Macbook Black Screen (BSOD) Recovery Key Combination – Resetting PRAM & NVRAM

If your Macbook gets stuck at the Black Screen of Death (BSOD), you can try this “magical” key combination to attempt to recover.  This key combo resets the PRAM and NVRAM on the machine, which store basic things like volume, screen resolution & timezone.  Doing this should not cause any loss of your own data & may be your only hope for a DIY self-fix.

To use one of these combinations, press & hold each key as shown.  The “plus” signs just indicate all these keys should be pressed at the same time, so don’t press the “+” key!

  1. Power off the machine completely
  2. Power on the machine and immediately press:
  3.   option+command+P+R 
  4. Continue pressing for about 20 seconds or until the machine appears to reboot (you hear a startup sound, or your see the Apple logo )

With any luck, you will be on your way!

Some additional notes per Apple:

  • “When your Mac finishes starting up, you might want to open System Preferences and adjust any settings that were reset, such as sound volume, display resolution, startup disc selection or time zone.”
  • If your Mac is using a firmware password, this key combination does nothing or causes your Mac to start up from macOS Recovery. To reset NVRAM, first turn off the firmware password.

(Tested on multiple Macbook Pros, the latest of which was a 15-inch 2019 running Catalina.)

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