I have a 5-6 year old Windows 10 PC that suddenly shows a black screen. I have just recently installed Windows 10 on a new SSD, and am trying to go back to the HDD to copy the data over, but when I restarted, it doesn’t show anything. Basically, when I press the power button, the PC starts running with fans and all, but nothing on the monitor displays.

  • I have tried leaving the PC on for around 2 hours, nothing changes
  • I disconnected the power cord and quickly turn it back on, nothing changes
  • I reconnected all the cables and checked if any may be loose, pushed them in, nothing changes
  • I tried clearing the CMOS, nothing changes unless I did it wrong
  • I tried every SATA port for both the HDD and the SSD, nothing changes
  • I held Windows + B and Windows + V for around 5 minutes each, nothing changes

The PC automatically restarts every 20 seconds or so. Every fan is on at max power (I think).

I also created a Windows 10 installation tool on a USB, and the PC doesn’t seem to be reading it.

I have a HP Pavilion h8-1360t PC and a XFX Radeon RX 480 graphics card. Any help is appreciated and reply if I need to add extra information. Thanks.

  • Based on your comment about removing the old HDD allowed your computer to boot from the SSD, I have a feeling the SATA may be in RAID mode. If you can boot to BIOS with both drives connected, please do that and check that both devices are visible and that they both show up in the Boot sequence. If they do, ensure the SSD is first. Or put the USB/Removable Media first, as that may be the reason that the USB stick doesn't boot. One other thing. Try connecting your monitor to your RX 480 using HDMI instead of DisplayPort, and/or DVI if you can.
    – SiBrit
    Aug 6 '19 at 3:49
  • @SiBrit, I can’t boot to anything with only SSD, only HDD, and both SSD and HDD. I don’t have an adapter for my monitor to use HDMI and DVI. Aug 6 '19 at 4:39
  • @existingperson: just to clarify, when you boot with both the HDD and SSD connected at the same time, which of those two drives does it actually boot from? Aug 7 '19 at 6:28
  • @wrecclesham, None, nothing shows up on the monitor at all. It's completely blank. Aug 7 '19 at 15:21
  • Have you tried a different monitor? Or tried that monitor on a different computer? Aug 11 '19 at 15:49

Based on what you've described, your motherboard has failed. The following behaviors lead me to think this:

  1. "The PC SOMETIMES turns on completely, but it seems random and won’t work again after restarting."

  2. "I removed the connection from SATA1 to my HDD, and now it boots up with my SSD!"

  3. "Switched back to only SSD and no HDD and it doesn’t work anymore. During that brief moment, the graphics card does work and somehow displayed things on the monitor."

  4. "I can't access the BIOS because of the black screen."

  5. "The computer doesn’t recognize an external flash drive."

All of this together strongly indicates that the motherboard has failed. In my experience, whenever there is constantly inconsistent behavior either the motherboard or the RAM is responsible. Point 3 especially is relevant, since it indicates the GPU is working properly.

Here's how to proceed:

  1. Check how many sticks of RAM the computer has. Size is irrelevant. If there is only one stick of RAM, then it's a 50/50 shot between the RAM failing and the motherboard failing.

  2. If there was only one stick of RAM, replace it and observe. If it works now, then the RAM was the issue, and you're good. Otherwise, continue to step 3.

  3. Replace the motherboard and observe. If it doesn't work at this point, then we need more information about the problem.

Hope this helps, good luck.

  • Since this is the most helpful answer, I'll accept it. I replaced the RAM and will try the motherboard next. Thanks for yours and everyone's help on this. Aug 13 '19 at 2:32

Does the old hard drive still boot? Does any graphics load at all? If the old HDD still works as a boot drive I would put that back in and maybe clone it to the new SSD. There are a number of tools out there to help you accomplish this. If that doesn't work then it could either be a bad graphics card, motherboard, or power supply (which could take any one of those things out).

A new SSD shouldn't cause graphics failure so I would also try swapping the graphics card with a known good one if you have one available or know someone who has one they could let you borrow. If that doesn't work then the next likely culprit would be the motherboard.

  • Nothing boots at all. I press the power button and the PC turns on, but the screen stays black. I’ll try removing the graphics card and using the PC’s own graphics and let you know when I try. Aug 4 '19 at 2:36
  • That would be a perfect idea! Is it possible that the monitor coincidentally could have died? Aug 4 '19 at 2:40
  • The monitor still shows “DisplayPort” when I click the button, so it’s still has power and is working. Aug 4 '19 at 2:55
  • But it didn't run with the onboard graphics? Aug 4 '19 at 2:56
  • Hold on, I just found out something. I removed the connection from SATA1 to my HDD, and now it boots up with my SSD! I guess that my PC can’t take 2 drives at the same time? I still need to transfer the data over but I can’t do it while two drives are connected. Aug 4 '19 at 3:07

Due to the fact that the computer doesn’t recognize a external flash drive, maybe there is a error in the BIOS or UEFI. Maybe try swapping motherboard or otherwise check the motherboard. If it’s not a BIOS or UEFI error maybe the part of your motherboard which controls USB, VGA, HDMI, etc. is broken

Disclaimer: this is just a guess due to those 2 things not working. Don’t mark my words.

  • 1
    I’m not sure how I would check the motherboard. What should I look for? Aug 4 '19 at 19:50
  • 1
    Welcome to Super User. As a Q&A site, answer posts are intended to be solutions to the question rather than guesses, and they have value when they are actionable. Just speculation and helpful hints of directions to pursue can be posted as a comment with a little more rep.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 5 '19 at 0:36

Make sure the monitor is on. If that doesn't work, connect the monitor to another computer, and if that works, your computer is faulty. If that doesn't work either, do the opposite (connecting the computer to another monitor). If that doesn't work, tell me, and I'll leave it to the next person; but if it does work, please mark accepted (I don't have much rep).

  • I'm pretty sure my computer is just faulty at this point. The monitor is working fine though. Aug 11 '19 at 17:06

As janna pointed out in her answer, its most likely a motherboard problem. However, that can be anything from the motherboard itself to whatever its connected to it. So dont only try to boot with 1 RAM stick, remove anything not strictly necessary to access the BIOS/UEFI. That includes, for example, DVD drives, Sound PCI card (if you have), BOTH hard drives, or the GPU if your CPU has an integrated one and you can connect the monitor to the motherboard itself.

If all of this fails, then your motherboard is probably KIA

  • It is already edited. I cant access the BIOS because nothing shows up at all. It seems like the hard drives are being read... I think, but can't be sure. I also removed both hard drives and tried to boot from the USB, but nothing happens; nothing shows up. I also can't swap to UEFI since I get a black screen. The monitor is working and is connected. Aug 10 '19 at 17:46
  • Edited the question to reflect the new info @existingperson Aug 12 '19 at 7:54
  • Thanks for helping, I'm pretty sure it's just my motherboard now. I'll replace it later. Aug 13 '19 at 2:33

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