A new video card install is a pretty exciting change for any computer, but it can be a little nerve-wracking when the screen goes black. The problem could be as simple as forgetting to hook up the monitor cable or it could indicate an error in installation. A black screen after installing a graphics card is not that uncommon, and there are some ways to troubleshoot the problem.
There are many reasons why your screen may have gone black after installing your new graphics card:
1) You forgot to install the monitor cable – If you’re using HDMI or DVI cables to connect your monitor and video card you’ll need to plug them into one another. Make sure the monitor cable does not have a black wire at one end. If you don’t see a signal light on your monitor then it’s likely just a loose cable and not an issue with the video card.
2) You forgot to install Windows – Modern video cards often come with a CD or DVD for Windows drivers, review the instructions for this before installing. Also make sure that you’re doing an “upgrade” instead of a clean install which will preserve all of your important files.
3) You’re using the wrong drivers – If you’ve upgraded your video card you’ll need to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website and install them.
4) The wrong video card – Check the documentation for your system to confirm that you have selected the correct video card for your system. In many cases this will be a simple matter of choosing a video card with a similar name and model number but it’s easy to make mistakes here.
5) Your display settings are incorrect – One of the most common issues on installing graphics cards is setting an incorrect resolution, color depth or refresh rate in Windows or on your monitor. Read up on getting started with Windows and check that you have not made any mistakes here.
6) You’re using an incorrect cable – If you don’t have a monitor connection, your display is connected to a VGA or DVI port on the video card rather than a monitor port. Make sure to connect it to the correct port.
7) The wrong HDMI port on your monitor – Again, look at the documentation and make sure you haven’t connected an HDMI cable in the wrong place or plugged one into a VGA or DVI jack.
The screen may have gone black either right after installing Windows or also during Windows installation if you’re using Windows 8/8.1.
You may also see a black screen during Windows automatically restarting when installing new drivers or during a virtual machine like Parallels or VMWare. This behavior is normal and the black screen should go away as soon as Windows restarts.
If nothing is working correctly after installing your new video card you’ll want to try using Device Manager to locate any issues with your display drivers and the video card itself. If you’re not sure which port on your monitor you should be using then check for an “HDMI” instead of “VGA/DVI” adapter in Device Manager. Also make sure that any cable connections are set at the correct resolution and refresh rate for your monitors settings.