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Windows Vista Desktop disappears


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#1 tgsetliff

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:58 PM

My neighbor has a desktop computer (sorry but I do not have details for it) that runs Vista. When the system starts up, everything appears normal. The desktop will display briefly and then the screen goes white. The computer continues to do some activty as the haddrive light flashes continuously. The white screen stays for 4 or 5 minutes and then the background for the desktop will display but nothing else. There are no Icons and no bar at the bottom so the Start button can not be seen. If I try to open Task Manager, nothing will display. If I try to display Desktop Settings, nothing.

 

If I do Ctrl Alt Del, then it will bring up the menu for that. If I choose shut down, then the desktop (and Task Manager window) will display briefly before the system shuts down. I tried to boot into Safe Mode and it got to the point of a black screen with Safe Mode in the corners but then the computer restarted.

 

Any suggestions as to how I can at least get to some place where I can run a scan or something? Apparently the system was working earlier today. When my neighbor launched IE, it loaded  ok and displayed the Google homepage. When he typed in to go to My Walmart, he said the screen went white for a while and then came up to the desktop background and thats where it stayed.

 

Althought they have McAfee installed, it seems that they are always getting one virus or another. I also use McAfee and don't have nearly the problems that they do. Not sure if that is a product of Vista or what. I have Windows 7.

 

Hope someone will have some suggestions.

 

Thanks

Tom


Edited by hamluis, 15 August 2013 - 12:31 PM.
Moved from Vista to Am I Infected - Hamluis.


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#2 jhayz

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 03:24 AM

If both safemode and normal mode exhibits the same tearing, pixelated - white/black screen display, then its most likely a hardware issue pointing to the video chip or card. Trying another monitor would confirm this conclusion and hopefully I am right by my statements. :grinner:


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#3 tgsetliff

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:47 PM

Not sure if I have access to another monitor to try this but I will see.  The thing that confuses me is that, especially in Safe Mode, everything seemed to be working fine up until the point that the computer restarted.  The screen came up like a normal Safe Mode screen (minus any icons), it stayed for maybe 10 seconds or so and then rebooted.  When started normaily, the desktop (with icons) would display for a second or two before it would go to the white screen... After 5 minutes or so, the desktop background would redisplay but no icons would display.  If there was something going on with the video card or chip, I would not have expected anything to display, or at least what did display would have been very distorted.



#4 jhayz

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 07:48 PM

Please post the computer model next time. If possible by the plastic stickers attach or by opening up the side casing to check on the motherboard brand and part number (custom built?). Has it been cleaned out of dust overall and does it have a video card or onboard or both? To check if any particular errors comes up after automatic reboot or system failure,

 

Disable Automatic Restart in Vista

Disable Auto-Restart from Advanced Boot Option


Edited by jhayz, 13 August 2013 - 07:52 PM.

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#5 tgsetliff

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:07 AM

I will get what information I can and repost later this eveing.  Thanks for the advice!!



#6 xXToffeeXx

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:13 AM

Considering what the user is saying - the owners of the computer seems to be getting a lot of malware, and the symptoms described - I would believe this problem is mostly likely caused by malware. It could be a failing graphics card, but since they see the desktop background, but nothing else which would lead me to that explorer is not being loaded correctly. I've seen malware cause this white screen before too. It's up to you what you want to do, but if it was me I would check for malware and attempt to get the computer booting properly. If you want to check for malware I suggest you make a post in this section: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/22/virus-trojan-spyware-and-malware-removal-logs/

 

You can always continue this topic if you still have problems after you are considered clean.

 

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#7 hamluis

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 10:33 AM

Has anyone thought to run a diagnostic on the hard drive...to remove one of the primary suspects (IMO) from the "possible" list?

 

Louis



#8 tgsetliff

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 11:48 AM

My thought is that its probably malware as well since, when the desktop background displays (minus any icons), it looks fine so I don;t think it has anything to do with the video card (which I did confirm last night that it is not actually a card but on the motherboard itself).  Thing is, I am not sure how I can run any type of scan because I can not get to a command window or the Start menu.  If I could get it to come up in Safe Mode, then I could do the malware scan as well as HD diagnostics from there but as I mentioned before, the computer restarts itself before Safe Mode is completely up. (I also did not get to disable the auto restart).

 

Last night, I did open the computer to clean it some and get the model info. I started it up, hoping that maybe the sunspots or some other atmospheric condition had disappeared but no such luck, I did notice that there were updates that had to be installed. I let those install and restart but still the same. I noticed there were MORE updates to install so I figured I would try again this evening. I will post my progress on that later.

 

I did find out that it is a Dell desktop that was purchased from BestBuy. I do not have the model info with me.



#9 xXToffeeXx

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:14 PM

My thought is that its probably malware as well since, when the desktop background displays (minus any icons), it looks fine so I don;t think it has anything to do with the video card (which I did confirm last night that it is not actually a card but on the motherboard itself).  Thing is, I am not sure how I can run any type of scan because I can not get to a command window or the Start menu.  If I could get it to come up in Safe Mode, then I could do the malware scan as well as HD diagnostics from there but as I mentioned before, the computer restarts itself before Safe Mode is completely up. (I also did not get to disable the auto restart).

 

Last night, I did open the computer to clean it some and get the model info. I started it up, hoping that maybe the sunspots or some other atmospheric condition had disappeared but no such luck, I did notice that there were updates that had to be installed. I let those install and restart but still the same. I noticed there were MORE updates to install so I figured I would try again this evening. I will post my progress on that later.

 

I did find out that it is a Dell desktop that was purchased from BestBuy. I do not have the model info with me.

There are scans you can run if you have a flash drive/blank DVDs, and drive tests can be run from a DVD I believe. If you do want to check for malware I suggest you post a topic in the section in the link I provided since dealing with computers with a possible infection whilst they are unbootable can be pretty hard.

 

I still believe it is more likely to be malware than hardware causing the symptoms, although a failing hard drive is certainly possible. It would be easier if you knew who the hard drive maker is since I could provide the link for the test.

 

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