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Chromebook Black Screen of Death issues and how to fix them

chromebook black screen of death fix

Some users refer to it as Chromebook Black Screen of Death (BSOD) even though it’s not exactly that. Most of the time, we’re looking at a display issue rather than some internal problem. The most common solution is to update your Chromebook or switch to another release channel. If that doesn’t help, we have a few alternative solutions to recommend below.

What to do if your Chromebook turns on but the screen is black?

Before doing anything else, make sure to update your Chromebook by any means possible. If the display doesn’t work, use an HDMI cable to connect your Chromebook to a monitor or a TV and press Ctrl + Full Screen icon to use the secondary display. After that, navigate to Settings > About Chrome OS and update your Chromebook. Some users even suggest switching to the Beta channel.

If that doesn’t work or you can’t use a secondary display, check the steps we provided below.

1. Try the Powerwash

If you can boot into the system after a reboot, you can use the Powerwash mode to fix the problem. This is a classic factory reset with a different name and it does fix some software problems. Of course, if there’s a hardware issue as some users are inclined to believe, Powerwash won’t do you much good.

Here’s how to perform a Powerwash on your Chromebook:

  1. Back up your files to Google Drive or Google Photos.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Expand Advanced.
  4. Select Reset settings.
  5. Click Reset.chromebook black screen of death
  6. After your device restarts, log in with your Google Account and wait until settings are restored.

2. Use a Recovery flash drive

If the Powerwash did nothing and the problem persists upon the new setup, we suggest entering the Recovery mode and installing ChromeOS from the recovery flash drive. For this, you’ll need to create the said flash drive on another PC/Chromebook via the Google Chrome extension called Chromebook Recovery Utility.

Here’s how to create and use the Chromebook Recovery Utility flash drive to repair ChromeOS:

  1. Plug a USB flash drive into your PC with at least 4 GB of free storage. Make sure to save its content because the following procedure will format all data.
  2. Open Chrome on your Chromebook or an alternative PC/Chromebook.
  3. Navigate to Chrome Web Store and install the extension.
  4. While in Chrome, select the extension from the top right and click Get started.
  5. Select your Chromebook model from the list and click Continue.
  6. Choose your USB drive and then click Continue and click Create now.
  7. Now, on your Chromebook, press and hold the Esc + Refresh buttons. While holding these two, press and hold the Power button until your device powers off. Keep pressing Esc + Refresh and let go of the Power button.
  8. Once the message on the screen appears, you can let go of Esc and Refresh, too.
  9. Select Recover using an external disk and follow the on-screen instructions.

3. Take your Chromebook for a repair

Finally, if you still experience issues, we are keen to believe that the hardware is actually causing the Chromebook to run into the black screen of death. If you have a better understanding and the necessary tools, you can try detaching the battery and holding the power button for 30 seconds, and then place the battery back and plug in the power cord. For some, the device boots without issues after this procedure.

Others mention physical RAM placement that causes problems after some time but, again, this is something a knowledgeable technician should meddle with. Basically, if your Chromebook is under warranty you should take it for a repair, if it’s out of support (8 years), consider replacing it or try installing Linux to keep it alive.

That should do it. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below. As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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