Vista booting to a blank screen - even after a successful Repair


C

Chris

After I rebooted my one-year old Vista PC today and saw the standard Vista
progress bar, the PC rebooted on its own and displayed a message about Vista
not starting correctly. I selected 'Start Windows Normally', but after the
Vista progress bar appeared again for a few seconds, the PC rebooted and I
received the same 'Windows did not start correctly' message again.

The top-most item on the menu suggested booting from the Vista DVD and
selecting the Repair option--which I did. The Repair ran for about an hour
and said if corrected a few problems. It also said that I might have to run
the Repair process again to complete some unfinished business.

Upon reboot, the Vista progress bar appeared but then the screen went
completely blank--and remained that way. There was very little drive
activity. The mouse cursor was present and movable. Pressing the CapsLock and
NumLock keys turned on the keyboard indicators. If Vista had loaded properly,
I would normally have pressed enter to select my user account and then typed
in my password; I tried that (without any visual feedback), but nothing
happened. About 30 minutes later, the mouse cursor disappeared--at about the
same amount of time when the screen saver would normally kick in (and hide
the mouse cursor).

After about 30 additional minutes of no perceived activity, I cycled the
power on the PC and was (not surprisingly) told that Windows did not shut
down properly. When I selected 'Start Windows Normally', the Vista progress
bar appeared and then the screen went blank again, as described above.

I booted off the Vista DVD again and re-selected Repair. This time, it came
back immediately and said that there were no problems. Upon reboot, however,
the Vista progress bar appeared and then the screen simply went blank again,
as described above.

About an hour later, the PC rebooted on its own--without a shutdown message.
The Vista progress bar appeared and then the screen went blank again, as
described above. That's where I'm at now.

I'm not sure what caused Vista to not boot properly to begin with, what the
Vista Repair process fixed and didn't fix, and why (now that the Repair
process says everything is fine) Vista still won't boot. At this point, I'm
stumped. Any suggestions? What more can I do?

(FYI, I'm running Vista SP1--which I installed about six weeks ago.)
 
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C

Chris

No improvement. I rebooted and pressed F8 to bring up the Advanced Boot Menu.
The following options appeared:

-Safe Mode*
-Safe Mode with Networking*
-Safe Mode with Command Prompt*

-Enable Boot Logging
-Enable low-resolution video (640x480)
-Last Known Good Configuration (advanced)*
-Directory Services Restore Mode
-Debugging Mode*
-Disable automatic restart on system failure
-Disable Driver Signature Enforcement

-Start Windows Normally*

I tried all of the choices marked with an asterisk. For each, after the list
of files being loaded is displayed and the Vista progress bar appears for a
few seconds, the same blank screen results.

This is really frustrating! Vista appears to start properly, but the login
prompt never loads--so there's no way to proceed.

Any ideas?
 
M

Malke

Chris said:
No improvement. I rebooted and pressed F8 to bring up the Advanced Boot
Menu. The following options appeared:

-Safe Mode*
-Safe Mode with Networking*
-Safe Mode with Command Prompt*

-Enable Boot Logging
-Enable low-resolution video (640x480)
-Last Known Good Configuration (advanced)*
-Directory Services Restore Mode
-Debugging Mode*
-Disable automatic restart on system failure
-Disable Driver Signature Enforcement

-Start Windows Normally*

I tried all of the choices marked with an asterisk. For each, after the
list of files being loaded is displayed and the Vista progress bar appears
for a few seconds, the same blank screen results.

This is really frustrating! Vista appears to start properly, but the login
prompt never loads--so there's no way to proceed.

Since you've tried everything you can software-wise, it's time to do some
hardware troubleshooting. From your description of the issue in your first
post, that's where I would have started anyway. Hopefully the machine is
still under warranty. If that's the case (or if it is a laptop), contact
the OEM's tech support for repair/replacement.

If the machine is a desktop and out of warranty, here are some general
hardware troubleshooting steps:

http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Hardware_Tshoot

I'd start with the hard drive and then the power supply.

Standard disclaimer: I can't see and test your computer myself, so these are
just suggestions based on many years of being a professional computer tech;
suggestions based on what you've written. You should not take my
suggestions as a definitive diagnosis. Testing hardware failures often
involves swapping out suspected parts with known-good parts. If you can't
do the testing yourself and/or are uncomfortable opening your computer,
take the machine to a professional computer repair shop (not your local
equivalent of BigComputerStore/GeekSquad). If possible, have all your data
backed up before you take the machine into a shop.

Malke
 
C

Chris

Thanks for your response. Respectfully, however, this is most likely a
problem with Windows, not with my hardware.

This is a Dell PC that is still under warranty. After various tests that
confirmed that the hardware appears to be sound, Dell's initial response was
to restore the PC to its original factory configuration using the files they
provide on the D: drive that comes with the system. That's the easy way out,
IMO, and really doesn't identify the root cause.

As I see it, I have two choices:
1. Restore the PC to its original factory condition, as Dell suggested
2. Continue to troubleshoot the problem to :
a. Try to figure out what happened; and
b. Fix it

Considering I don't know what caused the problem and that it could therefore
potentially happen again, I'm more inclined to continue to troubleshoot the
problem.
 
N

Nonny

Thanks for your response. Respectfully, however, this is most likely a
problem with Windows, not with my hardware.

This is a Dell PC that is still under warranty. After various tests that
confirmed that the hardware appears to be sound, Dell's initial response was
to restore the PC to its original factory configuration using the files they
provide on the D: drive that comes with the system. That's the easy way out,
IMO, and really doesn't identify the root cause.
As I see it, I have two choices:
1. Restore the PC to its original factory condition, as Dell suggested
2. Continue to troubleshoot the problem to :
a. Try to figure out what happened; and
b. Fix it

Considering I don't know what caused the problem and that it could therefore
potentially happen again, I'm more inclined to continue to troubleshoot the
problem.

How?

It doesn't appear to be a hardware problem.

You can't get Windows to load so you can't tinker with its settings or
the programs you've loaded..

You gonna try a variety of magic wands?
 
C

Chris

No magic wands, but perhaps something could have been done from the Repair's
Command Prompt option on the Vista DVD--like examining logs, examining files,
replacing files, etc.

I called Dell again and spoke with an advanced technician who seemed to know
a lot about resolving problems with Vista. Using the Repair's Command Prompt,
we closely examined the NTBTLOG.TXT file that results when selecting the
'Enable Boot Logging' option from the Advanced Boot Menu, but this was
inconclusive.

The technician found a Dell KB article that described my PC's symptoms and
contained some troubleshooting steps, but these did not resolve the problem.
In particular, the article indicated that something low level could prevent
the Windows logon service to load properly and could result in perpetual
reboots. We tried a number of different commands from the command prompt, but
too many commands were unavailable to get very far.

The article suggested calling Microsoft for further analysis if the problem
could not be resolved. While I could do that, I'm doubtful that the root
cause can be identified without spending a *lot* more time and effort on it.
Alternately, the Dell KB article also suggested basically giving up and doing
a parallel install to a different directory--and that's what I've decided to
do.

I learned a lot about Vista since purchasing it with this PC over a year
ago; it's probably about time to do a re-install, anyway. The only thing that
bothers me is not knowing what caused the problem--since, in theory, the same
thing could occur again at any time, without warning.
 
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R

Robert Barnett

This may or may not help. However, I can get Vista to boot to a black screen
and then just sit if I have a memory card in my memory card reader. Most of
today's modern motherboards will allow you to boot from USB devices and my
Intel D975XBX2 includes memory card readers with memory cards in them. If I
pull the memory card out and reboot it boots up fine. Also, make sure you
have no CDs, etc. in drives that your system might be trying to boot from
but can't.
 
T

Terry L. Freeman

I have this same problem with the blank screen but not the other errors you have...

Do not do a reinstall because the problem will not go away.

I am trying to find a fix for this problem, too.

I have found a short work-around to get you to your workable desktop, so follow these instructions:

Once you hsve typed the User name and enter the Password, the screen should be going blank right after the Welcome screen hangs.

Try pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and select the Task Manager or press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager directly.

In the Task Manager window, click on File > New Task(Run). (if you look at the tasks, you will find that the Explorer.exe is missing.)

Type Explorer.exe in the "Open" box and click OK.

You should be able to see the Desktop with the icons, taskbar, startmenu etc. appearing.

Go ahead normally with your business or whatever you want to do.
 
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R

Rick Rogers

Hi Terry,

This usually indicates that the shell string in the registry is broken or
has been appended with excess garbage. From Task Manager or the Start/search
line, click new task and type in "regedit", then click ok. Click continue at
the prompt, then expand the keys to reach this one:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Locate the shell string in the right pane and double click it. Replace the
contents with just:

explorer.exe

and click ok. Close the registry editor and restart the machine.

--
Best of Luck,

Rick Rogers, aka "Nutcase" - Microsoft MVP

Windows help - www.rickrogers.org
My thoughts http://rick-mvp.blogspot.com

in message
news:[email protected]!hotmail.com...
 

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