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Black Screen on Startup, Can't Load Safe Mode


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#1 Please_Help2

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:13 PM

Hello,

 

I am having a problem with my computer which it seems is relatively common but doesn't have any straightforward solution because it could stem from a variety of causes. 

 

PROBLEM: My Windows 7 Asus laptop shows me the typical startup sequence (Win logo, takes longer than normal) then just gives me a black screen with a cursor on the login screen. The cursor works fine and actually has my preferred (non-default) mouse sensitivity. The problem is the rest of the computer isn't working.

 

Things I've tried:

 

-ctrl+alt+delete on the black screen does nothing

-booting in safe mode gives me a black screen with a working cursor, as before

-ditto for safe mode with command prompt. Here I'm trying to run "sfc /scannow" to see if it repairs something. This is a solution I found via some Googling.

 

Other solutions I've seen suggested which won't work for me:

 

-Asus has a system recovery function which was working fine, but it wants to delete one or both of my HD partitions. This is simply not an option, likewise with restoring to factory settings. I spent like 20 hours playing Skyrim in the past couple days and I would just be devastated without that save file.

-One internet tech whiz talks about how he just whipped out the HD and attached it to another computer, from which he was able to scan/save data or whatever. This is a laptop, that doesn't work.

-I don't have any recovery disks lying around and I don't have burnable CDs on hand

-I do have a flash drive which I could use, but the solutions I've seen involving flash drives are mainly based on virus removal. I really am not sure if this is a virus. I've had problems recently with deteriorating battery life which led to some accidental shutdowns due to power running out. I think I may have hardware complications due to this, but I don't know anything, so feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

 

Relevant specs:

Asus G75VW

Intel Core i7-3610QM

Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M  --- have had problems in the past with video driver repairing and then recovering. That's what I thought this was at first but it didn't recover.

16GB RAM IIRC

HD is two partitions of 500GB each I believe. The C drive is full almost to overflowing, the D drive is nearly empty except for a couple folders of a TV show. I would be willing to wipe Drive D.

 

The laptop has been carried around in a backpack, used in a variety of places, exposed to steam from being in the same room as a shower occasionally, run out of power unexpectedly every once in a while due to battery deterioration. I've had it for a year so it's seen some use.

 

I open it regularly to clean the fans, although I don't do anything special, just wipe down the filters which can get some dust on them. I have noticed a loose piece of aluminum or something was bouncing around detached in there last time I opened it, but it didn't come out easily so I let it stay rather than poking my important computer parts.

 

All help is REALLY appreciated here, I would love to be able to get back to Skyrim ASAP. Thanks.



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#2 Please_Help2

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:06 PM

After some messing around, the computer has started a CHKDSK. Right now I'm getting a lot of lines saying "File record segment #### is unreadable." Is this a hardware issue or can it be fixed by the computer itself? If it's a hardware issue on the C drive, am I right to assume moving my files to the (relatively unused) D drive won't solve the problem because my OS is on C? Will System Restore/ restoring to factory settings on C solve the problem?

 

As a side note, it turns out Skyrim saves are on the Steam Cloud so it really doesn't matter if they get deleted. I'd still like to salvage my data if I can.



#3 TazzyOpz

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:05 PM

I was going to ask if you tried booting into safemode with Command Prompt and starting explorer.exe from there. But a disk check can't hurt.
If you need to retreive any files we use a linux bootable OS Called "Hirens". It has some tools on there to retrieve data that you may have on there.

Hope this helps.


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#4 Please_Help2

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:22 PM

Hey thanks, yeah as I mentioned all versions of safemode don't start. How do you usually load Hirens? 



#5 ramswillwin

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:39 PM

After some messing around, the computer has started a CHKDSK. Right now I'm getting a lot of lines saying "File record segment #### is unreadable." Is this a hardware issue or can it be fixed by the computer itself? If it's a hardware issue on the C drive, am I right to assume moving my files to the (relatively unused) D drive won't solve the problem because my OS is on C? Will System Restore/ restoring to factory settings on C solve the problem?

 

As a side note, it turns out Skyrim saves are on the Steam Cloud so it really doesn't matter if they get deleted. I'd still like to salvage my data if I can.

Your hard drive is toast.



#6 Mr. Wilber

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 11:05 PM

This is a virus/Malware problem and it is repairable.  I had the same problem.  Post a new topic in the virus forum.

 

Good luck!



#7 Please_Help2

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 01:05 PM

Update: After running CHKDSK twice it worked last night and I was able to play a game, browse the internet. When I woke up this morning, though, it took a long time to boot and it's giving me a lot of "C:\Program Files (X86)XXXXXXXXX" contains an error. I agree that the C drive is toast and I'm considering trying to move the OS (or just the majority of programs) to the D drive. Would this work and is it a good idea?

 

Mr. Wilber, are you sure it is a virus? Can you link to a topic where someone solved it? Thanks. 

 

As a side note, the Asus Support Representative I talked to recommended a System Restore. I checked this morning and there are no restore points! This could indicate a virus. I'm considering factory restore, but if it's a hardware issue would that even solve the problem?



#8 TazzyOpz

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:20 PM

Update: After running CHKDSK twice it worked last night and I was able to play a game, browse the internet. When I woke up this morning, though, it took a long time to boot and it's giving me a lot of "C:\Program Files (X86)XXXXXXXXX" contains an error. I agree that the C drive is toast and I'm considering trying to move the OS (or just the majority of programs) to the D drive. Would this work and is it a good idea?

 

Mr. Wilber, are you sure it is a virus? Can you link to a topic where someone solved it? Thanks. 

 

As a side note, the Asus Support Representative I talked to recommended a System Restore. I checked this morning and there are no restore points! This could indicate a virus. I'm considering factory restore, but if it's a hardware issue would that even solve the problem?

It honestly doesn't sound like a virus to me... People come into our retail store all the time and no one has come in with a problem like that and it just being a virus.
 

If you can boot into it I'd reccommend getting all your personal data.. And maybe a couple programs if you want and copy them to a USB and reformat.


Edited by TazzyOpz, 07 December 2013 - 07:21 PM.

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#9 Mr. Wilber

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 08:56 PM

I was out and I need to step out again but I will be back shortly.

This exact issue "Black screen with cursor" is what I had and Gingo here on Bleepingcomputer.com helped me clear the virus/malware.  I did not have to reinstall Windows, I did not have to restore WIndow. I tell you it was not fun but I was able to fix it and lost nothing.

First, download and burn to a disk of Windows Defender Offline.  You will boot off this and run a scan.

 

Let me know what you find.

I will be back shortly to provide more details.

Ed


I meant to post the link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline



#10 Mr. Wilber

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:05 PM

Here is my original post with all the work done by Bleepin Gringo:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/501641/zeroaccess-virus-and-i-cant-access-windows/?hl=+wilber

 

You can read it and see the challenges we faced and overcame.  

 

Hope this helps.

Ed



#11 hamluis

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 02:56 PM

Here is my original post with all the work done by Bleepin Gringo:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/501641/zeroaccess-virus-and-i-cant-access-windows/?hl=+wilber

 

You can read it and see the challenges we faced and overcame.  

 

Hope this helps.

Ed

 

We appreciate your trying to help...but everything that goes wrong with a system does not trace to malware...and the cure for a malware problem is not appropriate here in the Win 7 forum when trying to respond to a situation without clear definition.  The OP acknowledges this...in the first line of his initial post.

 

Let's explore the possibilities that it isn't malware...before moving the topic to a forum which deals with malware situations.

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 08 December 2013 - 02:59 PM.


#12 Please_Help2

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:50 PM

Hello all, 

 

I originally thought it could be a virus as well, but in light of current developments I think that's off the table.

 

I did solve the original problem - the computer started working randomly and I was able to run CHKDSK to get it semi-functional. I then used Asus Factory Restore Partition to restore my C:\ partition to its original factory state (after moving some data to the D:\ partition). This worked and my computer started running again midday Sunday.

 

Unfortunately, Monday evening I came home from work and the computer booted into something called "Startup Repair." This is a diagnostic tool which told me I had a problem with corrupt drivers on the C drive which were essential to boot. I tried all of my System Restore points (which extend back to the factory restore on Sunday) and none work. I tried booting in Safe Mode (with and without Command Prompt) but both immediately go to Startup Repair. I tried running "sfc /scannow" in the Command Prompt after Startup Repair, but the computer told me Startup Repair needs a restart afterwards (even though it didn't solve the problem) and "sfc /scannow" can't run until after the restart. Unfortunately, every time the computer restarts it tries to run startup repair.

 

Since I've had different problems related to the HDD over the week, I think it's fair to say the problem is a hard drive error and is not virus-related. If anyone has any tips they would be greatly appreciated. 



#13 Mr. Wilber

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:21 PM

Please Help2,

I think this continues to be consistent with the behavior of a virus or malware.  Maybe it is not and you will need to replace your harddrive.  That sometimes happens but you have NOTHING to lose by downloading Windows Defender Offline, burn it to a disk and run it on the failing laptop.  If nothing is found, replace your harddrive. 

Once you get a new hardrive, most likely you will be able to pull your files off the harddrive.  Even if it is shot, many times files can be retrieved.

Good luck!



#14 hamluis

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:14 AM

Windows cannot read the files...because they are damaged/corrupt.  When you get notifications of such, take it for what it states.

 

The causes of file damage are many...but more often than not, such damage can be traced to a problem with the hard drive itself or the partition structure.  Hence, a diagnostic of the hard drive (not chkdsk /r...chkdsk /r tries to repair damaged Windows files, but it cannot do anything for damaged non-system files).  Chkdsk /r can overcome some partition problems, but not all.

 

Files are also often damaged when attempting to remove/neutralize malware.

 

Damaged system files, if repairable, may be able to be overcome by a 2-step process:

    1.  Run the chkdsk /r command.

    2.  Run the sfc /scannow command.

 

If neither of these two prove successful...you can always try a repair of Windows, How to Repair a Corrupt Windows 7 Installation PCWorld - http://www.pcworld.com/article/243190/how_to_repair_a_corrupt_windows_7_installation.html .

 

In the end...none of the above will be successful if the hard drive needs to be replaced...hence the need to run the hard drive diagnostic before (IMO) spinning your wheels trying to overcome a situation that is due to the hard drive's declining ability to perform properly.

 

Louis






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