[WORKAROUND] To black screen with cursor at boot time

Updated on 07/03/14

Hi,

Just sharing. Better ideas, suggestions, recommendations... are more than welcome.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Since upgrading (clean installation) to Windows 8.x 64-bit I got the famous black screen with cursor issue (at boot time) before the login screen (PC restart or Power Off/On required). This wasn’t really a surprise given the age of my Sony Vaio and its ATI Mobility Radeon x2300(1) not supported by AMD under 8.x (latest available drivers are for Vista/7).

CONDITIONS TO REPRODUCE THE ISSUE

Fast Startup must be turned On (if option is Off there’s no issue - a possible workaround) and make a PC Shutdown (PC restart or resuming from Sleep/Hibernation causes no problem).

INVESTIGATIONS/TESTS

I believe I followed every advice found here and there and tested a number of drivers (even modded ones) with no success.

WORKAROUND - At your own risk…

This is really a non-elegant one but it has proven to work in my case. It consists of running a task at boot time that restarts the graphic adapter:

1 – Download the Microsoft DevCon utility

If you don’t have it already download DevCon (no more available as a separate utility).
A PowerShell script is probably an option as well but requires a bit of development while DevCon does the job in a single line.

2 – Identify the Graphic adapter ID

  • Go to the Device Manager > Expand the Display adapters section > Double-click on the adapter > Go to the Details tab
  • Choose Hardware Ids in the Property drop-down list
  • Right-click on the 1st line of the Value list > Copy

3 – Test the Graphic adapter restart (optional but recommended)

  • Open a Command Prompt as Admin > Navigate to the folder where DevCon is stored (pay attention to 32-bit vs. 64-bit)
  • Type DevCon Restart “ > Paste the content of the clipboard > add an extra (quote)

Example.: DevCon Restart “PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_718A&SUBSYS_9015104D&REV_00”

  • [Enter] and cross fingers…

4 – Create the Scheduled Task

  • Open the Task Scheduler > Create a new task > Give it a name and description

General tab

  • Preferably use the local Administrator account, at least an account with Admin privileges
  • Run whether the user is logged on or not: Checked
  • Run with highest privileges: Checked

Triggers tab

  • Begin the task: On an event(2)
  • Select Custom
  • Click Edit Event Filter…
  • Switch to the XML tab
  • Check Edit query manually + YES to “If you choose…
  • Paste the following query(3):

<QueryList>

<Query Id="0" Path="System">

<Select Path="System">*[System[Provider[@Name='Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Boot'] and (Level=4 or Level=0) and (EventID=27)]] and *[EventData[Data[@Name='BootType'] and (Data='1')]]</Select>

</Query>

</QueryList>

  • Click OK
  • Enabled: Checked

Actions tab

  • Action: Start a program
  • Program/script: [Path to DevCon]\DevCon.exe
  • Add arguments (optional): Restart “[GraphicAdapterHardwareId] (as in #3 above)

Conditions tab

  • Start the task only if the computer is on AC power: Unchecked
  • Stop if the computer switches to battery power: Unchecked

Settings tab

  • Stop the task if it runs longer than: 1 minute
  • If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop: Checked

EVENT LOG vs. TASK SCHEDULER

The picture below shows that the task was executed (and succeeded: 0x0) when the Kernel-Boot Event ID 32 was fired (it sometimes takes a few more seconds):

NOTES

(1) Current installed driver: v8.561.0.0 from the Microsoft Update Catalog

(2) Why not At startup? Tests have proven this doesn’t work. I suspect the hybrid shutdown to be the root cause – not sure though.

(3) Why a specific query? To ensure the scheduled task only run at boot time after a complete shutdown (and not on resuming from hibernation) two things must be considered: 1) The boot; 2) The type of boot (see More Information below). Unfortunately the Task Scheduler doesn't allow setting the 2 conditions through the UI. Setting the 1st condition is no problem but the 2nd ( and *[EventData[Data[@Name='BootType'] and (Data='1')]must be added manually in the XML tab.

MORE INFORMATION

With fast startup (Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Choose what closing the lid does) option checked Windows generates the following System/Kernel-Boot Event ID 27:

  • Boot type 0x1: after a complete shutdown
  • Boot type 0x2: when resuming from hibernation

Hope this helps
Cheers
Lz.

 

Discussion Info


Last updated November 19, 2019 Views 10,371 Applies to:

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 INVESTIGATIONS/TESTS

Did you try to find why it happens?   E.g. I'm wondering if ProcMon for its Boot Logging option could yield any clues?  Alternatively and I suspect more effectively, you could try using  xbootmgr to show you what is happening.  But most of all I think it would be useful to know what diagnostics people could look for when this happens.

So, I guess you ruled out my "phantom monitor" hypothesis, (e.g. testing with  Win-P, CursorUp, Enter)?   <eg>

It happens for a variety of reasons one seems to be an incompatible power thing it'll crash when you shut down sometimes I checked event viewer it's acpi failure perhaps windows 8.1 is a bit to optimized for tablets the way sleep works for tablets are totally different you can listen to your music while it's sleep so obviously it's not completely in a dormant state as it once was used for.
              checked event viewer it's acpi failure

I was hoping for more detail which could help derive a workaround.  Still this might point to the importance of checking for devices which are allowed to be "turned off" to save power.  For example, I found that my powered USB hub was set that way and that would explain why I could not use my (wireless) mouse and keyboard after an update until I moved the common receiver to another USB port.  Since making that change I have not seen that symptom again on either my Surface RT or Surface Pro, although, who knows, maybe they just got smarter about which devices should be "turned off" to save power?   <eg>

 INVESTIGATIONS/TESTS

Did you try to find why it happens?   E.g. I'm wondering if ProcMon for its Boot Logging option could yield any clues?  Alternatively and I suspect more effectively, you could try using  xbootmgr to show you what is happening.  But most of all I think it would be useful to know what diagnostics people could look for when this happens.

So, I guess you ruled out my "phantom monitor" hypothesis, (e.g. testing with  Win-P, CursorUp, Enter)?   <eg>

@Robert

Of course I tried your "phantom monitor" sequence but with no luck :-(

Agree it would be better to explain what happens when the issue occurs and how to diagnose it but I haven't been able to identify anything so far. I haven't used ProcMon as I'm not familiar with. I thought I would be more successful with xbootmgr but xbootmgr -trace boot -traceFlags BASE+CSWITCH+DRIVERS+POWER... generates a PC restart and not a Shutdown then a Start (only conditions to reproduce the issue). If you know how to use xbootmgr to make a Shutdown then a Start let me know how do this please and I'll make a new log.

One thing I did not mention in my problem description: when the issue occurs the logging screen briefly appears if I press the power off/on button. This leads me to think that the device isn't powered on during the boot sequence. The other thing I should mention: if I use the Basic adapter driver that comes with Windows 8.x I never face the issue.

Cheers

Lz.

Cheers | Lz. (GMT +1)

If you know how to use xbootmgr to make a Shutdown then a Start let me know how do this please and I'll make a new log.

Did you see this poster's idea?

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/924eb771-6ef2-4e4e-acd2-de8f71323efd/xbootmgr-trace-shutdown-restarts-instead-of-shutdown?forum=wptk_v4

(Microsoft search for
    xbootmgr  shutdown
)

"Leave an open Notepad window so the shutdown can be cancelled."

Also, perhaps serendipitously, I first somehow overwrote my question mark space with the above search and came up with this article that I must have read before from another search with who knows what...

http://windowsitpro.com/systems-management/diagnose-shutdown-problems-xbootmgr

Sounds like the Shutdown trace also does some Boot logging (e.g. with the Numruns= switch.)

if I use the Basic adapter driver that comes with Windows 8.x I never face the issue.

How are you specifying that?  In the OS or just at boot time?  It may help to point out that I got a surprise when using the  Low res video  switch at boot time and then later doing a  Win-P:   that was enough to get out of the Low res video state and I didn't have to re-login or anything--everything just worked normally after that.  

That wasn't being done to solve a problem, just an experiment to find out what would happen.  But it did make me wonder about exploiting the phenomenon using BCDEdit, e.g. in case most of these Blank screen issues occur only with the Login screen.   There are supposedly some screen resolution switches that we can use which would do this sort of thing with boot screens.  I have been intending to try finding out more about them and perhaps experimenting with them sometime but haven't done anything more with the idea.

C:\>bcdedit /? types bootapp  |  findstr /i "graph reso"
    GRAPHICSRESOLUTION      Defines the graphics resolution, 1024x768, 800x600,
                            graphical mode exposed by the firmware.
    GRAPHICSMODEDISABLED (bool)  Disables graphics mode.
    HIGHESTMODE (bool)      Forces the highest resolution supported by the
    BOOTUXDISABLED (bool)   Disables boot graphics.
    BOOTERRORUX (integer)       Defines the graphics experience for boot errors.

HTH

Robert
---

the way to fix it is a reinstallation

I have a tablet and occasionally have issues waking it up the dell venue 8 pro since I'm unfamiliar with tablet installations I can't reinstall windows 8.1 on to it I've noticed after reinstalling it on my laptop I was able to successfully wake up my laptop without crash and so far only thing changed was the new ssd drive I gotten btw noticed how windows 8 will have a "performance" drop where the system becomes unresponsive or takes too long loading a file or program it's starting to bother me why is my i5 3rd gen slow? even with the SSD?

I have a tablet and occasionally have issues waking it up the dell venue 8 pro

since I'm unfamiliar with tablet installations I can't reinstall windows 8.1 on to it 

I've noticed after reinstalling it on my laptop I was able to successfully wake up my laptop without crash and so far only thing changed was the new ssd drive I gotten

I think that (reinstallation) would be O/T in here but provided you have a keyboard I would not imagine much difference.  Try starting a new Question thread if you need help with this please.

btw noticed how windows 8 will have a "performance" drop where the system becomes unresponsive or takes too ling loading a file or program it's starting to bother me why is my i5 3rd gen slow? even with the SSD?

Even this isn't really on topic but at least we could discuss using boot performance monitoring tools here I think (e.g. the WPRUI that I mentioned or ProcMon) and then you could apply such information to your particular needs.

As I mentioned a reinstallation fixed my issues I seen other threads and questions on this topic I'm telling you my solution... And comments and the content relates to this discussion sorry Robert but my friend you are wrong. And if I was to start a question about the solution to my problem that would look stupid now would it... And this topic is related to performance is it not? How computers should turn off? Every detail counts, but if you insist I'll start a new discussion about general Performance that includes all mentioned here plus more       

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