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Windows 10 black screen with cursor only

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#1 Bahman5580


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Posted 17 December 2016 - 04:36 PM

This is my first note here. I have got really desperate. After I attached a USB flash drive I frequently get a black screen with cursor. I suppose it is a malware or virus and I don't know how to fix it. Installing widows again and all the programs takes a lot of time. Can anyone help please?

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#2 MichaelV702


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Posted 18 December 2016 - 04:22 AM

Sorry if my answer covers too much of the basics, I do not know your tech level so I'd like to make sure I provide you with an answer that is understandable for any case and it's not my intent to insult you at all  :lol: I'm new to the whole "Getting involved with helping others on tech forms like this one" so please forgive me I just like to be helpful, thorough and provide information to the best of my ability in my profession in IT.


It sounds like your Windows Explorer (Now called "File Explorer" in Windows 10) process is crashing upon plugging in that flash drive.


A brief "Non tech way" of describing Windows Explorer is basically an application on your computer used to access your files on your computer's drive as well as other drives connected to your system.


Windows Explorer could be crashed by other means like:


  • You may be using an outdated or corrupted video driver
  • System files on your PC may be corrupt or mismatched with other files
  • You may have a Virus or Malware infection on your PC (As you stated you believe you may or may not have)
  • Some applications or services running on your PC may be causing Windows Explorer to stop working

The above listed symptoms come from my personal tech knowledge and can be found here for reference: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2694911


Some other things that may be additional issues:

  • The USB Controller Driver could be crashing - problems with "Host controller driver"
  • Windows is unable to read the USB drive due to a corrupt or damage drive - I've personally seen bad drives "Lock up or Freeze" windows until the drive is unplugged. During these "Lock ups/Freezing" Windows Explorer can crash
  • There may be an issue with your system files - an SFC Scan will attempt to repair any corrupted or missing files that are found


What can you do?

  1. Temporarily disable any protection software (Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware) then check to see if the problem is still exists by trying that drive again
  2. Try booting the computer into safe mode and see if the problem still happens: Keep the drive unplugged during the reboot to safe mode, once you see your desktop after logging in then try the drive at that point

*Those above two steps will help us identify if a protection software or something that runs normally on startup of your system is causing the issue.


If one of the above steps granted you access to the drive without getting the black screen issue go ahead and run a Antivirus/Anti-Malware scan on the drive to be sure it's free of infection (Malwarebytes would be great for that task) also while you're at it, review the files on the drive look for any unknown files not familiar to you and delete them (TIP: Selecting a file in Windows then using SHIFT + DEL keys) will do a permanent delete of the file bypassing your recycle bin I suggest doing so on any files you believe suspicious but please be careful to not accidentally select other important files in the process or they're gone for good unless you attempt file recovery which is a headache and never a guarantee to safely return your files.


Once you've got past checking the drive for bad files it wouldn't hurt to use the "Error checking" tool in Windows on the drive to see if there are errors that can be found/repaired:

In Windows Explorer:

1. In the "This PC" section where you see all your drives attached: Right click on the drive you're working with then select "Properties"

2. Go to the "Tools" tab

3. Click on "Check" button under the first section for "Error checking"

*Those steps will help us determine if part or all of the problem was a "File system error"


If you were not able to get anywhere with the steps above:

1. Try other USB drives: Does the issue still happen?

If yes, you may have a driver issue with your "Controller Drivers" and or system file issues.


If no, your drive that causes the problem is likely bad and beyond repair. You would want to see a local repair shop that offers "Data Recovery" which can be quite expensive to see if they can recover the files (Assuming you don't have those files anywhere else)


2. Try the USB drive that causes the issue on another computer (Preferably one you'd be okay with for testing - Just in case there are unfriendly files on the drive that intend to cause system harm)

If it works on another computer, the news points towards "a driver issue with your "Controller Drivers" and or system file issues" on your affected computer.


If it doesn't work on another computer, it's "likely bad and beyond repair"



If you wish to read up more on some of the mentioned steps here on my reply some of it is here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2694911 I suggest maybe running the SFC scan as laid out in steps in the article (Scroll down it to: "Run System File Checker (SFC) to check your files" section)


Other tips (I'd still do all these other tips if you have not already):

  • Try using a different USB port on your computer
  • Make sure you try only with USB 2.0 ports and not 3.0 UNLESS YOU'RE CERTAIN that your USB drive is 3.0 friendly... Most older ones are not and have issues on 3.0 ports (Generally 3.0 USB ports have blue coloring inside the port if you look in it and the 2.0 ports are black coloring)
  • Make sure your drivers are all good check "Device Manager" make sure in ANY category there is not any device with a yellow exclamation point on it (!)
  • You may also run an Anti-virus scan on your machine to make sure it's also not virus related, my preference will be to recommend running Malwarebytes you can get it in the tools section by searching for it here on bleepingcomputer just run the "Threat Scan" on your computer and clean out anything it finds (Keep in mind: if you have any special cracks or illegal patches to software on your system Malwarebytes and most other security software MAY OR MAY NOT find it and recommend it for removal as it will detect as hack tool or virus/malware)

I understand my answer is long with lots of viewpoints to take here but keep me up to date here and I'll do my best to steer you in the right direction. If you've tried all this already, great just tell me what you've done and I'd be glad to provide more info as needed.


In you're reply if help is still needed after this feel free to respond in list format to just rule out things you've done so I know where you are in the process.

#3 dc3


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Posted 18 December 2016 - 01:48 PM

Since you can't boot into Windows most of what MichaelV702 has suggested can not be done conventionally.  But if you have the installation media you can use it to access Repair or Command Prompt.
If you can't boot, but you have the installation disc, follow these steps:

  • Insert the Windows 10 or USB.
  • Restart the computer.
  • Press any key to boot from the media.
  • Click Repair your computer or press R.
  • Select Troubleshoot.
  • Select Command Prompt.
If you don't have installation media you can use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to create installation media for either a disc or flash drive.  Follow the instruction for the second option Using the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) to install Windows 10 on a different PC.
In order to use either form of installation media you need to change the boot order in the BIOS so that the type of media (disc or USB flash drive) is the first device in the boot order, and the ssd/hdd the second device.
If you are using a disc place it in the tray of your optical drive, close the door and restart the computer.  If you are using a USB flash drive inset it in a USB port and restart the computer.  When the computer recognizes the disc it will instruct you to press any button to boot from the disc.
Use the instructions above to access the Command Prompt.
Open the Command Prompt, type in the command below, then press Enter.
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Edited by dc3, 18 December 2016 - 02:13 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.





#4 MichaelV702


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Posted 18 December 2016 - 02:12 PM

My apologies, late night forum browsing. Yes, if my instructions are not possible because you can't boot into windows the media drive with install media steps Arch mentioned would be good to use Command Prompt for troubleshooting. I was assuming after your OS booted that it would go into black screen with pointer issues past the welcome screen.


What you also may want to do is to see if you can get into your advanced options and use "Startup Repair" 


a. Boot into Windows Recovery Environment using the Windows 10 USB or DVD.
b. Click on Repair your computer.

c. Click on Troubleshoot


Also this article from Microsoft may be of assistance


In short the article will have you use the USB / Media drive to access those options since you likely won't be able to through normal means if your system won't boot. If you scroll down the article on that Microsoft page it will have the reply to that issue with the instructions for you and further down after will be the link to download the "Installation Media Tool"


My apologies for the wrong steps last night, let us know if we can be of further help :)

#5 Nightspear


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:03 PM

I suggest unplugging all usb drives and adapters and try booting. I have run into this many times with wireless Logitech mice and keyboards. After unplugging the adapter and restarting, Windows is able to boot without problem. This mainly happens to me after patch Tuesday updates.

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