I recently suffered the black screen of death on my Chromebook. It’s an Acer Spin 713 (2W) and it’s never given me a day of issues. Except recently. The screen just went black.

It was a strange issue at first. I was using my Chromebook, and the screen would just go black suddenly. Not my-brightness-is-too-low black; rather completely off. I checked online and saw that there were a few how to’s on this, but none seemed to work. In particular the hard reset (refresh-power button thing), other variations (esc-refresh-power thing), nor any other attempts. But I had dismissed half the options thinking that they were not a likely cause (power supply, powerwash, etc.). The evidence pointed to a seemingly “obvious” heating issue with the screen; in other words, it seemed to happen after a little use.

This was all fine, until one day even a cold start no longer worked. So then I thought it had just gotten worse. But nothing I could do now would turn the screen back on. I thought my Chromebook as surely in need of a repair. Of course it was out of warranty, and since I’d purchased in on Amazon, it meant that my support was in the USA. A bit of a trek from South Africa. So I got desperate…

I took it to my office upstairs, plugged it in to a new charger, and an external screen thinking that the very least I should be able to see something. And it all powered on just fine. Hmm. Power supply? Did plugging in an external screen somehow help? In typical problem-solving thinking, I did a powerwash… So now I am not sure which of the three things were responsible. But it’s working just fine now. For the time being at least.

Next will be to take it back downstairs and plug it back in to its old charger to see what happens.

Moral of the story; sometimes a good old cleaning out of the cobwebs and dust might be all that is needed. I will report back if anything changes.

An update as of 2022-09-08

It went black again after about 5 days of use without issue… This time nothing seems to bring the screen back to life. I plugged in an external monitor, and it’s working there. My Chromebook also seems to think that there is no built in screen at all as the external monitor is acting as the only monitor plugged in. As far as the Chromebook is concerned, the built-in screen no longer exists.

I did try a powerwash, but that made no difference. I’ll leave it to drain its battery, and start from there again. But this might just be a hardware failure after all. If anything new happens I’ll post another update.

A final verdict as of 2023-07-23

My Chromebook screen never came back to life. Ever. I received a quote to fix it, which was ZAR 24K. This is almost 3 times the original purchase price. I am now using a Macbook Air M1 and will never touch an Acer again. For reference, the Macbook Air M1 is a fantastic little machine and it’s good to be back.