that you read it carefully.

If you don’t know how to update your BIOS, please ask an expert to do it for you in order to avoid any potential damage.

If you want to do it yourself, follow the exact steps in this article to make sure that everything will go as planned.

We also recommend this third-party tool (100% safe and tested by us) to automatically download all the outdated drivers on your PC.

1.7. Uninstall problematic applications

If you have issues with black screen with cursor after Windows 10 upgrade, you should know that certain applications such as Norton antivirus, third-party firewall, iCloud, Cisco VPN client, or IDT Audio, can cause this problem.

In order to fix this problem, it’s advised that you uninstall those applications from your computer. To do that, follow these instructions:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager click File > Run new task.
    file-new-task
  3. Enter appwiz.cpl and press Enter to run it.
    run-appwiz
  4. Programs and Features window will now open, and you’ll be able to uninstall problematic applications.

If you can’t access Task Manager, you should enter Safe Mode and try this solution again.

Sometimes, these applications can leave their files in system32 directory (for example, IDT Audio creates IDTNC64.cpl file and moves it to system32 folder).

In order to completely fix this problem, you might have to find the problematic file and delete it manually or by using Command Prompt.

Be very careful while doing this, because you don’t want to delete any core Windows 10 files.

There’s a detailed guide on how to completely remove Norton on this link. We also covered the same subject for McAfee in this article.


For more info on how to uninstall programs and apps on Windows 10, check out this guide.


1.8. Change display brightness

Users have reported that they are having issues with black screen on Windows 10 after they connect AC adapter to their laptop.

In most other cases, the laptop works fine, but after the user connects the AC adapter, the screen goes dark.

This is caused by display brightness problem, but you can easily fix it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and type Power Options. Choose Power Options from the menu.
    power-options
  2. When Power Options  window opens, find your current plan and click Change plan settings.
    change-plan-settings
  3. Now click on Change advanced power settings.
    changed-advanced-power-settings
  4. Locate Display brightness setting and make sure that you set display brightness to 99% or 98% when your device is plugged in. As far as we know, setting display brightness to 100% when your device is plugged in causes this issue, so it’s best that you use a lower value.
  5. Save changes and restart your computer.

Having trouble changing the display brightness? Don’t worry, we’ve got 4 quick ways to help you.


1.9. Disconnect your second monitor

In certain cases, black screen with cursor on Windows 10 can be fixed by unplugging your second monitor.

NVIDIA users have reported that unplugging the second monitor has fixed this issue for them, so make sure that you try it out.


1.10. Disable Secondary Output from Device Manager

If you have black screen with cursor problem, you can try to disable Secondary Output.

We have to warn you that this might not be the best solution if you plan to use two or more monitors on your computer. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Find and expand Display Adapters section.
  3. Click View > Show hidden devices.
    device-manager-show-hidden-devices
  4. In the Display Adapters section locate Secondary Output, right-click it and choose Disable.
    device-manager-disable
  5. Restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.

If you’re interested in HDMI output problems and how to solve them, we’ve written extensively about this. Just check out this article and fix your problem in no time.

1.11. Set display output to IGFX

Some users have reported that they have managed to fix black screen with cursor before login by changing display output to IGFX in BIOS. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. While your computer boots keep pressing F2, F4 or Del key to access BIOS. It could be a different key, so you might have to repeat this process a few times.
  2. Once you enter BIOS, locate Display output setting and set it IGFX. This will make your integrated graphics the first display.
  3. Save changes and exit.

Sometimes, Windows 10 can skip BIOS. If you’re facing this issue yourself, be sure to take a look here.

1.12. Connect your monitor using HDMI

If you have problems with black screen with cursor before login on Windows 10, you might want to try connecting your monitor to your PC with HDMI cable.

Users have reported that you can use HDMI connection instead of DVI and it will fix black screen issues.

If you connect both HDMI and DVI cables, your PC might see the DVI connection as the second monitor (even if you have only one monitor), and if that’s the case, you need to set your main display.

To do that do the following:

  1. Open Settings app and choose System.
  2. Go to Display section.
  3. You should see several displays available. Select the display you wish to use as the main one and click Make this my main display.
  4. Click Apply to save changes.

If the Settings app doesn’t launch, you may want to take a look here.

1.13. Disable / enable dedicated card from BIOS

Some users have reported that enabling or disabling dedicated graphics fixes this issue for them. To do that, you need to enter BIOS and locate Graphic settings.

Now you can choose between Switchable or Discreet option, depending on which one you want to use.

If you want to enable a dedicated graphic card, choose the Discreet option.

We have explained how this process looks on one of our devices, but it might be completely different for your device.

If that’s the case, you should check your instruction manual.

In some cases, the graphics card is not detected in Windows 10. We’ve prepared an AMD guide and a Nvidia one just for this occasion.

1.14. Check your graphic card settings in BIOS

Enter BIOS and make sure that your graphic card is set to use PCI-E slot. Sometimes this setting might get changed to PCI, and if that’s the case, just switch it to PCI-E option and save the changes.

1.15. Remove computer battery and reset your BIOS

If other solutions don’t work, you might want to remove your computer’s battery and reset your BIOS. By doing this, you’ll break your warranty, so keep that in mind.

If you don’t know how to do this properly, maybe it’s best to hire an expert to do it for you.

1.16. Disable Fast Startup

In some cases, Fast Startup may trigger black screen issues. In this is the case, then you can quickly fix this problem by simply disabling this option.

To to that, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Power options. Then, go to ‘Choose what the power button does’ > Change settings that are currently unavailable > uncheck the option ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’.turn off fast startup


Need more info on how to disable Fast Startup? We’ve got you covered.


2. Windows 10 black screen with cursor during install

2.1. Check additional displays

Make sure that you don’t have other displays such as monitors or even your TV connected to your HDMI port.

If you have a device connected to HDMI port, Windows 10 might use it as the main display during the installation, so before you start your installation, make sure that you’re using only one display.

In addition, you can always connect your monitor using the HDMI cable in order to fix this problem, or you can just disconnect the other display.

2.2. Connect your monitor to integrated graphic card

In certain situations, Windows 10 might not recognise your dedicated graphic card, so only solution is to connect your monitor directly to your integrated graphic card.

After doing that, black screen with cursor problem will be fixed.

Using your integrated graphics card is not such a big deal. Still, if you need more power and you don’t want to use the dedicated card, you can increase the VRAM on your integrated one by following these steps.

2.3. Uninstall problematic software before upgrade

If you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 10, you might experience black screen with cursor problem during installation if you don’t delete certain programs.

Sometimes your antivirus or firewall can cause this problem during the installation, so you might want to temporarily remove them.

In addition, if you use any tools that change the looks of your Windows, such as OldNewExplorer or ClassicShell, you should also uninstall them before upgrading to Windows 10.

Black screen with cursor on Windows 10 can create many problems, but in most cases, you can fix it by disconnecting additional monitors, or by connecting your monitor to a different port.


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

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  • I followed solutions 2 and 3 and not only did the black screen persist, but now I seem to be unable to find the GPU (when I check for hardware it only shows the onboard graphics card but not the nvidia one).

    How can i recover it?

    Thanks

  • All these “solutions” require the user to be able to access their computer while it’s in an unusable state.

    • Accessing Bios and F8 can be done. If you have other kind of problem or forgot to restart system then of course you’re unable to do such steps.

  • This happened to me just now: Black screen and cursor, couldn’t seem to do anything even after restarting. But I hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete and opened task manager and ended the task using the most CPU (32%) “Service Host: Local Service (Network Restricted)” > “Windows Audio”. My profile instantly loaded properly and my start up programs booted, everything fixed. Weird problem to encounter…