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Windows 7 sometimes booting to a black screen with cursor and nothing else


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#1 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 09:46 AM

This has just started happening in the last couple of days. Acer PC running Windows 7 64-bit, no recent hardware or software changes. I don't have a Windows 7 installation disk.

 

The computer starts booting up normally, goes through the Windows initialization screen and the Acer welcome screen, but then instead of loading my desktop it goes to an empty black screen with only the cursor in it. The cursor moves but there is nothing to click on.

 

Rebooting the machine by holding down the power button has so far eventually resulted in the desktop coming up, and the computer runs normally from there. On one occasion it required two consecutive reboots.

 

I ran a chkdsk which found nothing wrong. I also looked at the registry and saw under WINLOGON that Shell is set to explorer.exe. Since the system has (so far) eventually loaded by rebooting with no changes, I have to assume this is a problem with execution rather than configuration.

 

I am now busy making sure all my data is backed up, but am afraid to shut off my machine again until I figure out what's going on.



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#2 OldPhil

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 10:04 AM

Do a simple system file check. Go into accessories, right the command prompt run it as administrator type the following. 

sfc /scannow mind the space after sfc hit enter this will check the file system for flaws which most cases will fix them.  If nothing is found it may be a memory problem, run Mem check follow instructions in the link below.

 

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff700221.aspx


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#3 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 04:13 PM

Did the above two checks with no problems found.

 

I was able to open Task Manager while in the black screen. It listed explorer.exe as an active process, and typing it into the open file field did nothing.

 

On the last reboot I decided to wait it out a little longer rather than shutting down. After about 2-3 minutes of black screen, the desktop finally appeared.

 

Am I right in thinking this probably means a process or application is interfering with the boot? If so, is there a way I can figure out which one?



#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 05:31 PM

If this only started happening in the last two or three days I would do a system restore.

 

Click in sequence 'Start - Control panel - Recovery - System restore'. This assumes that you have your control panel set to 'Small icon' view. If it isn't, click on 'View by' in the top right corner and select 'Small icons' !

 

Once you click on 'System restore' you will get a box listing the latest restore point. If this is dated before the problem started just use it. If it isn't dated before the problem started then there is a button 'Show more restore points'. Once you have selected a restore point start the restore system running - it will typically take between 5 and 10 ninutes - and let it run. Do NOT stop or cancel it before it has finished. Then re-boot if it doesn't do so automatically and see if your problem is resolved. If it is - great; if it isn't - post back !

 

You may have to re-install any updates that may have occurred between now and the date of the restore point you picked.

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 24 March 2018 - 05:32 PM.


#5 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 03:00 PM

The most recent restore point is too recent, and the one before it is at the time of my last Windows update. Is there a way to re-download a Windows update if it gets undone by a system restore?

 

The issue seems to be a long delay in the appearance of the desktop. My system takes a long time to fully boot and become stable and useable. The desktop seems to appear around the time the network connection goes live, which can be anywhere from a few seconds to 2-3 minutes after the Welcome screen.

 

Slow boot has been an issue for a while, but the black screen is a new development.



#6 OldPhil

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 04:55 PM

The last time I did mine I just went into control panel and checked for updates all went well.

 

Avoid the update in this link!!!  https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/673260/kb4088875-isn-a-buggy-patch/


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#7 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:28 AM

I did the system restore. It went through the process, told me it had been successfully completed, and rebooted the machine. The desktop came up immediately after the welcome screen, and I thought... success! But then Windows threw up a dialog box telling me that System Restore had not completed because it couldn't access a file, and I should try disabling anti-virus and trying again. At that point it was 1 AM so I just shut it down and went to bed.

 

Lately the machine has been doing other weird things besides the delay in the desktop appearing. A couple of days ago the system booted into desktop and everything seemed to be fine, but I couldn't access any websites on my browser. I could download e-mail, and I could perform a Google search (Google is my browser homepage) which brought up a list of results, but clicking on any results would end in a time-out... as did using any of my bookmarks or typing in any URL's. I rebooted and the problem cleared up.

 

Last night it again booted into desktop, but my cursor was frozen in the center of the screen. I could navigate around with arrow keys and bring up Task Manager with keyboard commands, but the cursor was completely locked. Again, a reboot cleared it up.

 

I will see how the machine is working when I get home after work today.



#8 techiegeek12

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 10:45 PM

run system file check 



#9 OldPhil

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 07:12 AM

Like techiegeek12 says at an elevated command prompt run sfc /scannow mind the space after the c.

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#10 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 09:10 PM

Ran the System File Check, no problems found.

 

Current status: Boot proceeds normally but there is a long period of black screen (with a moveable cursor) before the desktop appears, which can vary from a few seconds to 2-3 minutes.

 

Usually the system runs normally after that, but about 1 in 5 boots has produced some strange and seemingly random error or other:

 

On one occasion: booted with frozen cursor; reboot required

 

On one occasion: booted with network connection but apparently no DNS access; reboot required

 

On two occasions: notified me that Windows could not access the System Event Notification Service and gave me a weird grayed-out (but functional) version of my taskbar; reboot required.



#11 OldPhil

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 12:16 AM

Have you checked the device manager for any item with yellow markers, if any are marked yellow there is a problem with that item.


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#12 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 04:47 PM

Nothing with yellow markers.

 

And once again booted up with a network connection but no DNS.



#13 OldPhil

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 05:01 PM

Actually that may bring new thoughts about it being a network issue, try trouble shooting the net work.  Lets hope that gets results.

 

Phil


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#14 AndrewCrossett

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 09:38 AM

No issues found with the network... I checked this also when I had no DNS and it still found no problem.

 

I do suspect that it's network related somehow, though. For the last several months my network connection has been slow to establish after startup. I would have my desktop, and the blue circle over my network icon. After a couple of minutes all of my desktop icons would white out and refresh, and the blue circle would disappear... then I'd give it a couple of minutes to stabilize before I started working.

 

Now it looks like the screen remains dark during the time the network connection is waiting to establish. The desktop image appears at about the same time the network goes live.

 

Once I get a stable network connection it seems to function fine... no dropped connections, no unusual slowness. Occasionally I have no DNS access, though.


Edited by AndrewCrossett, 06 April 2018 - 09:39 AM.


#15 OldPhil

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:12 AM

There are several items that can slow or as I call it confuse the computer.  When was the last time you reset your modem turn it off for a minute or so.


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