Windows 7 boots to an unresponsive black screen with mouse cursor...

Started up the PC one day and it booted to a black screen. I didn't change the configuration in any way, it just happened suddenly.

What it does:

The PC turns on like normal. I get the bios screen. I get the Windows logo screen. Then I get a black screen with a mouse cursor in the middle.

I can move the mouse, but the buttons don't do anything--left or right click.  No keys on the keyboard change the screen. Ctrl+Alt+Del does nothing. Windows key does nothing. Esc does nothing, etc. At this point the only option is to hold down the power button and turn it off.

What I've tried:

I tried to start it in safe mode, but the same thing happens. It shows the system files that are loading. The last file it shows loading is Windows/system32/DRIVERS/AtiPcie.sys then it goes to a black screen with a mouse cursor again; only this time it is in safe mode resolution so the mouse cursor is larger and not as sharp. Also, no keyboard strokes have any affect just as with normal mode.

It is a Dell Inspiron, so it came with an onboard repair utility. I used the Startup Repair tool, but it found no problems. The diagnostics tools found no issues with the hard drive or any of the other major system components. However, this error came up which appears to be related to the multi-card (SD, micro SD, etc.) reader on the front of the PC:

error code 4400:011A
msg:SCSI_1-000 DISK_generic-_SD/MMC - target not ready

 

It seems that this is unrelated to the black screen. I unplugged the card reader and still had the same problem. Otherwise, it passes all other tests the onboard diagnostic utility has including, memory tests, fan tests, hard drive tests, etc.

I have not, however, tried a full system restore yet. From what I've read in several forums, many have tried this in similar situations and still had the same problem. Since there are several files I'd rather not lose, I wanted to explore all other avenues.

Sorry if this is a repeat question in the forum. Most of the other situations seemed similar, but there was always something they could do that I could not, like press Ctrl+Alt+Del or boot into safe mode or whatever.

Here is as much of the system info that I can gather without having the PC on (not mine, I'm doing this for a friend):

-Dell Inspiron (I think it's a 570)

-OS: Windows 7 Home

-AMD Athlon II X2

-Integrated Video Card (I tried both the VGA output and the HDMI, which he normally uses, and both give the same results) ATI Radeon HD 4200

I hope I've been thorough enough to allow you to help me without wasting any of your time, and I thank you in advance.

 

 

Question Info


Last updated December 17, 2018 Views 890,566 Applies to:

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Hi,

1. Have you made any changes to the computer prior to this issue?

The issue (black screen) you’re facing could be related to drivers and could be resolved by updating the display drivers. Without the correct driver, the hardware or device that you want to use won't work properly.

To confirm the same, start the Computer in low-resolution video mode. This starts Windows using your current video driver and using low resolution and refresh rate settings.
This option is available in Advanced startup options.

To start you computer in low-resolution video mode, follow the steps below:
1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.
2. Press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts.
3. On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight Enable low-resolution video (640×480), and then press Enter.

If the problem doesn't reappear in low-resolution mode, then the issue is driver related. You can resolve this by downloading display card driver from the manufacturer's website.

I’d suggest you to visit the manufacturer’s website and update the chipset, display and graphic drivers to the latest one for Windows 7.

Refer the links below for more details on updating drivers:

Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Update-a-driver-for-hardware-that-isnt-working-properly

Update drivers: recommended links
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Update-drivers-recommended-links

Also refer: Why is my screen black when I start Windows 7?

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/why-is-my-screen-black-when-i-start-windows-7

Hope this helps.

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Hello,

Thank you for the swift reply and for taking time to help me.

I tried starting the computer in low-res mode, but the same thing happened: the Windows logo comes up, then the black screen with a centered mouse cursor. I can move the cursor, but clicking does nothing and the pressing the keyboard keys doesn't do anything either. So there is no confusion, the screen is entirely black, with the exception of the mouse cursor. There is no task bar, no icons, nothing. A completely black screen.

I looked at the link to "Why is my screen black..." and it is not relevant to my situation. All the issues there assume one has some sort of interface with Windows once it boots. Again, I just get the black screen, nothing else. In the link, where people have a black screen, all the suggested fixes tell people to click on the task bar, or start in safe mode, or run regedit. I can't do any of those things with the computer in the state that it's in right now.

Do you have a suggestion for what I should try next?

 

Thanks again,

Nowg

Wassup Nowg

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Same issue as you and others.
Any fixes that work short of complete reinstall?

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I had the same problem. Luckily I have system restore setup to create a restore point every week, and the problem started the day after a new restore point was created. 

Restored the computer to the previous day and everything is fine now.

To get to the restore press and hold F8 as the computer is booting. Then go into repair tools and restore is in there

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The problem with this is a virus on the machine that has taken over permissions on the machine.

here is another forum that deals with this...

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-system/windows-7-boots-to-black-screen-with-cursor-before/c3538f76-86a1-462e-8ad7-f319f207a922

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I had the same problem. Luckily I have system restore setup to create a restore point every week, and the problem started the day after a new restore point was created. 

Restored the computer to the previous day and everything is fine now.

To get to the restore press and hold F8 as the computer is booting. Then go into repair tools and restore is in there

Thankx Stuffit, Fortunately I had an automatic restore point only 3 days older and it restored. I will never ever play with my system32 folder again. 
Cheers!

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I fixed my problem through tuneup utilities software by deleting a huge memory cache file then its running normal now. Not sure what was the cause though.

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Evin, my pc is having the same problem. can you share more details of the fix that worked for you? Thanks
still cold

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As stated, I use tuneup utilities software & deleted a very large cache file then my laptop went back to normal. Having said tat, I'm not a software techie. Was just using the tuneup utilities to do a bit of computer cleaning & came across tat. Good luck. Hope it helps. 

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Hi,

Like all Registry Cleaners and System Optimizers TuneUp Utilities is more likely to cause
issues while fixing nothing. Think of them a Snake-Oil.

Rob - SpiritX
Rob Brown - Microsoft MVP - Windows and Devices for IT 2010 - current
Windows Insider MVP 2016 - current

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