Fix: Computer Black Screen on Boot

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black_screen_of_deathSymtoms: When you try to start your computer, the computer may appear to stop responding (hang) with an empty, black screen before the Windows XP/Vista/7 logo typically appears on the screen.

If you see a black screen only after finish loading your Windows, you may want to visit: Windows 7 or Vista won’t start, Computer shows black screen during startup

Beep or no beep?

Usually, black screens can appear in 2 different ways. One that will have beeps sequence sounding and the other has nothing at all. No beeping, no text, no cursor, no nothing.

What if it beeps?

When a computer starts, it will POST itself before anything else and beep accordingly (usually you will hear one short beep if your computer is fine). Power-on self test (POST =  A procedure the computer goes through during bootup to ensure everything is running well). Beep sequence or commonly known as the beep code tells you what part of the system is having problems and find a solution. But it varies  depending on what type of Bios you’re using. For example, you may have an Ami Bios, Award Bios, Phoenix BIOS, Compaq Bios, Dell Bios or Acer Bios. The details of these beep codes can be easily found if you google it, for instance if you have a dell bios, google “dell bios beep codes” or “dell bios POST codes”. However, here in this article, I will show you the beep codes for the 3 most commonly used Bios.

AMI BIOS Beep Codes

1 Short Beep One beep is good! Everything is ok, that is if you see things on the screen. If you don’t see anything, check your monitor and video card first. Is everything connected? If they seem fine, your motherboard has some bad chips on it. First reset the SIMM’s and reboot. If it does the same thing, one of the memory chips on the motherboard are bad, and you most likely need to get another motherboard since these chips are soldered on.
2 Short Beeps Your computer has memory problems. First check video. If video is working, you’ll see an error message. If not, you have a parity error in your first 64K of memory. First check your SIMM’s. Reseat them and reboot. If this doesn’t do it, the memory chips may be bad. You can try switching the first and second banks memory chips. First banks are the memory banks that your CPU finds its first 64K of base memory in. You’ll need to consult your manual to see which bank is first. If all your memory tests good, you probably need to buy another motherboard.
3 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above.
4 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above. It could also be a bad timer
5 Short Beeps Your motherboard is complaining. Try reseating the memory and rebooting. If that doesn’t help, you should consider another motherboard. You could probably get away with just replacing the CPU, but that’s not too cost-effective. Its just time to upgrade!
6 Short Beeps The chip on your motherboard that controls your keyboard (A20 gate) isn’t working. First try another keyboard. If it doesn’t help, reseat the chip that controls the keyboard, if it isn’t soldered in. If it still beeps, replace the chip if possible. Replace the motherboard if it is soldered in.
7 Short Beeps Your CPU broke overnight. Its no good. Either replace the CPU, or buy another motherboard.
8 Short Beeps Your video card isn’t working. Make sure it is seated well in the bus. If it still beeps, either the whole card is bad or the memory on it is. Best bet is to install another video card.
9 Short Beeps Your BIOS is bad. Reseat or Replace the BIOS.
10 Short Beeps Your problem lies deep inside the CMOS. All chips associated with the CMOS will likely have to be replaced. Your best bet is to get a new motherboard.
11 Short Beeps Your problem is in the Cache Memory chips on the motherboard. Reseat or Replace these chips.
1 Long, 3 Short Beeps You’ve probably just added memory to the motherboard since this is a conventional or extended memory failure. Generally this is caused by a memory chip that is not seated properly. Reseat the memory chips.
1 Long, 8 Short Beeps Display / retrace test failed. Reseat the video card.

Phoenix BIOS Beep Codes

These audio codes are a little more detailed then the AMI codes. This BIOS emits three sets of beeps. For example, 1 -pause- 3 -pause 3 -pause. This is a 1-3-3 combo and each set of beeps is separated by a brief pause. Listen to this sequence of sounds, count them, and reboot and count again if you have to.

1-1-3 Your computer can’t read the configuration info stored in the CMOS. Replace the motherboard.
1-1-4 Your BIOS needs to be replaced.
1-2-1 You have a bad timer chip on the motherboard. You need a new motherboard.
1-2-2 The motherboard is bad.
1-2-3 The motherboard is bad.
1-3-1 You’ll need to replace the motherboard.
1-3-3 You’ll need to replace the motherboard.
1-3-4 The motherboard is bad.
1-4-1 The motherboard is bad.
1-4-2 Some of your memory is bad.
2-_-_ Any combo of beeps after two means that some of your memory is bad, and unless you want to get real technical, you should probably have the guys in the lab coats test the memory for you. Take it to the shop.
3-1-_ One of the chips on your motherboard is broken. You’ll likely need to get another board.
3-2-4 One of the chips on your motherboard that checks the keyboard is broken. You’ll likely need to get another board.
3-3-4 Your computer can’t find the video card. Is it there? If so, try swapping it with another one and see if it works.
3-4-_ Your video card isn’t working. You’ll need to replace it.
4-2-1 There’s a bad chip on the motherboard. You need to buy another board.
4-2-2 First check the keyboard for problems. If nothing, you have a bad motherboard.
4-2-3 Same as 4-2-2.
4-2-4 One of the cards is bad. Try yanking out the cards one by one to isolate the culprit. Replace the bad one. The last possibility is to buy another motherboard.
4-3-1 Replace the motherboard.
4-3-2 See 4-3-1
4-3-3 See 4-3-1
4-3-4 Time of day clock failure. Try running the setup program that comes with the computer. Check the date and time. If that doesn’t work, replace the battery. If that doesn’t work, replace the power supply. You may have to replace the motherboard, but that is rare.
4-4-1 Your serial ports are acting up. Reseat, or replace, the I/O card. If the I/O is on the motherboard itself, disable them with a jumper (consult your manual to know which one) and then add an I/O card.
4-4-2 See 4-4-1, but this time is your Parallel port that’s acting up.
4-4-3 You math coprocessor is having problems. Run a test program to double-check it. If it is indeed bad, disable it, or replace it.
Low 1-1-2 Your motherboard is having problems
Low 1-1-3 This is an Extended CMOS RAM problem, check your motherboard battery, and motherboard.

Standard Original IBM POST Error Codes

1 short beep Normal POST – system is ok
2 short beeps POST Error – error code shown on screen
No beep Power supply or system board problem
Continuous beep Power supply, system board, or keyboard problem
Repeating short beeps Power supply or system board problem
1 long, 1 short beep System board problem
1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (MDA, CGA)
1 long, 3 short beeps Enhanced  Graphics Adapter (EGA)
3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card

Beep once, it means ok, but black screen after that?

By Microsoft:

Cause 1: This issue may occur if you have a CD, a DVD or a floppy disk in your CD, DVD, or floppy drive when you start the computer.

Cause 2: This issue occurs if one or more of the following elements are corrupted and will not load during the boot sequence of the computer:

  • Master boot record
  • Partition tables
  • Boot sector
  • NTLDR file

Resolution for Cause 1: To resolve this issue, remove the media in your CD, DVD, or floppy drive and then restart the computer.

Resolution for Cause 2:

Method 1: Troubleshoot the specific element that causes Windows not to load

Note This option requires that you perform multiple steps to determine the exact element that causes the issue. This option may allow for you to keep customizations in Windows.

  1. Restart your computer in safe mode. To do this, press the F8 key while Windows is starting. Then, create a Windows XP boot disk to start the computer.For more information about how to create a Windows XP boot disk, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    305595 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305595/ ) How to create a bootable floppy disk for an NTFS or FAT partition in Windows XP
    315222 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315222/ ) A description of the Safe Mode Boot options in Windows XP

    If you can start the computer from the boot disk without receiving an error message, the damage is limited to the master boot record, the boot sector, or the NTLDR file. After Windows XP is running, immediately back up all data before you try to fix the boot sector.

    Use Disk Management to view the partition information and to verify that the disk partition (or partitions) is correct. To use Disk Management, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
    2. Expand Storage, and then click Disk Management.

    If invalid partitions are present or you cannot start your computer by using a boot disk, consider reinstalling Windows XP on your computer and restoring your data and configuration information from a recent backup.

    If you do not have a current backup copy of the data on the computer, contact a computer specialist to determine the best method of data recovery and configuration.

  2. Run a current virus scanning program to verify that no virus is present.
  3. Repair the master boot record by using the FIXMBR command from the Windows XP Recovery Console.For more information about how to use the Recovery Console, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    307654 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307654/ ) How to install and use the Recovery console in Windows XP

    Note For more information about an error message that you may receive when you use the FIXMBR command, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    266745 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/266745/ ) Error message when you run fixmbr command

    Warning If your computer is infected with a virus and you use the FIXMBR command, you may be unable to start the computer. Before you use this command, make sure that the computer is not infected with a virus.

  4. If the primary boot partition is a FAT partition, use the FIXBOOT command from the Windows XP Recovery Console to write a new boot sector on the system partition, and then use the FIXMBR command to repair the master boot record.
Method 2: Repair your Windows installation

Note Repairing your Windows installation may change the configuration of Windows. You may also have to follow this step if you complete all the troubleshooting in steps option 1 and the problem is not resolved.

  1. Use the Windows XP CD-ROM to start your computer. On the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER to set up Windows XP.
  2. Press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
  3. Use the ARROW keys to select the Windows XP installation that you want to repair, and then press R.Windows XP Setup repairs the installation files, Windows XP automatically restarts, and then the Setup program finishes the repair of your Windows XP installation.
  4. Follow the remaining steps to set up Windows.Note You must have your 25-character product key to complete these steps.
  5. As soon as this issue is resolved, make sure that the firewall is enabled, and then visit the following Microsoft Web site to reinstall the latest updates:
    http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/)
  6. Run a virus scan on the computer because problems with corrupted elements can be attributed to viruses.

Total Black Screen, No beep?

Hardware failure! No matter your fans spin or don’t spin, if you get the black screen but nothing else, it probably means that something is not working and you’ll have to get a replacement part for it.

Check your monitor: Unplug your monitor cable connected to your CPU and plug in again to see if it can solve your problem. Very often people wouldn’t realise if their monitor cable became loose.

Broken graphic card (display adapter), RAM or processor: If any of these components is not seated properly, is damaged, or is absent from your computer, your computer will show you black screen.

Black screen after installing new hardware: Take your new hardware along with its receipt back to the shop where you bought it and get it replaced.

In this case, I would recommend you to take your computer to the nearest computer shop (that handles your warranty if you still have it) and ask for help. They are usually the only people who have spare parts to test the parts of your computer one by one.

3 Tips to avoid black screen:

1. As time passes, the inner part of your computer may clogged with dust. Dust can cause heat problem and eventually slow down your PC or in some serious case your hardware can be damaged. We recommend you to physically clean up your computer at least twice a year for best performance.

2. As time goes on while you use your PC, everything stored in your computer data may become scattered. Bad sectors can be found; some files or folders may be missing. There’re 3 steps you have to take in order to fix these problems.

  1. Defragment your hard disk
  2. Perform Scandisk(chkdisk) for your hard disk
  3. Run Disk Cleanup for your Windows

3. Keep all Drivers up to date: Up to date drivers means your hardware runs at peak performance. Up to date drivers means more bugs have been fixed, and your system will have fewer crashes. Up to date drivers mean new features and configuration options are unlocked in your devices, particularly with video cards. To update your drivers, you’ll have to refer to the official website of each of your hardware and look for the related drivers.

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