Quite recently, I’ve been dabbling with such an issue – Black Screen of Death, every time there’s an Nvidia Optimus Driver update which comes automatically when Windows 10 update itself once a while.
Symptom – the screen just goes black after driver update or your system just after O/S restart from BIOS screen to login screen. Then, everything goes black not even a cursor but, the LED and keyboard lights and sometimes you might here sounds and dings that’s about it.
The Golden Rule of Nvidia Optimus
The Optimus configuration is done such a way that secondary aka Nvidia display MUST require primary display Intel HD to work and that all display output must be handled by Intel HD Graphics first Nvidia then helps Intel HD to handle it’s heavy duty 3D acceleration stuff.
FYI, my Acer Aspire R7-572G is one of the many laptop sold with Nvidia Optimus settings. Today I’m going to share on how I handle my display problem.
Basically, what actually happens is that one of your display driver either Nvidia or Intel drivers got updated, while one of the driver are being updated; the other display kicks in to handle display to monitor job – this is to keep us from seeing nothing. E.g. if Intel drivers get updated – display job reverts to primary display of Nvidia vice versa.
Problem is the control of display didn’t got updated back – so when the system restarts; Windows reverted the display control to secondary display and if you read the Golden Rule of Nvidia Optimus above – the secondary display never actually had the chance this is because, the hardware and firmware is set in such a way that the primary must take control. Stuck in a loop, the screen doesn’t know how to give the controls to and gave up into darkness.
Now, I’ve tried many ways to fix this issue. One of the fastest is to turn the power off couple of time and wait till the recovery mode starts. Then goto Safe Mode and enter Device Manager > Display Adapter > Look for Intel HD Graphics, right click and select update driver software. Manually select the 2nd option where you get to choose older drivers and there’s one option called Microsoft Basic Display.
Select that, and restart. Doing so, you will lose out half of the ability of the Optimus Driver but, you can continue to use Windows as usual for daily routine 2D work like coding, running a video or two – still better off with black screen. You’ll also lose performance when playing games too which is a bummer. You will then wait till Microsoft reupdate some drivers in next update cycle and hopefully all is well then.
Just yesterday, I discover this software from 3dGuru called DDU, Display Driver Uninstaller. This tool helps you to really cleanup all registry, folders and anything related to graphics driver then, let the new drivers to download and restore all it’s factory settings. Also it is also wise to have teamviewer installed in Windows and have your smartphone or tablet connected to your windows as “secondary display” in case the display crashes into black again. Team Viewer will still be visible at least.
And what do you know? It worked! All thanks to the pros in 3D Guru for release such a powerful tool! I hope this helps you in recovering your Black Screen Of Death issues. Cheers!
Updated: In the event DDU doesn’t resolve your problem. Don’t panic, it also could be because the default “display” is now transferred into the nvidia card. Try disabling the nvidia card in device manager and then, update proceed the Intel Driver update.