Windows 8.1 upgrade reboots to black screen of ‘nothingness’.

If you've just upgraded your Windows 8 (non RT) device to Windows 8.1 and suddenly upon reboot you're facing a quietly humming computer with a black screen of nothingness....don't panic.  You've probably just got Master Boot Record issues.  This can be a fairly easy fix, particularly if you've already created a Windows 8.1 Recovery disk.  If not, you'll need to use your bootable install media for Windows 8.1 or find a working Windows 8.1 device and create a recovery disk.

We'll assume that you don't have your bootable install media, and you've found a working Windows 8.1 device.  On the working device, open the Charms and select Search.

In the Search charm type 'Create a Recovery Drive'

You'll get a prompt to allow the Recovery Media Creator Wizard to run, make sure you allow it.  Insert a writeable USB Key (**warning** all content on this key will be deleted).


In the Recovery Media Wizard you'll specify this usb key as your Recovery drive.

The Recovery Drive Creator will wipe the usb key, and create a bootable partition with the Recovery tools installed.  Once the wizard is complete, remove the usb key, and boot your impaired Windows 8.1 via the new usb Recovery Drive.



You may need to hit ESC or F9 during the reboot to select your boot drive.  Here I hit ESC and selected the USB key I created during the Recovery Drive Creator.


From the Recovery Disk Menu - select Troubleshoot.


From the Troubleshoot menu - select Advanced options.


From the Advanced options menu select - Command Prompt.


In the command prompt - type 'bootrec /fixmbr'


Hit enter.  Quickly you should see a confirmation like above.  Type exit and hit enter.


You have two options back at this can continue to Windows 8.1 or (I recommend) Turn off your PC and restart it. 

  If you haven't already, remove the usb key, and start your device.

  You should be back up and booting into Windows 8.1.




Comments (64)
  1. SG says:

    Thank you, you saved me from wiping my computer 🙂

  2. paul says:

    Another easier and instant solution is to hold down Shift-F8 key when you power on to boot into your hidden recovery partition on your hard drive and you should get that "Choose your option" screen as displayed in this article.

  3. JB says:

    I upgraded another machine so I could get a boot disc.  bootrec /mbrfix didn't fix my original, now I'm just left wondering about the stability of the machine I updated.  This is so aggravating.

  4. Lauri says:

    How about the worst case scenario; don't have a recovery boot disc, don't have access to another computer running 8.1… Is there anywhere I can down load this?

  5. Tim says:

    I'm with Lauri… I have a laptop with Win 8 pre-installed so can't create a Win 8.1 boot USB as my Win 8.1 would be a download upgrade.

    I had to roll back to Win 8 due to this issue and won't touch Win 8.1 again until Microsoft fix.

    If there is anyway to create a 8.1 boot USB without access to a Win 8.1 machine please let us know.

  6. Jamal says:

    I have also no system running 8.1pro neither 8.1pro bootable media

    plz help me

  7. PeterD says:

    None of the above options work.

    Booting from my 8.1DVD or just created USB Recovery Drive and just choosing "Continue" does boot my laptop…

    I just have to remember to kick-start it 10 minutes earlyer…I'm not ready (yet) for a clean install.

    /fixmbr does boot my laptop, but after a shutdown I'm booting black again.

    I'm wondering how Tim did a role back to Win 8 (which worked perfectly)

  8. mamali says:

    I am stuck I try to boot up it boots and as soon as I click on my account type my pass to login it's stuck on black screen with a. Cursor my computer is acer aspire s3 it doesn't work I tried what you told me but nothing

    Any other tips and I don't have another device please help

  9. Cary says:

    Nothing is working for me. How do I roll back? Shift-F8 or even just F8 isn't doing anything on boot-up, just a black screen! Arghhhh!

  10. villa says:

    Safe mode shows as black screen then I cant go through step by step procedure…/step-by-step-how-to-solve-windows-81.html

  11. Simon says:

    I had this problem, and spent a few hours finding how to fix it. For me the problem was graphics, but not the drivers…

    If you're using the Lucid Virtu MVP software, which comes with a large number of motherboads to enable sharing between the integrated graphics and a separate card, then THIS IS THE PROBLEM. It does NOT work with Windows 8.1.

    Boot into Safe mode, uninstall Virtu MVP, and problem fixed.

    They have released a beta for 8.1 but they want you to pay for it…

  12. Gavin says:

    I cant get into recovery mode i still have a black screen with the cursor.

  13. Abhishek says:

    Thank very much dr you saved my Dell

  14. Alltang says:

    I still have the black screen with a mouse pointer appeared when I moved the mouse otherwise disappeared. Funny thing was if I left the black screen for over 20 minutes or more the black screen went to log on screen and it works as normal. If I shut down the computer and start again it went to black screen and just wait again. Very frustrating. I tried many suggestions from tech-geek but failed. Can anyone out there help?

  15. Rohit says:

    I still got the same problem after upgrading to windows 8.1. But on pressing power button the computer goes to sleep on wake up the log on screen will be available. But I couldn't solve the problem permanently . . . Any one please share ideas to solve this problem . . .

  16. MJ says:

    Simon's 22 November comment is the key one, nothing worked until I spotted the Lucid Virtu MVP mention.  I removed it and all has been well.  It obviously was a driver or software since I could get into safe mode just fine.  Uninstalled Lucid Virtu MVP which had come with my ASUS Z77 Extreme4 motherboard and now everything works fine.

  17. LeChuck says:

    @rohit. I have the same problem. Installed Windows 8.1 and tried different video card drivers. But the problem is still there. I have to force the system to sleep after a boot up, just for the log in screen to appear. Really frustrating. My video card is an ATI X1800. Old but it works perfectly for my demands. It's defintely the video card driver which is not compatible..

  18. LeChuck says:

    I am already considering to roll back to Windows 7.. It's a pitty, because I like the new design, but it still has bugs.

  19. KH says:

    thanks. it worked!

  20. Gary says:

    It was Virtu MVP for me, too – thanks Simon!

  21. Jomarlyne says:

    I tried all of these and I still have a black screen without a cursor

  22. Jomarlyne says:

    I tried all of these and I still have a black screen without a cursor

  23. Taavi says:

    Simon – Thank you for sharing the solution.
    In my case it was also Lucid Virtu MVP software problem.

  24. Anonymous says:

    thank you soooo much 😀

  25. Anonymous says:

    For those who don’t have access to a recovery copy, I was able to fix the problem without it (assuming it’s a laptop). Simply unplug the laptop, remove the battery, then reinsert the battery and plug the laptop back in. At this point when you power on the laptop it should boot up as normal. On the log in screen, go over to the power button and click it. Then hold Shift and click Restart (or update and Restart). This should take you to the choose an option screen. From there just follow the remaining steps.

  26. Collin H says:

    Simon – A big Thank you for the solution. Lucid Virtu MVP software was my problem. Nothing else worked…

  27. JJ says:

    SIMON you bloody LEGEND!! I too was stumped by that idiot Lucid Virtu MVP software. Once I uninstalled it through SAFE mode … VOILA!! everything worked. Thanks mate!

  28. Thrasheur says:

    I faced the black screen too, AND I could not reboot on CD-ROM (even if selected as first priority in the BIOS). Here is how I solved this issue: 1. Remove internal hard drive to be able to start on the CD-ROM (don’t forget to unplug your computer). 2.
    Use a USB adapter to plug your system hard drive as an external drive. 3. I was now able to reboot on Windows install DVD (it worked with version 8). 4. After selecting the Repair link, choose "Troublshoot", "Advanced Options", and "Command Prompt" as shown
    in this post. 5. Use `diskpart` tool, and `list volume` command to check which letter is assigned to your system drive. Type `exit` to exit `diskpart`. 6. Use `bootrec` tool to fix boot and MBR of your system disk (you must first select it): X:> E: E:Windows>
    bootrec /fixboot The operation completed successfully. E:Windows> bootrec /fixmbr The operation completed successfully. 7. Shutdown your computer and unplug it. 8. Reinstall your system drive (don’t forget to plug it ;o). I was then able to start my PC under
    Windows 8.1.

  29. Burns says:

    This fix only applies if you went for a MBR drive format during the install. As Windows 8 and 8.1 recommend the UEFI/GPT configuration this fix won’t work. There is a hotfix out for Win8, but does not apply for 8.1. I found a restart recovered my desktop
    no problem. Still trying to find a proper resolution to this issue however.

  30. Evol says:

    Simon your my hero!

  31. G BHANUTEJA says:


  32. Scott says:

    For more solutions and How-to’s about windows and virtualization refer

  33. JB says:

    None of these have fixed my problem. I cannot boot into safe mode. My recovery disk is from 8.0, and no option that I try works on 8.1. Windows looks like it is booting, then I get the black screen, and it is not a time issue. I tried to bypass the lock screen, and that didn’t work, I’ve tried the fixmbr, and that didn’t work. I can get to a dos prompt, and the regedit. I don’t have any other options to try from a DOS prompt. Anyone have additional suggestions??

  34. leon wallace says:

    Nice easy guide it worked for me 🙂

  35. HELEN says:

    My mom’s Acer Aspire did the same, boots up to a black screen, however if I hit enter, it does go to the password screen, but then boots up to her desktop. Hitting the windows button will get to the normal win8.1 screen, but most of the boxes are black with some lettering, but then some look normal. This is insane. Guess I’ll just wait for Microsoft to come up with a fix, since I’m not ready to re-create the wheel. I did force an update KB2919355, no help.

  36. Richie says:

    I cant eject the driver cd from my computer because I don’t have the driver to do so and i cant install the driver to do so because i cant get into my computer because of the black screen. uggghhh what do i do!?!?

  37. Sebastian says:

    Does this work if I make the drive on windows 8 but use it on 8.1?

  38. James W says:

    I had the same issue and couldn’t resolve it using the above instructions or by changing the video card drivers and disabling updates. For me the issue only happened after a shutdown; a restart or hibernate and no black screen.

    I have managed to solve the issue by changing a power option – here’s how:
    Search for “Power Options” and open it,
    Select “Choose what the power button does” from the left side
    Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable”
    Untick “Turn on fast start-up (recommended)”
    Save changes

    That’s what worked for me; hope it helps!

  39. Heather says:

    Black screen after update. No access to a recovery disk. Pulled battery did reboot. No good. HOW DO I GET THIS POS TO TURN ON????

  40. shaman says:

    thank u man…. if anybdy not getting option screen by hitting esc or f9 do alt+f 10. its working…(acer laptop)

  41. Marco Tulio Teles says:

    Thank you guy…it worked!

  42. Anil says:

    Why Microsoft cannot fix this issue by themselves.

  43. Devrij says:

    Thank you!

  44. RickB says:

    Pulling the battery worked for me. Lenovo y560

  45. BrianMC1975 says:

    I was having the black screen, white arrow problem. I am running dual monitors on an NVIDIA video card. I disconnected the 2nd monitor (the one that wasnt showing the white arrow) and the first one that was showing the white arrow came to life showing
    my login screen. Hope this helps some of you, especially if you have multiple screens.

  46. pete says:

    I also have a black screen every now and then. I’m sure there are many different "black screen" issues with Windows 8 and 8.1 but my black screen shows a mouse arrow and little network icons in the lower left corner. The resolution seems to be normal (1920×1200).
    I can move the mouse, but keystrokes or clicks don’t work.

    The weirdest thing is that after between 5 and 50 reboot attempts (using the power button), everything goes back to normal; Windows will eventually start okay, screen okay, file system undamaged and all diagnostic tests that I could find passed.

  47. Lalit says:

    Bullshit suggestion i have tried everthing mention here.

    Nothing is working fine suddenly how come boot file van be crashed. Fk win 8.1

  48. i finally found the solution for the blank screen problem on booting for windows 8.1.If u find Blank colored screen upon booting and an useless mouse pointer . press any alphabet key and then press backspace and type your password then press enter (type
    the password on the blank screen itself .password will not be visible while typing). then ull log in .u cant find any icons just the wallpaper and the windows icon in the bottom. move the pointer to top right corner then click on devices then project there
    ull find the option "second screen only" click it then ull find all the icons reappear on desktop.Then again go to drives then project then select "PC screen only" . This fixed the problem on my pc and working fine now.

  49. Jesus says:

    What James W said has worked for me.
    I had the same symptoms, after upgrading from W8 to W8.1.
    A cold start after a shutdown showed only the black screen with mouse cursor, but it didn’t happen on a restart from that point (with the PC button or figuring the key combinations to restart (Enter, 4 tabs, space, cursor up, enter)
    If you can restart your PC and log into it try first to disable fast start-up on Power options.

    I wasted some days reinstalling the video card and trying other solutions.

  50. lapabc says:

    On my Samsung laptop, I couldn’t boot from a USB recovery disk. F8 and Esc did nothing. I found on the Samsung site that pressing F2 upon restarting takes you to the Bios Setup Utility. Finding and selecting the "load default configuration now" or "do
    not load optimized configuration" and then saving, let me restart the laptop. (It said to remove any drives or USB devices before restarting). This allowed me to get past the Black Screen of Nothingness and into the I got to the Recovery Troubleshooting as
    described in the original post. I followed the advice and rebooted and I’m back to the Black Screen of Nothingness.


  51. Gerald says:

    after trying probably a dozen things the Lucid Virtu MVP software uninstall solved my issues. Thanks for the tip

  52. dakar says:

    Worked for me

  53. mrlzero74 says:

    i have this problem. tried multiple times to get into safe mode but it did not work. Luckily , I remembered that winkey+ U will open the utilities . I clicked on control panel home then went to system setings and then rebooted with a backed up version
    it had saved earlier

  54. John says:

    This didn’t work for me but when I chose "Refresh System" from the available choices, it worked. Lost two hours of my life and had to reinstall a bunch of apps but my files and settings were fine. I miss my Mac, Windows has always been a POS!

  55. prithivi says:

    Restored to previous point about an hour worked for meh

  56. alexa says:

    mrlzero74 thank you!!! your suggestion helped

  57. Baz says:

    Delite all recent updates that worked for me

  58. zk says:

    How can I search create recovery media while its blackscreen

  59. Al says:

    I created a boot disk from another windows 8.1 as suggested. I plugged it into my broken system. The recovery disc did not work. My OS would not boot to the recovery disc

  60. clab says:

    can i use a windows 8.1 dvd or cd and boot from it??

  61. sgt says:

    thanks, its very helpfully by hiting fix mbr can solve my lepi from black screen after boot…..

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