Windows 10 Update Causes 'Black Screen of Death'

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has warned the latest Windows 10 update could produce a completely black screen for some users. It's easily fixable and shouldn't be a permanent problem.

Microsoft hasn't given any details of why the problem occurs, or if it affects people with a particular piece of hardware or software in place. It's only saying that a "small number of devices" appear to be affected.

The problem is listed as being with Windows 10 version 1809 and 1803. Those are the two major updated versions of Windows 10 which were released last year. Version 1803 was released in April, 2018, while 1809 was released last November; the latter should be what most users are running now. The latest Windows 10 release is version 1903, otherwise known as the "Windows 10 May 2019 update," and is still propagating to users worldwide.

Microsoft says the black screen problem means that "devices may startup to a black screen during the first logon after installing updates."

That's pretty much the worst type of "crash" as it leaves the user with no real clue what is going on. It's even worse than the "blue screen of death" that occasionally popped up with older versions of Windows and at least offered some reference numbers that could help diagnose the problem.

Forced Restart Should Clear Fault

Fortunately, the fix this time is simple enough as it only involves a forced restart. Microsoft says users who get the black screen should "press Ctrl + Alt + Delete [on the keyboard], then select the Power button [on the screen in the lower right corner, then select Restart]. Your device should now restart normally."

In the meantime, Microsoft is trying to figure out a solution and says it will issue "an update in an upcoming release." (Source:

Bluetooth Devices May Be Blocked

Meanwhile, some Bluetooth devices will stop working with Windows 10 after the latest update. It's not a bug, but rather a deliberate decision by Microsoft. The issue has to do with the way that some low-powered devices connect over Bluetooth. The security breach means that hackers could connect to Windows PCs without permission and then simulate keystrokes, which would then likely issue elevated access and in turn install malware on the machine.

Microsoft says that the update blocks "unsecure" devices from connecting. Manufacturers of legitimate devices affected by the update will need to issue firmware fixes for the device. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you heard about this problem before? Did you experience the completely black screen? Should Microsoft issue such warnings directly to users through an on-screen notification or by sending emails, for example?

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DLStoehner's picture

I ran into this a couple of times on several different laptops - not all the same brand or model. Forced restart DID NOT FIX the issue. I had to reinstall everything to get the laptops back on line. I GOOGLED the problem and tried all of the fixes that I found. Nothing worked...

Reinstall from the ground up was my only fix.

brian.buick_12414's picture

Nope !
Microsoft are lying. Just don’t have a clue these cowboys. Just constantly goes to black screen. Laughable support and lack of knowledge at Microsoft

gi7omy's picture

I take it that 1803 is a typo and you did mean 1903

The numbers in Windows versions are year/month so 1803 is March 2018 and 1903 is March 2019 (the month refers to thye final code rather than the actual date)

Dennis Faas's picture

1803 is not a typo. Full version history:

gi7omy's picture

Dennis - from the original post "...Version 1803 was released in April, 2019..."

1803 was released in 2018 - not 2019 (the first two numbers are the year). 1903 was the 2019 H1 release

3bneil's picture

Once your computer is on select ctl+shift+esc to start task manager
Click on new task, fill out the input box with explorer.exe and click ok. Your desktop will start.
You can also edit the registry to permanently fix this but I didn't have to go that far.

Draq's picture

I use a screen reader, so I have no idea if this affected me or not.

ronangel1's picture

Always make accronis or other full image backups of your computer on regular basis.
If you get Black Screen of Death or other problem after update or any serious problem all you do is boot from cd or usb drive and restore image file to drive and computer will be returned to as it was when you made backup.You will have to update anti virus to latest definitions and any browser you are useing as well.If useing microsoft outlook keep regular updated copy on seperate drive (Outlook Data File (.pst)) as this will not be up to date in restore and needs to be copied back after or you will lose latest emails since backup.If you only have one backup image you dont have a backup! If it fails to restore so best at least two copies at least one on external drive if first on seperate internal drive, not partition,of main drive in computer.External normaly disconnected USB as if problem is caused by ransomware data will be destroyed and unuseable for recovery.

DLStoehner's picture

I started seeing this a while ago. V1803 was my first experience with the "Black Screen of Death."

Thanks for responding...

DLStoehner's picture

Yes. I had tried to run Explorer manually. No Joy! Had to rebuild from the ground up.

DLStoehner's picture

More recently, I ran into the "Black Screen of Death" with version 1903. I am not finding any fix that works. I am rebuilding all of the machines that I encounter this on.

Update issue or driver issue???

Rebuilding from the ground up, I do not run in to this again (so far).