Obsidian screen goes black (or white, crash)

Steps to reproduce

I opened obsidian

Did you follow the troubleshooting guide? [Y/N]


Expected result

It doesn’t turn to a black screen

Actual result

the screen turns black and nothing can be done including opening the console or any keyboard shortcuts


This system info is wrong. I have windows 11.
Obsidian version: v1.4.16
Installer version: v1.4.16
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 10.0.22631
Login status: logged in
Catalyst license: none
Insider build toggle: off
Live preview: on
Legacy editor: off
Base theme: dark
Community theme: none
Snippets enabled: 0
Restricted mode: on


Additional information

things I tried

  • reinstalling obsidian
  • deleting my .obsidian folder
    • works for 5 seconds instead of 1
  • renaming the vault folder
  • disabling gpu acceleration

This has been open for 2 weeks with other people having this problem Obsidian goes black screen instantly after I launch the app - Help - Obsidian Forum .

1 Like

After deleting a markdown file of the size 12247 KB, it started working again.
When this file was on my android phone obsidian crashed. After deleting the file on the android phone obsidian started working there too.

An update to the bug report:

What I expect to happen:

  • If obsidian has a file that it cannot process because it is too large or there is a parsing error, obsidian will show an error message and skip indexing or otherwise processing that file.

What happened:

  • Android app crashed
  • Windows desktop app went black

This just happened to me too.

My file has 70,000 words and a lot of code blocks and bullet points.

I’ve been working in it all day no problem, then just when I was typing nothing particularly interesting the whole app went black. No shortcuts available, no Windows UI like a close button, and ctrl+shift+I doesn’t open the dev tools.
It’s just a black rectangle.

Killing and opening again seems to work fine, nothing is corrupted.

I had three extensions ready to be updated (all extensions were installed in the last week, so I would hope not old enough that they can kill the whole app).

The worrying thing is that I see this bug logged here in other issues and they just get auto-closed after 90 days or whatever. This doesn’t seem like the sort of issue that should be auto-closed/swept under the rug.

I’ve just spent a LOT of time converting all my notes over from Notion, it’s going to be super disappointing if it turns out that actually Obsidian is too flakey to be relied on for real work.

1 Like

I am not sure you two had the same problem, especially since after restarting working on that note doesn’t cause the freeze. Perhaps you have a plugin problem.

@Corey A 12MB markdown file is exceptionably large. Is human made document or something generated by a computer?

Thanks for the quick reply, great to hear from someone on the Obsidian team!

FYI it just happened again (twice in two days)

Does Obsidian have any logging at all that I can share to help debug this? Or is it really a matter of “if you can’t work out the exact steps to replicate it, it won’t get fixed”?

Here’s my list of plugins, I wonder if other users experiencing this can post their plugins and we look for a potential culprit, if it is indeed caused by a plugin.

In text form for searchability:

  • Advanced Tables
  • Dataview
  • Find orphaned files and broken links
  • Iconize
  • Importer
  • Linter
  • Natural Language Dates
  • Projects
  • Smart Typography
  • Text Snippets

I’ll disable all the ones I can live without and see if it happens again.

I also have a custom CSS snippet, is that capable of crashing the whole app periodically? If so let me know and I’ll disable that too and see if it occurs again.

I also think these are different issues.

I don’t think one regular, small snippet could “crash” or white/black screen the app, but a full theme certainly can. It happened to me the other day testing out a theme.

It just happened again (a few hours later), this time with only two plugins:

I’ll disable those two too and see if it helps.

And I’m using the default theme with some basic CSS overrides. Oh I should note that I’ve had my CSS snippets open in PyCharm I think every time the crash has occurred, I wonder if the two apps could be fighting over this file? Does Obsidian have graceful handling of failed access to CSS snippets?

To be clear, I’m not fiddling with the CSS when the crash occurs, it’s open in the background but I’m just typing into Obsidian normally. All three crashes have been when actively typing.

I’ll keep the CSS snippet closed now.

More info: when I look at Task Manager after it’s crashed/gone black, Obsidian is using only 60MB, which appears to indicate that most of it has shut down.

After ‘crash’:

Under normal operation:

So it seems to be more than just the window going black.

I should also note, I assessed Obsidian for a few weeks before moving everything across from Notion and never had the problem. So maybe the fact that I have 625 notes is part of the problem? I’ve only got 3 or 4 open at a time, the biggest being ~400KB, but is this considered a large number of Notes in Obsidian, enough to cause it to crash?

Actually now I think of it, my file does have a query block, I’m going to delete that too and see if the crashes stop.

For the record, the query had a regex with a negative lookahead:

file:"Matplotlib for EDA"  /TK(?!Agg|inter)/

You do not have a large number of notes. Does the crash happens always when you work on the same note?

FYI it just happened again, the intervals seem to be getting shorter!

This time it happened with all plugins disabled, and as mentioned earlier I"m on the default theme.

Next I’ll turn off CSS snippets, close all the other note tabs, and see if it still happens.

@WhiteNoise Yes so far it’s always the same note, but I spend 99% of my time in this one note currently. Its a script for a video course I’m producing, so I could copy/paste just one section out to a new note and continue working if you think that’s a valuable troubleshooting step.

It’s probably worth saying that the formatting in the note is a mess and there’s lots of broken formatting where I had nested code blocks in Notion that don’t work so well in Obsidian:

I just haven’t gotten around to fixing the entire document yet. Could this sort of thing break it?

Oh also, I’ve noticed that adding margins in the CSS snippets breaks the cursor position sometimes (I assume this is a known bug?) so I’ve got a bit of that going on too, could that crash the whole app?

Oh and in case it’s relevant: I’ve got these saving in a OneDrive folder that gets synced (I don’t have Obsidian Sync). I only even use one machine, but thought I’d mention it.

Let’s do this, set obsidian in restricted mode and default theme. If it happens again, zip your vault, upload it somewhere, and DM a link to me.

OK, restricted mode on. Do you expect this to behave differently to having no plugins enabled?

There’s no way I can share my vault (it contains my plot for world domination that mustn’t fall into the wrong hands, I’ve probably already said too much) but I can share privately the one note I’m working on and any other metadata files you want to see.

Is this really something no one else experiences? Seems odd that a new user is getting this multiple times a day and everyone else is just happily working away. Makes me think that it’s likely to have something to do with the fact that I’m a new user - perhaps either the import from Notion or a bug only affecting notes created recently.

I am not sure, but this is either a plugin problem or something in your notes is not digested well by Obsidian.
What is your obsidian version exactly?
Are you willing to share just that note where this happens?

I am gonna keep this thread open and I open we can figure out what it is.

Yep happy to privately share the note where it happens. Thanks for giving this attention.

So far, with the CSS snippet turned off, everything is fine, so I think a sensible plan is this:

  • Leave it as is for a day, then next week I keep plugins off and slowly add back bits of the CSS (like, one set of styles per day) until the black screen occurs again.
  • If it doesn’t happen again, turn plugins on again but leave them all disabled, wait a few days.
  • If CSS seems to cause it, take it from there, perhaps I’ll try splitting the document sections out into individual notes and seeing if it occurs only for some parts.

BTW if you want to see my CSS snippet, or try it out for a day and see if you get the crash, here it is: obsidian_snippet.css · GitHub

I suffer the same, random blackouts. Have now 600Kb note with abundant math/code/pics (cannot share) and with obsidian-linter plugin and it now blacks out 100% times I save it. Saving under developer tools it aborts with “paused before potential out-of-memory crash”. Memory tabs and windows task manager give obsidian a memory consumption over 2Gb in an 8Gb RAM windows 10 pc busy at around 70% before obsidian. Without dev tools it just goes black ungracefully (had to close and relaunch). Maybe you can trap the memory exception and warn the user?


@jesuslop If it happens only when the obsidian linter plugin, you need to file a BR to them.

If it happens in vanilla obsidian (restricted mode on, default theme), we are going to look into it and we are most likely gonna need a copy of the note where it happens.

Ok, I let you know if I get a crash in vanilla runs, tnx.

The file was was created clipping a web with the omnivore read later app and syncing with the plugin. I also opened an issue on their repo to try to have some sanitizing and length limits when saving files Clipping a page with omnivore resulted in obsidian black screen on desktop and android app crashing · Issue #163 · omnivore-app/obsidian-omnivore (github.com) .

Can you share a copy of it privately?
If you can upload the file somewhere and DM a link to me.

Update from me: with my custom CSS snippet off, the crashes stopped happening. Progress!
I am now adding back a chunk of CSS each day, will post back when it starts crashing again.