My laptop computer screen is black

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Laptop

If your laptop screen is not displaying any image, there are several troubleshooting steps that might help you resolve the issue. Review each section below for steps that might help.

Note

If you are having trouble with a monitor for a desktop computer, see: No display or black screen on a computer monitor.

Tip

If you see a white screen or a rainbow of colors, this could mean the video card in the laptop is defective. In this case, the video card would need to be replaced by an authorized repair center for your brand of laptop.

Computer is not booting

Although you may not be able to see anything on the screen, listen to the laptop for sounds indicating it's booting. If don't hear any sound, follow the steps in the link below before moving to other sections on this page.

Note

Newer computers with an SSD and no other drives are silent even during a normal boot. Therefore this suggestion should only be followed for laptops with a traditional hard drive.

Operating system issues

If the computer boots up, but the screen goes black or blank after you log in, there may be an issue with the operating system.

Tip

An indication of the operating system not loading properly and being at fault is if you can see the mouse cursor on the screen and nothing else.

One of the main causes for this issue is a corrupt system file preventing the operating system from loading, resulting in the black or blank screen.

Restart Windows to see if it's a temporary issue and resolves itself with a reboot. If the problem persists, erase your hard drive and reinstall Windows.

Brightness is set low or power setting

If the picture is partially visible, the laptop's brightness that is set low or is being turned down by a power setting. Make sure your laptop is not in a power saving mode by plugging the laptop into the wall. Next, try increasing the brightness on your laptop to verify that it is not causing your issue.

Try external display

Verify there is not an issue with the laptop graphics card by connecting a monitor or another type of display to the laptop. If the external display works fine, it is an issue with your laptop display.

If an external monitor also doesn't work with the laptop and you read through the page linked above, the internal graphics card or cable is defective. You may need to have the graphics card or motherboard replaced. Take the laptop to a computer repair shop to see if it can be repaired.

Laptop overheating

You can also check to see if the laptop is overheating. In most cases, a laptop shuts off when it overheats, however, it may only turn off the display by cutting power to the GPU (graphic processing unit).

Tip

An issue with overheating may be due to debris build-up on the fan, heat sink or vents. You can try using canned air to blow out the dust and dirt.

Another hardware issue

If, after following the steps above, the laptop still has a black or blank screen, there is a hardware issue. The list below displays the most common hardware failures.

  1. Loose or disconnected cable.
  2. Bad LCD power inverter.
  3. Bad CCFL or backlight.
  4. Bad LCD.

If your laptop is under warranty, we recommend you contact the laptop manufacturer for directions on how to get it repaired.

If the laptop is not under warranty, unfortunately, for most end-users, repairing a bad LCD can be complicated or may result in further damage if not done properly. We recommend you take the laptop to a repair shop and have them replace the screen. However, if you want to try to switch out the LCD yourself, there a few companies that send replacement screens for almost any laptop.

Is there an on and off button for a laptop screen?

No. When the laptop is turned on, the laptop screen is turned on automatically.

Additional information