No display or black screen on a computer monitor

Note: This page contains some of the more common monitor troubleshooting options and tips. If you are unable to resolve the issue after trying all options on this page, it is recommended that you take your computer and monitor to a computer repair shop for diagnostic testing.

Tip: The following monitor troubleshooting steps are not for users who see a readable picture that gets distorted when Windows opens.

Monitor is not on

Make sure the monitor is on. If you do not see a power LED (blue, green, or orange light) on the front of the monitor, press the power button until it comes on. If no light comes on after several attempts, make sure the connections are properly connected.

Computer is asleep

If your computer monitor was on and you stepped away from the computer, then upon returning, it was black, it is likely that the computer is asleep. Try moving your mouse, clicking the mouse buttons, or pressing any key (space bar) on the keyboard to wake it up.

Connections not properly connected

Computer VGA port and cableCheck the data cable

Make sure that you are connecting the monitor's VGA cable to the back of the computer in the 15-pin connector, as shown to the right, or the older computer 9-pin connection.

Note: Newer computers may be using a DVI or HDMI cable for the monitor. Make sure the data cable you are using is firmly connected to the computer.

Check the power cable

If the data cable is plugged in, make sure the monitor is getting power by verifying there is a light (blue, green, or orange) on the front of the monitor.

If you see no lights on the monitor, make sure it is connected to a working wall outlet. If the power cord is removable from the back of the monitor, try replacing it with another power cable. If you still cannot power on the monitor after trying another wall outlet and cable, the monitor is bad and should be replaced.

Check the LED status

If the monitor has a light on the front, but that status light is orange or flashing, make sure the monitor is not in a suspend mode by moving the mouse or pressing a key on the keyboard. If this does not help, turn the computer and monitor off and reconnect the data cable on the back of the computer and, if removable, on the back of the monitor. Turn the computer and monitor back on. If you still encounter the same issue, continue reading through the other possibilities.

Monitor settings are not correct

Verify the brightness and contrast are turned up or adjust the brightness and contrast. If adjusting the brightness or contrast has no affect on the monitor, continue reading through the other possibilities.

No POST

Does the computer beep when it is turned on or does it sound like the computer is working? If the computer does not beep or beeps abnormally, the computer is experiencing a hardware issue or is exhibiting a No POST. Run through the POST troubleshooting steps to determine the failure.

Hardware Issue

If you have followed the above recommendations and still have the same issue, your computer may have either a bad video card or monitor. The best method of determining this is to do one or both of the suggestions below.

  • Disconnect your monitor and connect it to another computer. For example, try connecting it to a friend or family's computer or a computer at a service center.
  • Borrow a computer monitor and connect it to your computer.

If your monitor works on another computer, it is safe to assume that the video card or potentially the motherboard in the computer is bad.

If another monitor works on your computer, it is safe to assume that your monitor is bad and should be replaced. While it may be possible to have the monitor serviced, it is often cheaper and easier to purchase a new monitor.