Windows Enterprise Desktop

Dec 4 2019   4:40PM GMT

Windows Graphics Card Reset Key Sequence

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

graphics card
Graphics Card Drivers
Windows 10

Hmmm. I’ve been having a recurrence of some “interesting” problems with Remote Desktop in Windows 10. On a couple of my older Lenovo laptops (the T520 and the X220 Tablet) sleep during an RDP session sometimes leads to a black screen with cursor upon waking. Sounds a bit weird to put things this way, but it seems like the rest of the laptop is waking up, but the graphic subsystem remains mostly asleep. When that happens, my first troubleshooting step is to issue the graphics card reset key sequence. Most of the time, that’s all it takes to set things back to to rights. That’s why the Windows graphics card reset key sequence is worth memorizing. For the record it’s: Ctrl+Shift+Win+B. I usually hit the first three with my left hand the and B key with my right because it’s something of a digital “Twister” manuever to try one-handed.

Another name for this condition should be “Nothing to see here, folks!” But of course, that’s not acceptable to those who want to actually DO something with their Windows PCs.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

When to Use Windows Graphics Card Reset Key Sequence

Whenever Windows graphics misbehave, act weird, or — as in this case — go MIA, the graphic card reset key sequence is worth a try. In my experience, it seems to help in somewhere around half the cases involved. For the other half of those cases, things get interesting. Most often, they’ll involve rolling back to an older graphics driver, re-installing the current (and possibly corrupt) graphics driver, or finding and installing a newer (and working) graphics driver to replace the current one. Over the years, I’ve had to do all of those things on a wide variety of Windows PCs. In general, older PCs seem to be most responsive (or fixable) through rollbacks, while newer PCs take more to the other two techniques just described.

But when graphics go off, your first move should always be to try the Windows graphics card reset key sequence: Ctrl+Shift+Win+B.

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