I've had this issue for a while but must admit, I opted simply to avoid updating drivers in order to get round it. I've got a Dell XPS 8500 machine, standard build, Core i7, 16gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 7700 card, I added a Soundblaster Z card and upgraded to Windows 8 (from 7) but those are the only changes I've made to it. I'm running 2 monitors, one from the HDMI (through a converter to DVI) and the other straight from DVI. Unfortunately I've been unable to update the ATI drivers ever since I got it.
As soon as it's done the install, the screens go blank, and that's it, there's no getting it back. I've managed to get it to boot in safe mode and using the MS basic drivers I can get a display, if I do a system restore it all comes back using the older ATI drivers and works fine, but no (graphics driver) updates can be installed.
Having messed about with it a bit more, I can re-create the issue doing something as simple as trying to duplicate the screen on the 2 monitors as opposed to extending it, the display just goes and that's it.
Interestingly, when the system is running fine on the older drivers, getting a remote desktop connection results in a blank screen on the client with the Windows update message you see on the lock screen, bottom right, followed by "an error has occurred" and the session is disconnected. Subsequent RDP attempts fail. The machine itself, true to form then switches off both monitors and again, no video until I hard reset it.
I've tried to get it to just run 1 monitor, DVI only, but as the DVI is currently plugged into #2 monitor it only managed to display the extended half of the screen. Any attempt at duplicating the desktop or switching the "primary" display is greeted with a blank screen.
Has anyone else experienced this? I know it's a long shot.
I think I'm going to try and fully remove the ATI drivers, CCC, etc. and re-install.
My pressing reason for trying to fix at this stage is that the Win 8.1 update also, predictably, results in the blank screen of nothingness. Probably serves me right for my "don't update stuff" policy really...
Any insight would be most welcome!