The gray Screen of Death is another bane on Windows 10 PCs, similar to Blue Screen of Death errors. However, while BSODs provide error messages that tell users what might be wrong, GSODs are completely unhelpful as the computer’s screen goes blank with gray stripes on the screen, leaving users no clue.
When a GSOD shows up, there’s nothing to do, save to force a shutdown. If you’re experiencing this issue, we understand how frustrating it can be. We’ve put together some fixes that will help you get rid of the problem for good.
What Are gray Screens of Death?
When a gray Screen of Death occurs, your computer goes blank, without display. This issue is quite rare and normally happens during startup, but it can spring up while the PC is in use. Some users have reported seeing the flash of gray on their monitor in the middle of intense gameplay, reporting that they couldn’t get their system to boot up normally again after that.
gray Screens of Death are quite frustrating but they can be fixed, as they’re normally associated with bad graphics drivers and hardware issues.
Why Does the Gray Screen of Death Happen on Windows 10?
The gray Screen of Death can be traced back to a number of causes. We’ll explain them below, so you can have an idea of what’s happening and how best to solve the problem and avoid it in the future.
This is the most common cause of the problem. If you have hardware that isn’t compatible with your system or has some kind of conflicting misconfigurations, you ’ll experience the error. You can fix the issue in this case by troubleshooting newly installed devices on your system.
Faulty Graphics Card Driver
Some users complained seeing this error whenever they launched a game or during gameplay. This signifies there’s an issue with the graphics card driver. To fix the problem in this case, you’ll have to update your graphics card driver.
The Windows feature that lets you start your computer like it never went off comes with a number of issues of its own, and reports suggest that GSODs might be part of those issues. So, we’ll show you how to turn of Fast Startup to confirm whether it’s the reason you’re experiencing the gray Screen blackout.
How to Fix the Gray Screen of Death on Windows 10
There are different reasons for the issue and, thankfully, there are different fixes that users have confirmed to work.
Force a Shutdown and Remove Peripheral Hardware
If your system presents the gray screen, there is nothing you can do except force a shutdown. You have to press and hold the power button to make sure it’s really off.
Once your computer goes off, remove all the peripheral devices attached to it, such as external speakers, Bluetooth, and USB flash drives. Once done, try rebooting your system.
Update Your Graphics Card Drivers
If you started experiencing the GSOD while playing a game, then the issue might be caused by a faulty graphics card driver. To fix the problem in this case, you need to update the driver.
If you can still open your system normally, installAuslogics Driver Updater to make the process easy for you. The tool will scan your computer for bad drivers and download and install their latest version to fix them.
You can also go through Device Manager:
- Type “device manager” (no quotes) in the Start menu search bar and click the first result that shows up.
- Once Device Manager opens, expand Display Adapters, right-click your graphics card and then click on the Update Driver option from the context menu.
- On the Update Drivers screen, click the option that reads “Search Automatically for updated driver software” under “How do you want to search for drivers?”.
- Now, wait for Windows to search the Internet and download and install the latest driver for your graphics card.
- Reboot your system once the process completes, then check if the issue is gone.
Note: You can download the installation package of your graphics card driver from the website of the card’s manufacturer and install it manually. However, be careful not to download the package from a third-party site.
Boot Into Safe Mode
Some GSODs don’t allow the computer to load the operating system properly. In this case, you have to boot into Safe Mode and to fix errors on your PC. Many users complained that once they turn their computer on, they are greeted with the annoying Gray Screen of Death and their system can’t load. If this is what you experience, try starting Windows in Safe Mode. Here’s how:
- Force your system to shut down by pressing and holding the Power button.
- Once your system goes off, tap the Power button.
- Press and hold the Power button again after you see the logo of your PC’s manufacturer.
- Repeat steps 1 through to 3 until you see the “Please wait” message, which will introduce you to the Windows Recovery Environment, where the OS will try to fix your startup issues.
- Click on the option to enter the Windows Startup Settings screen and then choose your account and enter your login info.
- Click on Advanced Options under Automatic Repair.
- Now, click on Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen.
- Click on Advanced Options under Troubleshoot.
- Under Advanced Options, choose Startup Settings, then click on the Restart button.
- Once Windows restarts to the Startup settings screen, tap the number beside Safe Mode.
- Windows will now boot your computer with minimal drivers.
Note that if your computer wasn’t able to boot normally, but can come up in Safe Mode, then you have a graphics driver issue or other system related problems to deal with. Try updating your graphics card driver in Safe Mode and check if that solves the problem.
Use Windows Startup Repair
You can try fixing the issue by using the Windows Startup Repair tool. The tool will scan your computer for file corruption and attempt to repair any fault that it finds. Here’s how to run the tool:
- Go to the Choose Option screen by following the steps explained above.
- Navigate to Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options.
- Click on Startup Repair under Advanced Options.
- This will trigger the tool, which will scan your PC and try to resolve the issue that’s producing the gray Screen of Death.
- If your system boots up, make sure you try resolving other issues that might be causing the GSOD, such as problematic device drivers.
Turn off Fast Startup
Fast Startup is a cool feature on Windows 10 that enables your computer to boot up faster than normal. The feature was first introduced as Fast Boot in Windows 8, then carried over to Windows 10 and renamed Fast Startup. It works by shutting down apps and logging every user out, but saving the OS state in a hibernation file so that it doesn’t have to load system rate, drivers, or the kernel the next time you turn on your system, saving significant time.
While the advantage of Fast Startup is clear, it does come with certain cons, one of which might be the GSOD you’re experiencing. Problems like this compel many users to switch off the Fast Startup feature. Try doing this and check if the GSOD issue goes away:
- Open the Run dialog box using the Win + R combo, type “control panel” (no quotes) once Run comes up and then hit Enter.
- Click on System and Security once Control Panel opens.
- Now, click on “Change what the Power buttons do” under Power Options in the System and Security window.
- Click on the “Change settings that are currently unavailable” option on the Next screen.
- Now, go to the Shutdown Settings segment and uncheck the box associated with Turn on Fast Startup (Recommended).
- Reboot your computer and the problem should be resolved.
Run the Troubleshooter Tool
Just as we mentioned earlier, GSODs are often the results of hardware problems. In order to fix any hardware issue on your computer, try running the built-in Troubleshooter tool for the devices on your computer. Follow these steps:
- Right-click the Start button and click on Settings.
- Click on the Update & Security label on the Windows Settings home screen.
- Navigate to the Troubleshoot tab in the left pane of the Update & Security screen.
- Now, go to the right pane and click on Hardware and Devices under Find and fix other problems.
- Click on the Run the Troubleshooter button that fades out under Hardware and Devices and wait for the tool to run the scan and resolve any issue it finds.
- Once it’s done, run the Troubleshooter for Power as well.
Your system should now be back on its feet and you shouldn’t experience the GSOD again, as one of these fixes will help you get rid of the issue. You can try uninstalling the application that triggered the GSOD is nothing works, although we believe this won’t be the case. Make sure you use the comments section below if you have any thoughts you wish to share.