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Black screen after idle on windows 7

BROOKLYN1950 asked
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
This is a problem that started just within the last few days, though I think I had the same problem almost a year ago.

I leave my computer on 24/7- which I know it arguably a bad idea, but that's beside the point. During the day I work on it or leave it connected to the internet so I can remote-connect to it. At night I have it run Anti-Virus scans and do other long running tasks that don't require my attention or would otherwise get in my way during normal computer usage.

The problem is that once I come back to my computer after leaving it idle for a few hours, I get a black screen. To describe it further: the screen is totally black, no cursor or anything. Neither the mouse or keyboard do anything. The power button is still lit up and on front of my computer, the power and wireless lights are on solid. There is nothing I can do to bring the computer back to life. Pressing the power button one immediately shuts down the computer (just like if I were to hold the button for a few seconds).
When I boot back up, the BIOS tells me that windows didn't shutdown correctly and asks me to select a boot option (ie Safe Mode, Safe Mode With Networking). I always boot windows normally and it always comes up without any problems. When I log in it says that windows recovered from an unexpected shutdown and asks if I wan't to check for a solution. If I say yes, then it says "checking for solutions" for a few seconds, then the window disappears and I don't hear anything about it again.

Plugged into my computer I have USB-powered cooling platform (which I use because my computer overheats when I play games that require a lot of resources, particularly Skyrim). I have a tiny USB mouse receiver with wireless mouse. In addition to that I have the power cord and a CAT 5 cable for my wired internet connection. None of these things have changed in the last few months.

Here are the specs for my computer:
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64 bit
Dell Vostro 3750 (around 4 years old)
Intel i7 CPU

Any idea what's causing this problem or how to fix it?
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Tim PhillipsWindows Systems Administrator

Sounds like your computer went to sleep and isn't waking back up.  Check you power settings on the computer.

Scott CSenior Engineer

I've seen this where the hard drives can't "wake up".  As Tim suggested, look at your power settings and tell your hard drives to never go to sleep.

You'll want to change things one at a time so that when the black screen stops you'll have your answer.


I'll give that a shot. I have a custom power setting which keeps my computer from hibernating so that I can remote connect to it whenever I need to. Right now my hard-drive is set to shutdown after being idle for 20 minutes (is it ever idle if the computer never hibernates?). I set it to Never and I'll see if the problem stops.

For the record I have a Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD.


Looks like I was wrong the entire time. The problem doesn't only happen when the computer is idle, it happens randomly. Just now I was using the computer and I got a BSoD, it flashed for a bout a second and then the computer screen went black and the system went into the state described in my initial post. The error was SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION. I have attached the error dump, which I don't know how to make heads or tails out of.
Distinguished Expert 2019

it does not teel what the cause is so i would start by running diagnostics on RAM and DISK
i use the ubcd for this :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

**  you can make a bootable cd - or bootable usb stick

for completeness -here's how i handle disk problems : https://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
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