Fixing Remote Desktop Black Screen

Are you dealing with the remote desktop black screen error? Although Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Client is useful, there are times it can malfunction due to various reasons. Updating Windows and the RDP client should help.

During the start of the pandemic, I was working remotely and had to use RDP. I faced the black screen issue on and off. Thankfully, I was able to fix it each time with the solutions discussed below. Keep reading to find out how:

Fix 1: Update Windows

Check whether you’re using an older OS version. Older Windows versions can bug out.

To download the latest firmware:

  • Press the Windows Key + L
  • Click on Update & Security
  • Look to see if there are any updates
  • Restart your PC after any updates have been installed

You should be fine now.

Fix 2. Update the RDP Client

The issue could be due to an outdated RDP client. Like with an older Windows version, it may be bugging out.

Considering how you can use the client on both desktop and mobile, the update process differs.

Here’s what you do:

  • Open the Windows menu
  • Click on the gear icon to open Settings
  • Select Update & Security
  • Select Check for updates
  • Install any updates related to the RDP client

Fix 3. Update Your GPU Drivers

Outdated GPU drivers can also be the culprit. Microsoft recommends updating your drivers as it’s the best fix for the problem.

All you need to do is:

  • Open the Device Manager (search for it by tapping the magnifying glass in the start menu)
  • Find and double click Display Adapters
  • Right click your graphics card
  • Click Update
  • Restart your PC for good measure afterward

Hopefully, you won’t face any problems when your PC restarts now.

Fix 4: Change Resolution

You may have set your screen resolution to higher than the recommended amount.

Fixing this will only take a couple of seconds:

  • Right click anywhere on your screen
  • Click on Display Settings
  • Scroll down until you find Scale and Layout
  • Change your Screen Resolution to the recommended amount or even lower (under Display Resolution)

The recommended screen resolution will depend on your monitor size and its specs.

Fix 5: Switch Off Bitmap Caching

Bitmap cashing is when the RDP client creates and caches resources. This helps if you have a low bandwidth connection. However, it can be an extensive process that causes the black screen issue.

Here’s how you fix it:

  • Launch the RDP client
  • Open the Experience tab
  • Toggle Bitmap Caching off

Fix 6: Use Scannow

A file might have been randomly corrupted. Thankfully, the System File Checker tool should help.

You don’t have to download it – it comes pre-built on Windows computers. All you need to do is launch the command prompt (you need admin rights) and then enter: sfc /scannow.

Deleting the file might take a while. Do you use a laptop? Leave it connected to a power source. Make sure you close all running programs as they can interrupt the process.

Fix 7: Create A New User Account

Create and use another user account on your PC if the above tricks did not work.

Step 1:

  • Open Settings (Press the Windows Key + L)
  • Click on Accounts
  • Select Add Someone Else to This PC (under Family & Other users)
  • Follow the instructions that pop up and enter the new User ID name and password

Step 2:

  • Find and click the account name in Settings
  • Select Change Account type
  • Make it an admin account

Now switch to the new account and see whether you’re facing any issues.

Fix 8: Launch Task Manager

Tried the above fixes but are still having no luck? I have a temporary fix for you. Launch your PC’s Task Manager.

All you need to do is:

  • Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc buttons at the same time
  • Keep it running until you are done with the remote work

Until you close the Task Manager, the black screen problem shouldn’t be an issue. As mentioned, this is just a temporary solution. The main cause for the problem will not have been cleared and could pop up again.

Other tech problems include 500 Internal server errors and downloading SWF.

Final Thoughts

Although the black screen problem is frustrating, it’s not hard to fix. Most of the time, it is due to having an older Windows version. If not for an outdated OS, it’s most likely due to the RDP client or your GPU drivers being outdated. A tried and tested trick that will do the trick nine times out of ten ais creating another User account and trying to use the remote client program on it.

If all the fixes discussed above won’t work, try opening the Task Manager. It won’t fix the problem, but it will be a temporary remedy.