How to Fix Black Screen Issue when Pressing Alt-Tab on Windows 11 PC - Windows Basics


Friday, April 28, 2023

How to Fix Black Screen Issue when Pressing Alt-Tab on Windows 11 PC

Alt + Tab is a great shortcut to quickly switch between applications. While it works well in most cases, it can also lead to black screen from time to time.

If a black screen interrupts your multitasking, don't worry. Here are some suggested fixes if the Alt + Tab shortcut is not working as expected on Windows.

What causes black screen after pressing Alt+Tab on Windows?

Before diving into the solutions, it is essential to understand what causes the black screen problem when you press Alt+Tab.

Here are some of the most common reasons behind the black screen problem:

  • Incompatible with full screen mode: Some programs may not be compatible with full screen mode, resulting in a black screen error.
  • Outdated GPU Driver: The GPU driver handles most of the graphics work on Windows. If you haven't updated it, you may experience a black screen issue!
  • Overclocking: Overclocking is not bad unless you abuse it. Doing so may harm the GPU and cause problems.
  • Gamer Mode: This monitor-specific feature allows you to apply display tweaks to your monitor. However, sometimes it can do more harm than good.

Keep these factors in mind, then explore some solutions to fix the black screen problem.

How to fix black screen error when pressing Alt + Tab on Windows

1. Apply some quick fixes to display problems on Windows

Since this is a Windows display issue, there are a few quick tricks you should do before you begin.

1. First, you should update your Windows graphics drivers to make sure they're up to date.

2. If that doesn't work, try reinstalling your GPU driver completely on Windows.

3. Finally, double-check the display cable on the PC. Make sure they are plugged in properly and try other cables if possible.

2. Run the application in Windowed or Borderless Windowed mode

One of the main reasons for the black screen problem is the incompatibility between the currently running program and your display settings.

Let's say you're playing a game in full screen mode and switch by pressing Alt + Tab. In this case, the game may not support your current display settings, resulting in a conflict with the Alt + Tab functionality.

A simple workaround is to run the program in Windowed or Borderless Windowed mode. This mode allows the running program to adapt to your display settings without causing any conflicts.

If you experience black screen issues when switching from a game running on your PC, just go to the game's graphics/display/video settings and switch to Windowed or Borderless mode.

3. Adjust display settings

Another solution to consider when your PC screen goes black when Alt+Tab is pressed is to modify the display settings. You should focus mainly on your computer's screen resolution and refresh rate settings.

Here's how you can change the screen resolution and refresh rate on Windows:

1. Open the display settings on your computer by pressing Windows Keys + I, then navigate to System > Display.

2. Under Display resolution, select the option marked Recommended from the list.

3. Click Advanced display in the Related settings section.

4. Select a 60 Hz refresh rate from the drop-down list. Note that if you're having trouble with a lower refresh rate, you can try increasing it to see if it makes a difference.

5. Click the Keep changes button to apply your selected value.

After making these adjustments, test the Alt + Tab function to see if it resolves the issue.

4. Undo any overclock

GPU overclocking is a popular way to increase your computer's performance. Overclocking can boost your FPS while gaming and get more power from the same hardware.

If you experience a black screen right after overclocking, it is safe to say that the overclock is the cause of the problem. To fix this, you have to reverse the overclocking process.

Note that there are various tools for overclocking on the Internet. The article is showing the steps using MSI Afterburner as an example. Follow the steps below to undo overclocking on Windows:

1. Open the tool you used to overclock your computer (in the example, MSI Afterburner).

2. Find the reset or delete icon on its panel and click the corresponding icon. This icon or button will help you reset your PC's overclocking configuration.

3. Restart the PC and the overclocked values will be set to default.

If the above method is confusing you, you can do the same through BIOS setup. Read how to enter the BIOS menu for instructions. Once you are in the BIOS setup, find and click Reset BIOS or Load Optimized Defaults.

5. Turn off Gamer Mode

Gamer Mode is a feature on some PCs that prioritizes game performance over other applications. This mode provides several features, such as higher refresh rate, faster response time, FreeSync, etc.

Some monitors come with proprietary Windows apps or dedicated physical buttons to turn Gamer Mode on or off. While this feature can be beneficial for gamers, it can sometimes create compatibility issues with the operating system, resulting in a black screen.

To disable Gamer Mode, check the physical button below or on the back of your monitor. Then navigate to Gamer Mode settings and turn it off.

In some cases, you may not find a setting specifically called Gamer Mode on your monitor. Instead, your monitor may offer game-related adjustments under a different name. The article recommends that you reset your monitor settings to default values in such cases.

The Alt+Tab issue may not be a common problem on Windows, but it's certainly solvable. By following the solutions provided above, you will be able to switch between apps seamlessly.

Remember, Alt + Tab is just one of many keyboard shortcuts available to help you improve your workflow on Windows. So don't limit yourself to just using a few Windows shortcuts - explore and make the most of them!

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