How to Fix OBS Display Capture Black Screen

Introduction

OBS Studio is great free, open-source software that lets you easily capture audio and video, and even stream. However, if you’re just getting up and running with OBS you’ll need to spend a little time getting it set up just right. One common problem users run into is getting a black screen when trying to perform a display capture. The good news is that this is often an issue associated with your computer’s graphics settings that can be resolved in a few minutes.

Some of the images associated with the steps are included inline below. All images associated with these steps can be seen in the embedded YouTube video. Also, please note that you’re not able to leave a comment directly on this article. If you have a question or feedback, please leave it on the YouTube video.

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Steps to Fix OBS Display Capture Black Screen

  1. Click the “Start” icon and then click “Settings” to open the Settings menu. Click “System” on the Settings screen.
Click System.

  1. Choose “Display” in the menu on the left side of the screen, and then click “Graphics Settings” in the list of options on the right side of the screen. You’ll land on the Graphics Settings screen.
Click Graphic Settings.

  1. Click the “Choose an App to Set Preference” drop-down, and then choose “Desktop App.” I saw other people advising you to select “Classic App,” but this wasn’t in my list of options, and choosing Desktop App worked just fine. Click “Browse.”
Click Browse.

  1. Navigate to where your OBS Studio executable file is located. The default location where my file was located can be seen in the video and image collection. Select your OBS Studio executable file, and then click “Add.” You’ll return to the Graphics Settings screen, where you’ll now see OBS Studio in this list.
Navigate to where your OBS Studio executable file is located.

  1. Click “Options” associated with OBS Studio to open the Graphics Preference menu.
Select your OBS Studio executable file, and then click Add.

  1. Choose “Power Saving” in this menu, and then click “Save.” Now you’ll be able to capture your screen in OBS Studio with no issues.
Click Options associated with OBS Studio to open the Graphics Preference menu. Choose Power Saving in this menu, and then click Save.

What Cause an OBS Display Capture Black Screen?

1. Incorrect Source Selection

Incorrect source selection can make your screen appear black in OBS. It’s a common issue for first-time users. The source is the content that OBS broadcasts. It can be a full screen, a specific window, or a browser tab. When you select the wrong source, OBS doesn’t know what to broadcast, resulting in a black screen. This happens more often when users have multiple displays or windows open.

2. GPU Settings

GPU settings can significantly affect OBS performance. High-end GPUs like NVIDIA have their control panel. This panel controls how different applications utilize GPU resources. If OBS isn’t properly configured in your GPU settings, it could cause a black screen. Users with dual GPUs face this issue more frequently. OBS might not be set to use the correct GPU, leading to a black screen.

3. Run as Administrator

Running OBS as an administrator can solve the black screen issue. Some features of OBS require higher-level permissions. If these permissions aren’t granted, OBS may fail to capture the screen correctly. This problem is more common in Windows 10. Microsoft has increased security protocols, and sometimes, OBS needs administrator rights to function correctly.

4. Outdated Graphics Drivers

Outdated graphics drivers can cause the OBS black screen issue. Drivers are the bridge between your hardware and software. They translate your software actions into hardware operations. If your graphics driver is outdated, OBS might fail to communicate correctly with your GPU, resulting in a black screen. This issue is prevalent with older computer systems.

5. Incompatibility with the Latest Windows Update

Incompatibility with the latest Windows update can lead to the OBS black screen issue. Microsoft regularly updates Windows. Sometimes, these updates create compatibility issues with OBS. This problem often arises unexpectedly after a Windows update. It generally gets resolved once OBS releases an update to fix the compatibility issue.

6. Screen Resolution or Display Settings

Mismatched screen resolution or display settings can cause a black screen in OBS. OBS needs to match your screen resolution and display settings to capture the screen properly. If there’s a mismatch, OBS might fail to capture your screen correctly. This problem often occurs when users change their display settings or switch to a new monitor.

7. Hardware Acceleration in Other Applications

Hardware acceleration in other applications can lead to the black screen issue in OBS. This feature allows applications to use your computer’s hardware to perform tasks more efficiently. However, it can interfere with OBS’s ability to capture the screen correctly. This issue is common when broadcasting games or browser windows that use hardware acceleration.

8. Antivirus Software

Antivirus software can sometimes cause a black screen in OBS. Some antivirus programs see OBS as a potential threat and block it. When OBS gets blocked, it fails to capture the screen correctly, causing a black screen. This problem can happen with any antivirus software, but it’s more common with third-party antivirus programs.

9. Multiple Monitors with Different Resolutions

Using multiple monitors with different resolutions can cause a black screen in OBS. OBS sometimes struggles with managing different resolutions simultaneously. If you’re using multiple monitors, OBS might fail to capture the screen correctly on one or more of your displays. This problem usually arises in complex multi-monitor setups.

10. Incorrect Game Capture Settings

Incorrect game capture settings can result in a black screen in OBS. When broadcasting games, OBS needs specific settings to capture the game correctly. If these settings aren’t correct, OBS will fail to capture the game, causing a black screen. This issue is common among users broadcasting games for the first time.

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

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