A reader is having an issue with his display in Windows 7.

“I have an elderly HP running windows 7, and I want to upgrade to win 10, but I did something wrong (apparently) and my machine powers up but there is only a black screen with Google Chrome, Firefox, and Recycle bin on it. How can I get my regular screen back with all my other stuff on it ? Oh yeah, if I bring my mouse pointer down to the bottom I get my taskbar. I have updated it with 6 updates and it is still the same. Can you help me? I would like to get everything back so I can (finally) load windows 10 and gradually bring the old fellow up to par. I really like your tech tips and save them all.”

One possibility is an issue with your graphics card.  If it’s a mechanical failure, you may need to reseat or replace the card.  You might also try checking for updates specifically for the graphics card.

Try this keyboard shortcut Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B. This will restart your video driver.

Let’s not forget something simple and obvious. Try changing the background picture on your desktop, just on the off chance you’ve somehow chosen a black screen or there’s some type of issue with a slideshow or theme you have installed.

You might also try disconnecting all external devices like printers or hard drives. A hardware conflict can lead to display difficulties. After disconnecting, you can restart the PC.

You could also press Ctrl +Alt + Esc keys (the Esc should be at the top left of the keyboard).  This should bring up the Task Manager.  Click on the Processes tab and then find Windows Explorer.

task-manager-win-explorer.jpg

Click to select and then hit Restart.

windows-explorer-restart

If that doesn’t help, here’s a more complicated possibility.  Hit Ctrl + Alt + Esc and then click on File at the top. Select  Run New Task from the menu.

run-new-task.jpg

Type in regedit and hit OK.  Tick the box next to Create this task with administrative privileges.

regedit-ok.jpg

Click the drop-down arrow next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

hkey-local-machine

Then choose Software.

hkey-software.jpg

Under Software, choose Microsoft.

hkey-software-microsoft.jpg

Then choose Windows NT.

windows-nt.jpg

Then choose Current Version.

current-version.jpg

Then click on Winlogon.

winlogon.jpg

From the column that opens on the right, look for Shell. Double click on Shell.

shell.jpg

Make sure that under Value data, it reads explorer.exe.  If it says anything else, type in explorer.exe and hit OK.

explorer-exe.jpg

Let me know if any of these tips help.