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Fix Blank Screen After Changing Computer Display Settings

Screen problems? Recently changed the screen resolution in Windows and now the screen is blank or black that cannot be changed back? When that happens, it’s annoying! This has happened to me many times, and I have to say it’s awful that Windows doesn’t have a built-in mechanism to determine if a monitor supports a specific resolution or refresh rate.

In any case, if you are already in this situation and all you see is the BIOS loading, the Windows logo, and then the screen just goes blank after Windows starts loading, there are two main ways to return to the original settings.

  1. Connect your computer to a more advanced monitor. One way to see everything again is to simply connect your computer to a monitor that can support a higher resolution. Therefore, if you have an old 15-inch monitor and it cannot display a 1600×1200 resolution, connect the monitor to a newer screen, log into Windows, and change the display settings back to their original settings.
  2. Start your computer in safe mode. The second way to reset the display to its original settings is to start in Safe Mode, which basically boots Windows in a stripped down state. Safe Mode boots at a lower resolution and therefore allows you to log in and change the settings back. To start in Safe Mode, you simply press and hold the F8 key when the computer starts to boot. This usually happens when you see the manufacturer’s logo and the BIOS being loaded. Once you hit F8, you will be presented with a set of options as shown below:

Go ahead and select Safe Mode. If for some reason Safe Mode doesn’t work, you can also try selecting Enable VGA Mode. Enabling VGA mode can also be useful in situations where you are trying to extend your desktop to a different monitor or select a different monitor to use as your primary monitor.

Occasionally, there may be a problem that Windows is sending a signal to another monitor. port than where you have your external monitor connected and so it will display a blank screen on every boot. Again, Windows does not automatically detect that the monitor is not connected and will not revert to its original settings!

Now that you are in Windows, you can change the resolution or refresh rate by right-clicking on your desktop, selecting Properties, and clicking the Settings tab. On Windows 7/8, you need to choose a screen resolution.

Windows XP display options

Windows 7 display options Move the slider to the LEFT for screen resolution. This will lower the resolution and allow your monitor to display Windows correctly. In Windows 7, you simply select a resolution from the dropdown list. If the refresh rate is too high, click the Advanced button or the Advanced Settings link, and then click the Monitor tab.

Here you can also change your main monitor to 1 in case 2 gives you a blank screen. Alternatively, you can uncheck the desktop extension option.

From the drop-down list, select a lower value for the refresh rate. Restart your computer normally and everything should boot up fine.

Remember that on Windows, whenever you change display settings, always click APPLY first. If you just click OK, you won’t see the dialog shown below, in which Windows will revert to its original settings if you don’t respond within 15 seconds.

When you click Apply, Windows will change the display to whatever you selected, in which case the screen will go black or blank if it doesn’t support it. However, this dialog will open, and if you don’t click on anything, it will revert to its original settings! So you don’t have to waste time on Safe Mode, etc. Etc. Any questions, leave comments. Enjoy!

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