[Fixed] OBS Black Screen Error on Game/Display/Browser Capture

Bianca Willis Bianca Willis 2020-07-17 23:01:35 Tag:

OBS Studio is an exceptional screen recording and broadcasting tool. While either new starters or old hands may come across its “Infamous Black Screen of Death”. Come and solve this OBS Studio black screen/not working error by following this post.

Fix OBS Studio Black Screen Error

To begin with, in case some dear customers just arrive here for workarounds on “Streamlabs OBS black screen” problem, be aware that this post only offers black screen fixing ideas on the open source program – OBS (aka Open Broadcaster Software). However, if you’re a headless chicken on your Streamlabs black screen, you can still try these resolutions mentioned below because quite many black screen errors of software are caused by similar reasons.

No more words, let’s get to the key part on how to fix OBS Studio black screen issue.
Though investigating the inquiries and related posts on the official forum, reddit, as well as many other places, we found that the OBS showing black screen error often occurs when users start up the Game/Display/Browser/Window Capture, create screencast after a software or system upgrade (e.g Windows 10 1909 update), or conduct the capture on a portable laptop.

In spite of this, before we move on directly to the fixing tips and tricks, let’s firstly take a look at some main causes of OBS black screen.

Main Reasons of OBS Black Screen Error

The PC’s error: If you haven’t used or shut down your computer for a long time, the PC may be in an abnormal state so that software like OBS runs abnormally too.
The OBS Studio itself: Any outdated or invalid version of OBS may have this capture image not showing screen issue. Also, sometimes OBS may have bad compatibility with your system version, or happen to meet certain unknown performance bug.
Permission to capture: If your system setting shuts out the door to OBS for capture, it won’t read the display content at all.
Software conflict: The operation of some other (screen recording) programs may influence the normal activity of OBS, including but not limited to screencast, displaying, overlocking software.
Multi-GPU recording environment: This is the most common reason for game capture, laptop capture, browser capture and so on. When OBS and your target capture content are not on the same graphic card, OBS will have no way to recognize the image.
The target content of recording is copy protected: Such encrypted streaming videos like movies from Netflix are all unable to record with common screen recorder like OBS. In most cases, you can only receive a black screen recording with audio.

Drawn from above, we can see the possible reasons for OBS black screen are diversified. Since we or even you don’t know exactly what’s the root cause, you’re suggested to ensure you’ve done the right screen recording procedure with OBS firstly, and then try the following troubleshooting methods one by one. Only when you are 100% sure the fix is unworkable could you jump over it and go ahead to the next. If you are a OBS beginner and prefer a quick way to fix the capture error, it is more recommended to use some best OBS Studio alternative like RecMaster for capturing anything on the screen without black screen, video game, online streaming, desktop behavior, just to name a few.

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Solution 1 – Restart OBS & Computer or Even Reinstall the Software [The Most Basic]

As a general solution, restarting software or rebooting the machine can resolve many unusual behaviors. So don’t take it as a flippant one. Just do it with patience. Also, you can check and update OBS if there’s new software release, or try to reinstall it at the very beginning to eliminate the reason from software bug. Totally depends on yourself.

For Windows user, it’s suggested to check whether the bit version you installed is suitable for your Windows system. Don’t be silly to set up a 32-bit version OBS on your 64-bit PC or vice versa.

Solution 2 – Run OBS as Administrator or In Compatibility Mode

Fix OBS Black Screen Error - Change Compatibility Mode

In case OBS Studio doesn’t have the right to do screen capture, run it as Administrator. If you’ve installed and placed it on the C:// drive, you’d better change its driver permission by right clicking and accessing Properties -> Security -> Edit, and enable Authenticated Users to have Full Control.

This operation grants users to have totally permission to utilize OBS. And as to black screen matter brought by software compatibility matter, it will disappear while you still right clicking OBS shortcut and click Properties -> Compatibility, and tick “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” other Windows version number say 8, 7 and such.

You may also interested in:
How to Record Screen on Windows | How to Record Mac Screen with Audio

Solution 3 – Switch Capture Mode or Capture Method

If you can’t see the capture image in certain capture mode like Window or Game capture, alter the resource option to see if it works. And for Game Capture, make sure you are running game firstly and then add Game Capture in OBS Studio. Also, running the game at full screen, but not windowed or borderless if the Mode is “Capture any fullscreen application” on Game Capture Properties. Another option on this Properties panel – “SLI/Crossfire Capture Mode” could also help to maintain a regular capture basically when your computer has two (NVIDIA/AMD) graphic cards built in. (More fixes on OBS black screen on multi-GPU computer will be detailed in Solution 4)

For Window Capture, there are three capture method options on its properties now: Automatic, BitB1t (Windows 7 and up), and Windows Graphics Capture (Windows 10 1903 and up). You should pick the one according to your system condition.

Solution 4 – Close Software Running in Background

In some few situations, it’s the application running in the background that affects OBS’s performance and this is the software conflict. Close the irrelevant programs completely with task bar, especially the one regarding screen recording or broadcasting.

Fix OBS Black Screen - Disabling Game Mode

Some OBS users still reported that the Game Mode, designed especially for optimized gaming or Game Bar capture performance on Windows 10, may cause black issue, so check and disable Game Mode if you have enabled it under Settings -> Gaming -> Game Mode.

Another Game-Mode-alike way that many computer geeks love to take advantage of for gaming speed-up is overlocking. Either CPU or GPU can be overlocked to get an increased clock rate of component if it doesn’t ship with locked multipliers. If you’ve allowed it on your computer, disable the overlocking to see if it works.

Solution 5 – Change Graphics Settings

Following solution 4 which concludes some GPU-related operation on software, this one is mainly for settings on system. If your computer is running two GPUs or you’re doing screencasts on laptop, black screen is a usual case. That’s because due to certain system update or the system settings by nature, OBS Studio and the on-screen content you plan to grab (e.g video game and display) are running at different graphic card. Consequently, OBS Studio is unable to initiate the capture. At this time, you can alter the Graphics specifications to fix this issue. The steps are super easy:

OBS Black Screen Fix - Change Graphics Settings

For Windows 10 1909 or later: Go to system Settings -> System -> Display, and click to open “Graphics settings”, where you should select “Classic app”, browse to where you have installed OBS (e.g D:\Program Files\obs-studio\bin\64bit\obs64.exe) and add the app into the list. After that, click “Options” of OBS Studio and alter the graphics preference of OBS Studio app form System default to “Power saving” or “High performance” manually. Power saving is recommended for display capture while High performance is for game capture or using NVENC encoder.
For older Windows computer with NVIDIA card: Desktop or laptop, you need to enter into the Nvidia Control Panel and then navigate to Manage 3D settings -> Program Settings to add and select OBS Studio to customize. What comes next is to select “Integrated Graphics” for common desktop display capture or “High-performance NVIDIA processor” for game capture.
For browser capture with black display: Browser rendering often takes much sources, therefore in order to improve the efficiency, browsers like Chrome and Firefox supports and will use hardware acceleration by default. Give it a try to disable browser’s hardware acceleration to settle the OBS black screen on Browser capture.

Yep, in this way, you can keep the recording content and OBS Studio running on the same GPU so that there’ll be no black screen error any more. Actually for recording gameplay on high-end computers, there are also many decent game recording software you can rely on.

Solution 6 – Try Best OBS Studio Alternative

If none of the listed solutions help you get out of the OBS black screen trouble, or you are so new to the tech world and have already been lost in those hard-to-understand items, the easiest way out is to turn to a quality OBS Studio replacer. Here RecMaster is the top choice thanks to its concise interface, multiple recording modes and attached effects & editing tools. Except Linux, RecMaster works perfectly on Windows 10/8/7/XP and macOS 10.11 +. So free download it now to obtain a normal non-black-screen capture on computer in clicks.

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With RecMaster, you can effortlessly work out Let’s Play game videos, remote learning courses, software tutorial videos, video presentations, voice lecture, as well as any streaming media on the web.
Features that OBS Studio doesn’t have: Scheduled recording, real-time annotation, built-in editor and one-click sharing button.

Best OBS Studio Alternative for Screen Capture - RecMaster

Note that: If you tend to capture some DRM-locked streaming TVs, Movies, or so, normal screen recorder programs like OBS and RecMaster are unable to work it out alone. You should seek and depend on those DVR-enabled streaming downloader or recorder tools.

IN CLOSING

Have you resolved your OBS black screen error with either of the life saving solutions above? If you have any other helpful ideas we have missed here, please feel free to let us know via our email.

RecMaster – Record Every Moment on Your Computer Screen

RecMaster – Record Every Moment on Your Computer Screen

Multiple recording modes make it easy to capture anything on screen.

Record 1080p or even 4K clips at 60fps to maintain the high quality still.

Flexible settings for mouse cursor effects, watermark and annotations.

Preloaded with recording scheduler, video editor. Allow one-click sharing.

Home / How-to / [Fixed] OBS Black Screen Error on Game/Display/Browser Capture

Bianca Willis

Bianca Willis

Bianca Willis started her copywriting career since 2014. As a tech editor with over 6 years writing experience, she has worked out hundreds of posts on multi-media solutions (video recording included), hot gadgets and troubleshooting tips.