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Black Screen; A Saga of Idiocy - How Do I Fix What I Can't See?

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New Member
Jul 30, 2018
New member here so please forgive me if I'm posting to the wrong area or make any mistakes. I'm on my 5th day of trying to fix my PC. I work from home so I've missed several days of work so far. I need to be up and running for work tomorrow.

A friend sent me here, calling this the best forum for real troubleshooting advice. He told me to be as detailed as possible so here it goes.

Thursday morning my PC crashed and after rebooting all I got was black screen. I reset several times, powering off the PSU, removing the AC cable. After a point when depressing the power button on the front panel it would shut-off, but immediately restart itself, both when the power button was released and while it was still being held.

I had had an issue with the most recent Radeon driver update, Adrenalin 18.7 I got a screen error and crash which killed the update installation twice so I decided to put it off. I couldn't see anything to navigate an update though, but I figured the issue was GPU related so I switched to my MOBO HDMI. It took some more resets but I eventually got my login screen. Not sure if this is relevant, I have an old monitor I used to test as well, for some reason the old monitor shows the BIOS boot up but my new monitor does not. While reseting trying to get the image back the old monitor was more successful in getting an image.

Through various combinations of old monitor/new monitor, resets, GPU, and MOBO I eventually got an image while plugged it the GPU and new monitor. My friend suggested I run DDU on the GPU. I rebooted into safe mode, ran DDU and wiped the GPU, but I was never able to get and image while plugged into the GPU again. I tried to install the new GPU driver while plugged into the MOBO but I kept getting "unsupported AMD device."

For some reason I decided to crack open my case and reseat my GPU, but while doing this I stupidly shorted my MOBO. I spent the next three days just trying to get my PC to post. I will spare you that saga except to say that I learned the hard way that no, not all 1151 sockets are the same, Intel didn't make 8th gen boards backwards compatible. Anyway, I had to buy a new, compatible MOBO, but my PC did eventually post.

But now I am back to square one. All booted up I still have a black screen. After everything I had tried and been through for some reason I finally decided try a different HDMI cable. Voilá. I got an image, only from the MOBO though. It couldn't have been that easy, I couldn't have been that stupid could I? I may have been that stupid, but i wasn't that lucky. A restart proved quickly the answer wasn't that easy and the fix wasn't stable. Back to black screen. I gave up last night, but this morning it booted and I got an image and I went back to trouble shooting on my main PC.

Hardware, software, malware, I've investigated every avenue I can think of, but ti's impossible since many of the require restarts and I go back to black screen.

The last thing I was trying was looking in Device Manager, my AMD GPU wasn't even showing up. "Other Devices" however was lit up with warnings for Base System Device, PCI Memory controller, and two others. I download Intel Driver and Support Assistant which shows me I'm completely missing a driver for the onboard graphics, which certainly seemed like it could be a fix to my problem, at least the next step. I download the Intel Graphics Driver for Windows 10. As I start the install I get a BSOD with a Memory Management error and now I'm back to black screen once again.

Additional info:

1. Worried it was malware I ran rkill and and Malware Bytes with Scan for Rootkits turned on. Both showed nothing.

2. Although I get black screen when booting I can guess about when it should have reached the log-in screen. I can hit enter, type my password, hit enter again, and the number lock key lights up. I can also hit Windows Key + X, then U, U to shut down. So best guess for me is I'm booted and logged in (eliminating that as a possibility), I just can't see anything. (For some reason the numbers lock key is now lighting up before I try to log-in now though.

3. Last, I have SCP ToolKit installed, a driver so I can use my PS3 Dual shock. When I boot it makes a loud launch sound before I see my log-in screen. This was annoying until it became the only tool I had to signal that I had booted. Today it seems to work only intermittently, sounding sometimes, silent other times.

I feel fairly certain that first problem I need to solve is installing drivers for the onboard graphics and then I can go from there, but right now it's been black screen on boot for ~2 hours. Getting an image seems to happen randomly. I want to start fixing things, but don't know how to fix what I can't see.
Wow... tough one. TO eliminate the discrete GPU, try that in a different PC if possible.

But why you are not getting a basic image out of the onboard device... that is a good one. Have you unplugged the monitor from the wall and powered it back on? I have an issue on a knock-off monitor that sometimes doesn't give me a signal...unplugging it from the wall for a couple mins and plugging it back in seems to get mine out of that funk.

Also, please list your hardware specs, including the monitor so we know what you are working with. In a couple of posts, you can create a signature and add the info there. :)
Intel i5-6500 - Stock cooler
MSI Pro Series Intel B250 LGA 1151
Samsung CF591 27"
PNY Anarchy 16GB Kit (2x8GB) DDR4 2400MHz
EVGA G3 650w
Toshiba P300 2TB Desktop 7200rpm
Power Color Red Dragon RX 470
Corsair Strafe RGB
Windows 10 Pro 64 bit (Why Pro? This was my first PC after using Mac all my life. It sounded like it would have more options/permissions/features, and it was the same price as home for a gray market key.)

The monitor is finicky. As I mentioned it rarely shows the BIOS boot. I would try testing again with my old Lenovo LI2264d monitor but when I broke it out of storage to test with it last week I saw the screen had broken despite being encased in styrofoam. 70% of the screen was still working though so I was able to test with it for a day. Yesterday the rest of the screen stopped working. Only other option I have is a 10-year old 19" TV.

I unplugged the monitor, didn't seem to do the trick. Don't have another PC to test the GPU. What I'm really hoping though is that I don't have to remove the GPU because that's how I broke my MOBO last week. I'd probably avoid the same mistakes twice but I'm not eager to find out.
On the surface it seems like your discrete GPU has an issue. When you had it out did the PC boot OK? That's where I would start. When you get to BIOS disable fast boot and do the same in Window power plan under control what the buttons do. I have had issues with it and black screens at start up.
EDIT: also for now set the iGPU for boot in BIOS as well.
Haven't actually tried booting without the discrete GPU. I had spent a full day troubleshooting why it wouldn't POST before someone informed me my new board was incompatible. By the time I got the right board I had just run out of energy and installed everything right to begin with in the hopes it would all work.

Right now I'm guessing two solutions I should try would be removing the GPU, and I'm thinking of disconnecting the SATA cable to the HDD.

I've also tried loading from a bootable USB (with HDD still attached) but it's the same story, black screen.

As far as the BIOS I can't access it. It's all black screen. I was seeing the BIOS the first few times I booted after installing the new MOBO, but not any more. Like the fresh board didn't know it was supposed to ****ing up, but learned eventually to stop working properly.
Clearing the CMOS might help you get to BIOS or even just a power off from the wall for a minute or two.
Cool I'll give both of those a try. That sounds like it lines up with the fact that it randomly worked after after being off all night.
Ok, tried a few things;

Removed AC power 5-10 minutes.

Removed CMOS battery 10 minutes

Disconnected SATA cable from HDD and power cable from PSU hoping it would boot straight to BIOS

Tried another boot without HDD connected and a bootable drive in front panel USB 3

Removed monitor power from wall. Removed adaptor cable from monitor.

To test the monitor I hooked it up to a PS3, image came in fine.

I also tested connecting the PC to an old TV via HDMI, no image.

So far nothing has worked.
borked mobo?

is it in warranty? Perhaps try that and see if they have any suggestions too. :)
Brand new MOBO. When the black screen problem originally started I opened the case to reseat the GPU and shorted the MOBO like an idiot.

Although it's black screen I can hear the HDD and PSU spinning up. The CPU and case fans are working. It's an MSI MOBO with EZ debug leds and none are lit up (I have tested them and they are working.)
Latest update:

I did not take the GPU out.

Last night I tried testing again with another monitor and was randomly able to get an image while plugged into the GPU. I logged in, updated the driver and installed Intel Graphics Driver for Windows 10. Afterwards I was able to get an image on my main monitor.

Things were running stable and I was able to shut down and reboot a few times without issue.

This morning though when I booted it was black screen again. I had to switch the HDMI back over to the MOBO.

Currently the GPU is randomly revving, like a car trying to start, but it just won't "turn over."

GPU also stopped being recognized by Device Manager, but the Radeon Settings App loads on startup (which it wasn't doing before)

I'd like to fix the GPU but I have work today so that is my priority. Things seem to running fine on the MOBO and I don't need the GPU for work.

A friend is suggesting I do a fresh Windows install, but with the new MOBO (significant hardware change) and me not being able to find the email with the digital key I'm worried a fresh install will deactivate me. I have a few hours but I'm wondering if I should try and repair the GPU (and risk destabilizing what's working right now) or just remove it.

If I should remove it will disconnecting it from the PSU be enough or do I need to remove it from the PCI?
If you're going to remove it physically remove it. Have you disabled fast startup in Windows and fast boot in BIOS? You might want to try that as well before removing the GPU
Both fast boots are disabled.

I just checked the BIOS again and PEG is still selected.

Someone else has suggested I do a Safeboot and run dxdiag to see if I can get any info on the GPU. I think that's the last thing I'm going to do before removing the GPU.
Yes, PEG is the PCI E Graphics (which is why I found that kind of weird it was still selected)

I unplugged PSU cable from the GPU for now (unless leaving in the PCI E is really detrimental to my PC I would prefer to to leave physically removing it until after work.)

After I unplugged it I went into the BIOS once more, and it was still on PEG so I switched it over to IGD and rebooted and that's where I'm at now.

Next up I guess I have to figure out what's going on with the GPU. I did try entering safe mode and running dxdiag while the GPU was still in, nothing showed.

I think I also have to look into my monitor, there was a Microsoft thread I came across that was talking about monitor issues (such as black screen) caused by the monitor improperly selecting the output, especially when switching between cables/inputs. I noticed my monitor got stuck trying to find a DVI input after I used a HDMI to DVI converter (I don't have a DVI cable) to see if using the DVI slot on the monitor would work.

My eventual "fix" last night came after I attached a second monitor to the GPU through HDMI and I was able to install some missing drivers, then my main monitor started working just fine on the GPU. Everything was running smoothly (I did several restarts/power offs/ran Hearthstone to test) but this morning I was back to the same issue. Thankfully the MOBO was still putting out an image so I can at least work today.

Powering off/removing the GPU might be a fix for the rest of my computer but that still leaves me without a GPU. I'm wondering what I can do to try and fix the GPU itself.
If the GPU is broken, nothing. Got a cheapo GPU laying around to test with? Or throw that thing in someone else's PC. Really, that is all you can do.

RMA the GPU and run off iGPU for a bit