Windows – Black screen without cursor after upgrading to Windows 10

black-screen-of-deathnvidia-graphics-cardwindows 10


I've been searching all over the internet for this one, so far without any luck.

Today I hit the big update button in Windows 7. I updated all my stuff before doing this, then restarted, then hit the button.

After the reboot, the screen went dark after the BIOS logo. At that time, 2 monitors were connected to my NVidia 750 Ti; the one through HDMI apparently got preference to the HDMI monitor – I could see that they got a signal, it's just pitch black.

Somewhere around 30% completion, the screen got back the round circle that was filling up. Some time later (60%-ish), the screen went black again.

After some more reboots, the screen kept being dark. Being scared of ruining something (I should have made a backup – but stupidly didn't… Murphy struck immediately), I've just disabled the monitor and let it ran for approx 8-10 hours to be sure the update completed.

The current status is that the screen is still black. However, I had a file share in W7, which I can actually approach in W10. In other words, it seems like the upgrade itself has completed.

At this point, I don't know what the status is of the PC, how I can access it (if at all) or how to fix it. I've been looking for a 'safe mode', but don't even know if it's logged in or not (I guess not, but I have no clue what the state of W10 is after an upgrade).

As they say, I'm completely in the dark and at this point willing to try anything.

Little update.

I've bought a cheap AMD card which seems to do the trick. The boot process continues, and I've been able to setup the system.

Next thing, I've enabled RDP and deleted all NVidia stuff from my PC that I could find.

After another swap back to the NVidia card, the screen went back to black again. ough. Went to RDP, downloaded latest W10 x64 compatible driver from NVidia: (Driver version 353.62 x64 W10). Install and YES we've got stuff on the screen again.

Lesson learned:

Before starting the W10 update process:

  1. Enable RDP on your old PC.
  2. Make a backup.

Best Answer

  • With thanks from the people that were so helpful to comment on steps to take, here's a few steps that work. Hopefully it will help other people that experience the same or a similar problem.


    Note that your primary/secondary screen might have changed since the update. Unplug all screens, and try the connections one by one. Also play with the 'switch screen' buttons and see if you actually HAVE a cursor, but it's simply invisible because it's on the wrong screen. If this is the case, the stuff below doesn't solve your problem -- and you're in luck.

    If not, read on.

    Method 1: (Requires video card)

    If you are planning to upgrade

    First off, before you start upgrade:

    • Enable RDP or something similar on your machine. Make sure that works!
    • Install the latest NVidia drivers from their website. The NVidia experience won't give you those drivers, otherwise I wouldn't have this problem...

    If you already have a black screen

    Basically there's nothing you can do at this point, but to work around the issue:

    • WAIT until everything in the upgrade is completely finished. If necessary, disable your monitor and wait for several hours. This ensures you won't have a corrupt installation afterwards.
    • Swap the video card, or use the on-board card if you have one. USB video card if necessary, anything goes as long as it's not NVidia.

    I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think things like safe mode etc are going to cut it anymore. The installation doesn't even show you anything, so why would safe mode be any different... Either way, this approach didn't work for me - only thing that helped was swap out the video card.

    Once you have access to your computer again

    First thing to do is to complete the installation wizard of W10. You might want to try it using a youtube video of the installation and 'tab'/'enter' your way through 'express settings', but I couldn't find a video that showed me the way.

    RDP should also work at this point.


    • Add/remove programs, uninstall NVidia stuff, repeat until everything is gone.
    • Go to -> drivers -> Windows 10 and the other stuff you have -> Download driver.
    • If you still have the non-NVidia video card installed, you should swap it out for the NVidia card again at this point; otherwise the driver won't find the hardware. Of course this doesn't apply to USB video cards.
    • Install the driver.

    Congratulations, you've got yourself a working W10 again.

    Method 2:

    First thing to try is press the 'suspend' / 'sleep' button and un-sleep / un-suspend. If that fixes the problem, setup VNC just to be sure, and continue with the procedure above.

    Method 3:

    Just did a few other W10 upgrades. The procedure for going through the initial wizard with Express settings is as follows (PLEASE CORRECT OR CONFIRM TO ENSURE IF I DIDN'T MAKE MISTAKES!). Pay care about each keystroke!

    In other words, this should also work.

    • Click somewhere arbitrary? Not sure anymore.
    • password enter
    • 7x tab, enter
    • Wait (setting things up; say, half an hour should be plenty)
    • Click somewhere, Password enter
    • Wait (Hi, we're getting things ready... half an hour should be more than enough)

    Congrats, you're now logged in. I guess the easiest way forward is to use VNC as Remote Desktop is only available on Pro. Put it on a memory stick for easy access. If the USB led blinks when you're entering commands, you know you're on the right track. :-)

    • start, "cmd" enter
    • D: enter
    • E: enter
    • F: enter
    • G: enter
    • H: enter

    Usually your memory stick is the last drive, and if you hit it, you will probably see the LED blink.

    Want to try again? Pressing the power button should shut down Windows. Press it again for your next attempt.