Windows 7 Black Screen Of Death Fix

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 1, 2009
Updated • Jun 12, 2018
Windows, Windows 7

Some Windows 7 users have reported a problem with the operating system that they experienced after installing the latest Microsoft security update on November 25.  Some incidents about the so called black screen of death issue date back even earlier than that though.

What happens is that the operating system displays a black desktop after startup with no options to interact with the operating system at this point. So, all you get is a black desktop without taskbar, icons on the desktop, start menu, or any other option to interact with the operating system.

Microsoft is currently investigating the issue.While Microsoft is still working on a fix, others have better news already for users affected by the issue.

Good news though for users who have experienced the black screen of death after a Windows 7 update. Security company Prevx has released a fix for the issue. They do state that it will fix the most common cause for the issue which means that it will most likely fix the problem for most users but not for all.

Fix the Black Screen of death

To fix the Black Screen of Death Windows 7 issue:

1. Restart your PC
2. Logon and wait for the black screen to appear
3. Make sure your PC should be able to connect to the internet (black screen does not appear to affect this)
4. Press the CTRL, ALT and DEL keys simultaneously
5. When prompted, Click Start Task Manager
6. In Task Manager Click on the Application Tab
7. Next Click New Task
8. Now enter the command: ”C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” “”

Note this command assumes that you are using internet explorer as your browser, if not substitute your browser path and file details for those of iexplore.exe or use the Browser option of Task manager to locate it.
9. Click OK and your browser should start up and begin the download process
10. When prompted for the download Click run, the black screen fix program will download and run to automatically fix the issue.
11. Now restart your PC and the black screen problem will hopefully be gone.

The Prevx blog goes into more detail of the causes of the black screen of death:

By the way - the cause of this recent crop of Black Screen appears to be a change in the Windows Operating Systems lock down of registry keys. This change has the effect of invalidating several key registry entries if they are updated without consideration of the new ACL rules being applied. For reference the rule change does not appear to have been publicised adequately, if at all, with the recent Windows updates.

In researching this issue we have identified at least 10 different scenarios which will trigger the same black screen conditions. These appear to have been around for years now. But our advice is try our tool first. If it works great. If it doesn't you are no worse off.

Users who are not able to fix the issue with this procedure might have to wait for an official fix issued by Microsoft.

Article Name
Windows 7 Black Screen Of Death Fix
Find out how to fix the so-called black screen of death issue on Windows 7 machines after installing a recent update for the operating system.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Mike J Peace said on June 19, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Hello Martin, I read this article, you described so deeply. As you said “Some Windows 7 users have reported a problem with the operating system that they experienced after installing”.

    It is right, but I had this problem on windows 10 because After Microsoft store application update is installed when restarting windows 10 version 1703, some windows 10 devices experience black screen for 5 to 10 minutes.

    I did not know why this happen then I searched and found that it happens because of the devices OEM factory images that were have released with registry keys that conflict with the app readiness service. I downloaded this update and fix the problem.

    One more point, I would like to share about data recovery software. During research I found that there are software available online that are very helpful if some lost data during this update, they can recover easily. I read reviews and most of them suggested Stellar Data Recovery. I used free demo to check and found better result.

    But, I am wonder to read this blog because of you described numbers of cause and solutions to fix it which I did not know. Very useful article for me I personally believe. Thank you so much.

  2. swangirl101 said on October 14, 2016 at 4:07 am

    DO NOT modify four computer if you are trying to solved the problem with the thing at the bottom.. u know.. explorer 1 . Exe it causes black screen

  3. sanz said on February 15, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Black,black, black no mouse, no windows colours or interaction availabillity.
    Tried all info> fail. Yes this occurred after 24 updates from microsoft. They should pay, uni starts soon I need my computer Help me please

  4. Paul said on June 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    1. Tried the ¨Safe Mode plus Networking¨….screen still black; only ¨Files¨ appears and a quick run through a bunch of names
    2. Tried the ctrl + alt + del; screen remains black, nothing happens
    3. Tried the SHIFT 5 times….no disability box shows
    4. TRIED IT ALL !
    I inserted the HP Windows start-up disk; computer remains black. Still waiting for them to send another
    However, I also have UBUNTU LINUX on my computer; that is how I can communicate on computer. This didn cause the problem; itś been on the computer for over 2 years. HOW else in the hell can I get Windows 7 with my files back. (I´ve saved all important ones on my flash drive; would just like to have less important documents back and not have to buy a new laptop)
    Any advice?

  5. Anonymous said on March 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    In Windows 7; do a right click on the desktop, click on personalize, click on desktop background. At the top left of the display box a black screen will be a choice for a theme. Choose one of the other themes then delete the black screen. The only problem is, is that Microsoft has a a key changed that will keep re-instating the black screen.

    So, someone tell me how to get rid of the “key”

  6. ANN Hoeun said on January 23, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Thank you so much for your file. It’s working for my case. I do much appreciated.

  7. Rakesh said on January 4, 2013 at 12:52 am

    By the way I found I had to log into Safe mode (pressing F8 at startup and choosing safemode with networking) and then ctrl+alt+delete, then new task, copy and pasting that command did not work but I ran Internet explorer browser and pasted the website link :

    This prompted would I like to run, so said yes and it said its fixed and so rebooted and sorted.

  8. Rakesh said on January 4, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Thank you a million !

    Saved a restore+reloading 100s of software for a friends pc

    There are many post like this around the net and some are going thru 100s of hours worth of diagnosing the pc with doing this and that, within a minute was fixed.

    Not sure what MS are doing perhaps trying to give pc engineers a job back perhaps !

  9. Shaun said on December 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm


    In my case the black screen occured before login screen and CTRL+ALT+DELETE did nothing for me. However if I booted into safe mode with networking enabled I was able to download the fix and run it and it appears to have done the job.


  10. Gustavo said on November 6, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I was having the Black Screen of Death with mouser pointer and realised through Event Viwer (eventvwr.msc) that the explorer.exe crash was associated to the propsys.dll located in windows\system32 folder.

    So, I managed to emulate a mini WinXP via Hiren’s Boot, loaded a “health” propsys.dll from my other Windows 7 system and overwrote the corrupted one. Problem solved to me!

  11. Sher said on September 15, 2012 at 6:07 am

    I have the “grey” screen of death….grey because there is some backlighting on the screen, but I have nothing else. No curser, no way to access anything, even though the computer has started and windows is apparently running because I could hear the “welcome” music. The problem started immediately after an automatic microsoft update. Any suggestions?

  12. Dano5 said on September 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Hey, I’m dancing & celebrating — the Prevx fix worked just great for me! Many thanks to ghacks for providing it!

  13. Bebica said on August 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    After my OS lose stability i decide to reinstall my Win 7 Ultimate 64bit but on the end of instalation after restarti get black screen and i was aaaaaaaaa.
    I read eerything you people wrote here and try even silly things like alt+ctrl+del on black screen and pressing Shift reditetly coz ofcourse nothing happen. In my case, after i lost hours of smacking head, was hdmi cabl on my grafic card. I try everything and on end i just got idea maybe is something about grafic. So i turn off monior few times, try few more logicly actions and on end i saw that my hdmi cabl is conect from pc and tv so only logical thing was that grafic card have a problem with clone. I know that is a silly problem, i was laugh, but maybe this help to someone :)

  14. Bruce Smith said on July 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    We had black screen of death on Windows 7 Pro Media Center.
    Used ctrl-alt-delete method to start task manager and ran
    rstrui.exe to revert to previous week. (RESTORE UI)

  15. Sanjay said on July 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    It works perfect. I am thankful to this site for solving my problem.

  16. Lynn said on April 3, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Hey everyone!

    I too had the black screen of death and tried every last solution I could find on the web, but to no avail. I have a Toshiba laptop that unfortunately, did not come with the Windows 7 software. After searching for over a month and lamenting my distaste with having to purchase the full version of Windows 7 in order to get my pc functioning again, I stumbled across the Toshiba support site. What a life saver!! For only $29.95 to supposedly cover shipping and handling, Toshiba would send me the recovery disks!!! And it worked like a charm!! The location of this solution is tough to navigate to, so I’m pasting the link below in hopes that it helps other Toshiba users. Hopefully, other providers offer the same service. Good luck!!!

    Just make sure you back up all of your important data before starting the recovery process as it will return your machine to it’s out of the box status.

  17. Istvan said on January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Hey Guys,

    I ran bitdefender for a full system scan all night. When I woke up in the morning my pc was off. So I turned back on, but I have no access to my user account, only black screen with a moving mouse shows after logon.
    However I do have access to my user account in safe mode and I’m able to login to the administrator account as well.

    I ran malwarebytes in safe mode: 0 result
    I tried prevx fix also, with not much of a luck either.

    what should I do now? Task manager and sticky key would not respond..

    Any help would be much appreciateted..

  18. Simon said on December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t wanna sound stupid, but how can i possibly do anything of the above on a computer that has a black screen?

    This seems like a nonsense story to me, quite disappointing when youre looking for a real fix like i am right now :S

    1. Stephen said on January 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      Exactly, does the poster of this fix even read what he is writing, if you have black screen that does not allow any interaction, how the hell can you even get past step 1 in this stupid fix, because everything is black and so therefore you can not type or do anything much less see anything.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        You understand that the issue described is about a black desktop only, and that you can open the task manager.

  19. Fayaz Amiri said on September 4, 2011 at 6:26 am

    hi everyone i had the same problem and i did try out the paths that is mentioned above n 10 different steps so it worked and i m very glad and as far as i know this is the malware issue so go ahead and follow the upper mentioned steps i m sure that it will be fixed.

  20. bryce said on August 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

    omfg this actually worked i love you sooooo much man ur amazing omfg omfg omfg omfg i trll everyone bout you now!!!!!!!!!!1

  21. dotslasher said on July 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I would like to thank you for this solution!

    I just got this annoying bug 1 week ago and have tried everything.

    But this fix has solved the problem!

    thanks alot.

  22. Colin said on July 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

    By the way, re my previous entry, I note the lead article says press ctl-alt-del after the black screen appears. That’s too late. Nothing will happen. You’ve got to press ctl-alt-del during the short interval in which the Starting Windows screen appears.

    1. Jake said on October 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Hey there Colin. I had this problem before and the original fix, as mentioned at the beginning of the article/top of the page, sorted it out immediately. It helped that there was no ‘login’ enabled. But with a fresh install (of the original Win7 copy it has to be said) the black screen came up before login (now enabled) and I couldn’t get beyond it.
      Your ‘Ctrl-Alt-Del’ method worked, and as you say it HAS to be done as the Windows colours come swirling into view. Then you system restore to just before the last tranche of updates to get things going again, download the fix at the beginning of the article, and do the updates again. Worked for me, and thanx a bunch!

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks for your input and clarifications.

      1. Heather said on August 17, 2012 at 4:56 am

        How long did it take for task manager to come up. Been waiting for some time now :(

  23. Colin said on July 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I have experienced the black death screen when my computer has failed to shut down properly. Next time I crank it up, the black screen appears after ‘Starting Windows’.
    When that happens, I turn it off at the computer, then turn it on again. When the Starting Windows screen appears, I quickly press ctl-alt-del. A short while later I am presented with a screen with a couple of options, one of which is Delete Restoration Data etc. Press enter on that and hey presto!, all is well.
    Works every time.

    1. Stela said on July 16, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thx for the suggestion about Ctrl+Alt+Delete right after the “Starting Windows” shows on the screen! The option I was able to use was System recover. After the first try it did not work (a message appeared saying my system can’t be restored), but I persisted and opted for System restore again. The same message appeared but right after that the system restarted, then repeated the process of saying “Windows is updating your files” and restarting and then my system was back to the point before updating Win 7 and working perfectly. Thank you again for the advice.

  24. Anonymous said on April 7, 2011 at 8:12 am

    i tried doing the scan and fix error and repair bad sectors and it tells me to reboot, when i reboot it, my screen went black. i tried ctrl alt del but didnt it would reboot but same black screen. i don’t see anything even a cursor. just nothing! what should i do?

  25. fooliezt said on March 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks a lot… its work !!!

  26. jeno said on January 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Nothing happens when i cltr alt and delete. No task manager. PLEASE HELP!

  27. BlackDeath`` said on October 26, 2010 at 8:37 am

    MAN my screen happen nothing!! i prees Ctrl Alt Delete nothing!!!!!!!!! then i try Ctr alt shift same nothing plz help me!! i even can select safe logon when i resatart it my keyboard is usualess ! it can work only when i put Del at start boot menu to make my keyboard for use but idk what to do help me to all this plz its the second time in 2 Weeks plz help me and thank u for reading this,.

  28. mach91 said on September 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I had the black screen on win 7 Ultimate and as Zoltari mentioned Malawarebytes found 23 entries and removed them. Since then nomore black screen. I had tried the Prevx fix but it did not work for me.

  29. AmianAddict said on May 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    This is a bad solution… if you are experiencing the following error, you can actually do the following… if it is after doing a force restart.

    1. Check your DVD Drive if there is a cd inserted in it, or if there is a flash drive connected to the computer.

    or there is not…
    1. Restart the computer and then Go to safe mode.
    2. Once already booted on the safe mode, right click on computer–> Manage–> go to device manager.
    3. Locate network adaptor then uninstall it..
    4. restart your computer and hopefully black screen will be gone..

  30. Zoltari said on February 8, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Two week of reading solutions that didn’t work and finally I found out how to fix the Windows 7 Black Screen – when I logged on I had no icons and no task manager available.

    My Solution:

    1. Get to the black screen in windows 7
    2. Press SHIFT five times rapidly so that the disability box shows
    3. Select: Go to the Ease of Acces Centre
    4. Browse My Computer > C: > Windows : explorer.exe (desktop appears)
    5. Download MalwareBytes from here
    6. Install and run it
    7. Let it scan and remove all infections it finds
    8. Reboot

    That should be it – if your PC had the same issue mine did, and nothing else seems to fix it, give this solution a go. It worked like a charm for me.

    I’m just glad I didn’t give in a re-install WIndows 7, which seemed the only solution after I had tried all the other ‘solutions’ out there.

    1. RF said on October 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

      It’s nearly 4 years after this solution was posted, but I finally got the black screen on my HP Elite with Quad Core on which I’ve been running Windows 7 Ultimate with no issues now for nearly 3 years. The task manager would not come up for me using control+alt+delete as other users have suggested, so I thought I’d try this solution.. Hitting the shift key several times yielded no results for me either.

      Instead, I simply rebooted in safe mode with networking and was able to download malwarebytes. It found 24 infections. I removed them all and rebooted and haven’t had any problems since. It’s now been about a week. The software, which is free, by the way, with a paid version, has found a couple more malwares trying to infect my system since then.

      Apparently, Windows 7 has several different things that cause the black screen, so if nothing else works, this may be the solution for you. It worked for me. Thanks Zoltari!

    2. Borna said on October 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      THANKS !!!

    3. Stuart said on March 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm


      I to was having this problem on a Dell Lat D830. Downloaded the ISO from Microsoft website and burned to CD. I could login fine with the local account but when I added it to a windows domain I got the black screen when I logged in using a network account… Tried various fixes all to no availe… We have 4 other laptops with the same spec they work fine..

      So After reinstalling again and still having the same problem I used an other DVD (different ISO) and All worked fine and has been for few weeks now…. Strange one

      Hope this helps


  31. juanwar26 said on December 27, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I’ve been having a mild version of the black screen for a while. My screen would go black with cursor after login. I could log out and then log back in and the desktop would appear normally.

    I tried all the fixes from all the forums with updating display drivers, the Prevx shell fix above, the display switch bat file, and others. Nothing helped.

    I eventually I got lucky and noticed I had a RunOnce process in task manager that kept coming back. If I used TaskMgr to kill that process while at the black screen, my desktop would appear. I eventually did a Find in the Registry for all RunOnce keys and found a lingering one with an entry for “wextract_cleanup0”. I deleted that key and my system is finally back to normal. That file is apparently legit but I have no idea what install left it behind.

    Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit

  32. jake said on December 17, 2009 at 3:38 am

    i installed windows 7 on my computer but when i turn it on i get a black screen with no cursor.

  33. taw said on December 10, 2009 at 6:11 am

    blue screen

  34. Rarst said on December 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Mention of Prevx already starts to ring a bell and not a good one.

    And situation exploded in their face as it should.

  35. Slurry said on December 1, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Wow! So much for the “easiest Windows yet” rhetoric. I don’t remember anything like this with Vista. So, Win 7 is still in beta and unless you’re a sadist you should wait a couple more months before up/downgrading. Then again, XP is the best MS product yet and that’s where I’ll be for years to come.

    1. bellman said on March 23, 2010 at 12:39 am

      seeing i am running out of time i want to post this. I have tried everything to stop the black screen. But i turned off the following windows services windows internet explorer, xps services and xps viewer and it now just flickers between log on and desk top no problems. But i still have issues at initial start up. I believe there is an issue with internet explorer. But what the hell do i know really.
      My main issue was with Windows 7 when i started up my pc it was a black screen, but powered off the monitor and wallah i had log on screen,after logging on then it went black again, so i turned off my monitor again and re-powered it and it went to the desk top. After that no problems.
      But all the forums i have visited i have tried their ideas and no joy.

    2. Martin said on December 1, 2009 at 7:24 pm

      You do not? The 1.5 million entries for vista bsod speak a different language :P

      1. Which Registry Cleaner Is The Best said on December 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm

        Martin, there is a huge difference between BSOD (blue) and black screen of death.

      2. Martin said on December 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm

        Well then look at

        Windows 7 is apparently not the first operating system that experienced that. Oh, and Computerworld reports that the Black Screen of Death is not only affecting Windows 7 systems but also other Windows operating systems.

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