Dell Laptop Screen Black: Troubleshooting the Lit Keyboard

Seeing a black screen when you turn on or wake your Dell laptop from sleep can be frustrating to all of us. A black display sounds exactly what it means. It means the laptop is powered on but not displaying anything on the screen.

This problem is frequent in most Dell computers and is known as Dell Laptop Screen Black. This problem can occur due to various software and hardware issues. 

Well, the good news is that with some troubleshooting and some simple DIY repair steps, you can fix the black screen problem and get your Dell laptop working again with ease.

In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll cover the reasons that cause Dell laptop black screen errors and show you step-by-step fixes that you can try at home.

Common Causes of Black Screens on Dell Laptops

Here are the most common culprits behind a Dell laptop displaying a black screen with power on:

Display driver issues – Faulty, outdated, or corrupted graphics drivers can prevent the display from functioning properly.

Screen cable problems – Damaged or loose display cables connecting the screen to the motherboard can cause a black display.

Inverter failure – The inverter provides power to the LCD backlight. If it fails, the screen will remain dark.

LCD backlight failure – The CCFL/LED backlight may burn out or malfunction, leading to a black screen.

BIOS errors – Corrupted BIOS settings or outdated BIOS can cause startup and display issues.

Hardware failure– Defective RAM, motherboard failure, GPU failure, and overheating can all produce a black screen.

Operating system issues – Startup errors, corrupted system files, or OS crashes can prevent the display from loading.

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Black Screens on Dell Laptops Troubleshooting Solution: (Best 9 Solution)

These are the common reasons that your Dell laptop displays a black screen even if it’s turned on. Now let’s go through the step-by-step troubleshooting and repair solutions to fix a black screen on a Dell laptop.

Solution 1: Hard Reset the Dell Laptop

The first thing to try is performing a hard reset by force restarting the Dell laptop. This clears any software errors and resets the laptop hardware.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button for at least 20 seconds to force shut down the laptop.

Step 2: Disconnect the AC adapter from the laptop.

Step 3: Remove the battery from the bottom of the laptop if possible.

Step 4: Press and hold the Power button again for 60 seconds to drain the remaining battery.

Step 5: Reconnect the battery and AC adapter.

Step 6: Press the Power button to turn on your laptop.

The hard reset fixes many instances of the black screen by clearing any software conflicts or glitches. But if it still doesn’t work, you can try the below methods.

Solution 2: Connect to an External Monitor or TV

If the Dell laptop screen remains black after trying hard reset, connect it to an external monitor or TV using an HDMI cable.

If the display shows up on the external monitor, then the issue is likely with the laptop screen. But if both the laptop screen and external monitor remain black, then the problem is with the software or internal hardware.

How to connect to an external display:

Step 1: Turn off the Dell laptop and connect the HDMI cable from the laptop’s HDMI port to the TV/monitor.

Step 2: Turn on the external display first, then power on the Dell laptop.

Step 3: Try toggling between the laptop screen and the external display by pressing the Fn + F1 or F2 function keys.

This method also indicates whether the problem is specifically with the laptop’s display panel or components like the GPU, motherboard etc.

Solution 3: Boot Dell Laptop into Safe Mode

Booting into Safe Mode starts Windows with only the essential drivers and services. This can help identify if the issue is either software or driver-related causes of the black screen.

Follow these steps to boot your Dell laptop into Safe Mode:

Step 1: Force shut down the laptop by pressing and holding the Power button for 10-20 seconds.

Step 2: Turn on the laptop and immediately start pressing the F8 key continuously.

Step 3: This will bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Step 4: Select Safe Mode and press Enter to boot into Safe Mode.

Step 5: Log in to your account. The screen resolution will be low, but you should now see the desktop.

Step 6: Restart the laptop normally and check if the black screen issue is resolved.

Safe Mode dismisses any third-party software conflicts or driver issues that are causing the black display on your laptop.

Solution 4: Run Hardware Diagnostics on the Dell Laptop

Dell laptops come with a pre-installed hardware diagnostics tool. This can test the various laptop components for faults like bad RAM, motherboard issues, GPU failure etc.

To run the ePSA Preboot System Assessment, follow the steps below:

Step 1:Turn off the Dell laptop.

Step 2: Press and hold the Fn key, then power on the laptop.

Step 3:This will initiate the hardware diagnostics.

Step 4: Run the full suite of tests. It will take some time.

Step 5: If any error is detected, it can indicate faulty RAM, storage drive, battery or motherboard failure.

You can also press F2 during boot to enter the BIOS settings menu. Navigate to the SupportAssist section and launch Hardware Diagnostics from there.

Solution 5: Check for Loose Screen Cable Connection

A loose display cable is a common reason for a Dell laptop’s screen remaining black. This DIY fix involves opening up the laptop to check the display cable connections.

To check the display cable connections:

Step 1: Turn off and unplug the power from the Dell laptop. Remove any removable batteries.

Step 2: Using a plastic pry tool, carefully pry open the bezel starting from the top or bottom edge.

Step 3: Once the bezel is removed, you’ll see the display panel and cables.

Step 4: Check that the thin display cables are firmly plugged into the connector at the bottom of the panel.

Step 5: Also check the other end where the cables connect to the motherboard behind the hinges.

Step 6: Reconnect any loose cables firmly and reassemble the laptop. Test if the black screen issue is fixed.

This simple cable reconnection fix can restore the display in many cases. Tightly plugging in the video cables eliminates the black screen due to cable issues.

Solution 6: Update or Reinstall Graphics Drivers

Outdated or corrupted graphics drivers can also result in a Dell laptop showing only a black screen.

You can update the display and GPU drivers to the latest available version:

Step 1: Boot into Safe Mode with Networking by selecting the option from Advanced Boot Options. This starts with Windows with internet access.

Step 2: Go to Device Manager > Display adapters. Right-click and Update the driver.

Step 3: Search automatically online for updated driver software. Install it and restart.

Step 4: Alternatively, go to the Dell support site and manually download the latest display driver for your specific Dell laptop model.

Step 5: Uninstall the existing driver first if updating doesn’t work. Then fresh, install the newly downloaded driver.

Updating to the newest graphics drivers often resolves black screen problems caused by incompatible or buggy drivers.

Solution 7: Restore or Reset Windows on Dell Laptop

If you recently installed apps or drivers before the black screen appeared, restoring Windows can fix software-related causes.

To restore Windows to an earlier restore point:

Step 1: Boot into Safe Mode. Press F8 during startup and select Safe Mode.

Step 2: Go to Search > type strut> Hit Enter.

Step 3: Open System Restore and choose a restore point created before the issue occurred.

Step 4: Follow the prompts to restore Windows, which will undo recent changes.

You can also reset Windows, which performs a clean reinstallation:

Step 1: In Safe Mode, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.

Step 2: Choose Get Started under the Reset this PC option.

Step 3: Follow the prompts to reinstall Windows deleting apps and programs.

This will fix any operating system file errors causing black display issues.

Solution 8: Test with a Known Good Screen

If the above steps don’t help, the cause may be a faulty display panel itself. Testing with a known good replacement screen will confirm this.

Step 1: Order a replacement LCD screen that is compatible with your specific Dell laptop model.

Step 2: Follow a teardown guide to replace the current screen with the new replacement LCD.

Step 3: Reassemble the laptop and test if the new display works properly.

If the replacement screen shows the display, then the original screen was the faulty one. But if even the new screen doesn’t turn on, then there are deeper hardware issues with the motherboard or GPU.

Solution 9: Motherboard or Video Card Repair

If the black screen doesn’t get fixed on your Dell laptop after trying the above solutions, the main problem is with the motherboard or dedicated graphics card.

This requires professional repair service as fixing motherboard or GPU issues involves advanced micro-soldering and replacement of SMD components.

A computer repair tech can diagnose and replace any damaged parts on the motherboard or video card circuit to resolve hardware-based black screen problems.

Note: All these solutions are based on my personal experience and knowledge. If your laptop is fixed by following these solutions, that's great. However, these solutions may not work in all conditions. In that case, please contact DELL Support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my Dell laptop have vertical or horizontal lines on the screen before going black?

Vertical or horizontal lines that later turn into a black display indicate a failure with the LCD screen or the video card driving the display. Loose cable connections can also cause this symptom.

How do I get into BIOS with a black screen on a Dell laptop?

Press F2 immediately on boot repeatedly to enter BIOS even if the screen is black. You can then update BIOS settings to potentially fix display issues.

Why does my Dell laptop screen work with an external monitor but black otherwise?

If the display works on an external monitor but not the laptop’s own screen, it indicates an issue specifically with the LCD panel. Trying a replacement screen will confirm whether the original screen is faulty.


A black laptop screen can have various causes, from software glitches to hardware failures. 

Methodically trying the above troubleshooting steps, like updating drivers, checking connections, replacing screens, and professional board repair, will help identify and fix the exact issue.

Patience and careful testing of each solution can help you get the Dell laptop display working again and avoid an unnecessary expensive replacement before you identify the problem.


  • Mira Edorra

    I'm Mira Edorra, your go-to gadget gal! I’m originally a California girl, born and raised in Silicon Valley, where people are as busy as bees, making all sorts of amazing tech stuff. But now, I live all the way over in the UK! At 32, I’m living the dream as a digital nomad, Traveling is my jam and gadgets are my peanut butter - a perfect combo, don't you think? As I bounce around the globe , I get my hands on loads of cool gizmos, and I just can't wait to share all my discoveries with you!From testing drones on mountain peaks to troubleshooting laptops in cozy cafés, my travels fuel my tech expertise. Got a gadget query? I'm your girl. Even if I don’t have the answer right away, Google and I are like Sherlock and Watson - we leave no mystery unsolved.

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