Solved: Vostro 3550 black screen with Windows 10

vostro-3550A friend brought over his Dell Vostro 3550 that he’d just upgraded to Windows 10.

After the upgrade, the machine would show the spinning dots of the Windows 10 boot, but then go to a black screen before the login screen showed up.  External displays worked fine, but some exploration with an external display showed that Windows 10 didn’t think there was any other display besides the external monitor.

It turns out that Dell fixed something in a recent BIOS update.  This machine was on A09, and Dell has A12 on their support site.

I had also updated the Intel HD 3000 video driver from Intel’s site, so that might also be required.  But I suspect that I didn’t need to do that.


60 thoughts on “Solved: Vostro 3550 black screen with Windows 10

  1. Kerry

    exactly what I was looking for. Never updated BIOS before, but took the risk. Very easy and straight forward. Thanks for the link. Didn´t need to update the video driver. Thanks so much.

  2. Dick Hambridge

    This was excellent! I tried to upgrade to Windows 10 and could not imagine why I kept running into this brick wall. Your solution worked perfectly!

  3. Bert

    Thank you from the netherlands.
    got the display working after updating BIOS
    the vostro from my frend works fine after
    the update.

  4. Joan Backery

    Same problem here. The different is I get a Dell 1525. After I upgraded to Windows 10, black screen occurs. God, that really drove me crazy. You know I am not an experienced computer user. It was a little difficult to find the compatible video driver for me. Then I asked help on some forums including Reddit and Microsoft… Someone told me Driver Talent could be helpful to verify if the drivers are outdated or not. I followed the instruction. God bless me, the problem was resolved finally. :) I am so glad to read your post as I learned something. Thank you.

  5. Keith

    Question: after the BIOS update I’ve notice my screen seems to refresh itself every 30 seconds or so does anyone else have this problem?

  6. Hawk

    I have the same issue with the black screen. How do I connect an external display? Do I just connect another monitor to the laptop?

  7. karl.kranich Post author

    Yes, that’s what I mean. Your laptop will have a VGA or HDMI port where you can connect a monitor to help troubleshoot.


  8. Hawk

    Thanks Karl.
    I have tried connecting a monitor to the laptop but it doesn’t seem to be getting a signal from the laptop?
    Not sure what I’m doing wrong?

  9. karl.kranich Post author

    I’m sorry, but I can’t troubleshoot it remotely. It could be a bad motherboard, or maybe you just need to press the Fn button and F8 or whichever button switches between the internal and external displays.

  10. Marc

    Hi Karl,
    I have now upgraded two similar but not identical 3550 to Win10. The second one showed the Black Screen problem exactly as described by you. BIOS update from A03 to A12 worked fine for me. Thx!
    I might also have a solution for Keith. On both of my Vostros I had to deinstall the Intel IDT audio driver ( from the apps overview in control panel) . This solved an annoying problem with always restarting display process. The Icons from Windows taskbar dissappeared every 20 sec or so and the whole display became black for a second.

  11. G S


    Maybe try pressing FN + F1 to cycle through 4 modes of internal/external monitor enable/disables?

  12. Bella

    Hi.. I’m not as tech savvy as all of you. I’m trying to update the bios as Karl indicated, but I dont know how I go about doing that..

  13. karl.kranich Post author

    Hi Bella,
    Do you have a Vostro 3550, or a different model? If you don’t know, can you read the service tag on the bottom of the laptop?


  14. Adam

    I’m having trouble flashing the bios with the dell 3550A12.EXE file on a USB. Any thoughts? Are there any other file types I should get? And where can I find those?

    Thank you in advance!

  15. karl.kranich Post author

    The exe has always been the easiest way for me to flash the bios. One thing you might try (if the machine will boot) is to copy it to the machine before running it. If the display is black, plug in an external monitor.


  16. Adam

    Thanks Karl. I ended up doing just that. Connected an external monitor, display was then view-able, and then simply ran the .exe in Windows. The computer restarted and I disconnected the external monitor and all was well!

    Thank you again!

  17. Alojamiento web

    Hopefully these steps will get you working again. If you are still getting the Windows 10 black screen of death, share your experience in the comments section below.

  18. Damon Breeden

    Worked perfectly for me. A12 is a winner for a Vostro 3550. Now having an issue with explorer.exe though… that’s the issue with the screen refreshing every 30 seconds or so. Trying the latest build of Win10.

  19. Jack

    Hi, thanks for solution! W upgraded my dad’s laptop via Team Viewer to Win10 and I had no idea why I could see properly working computer on my remote screen and there was only black screen on the laptop.

  20. karl.kranich Post author

    If you have the same problem that I had, your laptop is working fine, you just can’t see the screen. You need to borrow an external monitor from someone, and then you’ll be able to see to install the BIOS update.


  21. Bruce Clark

    Hi, I just thought I would leave a comment here.
    Dell Vostro 3550
    Windows 10.
    I had a client who had a screen that was refreshing every 30 secs and it was not allowing me into the control panel.
    I clicked start and typed programs and entered the programs feature in control panel.
    I uninstalled the IDT audio and rebooted the machine and after that it seemed to work fine.

    I hope this helps at least one person :-)

  22. larry

    hi karl.
    how exactly do i go about the bios update because i heard from an expert it could ruin my motherboard completely if done the wrong way.

  23. karl.kranich Post author

    Hi Larry,
    These days, I think that updating the BIOS is pretty safe, since every computer I’ve updated has made sure that I was using a compatible update file. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure that the process isn’t interrupted, like by the battery dying or the power cord coming loose. So, here are my suggestions:
    1. Make sure you’re downloading a BIOS update for your model of laptop (just to be safe, even though it will check when you run it)
    2. Close all other programs
    3. Make sure the power cord is attached well, and that you won’t need to move the laptop until it finishes (just a few minutes)
    4. Run the updater

  24. Djuki

    Karl, I have Dell Vostro 3350 same as you. I try to update BIOS but I can’t. System running on different system. And Only Cancel Button appear.

    I download BIOS and then running compatible on windows 8 also not worked.

    Now, I disable AMD display change winth intel no blank screen but the resolution is limited.

    Help me.

  25. karl.kranich Post author

    I don’t know what to suggest. If you have any recent version of Windows running, you should be able to run the A12 BIOS installer. If nothing else works, you might try to find some Windows 7 install disks. Install Win 7, then update the BIOS, then try to get to Win 10.

  26. Djuki

    Karl, I’ll send pictures when I try to update bios.
    Screen 1, see link below:
    I run 3550A12, run as administrator.

    And then Screen 2, see link below:
    I close program and click OK button.

    Screen 3, see link below:
    Warning and then I clik Ok button.

    Screen 4, see link below:
    Dell BIOS flash windows appear with only Cancel button.

    What wrong with my procedures?

    Please advise me.

    Thank You Karl.


  27. karl.kranich Post author

    You have a Vostro 3350, not a Vostro 3550. You have the latest BIOS for that model, A10.

    I don’t know what else to suggest.


  28. ggnt

    Djuki, I have the exact same problem.
    It’s mentioned absolutely nowhere else.. Have you found a solution?

  29. Marco

    Dear karl
    Thank you so much for your tip!
    Dell N4050 BIOS was outdated, now my Intel HD 3000 with W10 Prof works fine.

  30. Shubhang _D

    hey Karl , it seems you saved the day for lot of people here,
    please help me out.
    I have a Dell laptop Vostro 3446 with an with an Intel HD Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 820M . After installing windows 10 , whenever i install intel hd graphics driver or windows automatically detects and download it, my pc goes to black screen as if graphic driver is unmounted , with a sound that comes when we unmount a device from pc.

    System still runs but there is no display.

    I almost tried everything , i could . I reinstalled windows and even completely formatted my PC with latest version of windows 10. but every time install intel hd graphic driver system goes to black screen. I have to boot it to Safe mode and uninstall driver, then pc reboots properly but with windows basic display driver which is not good.

    Later as soon as pc is connected to network it downloads driver and boom! black screen again.

    Believe me i almost tried every thing i could but failed and not able to use my pc from almost 4 months. Even lost my all data in all these process of frustration.

    Request you to please give me some advice or solution. It seems the intel driver is not compatible with windows 10.

    Please help!

  31. karl.kranich Post author

    Here’s what I would try:
    1. Plug in an external monitor – it should keep working even when the built-in display goes black. Then you won’t need to keep rebooting into safe mode to see your display.
    2. Maybe tell Windows update not to install the updated Intel driver, if you can, or update the NVidia driver after the Intel driver updates.
    3. Try NVidia drivers from Dell and directly from NVidia.


  32. Shubhang _D

    hey , Karl..

    Really nice of you to reply so soon , thanks friend.

    As u suggested others , updating Bios wont work?

    i already tried updating drivers, and even installing old versions with windows 8 or 7 compatibility mode, nothing worked. :(

  33. karl.kranich Post author

    I assumed that you tried a BIOS update first. I don’t know if you should expect it to help with the Vostro 3446. I just know that it did the trick for my 3550.

    If you haven’t checked already, check for a BIOS update and definitely install it if there is one.

  34. Shubhang _D

    Hey , Karl..
    i wish you could help me out with this.
    My dell vostro 3446 already had latest a12 bios. I tried lot of stuff to fix black screen after graphic driver install, but couldn’t succeed. Then i installed windows 8, but the issue was same with windows 8 too. As soon as i install Intel hd display driver i see nothing but a black screen.
    I was totally frustrated and lost all hope , that i could ever use my laptop properly again. THEn i connected external monitor and restarted laptop. And then i saw , every thing is working totally perfect, but there is no output to monitor , rather my laptop display itself is working perfectly. As soon as i disconnect monitor , even my laptop display goes block with a window disconnect sound.
    That means my display graphic is working properly.
    But still if i disconnect vga cable it again goes black and even on connecting i am not getting display on external monitor , but laptop screen is itself working properly.

    please can you suggest anything. and what should i do now.

  35. karl.kranich Post author

    Sorry, I don’t know what to suggest for this issue. I would try uninstalling and reinstalling the video driver, but it sounds like you’ve already done that.

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