Yet another black screen on login

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  1. Posts : 64
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 Pro (boot from grub)
       #1

    Yet another black screen on login


    Hey guys;
    I have done a lot of searching - here and through Google - on this problem. It appears to be quite common, although the particular conditions that exist on my system may be somewhat unique - so I am creating another thread.

    My system specs:

    ASUS Tuf Gaming X570 Plus WiFi
    BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. 4002, 2021-06-15

    Ryzen 7 3700X with Wraith Prism cooler
    Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Super Windforce OC 3X 8G

    Monitors:
    #1 Asus Tuf Gaming VG27AQL1A @ 2560 x 1440 @ 144Hz
    #2: NEC EA244WMi @ 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz,
    #3: Samsung 2494HS @ 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz

    Memory
    G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR4 3200MHz

    Storage
    2ea WD Blue SN550 NVMe M.2 1TB SSD

    PSU
    Seasonic Focus GM-750

    Software/Drivers:
    Windows:
    Edition: Windows 10 Pro
    Version: 21H1
    Installed on: 2020-10-08
    OS Build: 19043.1387
    Experience: Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.3920.0

    Display Drivers:
    DirectX runtime ver: 12.0
    Driver ver: 496.76 (updated within the past 7 days)

    I have not updated the BIOS since this problem started.
    The most important fact about this problem is that it started after I upgraded (in-place) to Windows 11, then decided to roll-back to Windows 10. Since I was within the window MS allows for roll-back, the system did a restore from the files that were backed up during the upgrade.

    The conditions that exist when the problem occurs:

    I have the system set to shut down the monitors after 20 minutes, but do not allow sleep mode.
    After the 20 minutes, the monitors will blank. When I return, I must hit any key or move the mouse to bring up the lock screen and enter my pw.
    When the problem occurs, the screens (all of them) are black, with the backlights on. All three monitors are indicating that they are powered on - not in sleep mode as they would be when they are normally blanked.
    I am usually unable to bring up the lock screen, and a hard shut-down and restart are required.
    Once - and only once, the lock screen came up on its own after about 5 minutes, but other times I have waited as long as 10 minutes and it did not come up.
    The problem never occurs when I power up from shut-down.

    It does not appear to matter whether any apps are open on the desktop when Windows shuts the monitors down.

    I have run sfc /scannow.
    The first time I ran it, there were corrupted files that were repaired, but the problem continued to occur.
    I have run sfc /scannow several times since, but no problems were detected.
    I ran Crystal Disk Info, and it reports that both SSD's are 100% healthy.
    I have also run a disk check on both SSD's but no problems were reported.
    I have checked the Event log. There is nothing relevant there. The only errors I see are the unexpected shutdowns that I performed when the lock screen would not come up.

    I have multiple devices connected to USB ports, but I have not tried unplugging anything yet.

    I tried uninstalling the Steam client, which was running on Windows startup, but that did not solve the problem.

    I believe that the process of restoring Windows 10 after an upgrade to 11 is what caused this problem.

    I have Windows 11 installed on a separate partition (multi-boot). I also have Ubuntu on another partition.

    At this point, I am ready to begin migrating all of my apps to Windows 11, but I would first like to know what happened to Windows 10.
    If the problem persists on Windows 11, then I would have to suspect a hardware problem - with the PC itself or one of the connected USB devices.
    I will have to try running Windows 10 without any of the unnecessary USB devices, but since the problem occurs so infrequently it will take some time before I will know whether the problem is a USB device.

    Any ideas / suggestions?
    Thanks for your help

    Ultrarunner
      My Computer

  2. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 15,970
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1469 (x64) [21H2]
       #2

    @ultrarunner2020


    Well, as you mentioned, you need to test with nothing (except keyboard and mouse) attached to your computer.
    That is just about "always" the 1st step in troubleshooting.


    We will still be here, when and if the problem occurs again.
      My Computer

  3. steve108's Avatar
    Posts : 19,500
    19041.1466 - 2004/20H1 Pro x64
       #3
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 64
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 Pro (boot from grub)
    Thread Starter
       #4

    steve108 said:
    Thanks. I'll try that next time the problem occurs.
    The problem with unplugging all USB devices except the M&K, I would not have much use for the computer without at least my USB DAC. Yes, I suppose I could live with the on-board sound for a while, but I think I will try unplugging everything except the DAC.
    I have a generic USB hub plugged into one of the rear ports. I think I may have read something about some of these USB hubs where they cause problems like this one.
    One thing that may indicate the hub is a problem is that once when this black screen occurred, this USB hub also disconnected. It still had 5V power, but there was no data transfer through it. So I will first disconnect it.

    Another thing I just did was to install RealVNC Server on this PC, so I can access from my Ubuntu box. That said, I need to be sure the VNC Server is starting when Windows starts.
      My Computer

  5. steve108's Avatar
    Posts : 19,500
    19041.1466 - 2004/20H1 Pro x64
       #5

    Unplugging everything is a diagnostic step, just like what I'm suggesting. The end goal is a permanent solution where you can use everything normally.
      My Computer

  6. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 15,970
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1469 (x64) [21H2]
       #6

    ultrarunner2020 said:
    Thanks. I'll try that next time the problem occurs.
    The problem with unplugging all USB devices except the M&K, I would not have much use for the computer without at least my USB DAC. Yes, I suppose I could live with the on-board sound for a while, but I think I will try unplugging everything except the DAC.
    I have a generic USB hub plugged into one of the rear ports. I think I may have read something about some of these USB hubs where they cause problems like this one.
    One thing that may indicate the hub is a problem is that once when this black screen occurred, this USB hub also disconnected. It still had 5V power, but there was no data transfer through it. So I will first disconnect it.

    Another thing I just did was to install RealVNC Server on this PC, so I can access from my Ubuntu box. That said, I need to be sure the VNC Server is starting when Windows starts.


    Well... I've been on onboard sound for 20 years and I survived.



    Since you'll be without your DAC, and I don't want you to suffer too much...






      My Computer


  7. Posts : 64
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 Pro (boot from grub)
    Thread Starter
       #7

    I think I can eliminate the DAC (a Schiit high-end audio system), as this problem began before I purchased it.
    If there is a USB device I suspect; it is the cheap 8-port hub. I can simply rewire some of my USB devices to eliminate it.

    What makes troubleshooting so difficult is the infrequency of the problem. Yesterday it never occurred. It has never occurred more than once over an entire day - which usually involves the monitors being blanked at least a dozen times.
    I think it will be interesting to see if I can still log into the Windows box from the Ubuntu box using RealVNC.

    I am going to change the screen shut-down timer to 5 min, so the problem will be more likely to occur, but I have the habit of locking the computer when I walk away from it anyway, and when locked, the monitors will shut down after only a minute or so.

    Edit: I enjoyed the video very much - played on my DAC and headphone amp!
    Actually, the on-board sound on my system isn't bad at all; but I think the Schiit headphone amp drives my 300 ohm Senn HD600's with more 'authority' than does the onboard audio. OTOH, when listening with my ATH-M50X (32 ohms) the on-board (and my phone) audio is great.
      My Computer

  8. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 15,970
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1469 (x64) [21H2]
       #8

    ultrarunner2020 said:
    I think I can eliminate the DAC (a Schiit high-end audio system), as this problem began before I purchased it.


    Unplugging the DAC, isn't only to troubleshoot the DAC.
    ANYthing plugged into the USB ports can affect the USB circuits, just by "loading" them.

    It's always easier to troubleshoot when there are fewer "pieces" to need to consider.
    I give you my solemn promise. A few days without your DAC, will NOT kill you.

    It would probably be a good idea to update the chipset driver.
    Latest AMD Chipset Drivers Released
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 64
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 Pro (boot from grub)
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Yes; I can do without my DAC. I just want to wait for this thing to occur once more; so I can attempt a remote connection over RealVNC from my Ubuntu box.
    If the connection doesn't work, then it would indicate that the RealVNC server on Windows is down; which would blame on Windows itself being frozen.
    If, on the other hand the VNC connection does work, then I can do some real-time troubleshooting.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The black screen happened again tonight - after I had gone away for a while. I left the machine powered on but either locked or allowed Windows to blank the screens.
    When I returned, all screens were black (with backlight on and indicating powered on - not in sleep mode)
    I fired up the Ubuntu box and ran RealVNC Viewer. I was successful in logging into Windows, but the screen was also black.
    I tried everything I did at the Windows box, but nothing happened. I even tried sending a Ctrl+Alt+Del sequence through VNC but that did nothing.

    So to me this indicates that the Windows kernel was still running; otherwise RealVNC Server would not have been running.
    The successful VNC connection also tells me that networking was functioning.

    I don't know whether seeing the black screen on the VNC Viewer really says anything, but I would think that the VNC is picking up the video stream sent by Windows drivers to the video system. If the problem was the video hardware, I would kind of expect that the video stream would still be active, and thus sent over VNC to display the Windows PC desktop on the remote computer's viewer.

    I am going to unplug all USB and any other electrical ports tomorrow. So the only thing that will still be connected will be the mouse and keyboard. I wonder whether I should unplug the network as well?
      My Computer

  10. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 15,970
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1469 (x64) [21H2]
       #10

    ultrarunner2020 said:
    Yes; I can do without my DAC. I just want to wait for this thing to occur once more; so I can attempt a remote connection over RealVNC from my Ubuntu box.
    If the connection doesn't work, then it would indicate that the RealVNC server on Windows is down; which would blame on Windows itself being frozen.
    If, on the other hand the VNC connection does work, then I can do some real-time troubleshooting.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The black screen happened again tonight - after I had gone away for a while. I left the machine powered on but either locked or allowed Windows to blank the screens.
    When I returned, all screens were black (with backlight on and indicating powered on - not in sleep mode)
    I fired up the Ubuntu box and ran RealVNC Viewer. I was successful in logging into Windows, but the screen was also black.
    I tried everything I did at the Windows box, but nothing happened. I even tried sending a Ctrl+Alt+Del sequence through VNC but that did nothing.

    So to me this indicates that the Windows kernel was still running; otherwise RealVNC Server would not have been running.
    The successful VNC connection also tells me that networking was functioning.

    I don't know whether seeing the black screen on the VNC Viewer really says anything, but I would think that the VNC is picking up the video stream sent by Windows drivers to the video system. If the problem was the video hardware, I would kind of expect that the video stream would still be active, and thus sent over VNC to display the Windows PC desktop on the remote computer's viewer.

    I am going to unplug all USB and any other electrical ports tomorrow. So the only thing that will still be connected will be the mouse and keyboard. I wonder whether I should unplug the network as well?



    I would. Just to test.
    I've found that in situations like this, you want to start with next to nothing... if all goes well, add one or two things.
    If no black screen(s), add one or two more things. Etc., etc., etc.
      My Computer


 

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