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How to fix the Xbox One black screen of death (and it's only temporary)

The most recent update for the Xbox One improved stability and added new functionality to Microsoft’s gaming console, but it has also had an unintended consequence: it has also made the system a bit less stable in other ways. Reports are surfacing around the web that users are experiencing what we are calling the black screen of (temporary) death. The software glitch is annoying, but if you encounter it there is an easy fix: reboot.

The black screen of (temporary) death will make some Xbox One units lose their video feed to the attached television, while audio remains completely intact. While most users state the issues occur when the unit is first powered up, I have personally experienced the screen going black a few times when sending an active game to the background and multitasking to another app. At least it wasn't right in the middle of a game (how annoying would that be?)

If you run into a black screen, you simply need to perform a full shutdown on your Xbox One: hold down the power button for 10 seconds to shut it completely off, and then turn it back on. That should work... at least until the next time your Xbox forgets to broadcast video to the display.

The next Xbox One update is scheduled to roll out in March, about one week before the launch of the highly anticipated Xbox One first-person shooter Titanfall. Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall launch is expected to be one of the largest exclusive launches for the Xbox platform and the Microsoft understandably wants to do as much as they can to ensure that the March 11 launch goes off without a single hitch.

Unfortunately, the update that was supposed to help stabilize the Xbox One has simply made it less stable. We will keep our eyes and ears open for any news of an early fix, but unless we hear otherwise you should expect to wait until next month for one to arrive (oh, Microsoft)

Let us know if you've run into the Xbox One black screen of (it's only temporary) death.

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Reader comments

How to fix the Xbox One black screen of death (and it's only temporary)

158 Comments

Mine has always done it, mostly when i'm watching tv on sky and stop a recording playback, or change channel. The update hasn't made it do it any more or less and rebooting doesn't make a difference that i'm aware of.

Why kidding? Not only is the ps4 the #1 selling consol ever its also the best. Whatever.count down to the replys I. 1.2.3....

yeah because every update in other OSs is 100% success rate, it never fails ONLY on xbox one.... *rolling eyes*
but I guess some people forgot how to use their brain, but I hope I dont have to remind you, not everyone is getting this problem... but technology sometimes just works in one person and it doesnt work in the other, even if its the same system, the same OS, the same update...

Microsoft is a software company. Making software since multiple decades. They hire engineers not footballers. They get paid to test a software and launch it. Imagine a banker wrongly debiting your account instead of crediting it and then sending you a "fix" after a month.

That type of accounting error happens more often than you might think.  And it usually takes 1-2 billing cycles (30-60 days) to correct.  Not really that far fetched.

Doesn't happen every time Microsoft updates something either. You're forgetting that Microsoft has a heck of a lot of software to update and maintain! Recent Windows versions (which is incredibly complex given the vast diversity of HW), Xbox 360 and One, (home) servers/Azure, Office, Defender/MSE, firmware for tens of thousands of peripherals, not to mention Microsoft STILL maintains control over the more than 12 year old Windows darn XP, and probably more stuff! You try to do all that without a single hitch.

I don't know what you're thinking, but you DO realized that it not ONE whole company focusing on many things at the same time, right?

There ARE several departments deciated for each section, such as there is one for Xbox development departments, and it THEIR job to ensure that there are no issues.

It the same with Sony. They have a branch for TV, Viao (used to, but sold it off), and PlayStation. M$ has the money, and I'm certain they have a departments for consoles. Now, if only they stop hiring ppl who don't understand how complicated the system is and hire someone who know how to code. But then, they need to stop adding new features and start working on the bugs first.

Or grinding discs, green screen of death, controller issues, console smoking..oh wait...those are ALL XBOX ONE issues. Sony at least gave a percentage, while MS said a "small percentage" which leads to the assumption it may be bigger than SONY'S issues.

Dang
.. This has happened twice for me... I just powered down and puled the power... I was going to hit the WPC forums for a fix as I had this happen again twice yesterday and here it is! You all are the best!

I did notice that the times it stopped working was when uninterrupted a process like while loading a game I press the home button or dod a two hand collapse/pinch screen gesture.

You don't have to pull the power plug.

Just hold down the power button for ~10 seconds when powering down.  It will shut all the way down.

Thanks... I "did" read the article to get that ;) before I posted unlike post people, lol!

Really I was mostly afraid thinking that oh now... It is dead like the first one... But since I heard the audio, I knew it was a video issue. I pulled the HDMI cable and no fix, so I pulled the the cord.

Ah, I didn't even read the article because the issue has been discussed extensively in the Xbox One subreddit.  I just went straight to the comments because I wanted to see how many others were being affected by the issue.  (A lot!)

Funny that, like you, the first thing I did was pull the HDMI cable.  :-)

When that didn't work, my default "solution" to every Xbox One issue is to do a hard reset.  It works for almost everything! 

Confirmed.  This is exactly how it happened to me - I pressed the home button while Titanfall was loading.  I assumed it was something to do with the beta, but apparently not.  

Me as well.  Just got the XBone went through the update, transfered my COD Ghosts (although I didn't get my Wolf skin I paid for, for my dog which pisses me off), pressed the home button to see if Titanfall beta was done downloading and got the black screen.  Didn't know how to do a hard boot so I just pressed the power off waited and turned back on.  Still black screen, so I pulled the power and it came back.  Good thing I came here to see this and how to do a hard boot, because if it did it again I was going to pack it up and take it back.

I have 2 xbones, my brother has one, my girlfriends brother has one. We all got the update and have no problems at all. Bad luck for some I guess.

Wish that was my case. Not only me but the 4 other friends I play with have this problem. Especially bad when playing titanfall beta, its a crap shoot on whether or not snap or going home will make me reboot.

Well, don't press the home button while loading a game or app and your good experience should continue like that ,:)

I guess I could have worded my previous statement better. My system does it sometimes even when I'm not loading. For instance middle of a titanfall game I said Xbox snap, as to inv friend to party, and it went to black screen. Oh well just put this issue in with all the other issue one has when buying new hardware. Hopefully. By end of year Microsoft can have this console in tip top shape.

That's cool. It happen to me when I snapped tv, when I used a two hand gesture to take a loading game from full screen to the home screen...

Shoot, any time a game or app is loading, I'm going to let it load... There is a problem when we interrupt a loading or a system process that is causing the issue.

You were fine. These details help the community fix ans avoid issues until MS can fix them. I have not had a product or vehicle where being a part of a good community was not beneficial. We help each other with with tips ans experience. The products are good, but nothing is perfect. Good followup!

I've only had one issue with my X1 since I got it, and it was very minor. It was fixed via @xboxsupport on twitter. Sorry people are having in troubles.

they call the windows equivalent Blue Screen Of Death . that is (most of the times) temporary too. there are some other examples on this too. and BTW ps4 FTW!!!

I am sooo glad I jumped ship this cycle and got a PS4. I was always a xboxer and still rock my 360 but love my ps4 and haven't looked back.

I've also found some other things that seem to be less stable after the update. Kinect occasionally refuses to work now when the console is on (but it'll turn on fine!). I've also found the settings screen to be rather unresponsive at times. Took me about 10mins before it let me actually click on Preferences using the controller, other menus worked which was odd. Anybody else noticed similar behaviour?

Apart from getting the Black screen of (temporary) death once since the update, I also can no longer turn the Xbox off by voice. When I say, "Xbox, turn off" it goes to the Are you sure? screen just fine, but it WILL NOT hear me say "yes."
So annoying.

YEESSS!  That's so freakin' annoying to have to pick up the controller, wake it, to push the freaking selection over to 'Yes'.

Had the same exact issue... It couldn't hear "Yes" or "No", but heard everything else. I assumed the update broke it and we would have to wait for the next update. But I fixed it myself, same fix as for this article: Power the system off so that it is not in its low-power state (either hold power for ~10 seconds, unplug power cord, or turn on energy saving mode in settings - whichever) and power it back on. Problem solved for me. The system seems more responsive to me now, particularly when my TV volume is super loud, where it didn't pick me up so easily with a loud TV before

Had the same experience with the controller in the settings. Also my Xbox Xbox can't turn on/off my cable-box at startup/shutdown anymore, while its working fine in the live tv setup. Then my Xbox crashes during the startup when a hdmi-in device is already turned on...

I haven't experienced this, but mine does seem to just generally ... slow down every now and then. A reset solves the problem. I want to love my Xbone, but I'm largely apathetic toward it.

Hey, we are the ones who bought a new launch system. The console will continue to stabilize and enhancements will come... Believe me, I have pondered why I bought it so early... I had to replace one that just died... But I have a great warranty, even foe one of my clicky controllers...

Lets just hang in there... My xbone sees more tv than games now, but after playing titan fall lastnifht, that will soon change.

i want to buy xbox one so badly.. im a microsoft fan but everything that i have been reading about it tells me not to get it so thats why im holding it back.. i even pre-ordered titalfall special edition controller (just got it today) but i just cant convince myself to get this.. few months ago if you had asked me if i would consider getting a PS4, i would have said HELL NO! but im seriously considering it now..n (i even cant believe myself that im considering it now).. just bought freaking Xbox live too.. dont mind paying 100$ more but microsoft screwed up..

I love my Xbox One. I wouldn't worry too much about the little anomalies here and there. It is much more stable for me than my 360 is. I've run into bugs here and there, but overall it's an impressive system.

Get a PS4, I was considering an Xbox but after finding out it misses out on some features I went with a ps4, not to mention the those glitches.

Personally, I am on Xbox 2, and it was a refurb. Still trying to negotiate a way to avoid having to buy another one. The second One was scratched to high heaven. However, it runs to perfection, super quiet. The Xbox One has glitches and a lot of things missing, but, it is still worth considering. I have multiple complaints, but, I am loving Forza. Battlefield is also pretty good. Titanfall is nice, some screen glitches as you drop in, and a few little niggles, but worth playing. There is much it does not do, that the 360 did, I am hoping they fix these things. They have much to do, but they are likely to be a bit more regular with the updates this time.

My only issue is that the "Yes" confirmation to turn off the Xbox with voice controls will NOT work. I have to select yes with the controller. VERY annoying. Worked flawlessly before the update, not once since.

I had this happen one time for me. In my case, I noticed that the "Yes" and "No" had gone white instead of green, so I did an "Xbox Select" and then "Yes" and it worked.

A simple fix for everyone that has been running into glitches with the Xbox One, I have had this glitch and the solution to me seems to be that you all love to leave your Xbox One on standy mode or instant on...thats cool and I understand that you love the feature and the reason I love my xbox turning it on with my voice, but like any piece of tech even my expensive mac laptop, you leave it on stand by for so long, the Xbox needs to be turned off completly at least once a week to run smoothly like it did when you first turned it on! I like to switch it to power save mode on the setting list on sundays when I most busy and when I come back its been turned off completly for 8 plus hours...this is good for it and will let it run smoothly...so turn off your Xbox off completely or restart it every now and then and all these slow glitchy problems should not occur as often!

When (if) the PS4 can match all the capabilities of the Xbox 360, and if that happens before the Xbox One does, I will at least consider it.

What capabilities?, the Xbox doesn't even let you read your messages history, it doesn't even keep it, also you can't tell your followers from your friends, this is just some basic stuff, I can go more about stupid things with the Xbox, like opening the store and showing you movies and music instead of GAMES!

I talk about the wanting the current gen to get some feature parity with the Xbox 360, and you keep talking about the Xbox One. 

Interesting.

With missing effects and layers to achieve that frame rate so they can go along with Sony's marketing.

no thanks.

Mine foes this when i go back to the dashboard from titanfall beta, generally when its loading something.. Like a match, its a pain by hey ho early adopter lol :P

Dudes, if you were going to go with xb1 over ps4, do it. Trust me when I tell you it is worth it. This is a minor problem thats happened twice and not even the last two days. Never at an important time. Its a hell of a machine and the games are great. See yall on titanfall then halo 2 Anniv.

My issue with the update was voice on sub menus did not work. For Example when you say Xbox Off and the sub menu shows up to confirm Yes or No it would not respond to voice commands. I contacted Microsoft and a Hard Reset fixed it. It Seems Hard Reset is the way to go if you experience problems.

As an owner of a PS4 and a person who has played with an xbox 360, both the Xbox One and PS4 are great consoles. Wish they would have 1 mega console! :) Also I have friends who love their Xbox One

People are constantly bitching about which console is better. They are both great system, and it's the buyers preference. But I hate when people start to troll about the PS4 selling more and blah blah...two years ago hackers hacked into the playstation network and rendered the whole thing useless for weeks, and alot of what they have implemented in ps4 are things that the Xbox has been doing for the past 10 years.

For all ya'll PS4 FANBOYS. XBONE BETTER THAN PS4 JUST TO LET Y'ALL KNO......N ONE MORE TIME GET OFF THIS PAGE HATERS

Does anyone else get momentary audio drop outs?
I only have a few games but the drop outs happen in all of them so I'm presuming it's the console rather than a specific game. It's not that often but it's noticable enough that it draws you out of the otherwise immersive experience.

Michael's "forgets to broadcast" is what reminded me to ask online as that's pretty much the best way to describe brief lack of audio.
 

Anyone have the problem where you can't turn on the Xbox with the kinect? I have it enabled but only the shutdown command works. Anyone have the same problem?

I thought that it was just my Xbox that freaked out. I guess I'm glad to see that I don't have a defective unit!

I only get this when going to the dashboard from the Titanfall Beta. I thought it was an issue with the beta. Never had it happen when doing or using anything else, only the Titanfall Beta.

No difference. Mine only works from cold power off state. Restart is sporadic, mostly it gives bsod from instant on mode. Turn it off and in my case it cured it.

Really, black screen of death.. Really. Are we going to feed the fuel to the simple minded. Death meaning that the black screen problem kills your system. Wrong choice of words to title story. Its not the black screen of death.

I fixed it by turning off 'instant on'

Its been an issue for me since launch. The kinect also fails with the input source (ie if tv is black, kinect will also be without video input, infrared still works)

My Kinect says its unplugged since the update. Tried support site suggestions but didn't work. Looks like I gonna have to return it :(

haven't had this issue since the update.

however, i have had something similar to this with TV, but that was when I had the option Instant Switching or something that is marked as (BETA) in the UI. i remember distinctly trying that once, then the tv feed was just black. restarted the xbox, and decided that may be the feature that was causing the issue. turned it off, and haven't had an issue with TV since. I also had no problems before trying that feature also.

I don't think this is specific to the update. Mine did it over two weeks ago, long before I downloaded the update. It happened while I had Xbox music running... I was going crazy trying to figure out the problem, but the hard reboot finally fixed it.

I got this today for the first time but I rebooted and It didnt happen again. as long as its addressed I'm cool.

My friend Jimmy the liar says that when he worked for Sony, they told him in secret that PS4's are crap and stink

Thankfully I haven't experienced this yet - at least it isn't a permanent issue. That said, MS need to really address issues like this faster. It won't do their image much good, if this persists. I have owned five 360's: even if this isn't as debilitating as the red ring of death, MS need to nix this as fast as possible, no quiet ignorance, hoping people just put up with it until march. That does not look good at all.

Every company faces something like this: how a company deals with it is telling. My nice and shiny haswell rMBP 15" had a keyboard and usb ports that would randomly lock up, requiring a reboot. A week later Apple git a fix out. I hope MS is as nimble :)

I sure wish there was an easy way to police trolls.  It would be nice to be able to read through folks solutions to this issue without dealing with all the PS4 ass hats.

I also had this issue but since I heard sound, I figured it might be related to a potential HDCP authentication issue between the XBOX and my TV.  I was able to resolve it simply by switching my TV to another unused HDMI input, then back to the input used by the XBOX.  I didn't have to reboot and so far, it has only happened to me once.

Its a shame when people cant have civil conversation about anything. Prefer what you prefer not fueling this flame war.. jeez

Not sure I agree that this update has made the console less stable than before. I do suppose it depends on the user. However I have seen nothing but improvements on my console. Everything just works faster :) March update should bring some much needed Party fixes :)

While I never have the problem while watching Netflix, we have had this issue a number of times. My husband actually did have it during games on the titanfall beta and ghosts. It is ridiculous that such a huge problem hasn't already been fixed by this massive money sucking corporation.

I had a day one edition, no problems until a week ago,  kept experiencing a black screen so took it back to best buy.  they told me the hdmi port was faulty.  got a new one and guess what it happened again.  I powered it down, unplugged everything, replugged it in and now it works again.  looked it up on google because I figured I couldn't be the only one and found this post.  good to know!!  also have had lots of "issues" with kinect.  like if watching a video, it sometime activates the kinect or at least it used to, haven't had that problem in awhile.

Mine just did it trying to back out from Thief back to the home screen. Was so pissed that it toasted the video card or something. Luckily, doing a hard reboot fixed the problem. WTF Microsoft? Xbox One seems to run hotter than before too. They better solve this crap quick or I am switching to PC gaming entirely!

I have had this black screen glitch happen to me called Microsoft went through all the trouble shooting they had still got the black screen while 

Returning console to GameStop for the third time I don't understand what's wrong I have done everything except buying a new tv wich it's not gonna happen there's something Mircsoft not saying very frustrated gamer!!

the Black screen Issue is to do with the hardware not Microsoft, AMD is at fault, they have had this issue for the last 10 years and won't ever fix it. its how they make more money. the PS4 has AMD tech, so whether they get the 'Black Screen of Death' is yet to be seen. every AMD & Radeon tech ive had over the last 8 years has this problem, approximately 8 different motherboards and 12 different graphics cards. Nvidia is better (and more expensive) but this new console generation ain't built with their tech.

Traded my ps for a xbone amd that was a good idea. I trust Microsoft to fix these issues. Just like anything new it will have some minor mess ups