Wait! Don’t hit that update button just yet.
If you installed the latest Windows 10 update, you may have found that your computer is stuck on a black screen. You’re not alone.
According to Liam Tung of ZDNet, many users have flocked to Reddit to share that after installing the April 2018 update, their computer appears to boot up — but then gets stuck with a black screen with no icons and an error message that the desktop file could not be accessed.
Here’s what might be causing the issue and how to fix it.
Is Avast Anti-Virus the Problem?
Many users on Reddit are also claiming they have Avast or AVG Antivirus – which is owned by Avast – installed on their computer when the black screen began. However, other users experiencing this issue stated they do not have Avast or AVG installed.
Avast also reached out to the UK publication, the Register, to clear their involvement in the issue:
“We have tested this and couldn't identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. Online user comments show that many are unfortunately experiencing problems updating to Windows 10 ‘1803’. We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don't see any indications that this is caused by Avast."
While there isn’t a clear indication of what’s causing the issue, it’s something that Microsoft will need to work out. If you haven’t downloaded it the update yet, it’ll be best to wait it out till we know more.
How to Fix
Computer Cellar has provided a step-by-step guide on how to fix the issue. NOTE: we recommend reaching out to your IT support team first before you try their walkthrough.
They’ve also put a disclaimer in front of their guide stating that a few users have lost their data while following their steps and that they can’t guarantee results.
If you need a fix ASAP and ok with a little risk, here are the steps Computer Cellar lays out:
Things you will need:
- 8GB or larger blankUSB stick
- A functioning Windows PC to use briefly (another computer in your home, a friend’s computer, even one at a library or print shop)
- About an hour or two of spare time
- Turn on the problem computer.
- At the blue screen, choose your keyboard layout’s language.
- Choose “Use another operating system”.
- Choose the second option, “Windows 10 on volume [x]”
- Wait for the computer to boot to the desktop (if necessary, enter your password to login). You may have to wait a long time for the desktop to appear, while the “update” gets ready.
- Once the desktop attempts to load, close any error message that appears.
- On a functioningWindows PC, go to microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.
- Click “Download tool now”. Disable any antivirus on the functional PC before proceeding to step #9.
- Run the tool you downloaded, and follow the simple steps to create a Windows 10 installation USB stick. This will erase any existing contents of your USB drive! The only option you should check is to make sure it is a 64-bit or 32-bit version. Your computer is MOST LIKELY64-bit, and if you install the 32-bit version when you don’t need it, you’re probably going to have a bad time.
- On the problem computer, right-click anyblank area on the taskbar (this is the bar typically at the bottom of your screen, which contains the Start button, some program icons, Cortana, and the clock), then click “Task Manager”.
- Click “More details” so that you can see the menu bar.
- Click “File”.
- Click “Run new task”.
- In the dialog box that appears, check the box “Create this task with administrative privileges”.
- Click “Browse…”
- Navigate to your USB drive and select “setup.exe”.
- Run the file and follow the steps to “upgrade” Windows. Uncheck the boxes for “check for new updates” and to “help make this version better.” If you are asked what you want to keep, make sure you tell it to keep everything!
- Let the process run, which may take some time. Once completed, the computer should be back to normal and fully up-to-date. You may need to re-login to your Microsoft Account.
- While it is not necessary to remove your third-party antivirus software, we’d recommend that you remove it anyway, given that it likely caused the issue. Windows Defender is built in to Windows 10, is free of charge, and is quite adequate for consumer-level protection.
If you’ve completed these steps, your computer should be back in business!
Still experiencing issues? Now’s the time to throw in the towel and contact your IT support team or take your computer to a repair specialist.
Written by Nik Vargas