How to Fix a Black Screen on Chromebook and Chromebook Plus

Jeni_Odley
edited December 2023 in PC Tech

Chromebooks are fast and secure devices that help users get work done efficiently. They are highly user-friendly and are designed with simplicity in mind. But just like other devices, Chromebooks and Chromebook Plus laptops also experience minor functionality issues like a black screen. A black Chromebook screen may bring momentary dread, but there could be a simple solution.  

What are some common causes of a Chromebook black screen? 

A Chromebook’s default operating system is Google-powered Chrome OS. A Chromebook black screen may occur when users are working on a document, after login, or at random unexpected intervals. Here are some ways to check common causes that could be to blame if a Chromebook screen is black. 

To assist you in troubleshooting your display issue, you can connect your device to an external monitor. This will help you determine if the problem is with your device's screen or another component.

Basic checks 

Basic checks in the event of a black screen essentially involve inspecting the machine’s vital statistics to ensure everything is running smoothly. These generally include checking the power connection and battery, screen brightness, and device restarting.  

1. Power connection and battery 

Although Chromebooks are known for their long battery life that can sustain an entire working day on one charge, checking the power connection and battery is the first point of call when experiencing a black screen. Users should check that the power cord is intact and connected to a working power source before leaving their Chromebook plugged in to charge. Moreover, battery issues can cause a Chromebook screen to turn black. In this case, users can take out removable batteries and check for any obvious damage or debris before reinserting.  

2. Check screen brightness 

Another common cause of a Chromebook black screen is accidentally readjusting the screen brightness. It is easy to knock the screen brightness key and unintentionally bring it down to zero. Before panicking too much about a black screen, try adjusting the screen brightness to see if that is the culprit. 

3. Restart the device 

Those wondering how to restart a Chromebook with a black screen can connect their device to a power source and switch it off by holding the power button down for around ten seconds or until all lights switch off. This is known as a hard reboot and can be effective in solving Chromebook black screens.  

Hardware checks 

Hardware issues may also be the root cause of a Chromebook black screen. Here are some common hardware checks users can try.  

1. Check the screen for abnormalities  

Cracks or screen damage can cause Chromebooks to display a black screen. Users should inspect their devices for any obvious issues or abnormalities before conducting further hardware checks.  

2. Disconnect external devices 

Faulty external devices such as USB flash drives can impact the smooth running of a device, and can even cause Chromebook black screens. Users can try disconnecting any external devices, including a mouse or keyboard, before shutting down their Chromebook. Once a few minutes have passed, check back to see if the Chromebook is functioning normally.

3. Let the device cool down 

Overheating occurs when a device is overworked or operating in a poorly ventilated area. Moreover, constantly leaving Chromebooks on charge can cause them to become too hot and potentially overheat. Overheating is identifiable by carefully feeling the device to check whether it is abnormally warm.

Software checks

Software issues can also cause devices to malfunction. Users can inspect the software for issues if the above checks are unsuccessful.

1. Update the Chrome OS  

Although Chromebooks usually update the OS automatically, a black screen can also occur when system updates are required.

To manually update Chrome OS, users can follow these steps.

  • Switch on the Chromebook device.  
  • Connect to Wi-Fi.  
  • Go to the bottom right or press Alt + Shift + s and click time > Settings.  
  • At the bottom left, click About ChromeOS 
  • Find “Google ChromeOS” to see which version of ChromeOS the device uses.  
  • Select check for updates.

2. Reset Chrome Flags  

Chrome Flags are a way to enable debugging tools or experiment with new features offered by Chrome before they become accessible to all users. This gives testers the chance to leave feedback on potential new features ahead of time. However, some Chrome Flags can impact the way Chrome runs. 

To reset Chrome Flags, users can:

  • Enter “chrome://flags/” into the address bar and press Enter.  
  • Click Reset All in the top right-hand corner. 
  • Select Relaunch.  

3. Powerwash your device  

Powerwashing is the Chromebook version of a factory reset. By powerwashing a Chromebook, users can reset the laptop back to its original state. This helps prepare the device for reselling or if users encounter a glitch like a stubborn Chromebook black screen. 

Follow these instructions to powerwash a Chromebook:

  • Sign out of the device. 
  • Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + r
  • Select Restart
  • Select Powerwash > Continue
  • Follow the remaining steps and sign in with a Google account.  
  • Once this is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to set up the device. 

Conclusion  

Chromebook black screens occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes black screens may be due to a flat battery or poorly adjusted screen brightness. Other times, it may be something more complex, such as an outdated OS. Users can consult the advice provided to troubleshoot a black screen. If all else fails, it may be best to seek professional help and resolve the issue.

Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.

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