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How to fix the infamous OBS black screen?

You can ask any person who streams anything using their PC and they’ll tell you OBS is one of the most popular and easy to use software you can use to stream.

However, that opinion is reserved mostly for PC people. Should you try to stream using OBS from a laptop, you’ll have a bit of a different opinion. 

You see, unlike desktops, most laptops have two GPUs. An integrated GPU which runs low power tasks like playing videos, running browsers or rendering your desktop, and then a high performance, dedicated GPU which takes care of all the heavy lifting.

Now that’s all well until OBS gets in the picture. You see, programs can only run on one of the two GPUs at a time. This means that if your game is running on the dedicated GPU and OBS on the integrated one, OBS won’t be able to ‘see’ anything and you’d end up with the infamous black screen.

So let’s take a look at how to fix OBS black screen error.

Also read: How to record with OBS? Where are OBS recordings saved?

2 ways to fix OBS black screen

The solution here is actually rather simple. There are a couple of ways you can tackle this problem, however, your approach may or may not impact OBSs’ performance.

The universal approach

As you can guess, using this method you’ll be able to record or stream just about anything you want.

However, depending upon your laptop’s configuration and the way OBS is set up, you might have some performance impacts especially while streaming. 

Step 1: Open the Nvidia Control Panel from the toolbar in your taskbar.

How to fix the infamous OBS black screen? | Candid.Technology
My apologies to AMD people, please figure out where your control panel is

Step 2: Inside the control panel, go over to the Program Settings tab under Manage 3D settings. 

How to fix the infamous OBS black screen? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Under Select a Program to customise select OBS studio and right under it, select the Integrated Graphics as the preferred graphics processor. 

How to fix the infamous OBS black screen? | Candid.Technology

Now when that’s done, all you need to do inside of OBS is to use the Display Capture for anything you want to record or stream and it’ll work just fine. 

How to fix the infamous OBS black screen? | Candid.Technology

Also read: How to add alerts to OBS?

The performance approach

If you’re seeing too big a performance drop on the first approach, here’s what you can do to improve that. 

Do keep in mind though that this method depends heavily on your GPU and the way OBS is set up. Your mileage may vary. 

Repeating step 3 from our last approach, all we need to do is simply select our dedicated GPU instead of the integrated one. 

Now all you need to do is select Game Capture instead of Display Capture inside of OBS. Note that you won’t be able to capture your display or any program that runs on your integrated GPU with this approach. 

How to fix the infamous OBS black screen? | Candid.Technology

Check out this article about setting up OBS on a laptop for more insight on how to tackle this problem, 

Also read: How to update OBS?

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