Amazingly, when it comes to computer errors, when your computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor is far better than just a plain blank screen when the computer boots. We have to look on the bright side here and presume that the fact that you can see a blinking cursor is a good sign. At least we can treat this as a bit of clue on what to try when troubleshooting this black screen on start up.
When the average computer user sees a black screen on startup appear on their computer monitor panic immediately sets in. Both black screens and blues screens are known disasters that are dreaded by most. But as I said, seeing a black screen with a flashing cursor is not that bad.
Please note that this particular error has stopped your computer from entering Windows. It is not a black screen with a movable mouse cursor on the screen it is a black screen with a flashing cursor that has not entered Windows yet. If this error does not suit your symptoms please see “My computer has a “Computer black screen” for more information.
Please note that the you can boot up Any computer, fix & install Windows easy with a boot disc especially made for this error. Of course you can try everything listed below first as you might get lucky! Hope you do! 🙂
Computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor – Common causes
There are many possible causes when your computer boots to black screen and I will try to mention as many as possible. Some causes of a black screen are incorrect shutdown of your computer, not waking from sleep mode, not knowing where to boot to, corrupt software, damaged start up, and the list goes on. When moving forward with these troubleshooting tips, make sure you do have a computer that boots to a black screen with a blinking cursor. Otherwise you are looking at the wrong tutorial.
The last sleep transition was unsuccessful:
This is one that I have had a lot of experience with. People have the Windows sleep mode enabled on their computer and after to going to sleep, the computer does not wake up. This sounds crazy, I know. I have written an article on the computer will not wake up from sleep mode. In this example it is also possible to see a pc blank screen where there is nothing but a black screen and that’s it.
When your computer will not wake up try starting your computer in safe mode. Simply start your computer and hit either the F2, Del, or sometimes the F10 key on the keyboard. When you enter Safe mode you should then shut your computer down correctly. A clean shut down. This should wake up the computer. Then you should disable the power saving mode as soon as you can because it will most likely do it again next time. To adjust your power saving sleep mode go to the control panel, then choose the power options icon.
Computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor – A device is connected
Did you leave a USB flash drive connected to your computer or maybe an external hard drive? Either way, the computer might be trying to boot to this device but it is not a bootable device. Remove all devices and try to start your computer again.
Faulty Device causes the computer to boot to a black screen
Another cause could be that you have a faulty device such as a DVD drive or CD drive. The computer is trying to find all devices connected to the computer and comes across a problem device. This often causes a black screen with a flashing cursor. If you disconnect the faulty DVD drive your computer can start without errors. People are often aware of a faulty DVD drive because you might have had previous problems removing discs or opening the contents of a disc.
When you see a black screen with blinking cursor you can almost come to the conclusion that your actual computer is fine because it is still running but just not loading into Windows. As we have seen, there are a number of causes which also equally creates a number of solutions.
Years ago I had a computer that was hit and miss when starting up. Sometimes it would boot to black screen with blinking cursor and then other times it was fine. It turned out to be the cd drive. The computer was performing Power-On Self-Test (POST) and was not finding the cd drive occasionally. As soon as I disconnected the faulty drive, the problem never surfaced again.
Your boot options have mysteriously changed
It’s probably not a mystery, however for some reason your computer is trying to boot to other devices and not your hard drive. You can restart your computer and get into your bios to change these settings. Here’s how to get into your bios and change settings. When you are in your bios, change the boot order or boot priority to the first being the hard drive. Exit and save your settings.
This error can happen when the computer is not shut down correctly or you have another device plugged in.
You recently installed new software, updates, or drivers
Getting a black screen with a flashing cursor is very common after installing new software, downloading updates, or even installing new drivers and devices. If this happens and you have either Windows Vista or Windows seven, your first port of call would be to insert the operating system disc. Although Windows xp is a bit more difficult to deal with, both Windows seven and Vista will repair most problems for you. This is why you should try this method first.
This can happen after installing almost any piece of software including Windows updates, believe it or not! The problem is, if there are two programs clashing, there is not much you can do to stop this..One has to go. For this reason, when installing absolutely anything on your computer, including a simple toolbar, I recommend you create a restore point for safety reasons. Imagine if everyone actually stuck to that rule???
Anyway, if you see that flashing cursor you are almost guaranteed that your computer will boot from a CD or DVD. After all it is looking for something to boot to. Of course at this stage, when you see the flashing cursor, it is too late to insert the CD, and it is too early for other remedies.
When you insert your operating CD you must restart your computer. See the following instructions.
You upgraded your hard drive and now you see a blinking cursor
You installed a larger hard drive and now you have a black screen with a blinking cursor. If you put the old hard back in the computer it runs fine. This is a common problem for Dell laptops and some desktops where the BIOS does not like hard drives that are larger than 127GB. To fix this problem you can install a smaller hard drive for the main operating system or partition the one you have so that the main drive does not exceed 127GB.
Computer boots to black screen with cursor windows 7 – Restore your Windows 7 computer
If your computer boots to a black screen when using Windows 7 you can always try to recover a working system by using your Operating system disc!
1. Boot from the Windows 7 operating system disc. If your computer is not set to boot from cdrom first then you need to be able to enter the BIOS to change your boot options.
2. Choose your language from the list.
3. Choose the Repair your computer option on the install now section.
4. Choose the System restore option.
5. Choose a restore point. If you have installed a program today that caused a problem choose a restore point prior to that?
6. Let it take you back to when you didn’t have a problem.
These instructions above will work for Windows Vista as well.
Also see this article on Repair Windows XP.
If you do not have your original operating system cd then try this one: $49.95 for The NO.1 Boot Utility Disk – praised by PC Magzine!
Computer boots to black screen with mouse
When your computer boots to a black screen with a mouse cursor, that means that you have logged into Windows. This is a different problem from the one described above. If your computer boots to a black screen with blinking cursor and you have not logged into Windows, there are different troubleshooting steps for this.
If you are seeing a black screen with a mouse, and possibly you could move that mouse cursor around the screen, then I have a few things for you to try.
- You could login to another user account to see if that user account has the same problem.
- You could enter task manager by hitting the CTRL ALT DEL keys on your keyboard. Then you could go to the applications tab and press on new task. Type in explorer.exe to see if that works.
Notes on having a black screen with a flashing cursor:
- This black screen tutorial has been split up into separate sections as people are getting confused with what to try for their actual problem.
- This tutorial is not about a black screen with a movable mouse cursor on the screen (although I have mentioned it above), it is about when computer boots to a black screen with blinking cursor and has not entered Windows yet.
- There is a difference between a total blackscreen and black screen with a blinking cursor. One has a sign and one doesn’t.
- Boot up Any Computer, Fix & Install Windows Easy.
More options when dealing with a pc blank screen:
Buy the Ebook “Recover Your Computer From a Black Screen” (Now FREE)
Let us know about your computer black screen with blinking cursor experiences below as there are many more causes and solutions to learn from. Also see these extra Troubleshooting Black Screen tips.