One of the most frustrating scenarios for a computer user is when you encounter a working PC with a black screen.
You’ve turned on your computer; you can hear the fans spinning and the case beeping, and some of the lights are on.
However, you see no vital signs from the monitor, not a single image, light, or description.
The good news is you’re not alone, and we’ve gathered all the possible causes of your issue, along with their fixes.
Read on to do away with your blank screen headache.
PC Turns On But No Display (Causes, Fixes)
1. Check Your Monitor
First things first: see if the monitor is working correctly before you dive into more troubleshooting steps.
One way is to pair it with a spare computer case and check if the issue disappears.
If you don’t have access to another PC, simply detach your monitor from the system and turn it on independently.
If it isn’t defective, your monitor should blink a light, brighten up, or greet you with an on-screen prompt.
Any sort of signal from your monitor indicates it’s working properly but lacks adequate signal to show a picture.
In this case, you have to proceed to the next checks, but otherwise, you will need to send the monitor for repair.
2. Check The Connections
Even a flawless monitor may fail to power on due to connectivity issues.
It’s worth checking all the associated wires, ports, and adapters as your next diagnostic effort.
Make sure the video and power cables are firmly attached at both ends, with the screws fastened.
Test your power cord with another outlet and your graphic cord with other ports.
If nothing changes, go for an alternative cable to see if your cords are damaged.
You can also try a different cable type if your monitor supports any—for instance, connect your monitor via an HDMI cable if you’re already using VGA.
Your last check would be adapters: make sure they’re in good condition and used in the proper way.
For example, DVI to VGA converters can’t work in the opposite direction.
3. Start The PC From Scratch
Sometimes, your computer won’t wake up from Standby, Sleep, or Hibernate mode, giving you the false impression that it’s working with no display.
That can have several causes.
Maybe you’ve disabled the mouse or keyboard from refreshing the system, or maybe your PC can’t respond to power-saving modes or Fast Startup.
To rule out this possibility, hold the power switch a few seconds to perform a full shutdown.
Then, power it on again to see the problem vanish.
If it seems to solve everything, navigate the issue’s roots and find a way to prevent it from recurring.
4. Level Up Brightness
Computers can dim the display all the way down to zero, where you can’t see a single spot.
Therefore, you may mistake the situation with the no-display booting issue.
Use the keyboard shortcuts to enhance the brightness and see if this fixes the problem for you.
5. Try The Wake Action Shortcuts
If your system still refuses to wake up, press the Windows Key, Ctrl, Shift, and B simultaneously.
The command reinitiates the graphic driver and makes your system start with a working monitor.
Another trick before you get down to the hardware troubleshooting is to ensure you haven’t enabled the “view on second display only” option.
To check this:
- Press Windows + P keys together to head into the display switch menu.
- Squeeze the P key once more and hit Enter, which will take you to the next display mode.
(There are four display modes: “PC screen only,” “Duplicate on second display,” “Extend across all displays,” and “Second screen only.”
Therefore, you need to repeat this step four times to ensure you haven’t missed any.)
6. Lower The Screen Resolution
If the black screen problem occurs after a change in monitor resolution, chances are you’ve set it too high, and the monitor can’t support it.
Therefore, it shows nothing.
In this case, revert the monitor to the former supported rate, so it regains its display capacity.
The best way to do it is to reset your monitor to default settings.
A. Reset The Monitor
While the procedure may vary depending on your monitor brand, here’s what it usually takes to perform a monitor reset:
- Look at your monitor’s sides, rear, or bottom to locate the control buttons.
- Squeeze the menu button, and then use the down/up arrows to select the “RESET” option.
- Confirm your choice and go with the following prompts.
- Reboot your system, and it should load with the display on.
If you’re using a laptop or a monitor without physical switches, try this alternative method to lower the resolution value:
- Reboot your system and wait until you hear the short beep sounds.
- Press the up arrow on the keyboard and hit Enter.
- Hold down the “Shift” key and press the “Tab” button.
- Now, press the right arrow four times in a row.
- Press “Tab” once again.
- Use the left arrow to reduce the resolution rate and hit Enter.
B. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode
If resetting the monitor isn’t an option, try launching your PC in Safe Mode.
This feature loads your system at the minimum resolution, allowing you to view Settings and change everything back to normal.
- Power the computer off and on again.
- While the system is in the booting process, press and hold the F8 key.
- You’ll see a handful of options: choose “Safe Mode” among them.
- Now, go to your System Settings and lower the resolution the same way you increased it:
- Go to the Start menu by pressing the Windows icon at the lower-left corner of the screen.
- Press the tiny gear icon to enter your Windows Settings.
- Navigate to System > Display > Scale & Layout > Display resolution.
- Try to stick with the recommended rate and save the changes.
7. Tweak The Voltage Selector Switch
The Voltage Selector Switch is a physical button at the back of your computer that lets you balance your device’s internal circuit with the input voltage level.
If set improperly, this mechanism exceeds or falls behind the incoming voltage for the power supply, impeding your PC’s boot function.
More often than not, the default value set by the Voltage Switch doesn’t need any changes as it matches your Country’s requirements.
However, if you bought it from overseas or just moved to a new country, you have to make some adjustments.
In the US, for example, your computer can happily work with 110 Volts.
If you’re living in Europe, you may have to enhance it to 230 Volts.
This chart provides the proper values across the world.
8. Listen To The Beep Sounds
Most computers come with an internal motherboard speaker to warn you about hardware errors during the startup period.
In normal situations, this speaker sends one or two short beeping sounds upon hitting the power button, which means the BIOS has booted the machine successfully.
However, the emitted sound may be different when your PC turns on with no display.
Depending on what is causing the issue, the beeping pattern, duration, and order may vary.
Listen carefully to the sound, jot the pattern down, and find it in your motherboard manual.
If you’ve lost the manual, you can also use this guide to understand what the speaker is trying to tell you.
There may be something wrong with your memory modules, graphics card, cables, or CPU.
Once you decode the sound, the hassle gets easy to work around.
9. Disconnect All The Peripherals
Sometimes, the no-display issue with your computer is caused by a compatibility issue with one of the peripherals.
Turn off your computer and detach as many USB devices as possible.
They can include everything from your Bluetooth, mouse, and keyboard to cameras, speakers, scanners, etc.
Then, press the power button to turn on your computer.
If the issue seems to disappear, reconnect the peripherals one by one to discover the main culprit.
Now, try one or more of the following methods to prevent the issue from recurring:
- Update the associated driver (we’ll explain how in the following sections).
- Contact the manufacturer’s support team to report the issue and get help.
- Search the device by name and model, then check the public forums to see if other users have faced the same issue and how they planned to fix it.
- Replace the troublesome device with a compatible one.
10. Update Your Drivers
A corrupt or outdated driver—whether it belongs to the graphics cards, some peripheral, or essential hardware—can ruin your PC to the point that it can’t start up anymore.
Updating these files can be a magical fix to the no-display issue.
The thing is, you can’t visit Settings to update anything unless you turn on the screen.
If you’ve successfully restored the monitor’s display by removing a faulty peripheral, you’re good to go.
If you haven’t, try launching your system in Safe Mode to get the chance to view the PC’s basic configurations.
Then, continue with the following steps:
- Type “Device Manager” in the search box you see in the taskbar.
- Click the top result to open the app.
- Expand a category, depending on what driver you want to update.
(It can be a peripheral category such as Bluetooth, Keyboards, Cameras, etc., or the display adapters category.)
- Then, right-click the specified device name among the list of entries.
- Click “Update Driver” and proceed to the on-screen directions.
11. Clear The BIOS Configs
Short for Basic Input/Output System, the BIOS is a built-in program that your microprocessor uses to start up your OS.
As a key boot-up program, it may hold responsibility when your PC turns on with a blank screen.
Any misconfiguration in the software can result in a non-loading system.
The good news is, although you can’t access the settings due to a dead screen, you can clear its memory by accessing the BIOS chip found on the motherboard.
This will, in turn, reset your BIOS into the default status.
- Press and hold the power button for about ten seconds to switch it off and discharge the static electricity.
- Unplug it from the power source.
- Open your computer chassis to access its motherboard.
- Locate the CMOS coin cell battery and flip up the protective clip if there is one.
- Then, slide your finger beneath the battery to pop it up from its place.
- Wait about five minutes before you put the battery back and reconnect the power.
Note: If it doesn’t solve anything, try removing the CMOS again, and boot your computer without it.
That’s because the CMOS itself might be the problem. If depleted, it can prevent your PC from starting.
12. Check And Reinstall Your Hardware
If you’ve recently built, cleaned, upgraded, or displaced your tower, some of the internal components may have come loose, preventing your PC from loading.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to open the chassis and reseat every single piece of hardware.
Here are the three most important pieces to check.
A. Graphics Card
The graphics card or GPU is a circuit board on your motherboard that processes graphical data, then renders it into meaningful signals so the monitor can show you the relevant pictures.
If a monitor displays nothing, your graphics card may be the first component to blame, especially if you see a “no signal” error on the screen.
Possible issues with the graphics card include griminess, corrosion, physical damage, or being wobbly.
You need to remove the unit, clean it along with its holding bracket, and ensure that it’s securely bolted.
- With the computer unplugged, detach all the cables at the back of the PC tower.
- Use a screwdriver to open up your system’s enclosure.
- Locate and unscrew the board from the PCI bracket.
- While holding the board with one hand, toggle the retention lever with another to unclip it from its mounting position.
Reconnect the cables and turn on the PC without the graphics card.
If the monitor does show up, proceed with the following steps:
- If you see any signs of corrosion on the golden pins, dampen a cloth with isopropyl alcohol, and rub it gently.
- Then, use a damp cotton swab and air compressor to clean up the dust, grease, etc., from the exciting slot.
- Reseat the graphics card and ensure the ejector clips latch onto the board. (You’ll hear a click sound if it does.)
- Attach all the wires and test your computer.
- If it’s still not displaying anything, put the graphics card into a different slot as the last resort (if your motherboard has more than one slot for a graphics card).
- If the PC still turns on with no display, replace the component, or take it to the repair shop.
A loose connection between your motherboard and RAM sticks can make your PC turn on without display.
Clogged memory slots and faulty or corroded modules can also bring the same effect.
Here’s how to check:
- Open your computer’s cabinet.
- Look for two or four rectangular green sticks placed into the motherboard grooves.
- Each stick has two clamps at each edge: Squeeze them so that the board pops out of their notches.
- Put the sticks aside on a lint-free cloth.
- Use a cotton swab and a can of compressed air to remove the dust inside the fracture.
- Grab one of the modules by the edge without touching the gold pins.
- Push it down in the slot until you hear a click of the lock, and repeat the process for other sticks.
- Ensure every wire to and from the motherboard is connected to the right place.
Note: If this didn’t solve anything, chances are only one of the models or apertures is faulty.
Here’s how to know:
- Activate your system with just one module to see how it works.
- Then, place the same module into different slots and test the PC after each effort.
- Repeat this procedure for all the sticks to spot the unsound piece.
C. CPU And Motherboard
The CPU is the core component, or technically, the brain of your computer.
The motherboard is its backbone, the main sheet that houses all the various components and connects them to the processor.
It’s no surprise that any minor fault in this hardware can put a big doorstop in front of your PC.
However, since these are vulnerable components, you can’t simply unseat, clean, and reinstall them to see if they’re the main cause of your issue.
What you can do is perform a physical check to get information about the CPU.
It lets you know if the parts are overheated, crashed, or incompatible by any means.
Then, you’ll figure out if professional help is necessary.
D. Visual Check
- Reach your CPU by opening the computer tower and see if the capacitors at the top of the motherboard have leakage, inflammation, or indentation.
- Check for any bent pins toward the motherboard.
- Put your hand in front of the CPU fan to see if it blows sufficient air.
- Listen for any creaking sound from the CPU fan that indicates a defective one.
E. Temperature Check
An excellent way to check your CPU performance is to find its temperatures in the BIOS.
This trick is only available if you can load Windows in Safe Mode:
- While in the Safe Mode, go to the Start menu and select the Settings icon.
- Navigate to Update and Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup.
- Select the “Restart Now” button to view a new blue window saying, “Choose an Option.”
- Press “Troubleshoot”, “Advanced Options”, and then “UEFI Firmware Settings.”
- After the BIOS page emerges, find an option that says, “PC Health Status,” or “System Hardware Monitor,” or something along the same lines. (It may have a different category name, depending on your PC.)
- Make sure the CPU temp remains under 70°C or 158°F.
(Note that the safe range may vary depending on your PC and CPU model, your activities, etc., so take a look at this video before you decide your CPU is overheating:
Send your computer to a service center only if you found something suspicious in the above checks.