What is causing this computer oddity (black screen)

I’ve been noticing lately that when I switch from one screen to another, like going from the Dope’s home page to the forum page, my laptop screen often goes black for a second or two. What could be causing this and what’s the fix? Should I be worried? Windows 10 PC.

Oh yeah: I’m using Chrome.

Your whole screen, or just the Chrome window? For ezamplw, is the start menu still there? What about Chrome’s toolbar?

The one main option to look into first is disabling hardware or GPU acceleration in the settings. But note that this is like taking a sledgehammer to the problem, and will have other effects.

The whole screen goes dark. I have all my data backed up on an external drive, so I’m not overly concerned that this might indicate a crash coming, but I’d really rather not have to buy and set up a new laptop if I don’t have to.

Also, this doesn’t happen with any other program that I load (Word, Excel, etc.), just with the browser.

This probably isn’t much help, but Chrome uses a lot of memory. The more tabs you have open, the more memory it uses, etc.

Thus, it might be overtaxing your laptop, especially if it has relatively low RAM memory (say, less than 8 GB) or if it is older than about 5 years.

If it were my PC, I’d open task manager (built into Windows) with a ctrl+alt+delete, then select Task Manager. There you can see what % of memory, CPU and disk drive activity is being occupied by each process, including apps like Chrome. If it looks like, say, Chrome is sucking up a large proportion of your PC resources, then maybe you’d want to use a different browser or have fewer tabs open.

ETA: If it has to do with GPU memory use, then you might want to try updating your graphics card drivers. Note, some laptops don’t have a dedicated graphics card or GPU, instead, they have something like an integrated graphics capability on the main mother board (this is common, and the chip is from Intel). Not sure what to do in this case.

I might not have bene clear in what I said about looking for the hardware acceleration option. Go ahead and do it. Just open the settings in the menu, and type “hardware” in the search box, and then disable “Use hardware acceleration when available.” Then restart as prompted.

If that gets rid of the issue, this will at least tell us its an issue with the GPU. We can further troubleshoot from there, or, if you don’t mind or notice any other effects, we can leave it off.

If it is the GPU, then installing the latest GPU driver indeed might help. If it’s not, it would make sense to look deeper.

Chrome is using about 325MB with one tab open. The next largest user is antimalware, which uses about the same.

I’m not finding this.

I assume this has not always happened on this machine?

It does not happen every time? Does it depend on what websites are switched between?

Is this happening when going from one Chrome tab to another, or one Chrome window to another, or both? Either way, by what method are you switching them?

Does this happen on some other browser, say Edge?

I don’t recall this happening before. It doesn’t happen when I open a new browser tab. I can go to my home screen and open, say, Netflix right now and it doesn’t happen. In fact, right now it seems to be this website that causes it. I do have an active ad blocker; would that cause an issue?

I just tried Edge and don’t get the same problem. The momentary black screen also happens when I initialize Chrome, so perhaps it’s specific to this browser. I have the latest update.

Okay, I think it’s fixed. The acceleration feature was turned on. I turned it off and now I’m not getting the black screen. Thanks for the help.

If disabling hardware acceleration works for you, but Edge works fine, then I’d definitely recommend looking for updates for your graphics driver. If you can find one, you can update and then try turning hardware acceleration back on.

Chrome flashing a very quick black or white screen on startup is fairly normal, BTW. It was it doing it between pages that was odd.

The Nvidia drive is up to date.