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I often lock Windows and turn my screen off when I'm away for 10 - 20 minutes. Sometimes when I turn the screen on again and I enter my password the screen goes black. Then the system is unresponsive and I can't do anything about the state except pulling the plug.

How can I troubleshoot this and are there any steps I can take to prevent this from happening?

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I've been having the same problem..well, until my video card died. – digitxp Dec 28 '10 at 18:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This Microsoft Support article seems to address this problem:
Windows Vista and Windows 7 Black Screen on Computer Unlock.

The suggested solutions are:

  1. Turn off the Aero graphics display
  2. Update display drivers from the manufacturer's website
  3. Turn off security software

If none of these helps, have a look in the Event Viewer for interesting error messages.

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