Skip to Main Content

What is the black screen of death — and how to get rid of it 

You can tell by the name alone that the Windows 11 black screen of death (BSOD) is something serious — and extremely frustrating when it happens to you. 

If your Windows device only displays a black screen when you start it, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn what you can do if you’re affected by this issue — and how the multi-feature optimization tool Avira System Speedup can help you better prevent system crashes. 


What is the black screen of death? 

The term black screen of death is often used to cover errors that can occur when running Windows. As the name suggests, you get a completely black screen after starting your Windows device, although the symptoms can vary. They include a: 

  • completely black screen.  
  • black screen with (blinking) cursor. 
  • blue screen that later turns black. 

What causes the black screen of death? 

If you see a black screen with a blinking cursor after logging in, it means your Windows computer is still basically functional. There are a whole range of potential reasons why you get a black screen after starting your Windows 11 PC or laptop. It might be caused by:  

  • a loose connection between the hardware and peripheral devices (monitor, printer, and so on) or defective cables. 
  • software conflicts. 
  • programs that are incompatible with Windows 11. 
  • outdated graphics drivers. 
  • Windows 11 hardware issues. 

How to get rid of the black screen in Windows 11 

As mentioned, if you see a cursor on the black screen after logging in, your Windows device still works in principle. 

Sometimes in the event of a BSOD, all you need is to perform a hard reset. To do this, restart your Windows 11 computer by holding down the power button until the device turns off and then restart it.

Next step, which often rarely springs to mind, is to check that all your cables (like your monitor cable) are inserted correctly or if they’re loose or broken. 

However, if neither restarting nor checking the connection to the other hardware components fixes the issue and you’re still seeing a black screen of death, don’t worry — there are some other steps you can take to get you out of the black hole. 

If the measures described below don’t work either, you’ll probably need to reinstall Windows 11. But that’s like a last resort, so let’s go through your other options first. 

Fix software conflicts causing a black screen in Safe Mode 

In many cases, you can use Safe Mode to fix issues like outdated drivers, software conflicts, and even hardware issues that are causing you to see a black screen.  

If your computer freezes with a black screen, restart it and hold down the F8 key or Shift and F8 keys when starting your device. This should allow you to start your PC in Safe Mode and resolve the issues.  

Since a computer only loads the resources it needs to get going during what’s known as the boot process, it pulls itself up by its own metaphorical bootstraps — which is where the term booting comes from. 

But let’s get back to the topic. If you can’t enter Safe Mode using the above method, try turning on your PC and turning it off again during the Windows boot process. Repeat, and on the third attempt your PC will automatically boot into Safe Mode. The regular way goes like this: 

Step 1: Press the Windows and R keys to open the Run window, then type msconfig and press the Enter key.

Step 2: In the System Configuration window, select the option for Safe Boot under the Startup tab, then click OK to save your changes.

Step 3: Your computer will now enter Safe Mode. Provided your Windows 11 PC is functioning properly in this mode, other services or programs installed on your computer are likely to be causing the Windows 11 black screen of death error.  

Step 4: Exit Safe Mode and then run programs one by one until the black screen error occurs again. Then, uninstall the faulty program. 

A system restore can help if you’re suffering from the black screen of death in Windows 

If your Windows computer or laptop has a system restore point, you can also return it to a previous normal state. 

Restoring the system like this won’t affect your personal files, but may delete drivers, apps, programs, and updates that you installed after creating the last restore point. So if booting fails, a system restore could help fix the BSOD issue. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Restart your PC several times when you see the Windows logo, or boot your PC from an installation USB drive or CD to enter the Windows recovery environment (WinRE). 

Step 2: Under Troubleshoot, click Advanced options followed by System Restore. 

Step 3: Click Next once the System Restore window opens. 

Step 4: In the pop-up window, you may see the restore points you created. Select the most recently created one and click Next to continue. 

Step 5: You’ll be prompted to confirm the restore point. If everything’s OK, click Finish to begin the restore process. 

Update your outdated graphics drivers to fix the Windows 11 BSOD 

If you suspect that outdated graphics drivers are causing a black screen to appear when starting your Windows computer, it’s time to check this option.  

If you use a laptop and your screen remains black after starting it up, the simplest thing to do is hook up your laptop to a second monitor (if you have one). If the external screen also shows a black image, the cause is probably a hardware defect. If the Windows start screen appears on the external display, it’s likely that your graphics card is the source of the error. In this case, updating the graphics card drivers and then restarting your laptop will probably fix the issue.  

Here’s how to update your graphics card drivers: 

  1. Right-click the Windows icon and select Device Manager from the context menu. 
  2. Then click the arrow next to Display adapters.
  3. Now, right-click your display adapter and then select Properties from the context menu. 
  4. You’ll first see the general status of the display adapter. Switch to the Driver tab to check whether the drivers for the display adapters on your Windows computer are up to date or whether they need updating.  

Optimization tools can help you avoid a black screen of death  

Tune-up tools can help you improve your Windows computer’s performance and avoid the black screen issue in the first place. Avira System Speedup is a multi-feature tune-up utility which, thanks to its built-in suite of tools, can help improve the overall performance of your Windows PC or laptop — even if you opt for the free version.  

And the best bit, this tool can lend you a huge helping hand to better identify and resolve some of the main causes of a BSOD or black screen.  

Avira System Speedup can help you: 

  • perform general maintenance tasks, such as cleaning up your hard drive. 
  • repair registry entries. 
  • display information about your Windows device drivers. 
  • optimize system loading times when starting your computer. 
  • free up storage space, such as by finding duplicate or dummy files. 
  • boost performance (including game performance with Game Booster). 
  • manage power usage. 


We recommend you stretch to Avira System Speedup Pro as it takes tuning up your device’s performance to a whole new level. 

Microsoft and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S.A. and other countries. 

This post is also available in: GermanFrenchItalian

Freelance Cybersecurity Writer
Nicola Massier-Dhillon is an experienced cybersecurity and technology writer. Nicola spent many years as a senior copywriter and creative lead in marketing agencies, crafting compelling content and campaigns for major tech brands like HP, Dell, and Microsoft. She originally hales from Namibia and is a passionate advocate for the conservation of wild habitats--also putting her words to work for charities, eco-tourism, and healthcare. Nicola spends her time looking after her (wild) twins, rescue cats, and a crested gecko called Giles.
Avira logo

Optimize your PC with Avira System Speedup for Windows to avoid system crashes

Avira logo

For a faster and cooler Mac, discover Avira Free Security with built-in optimizer.