Windows – Blinking taskbar and black screen

Rebooted a working Windows 10 system to be greeted with a blinking taskbar and black screen.


Fix that worked for me

  1. Open the Task Manager, Ctrl+ Alt + Delete
  2. Within Task Manager: File, Run new task
  3. Within the Create new task dialogue open “Regedit”, click OK
  4. Navigate in Regedit to the path: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\AppXSvc”
  5. Set the value of “Start” to “4”
  6. Restart the computer

As this fault appears to render the machine almost unusable this is an effective way to disable the Storage Service and prevent it from running at start up and ruining your day.

As to why this bug happens, completely out of the blue, in 2023, are utterly unknown. If you search online for the topic of Windows blinking task bar and black screen the first reports of this type of incident are 2015!!

Things that didn’t work

There are lots of supposed “help” sites out there that will suggest most of the following, but nothing here in my own experience actually worked but may be of some use to you.

  • Reboot into safe mode by holding down shift while restarting. This enables safe mode where you can usually remove the last Windows update.
  • As a last resort from safe mode you can refresh your machine but certain variations of this process will result in data loss!!
  • Lots of people suggest this is a graphics driver bug. Force a refresh of your graphics driver at any point with Windows Key + Ctrl + Shift + B
  • Usually suggested on Microsoft help sites, but has never been of use to me is to repair the file system at an administrative command prompt with: “sfc /scannow”
  • Closely followed with a repair of the system image, again at an administrative command prompt with: “DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth”. If you do have an issue try the restore method: “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth”
  • The utterly useless option to try running Defender, yeah, good luck with that!
  • Removing newly added USB and other external peripherals. (This should have been your first try before searching for this article!)
  • etc, etc, on and on for more useless suggestions

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