[How To] Troubleshoot black screen on boot

Such situation can appear for any number of reasons.

The most likely reason is the graphics driver has not loaded, thus the display manager (login screen) doesn’t start

This is why you get a “black screen” or stuck with a line like this

[OK] Started ....

The main reason is usually an incorrect driver version for the kernel.

To fully understand why this can happen one needs to understand how the package manager handles packages.

This can happen when the mirror you are updating from is not fully synchronised, or times out, and so you have different sets of packages in [core] and [extra]. This means the driver module package in [extra] has been built for a different kernel point-release to that in [core].

If you have a DKMS driver package then make sure the build succeeded!

First step

Switch to a text console with CTRL+ALT+F4, log in with your normal username and password, then run a full update:

sudo pacman-mirrors -f 5
sudo pacman -Syyu

The first command will refresh your mirror list, picking five of the most recently updated mirrors (so those mirrors will all be up-to-date).

The second command will force a download of the current package lists, then perform an update if any updated packages are available.

If any packages were updated, reboot.

Note: If you can’t log in to a text console, use a ([Fix] Can’t login - black screen & chroot guide) instead.

Check the X environment

Log into a text console as above and run startx . Either X is starting, in which case you narrow the issue down to the display manager (e.g. GDM, LightDM, SDDM), or messages are returned to the console. Of particular interest are Error (EE) lines.

If using DKMS

Ensure you have the headers for all kernels installed to your system.

Check status of dkms handled modules

dkms status

Look for a line for each kernel you have installed. If a line is missing for the kernel that doesn’t boot then the DKMS module did not build successfully.

If you boot the kernel with the non-working driver module, you can run

sudo dkms autoinstall

Especially pay attention to the build completion status. If the build failed then check the log file (it will tell you a file location).

Still having issue

If none of the above helps (the first one will in 90% of cases) then search the forum (Search results for 'black screen' - Manjaro Linux Forum).

If you can’t find anything, open a new thread - remember to include what you have already tried.

Credit: @jonathon EndeavourOS forum

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