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Resolved Windows 7 logs into black screen

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by magenta, 2017/06/10.

  1. 2017/06/10
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    Last night, as I do every 6 months, I opened up my PC and cleaned it with compressed air. I remove and wash all the mesh screens to clean dust in those as well. I let it all sit overnight to dry (obviously the pc internals were not wet in any way). I've done this for years.

    This morning, I put the mesh screens on the PC and the sides of the case back on. When I powered it up I got a message on screen, a message I forget what it said because I've been at this for 10 hours now. Basically it was only seeing my cd tray as the boot up option in the BIOS.

    No problem, let me open the case back up and check the connectors on the hard drive. Sure enough, there was a loose/ajar connection so I just took it off and put it back on the hard drive. Powered it back up and now my hard drive was listed in the BIOS. Great, let's set it as the default and I'll be back in business.

    Well, I'm now logging into a completely black screen (no mouse cursor as some people get with this similar problem). The Windows 7 login screen comes up, the associated chime/sound plays and I can enter my password. I see the "Welcome" message and blue spinning neon ball, then my monitor goes completely black, no cursor.

    ctrl-shift-esc and ctrl-alt-del don't do anything at that point. I see a common solution is to bring up the task manager, kill the explorer process then run a new one as a common fix, but I can't do that.

    When I'm logged in at the black screen, it doesn't even look like the hard drive is accessed. I have two LED lights on the front of my case (activity/power) and only the power light is on. The other flickers during the boot process and is flickering now as I type this.

    I can boot into any 3 of the safe modes (I'm in safe mode with networking now).

    I tried in no particular order (that I can remember, again I've been at this for 10 hours so I might now remember everything):

    • Booting into "last known good configuration" or something along those lines. That's no longer an option that shows up, I guess it goes away after you boot into it the first time.
    • Doing a system restore to 3 days ago, which was a critical windows update according to the system restore window.
    • Update my video card driver via the control panel, but it says it's already up to date (so really didn't do anything there).
    • Ran sfc /SCANNOW and some other command like a disk fix with /f /r at the end. Sorry, lost those browser tabs when I did the system restore. It ran for a while and just rebooted back to the black screen on login.
    • In my control panel device manager, I don't have any yellow or red icons. This is where I tried to update my display adapter
    • Everything via msconfig in the services and startup tabs is checked. The vast majority of services all have a status of "stopped", but I'm assuming that's because I'm booted in safe mode.
    • Ran Microsoft Security Essentials, did the full scan which took a couple hours, says no threats were detected.

    It feels like I did a couple other things, but can't recall them.

    I found mention of a prevx.exe (or something similarly named) which some people said fixed their problem, but others said did not. I really don't want to run some random .exe so never went down that road

    I have not recently installed any new hardware or software myself (Windows has behind-the-scenes with auto-updates).

    I don't have a complicated network setup, it's PC into router/modem, that's it. No network drives, printers, nothing.

    Anyone have any ideas what I can try or how to further troubleshoot this? I've also seen some mentions of editing your registry, but I'm not really comfortable with that as I don't really understand what I'd really be doing.

    I'm not super technical when it comes to Windows, so please dumb any suggestions WAY DOWN for me :)
     
    Last edited: 2017/06/10
  2. 2017/06/10
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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    Hi magenta, Welcome to WindowsBBS :) Have you got your W7 DVD? Any backup discs? You should be able to run a W7 DVD and get to Repair the OS if I remember correctly.
     

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  4. 2017/06/10
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    I have the W7 install dvd, which I did fire up earlier today to see if I could boot from it. I don't recall seeing any repair option, just install. I did boot up from it, so let me try just popping it in and see what I get, if anything.

    It's Windows 7 Home Premium, if that matters.

    There's a booklet with the dvd, but it's just marketing fluff, new W7 stuff, nothing about repair/recovery.

    Update: yeah, it looks to be install only. If I open it from the dvd drive from safe mode it just brings up a screen with an "install now" option. When I booted from the dvd earlier today, it had a different UI, but I didn't see anything other than install. If you think this is wrong, let me know, I'll try booting from it again.
     
    Last edited: 2017/06/10
  5. 2017/06/10
    rsinfo

    rsinfo SuperGeek Alumni

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    Do you have any other user account on the computer ? If yes, try to login into that account.
     
  6. 2017/06/10
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    I do not, it's just an admin account I log in as (I think). Is this something I can add at this point (from safe mode)?
     
  7. 2017/06/10
    rsinfo

    rsinfo SuperGeek Alumni

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  8. 2017/06/10
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    OK, created a new "GuestAccount" user account via safe mode command prompt. After the reboot, I see two accounts now to login as and when trying to log in as the new "GuestAccount" I got the "Preparing your desktop" text then just a blank blue screen.

    As a side note, I originally tried to create a "guest" account but the command prompt told me it already exists, so I must have used that for my default account. My PC will be 6 years old this November, so it's been a while...
     
  9. 2017/06/10
    rsinfo

    rsinfo SuperGeek Alumni

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    Did you make the new user a part of the Administrator group ?

    net localgroup administrators GuestAccount /add
     
  10. 2017/06/10
    rsinfo

    rsinfo SuperGeek Alumni

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    Windows has already a built in user "Guest". You can't recreate it.
     
  11. 2017/06/11
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    Yes, I ran (I have it written down on a piece of paper here on my desk):

    net user GuestAccount /add
    net localgroup administrators GuestAccount /add
    shutdown -r
     
  12. 2017/06/11
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    Here's an update:

    I ran Display Driver Uninstaller DDU from Display Driver Uninstaller Download version 17.0.6.6 which actually fixed my black screen on login. I can also now log into my newly created GuestAccount user account.

    I have a Radeon HD 6950 Sapphire video card and when I install the drivers via Download Drivers I'm back to the black screen on login.

    I tried both the "automatically detect and install your driver" and the manual way, which led me to the "Catalyst Software Suite" link at the bottom of Legacy

    After installing the drivers the video card shows up in my device manager so it is getting installed. But on the reboot, I'm back to the black screen on login.

    When running DDU again, my device manager shows Display adapters -> Standard VGA Graphics Adapter, which I guess is my built-in Windows graphics driver (my resolution maxes out at 1440, which is smaller than I used to run before all this). This is where I am right now.

    Could my video card be toast? Is there a way to test it?
     
    Last edited: 2017/06/11
  13. 2017/06/11
    PeteC

    PeteC SuperGeek Staff

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    Possibly, but I would physically remove it and reinsert as a first step. If that fails the only way to test it is in another computer or by replacing it with another known good card.

    An outside possibility is an issue with the motherboard slot - is there another slot into which the card would fit?
     
  14. 2017/06/11
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    Any tips on how to physically remove it? It seems well seated (almost like it's locked in) and I did try to unseat/reseat it but I didn't want to force it as it didn't want to just pop right out. It's a pretty large unit which seems to be connected pretty well.

    I believe this is my motherboard, P8Z68-V | Motherboards | ASUS Global with the manual here, P8Z68-V | Motherboards | ASUS Global it might have two slots as it talks about how to install 2 crossfire graphics cards:

    ----------
    5.1.3 Installing two CrossFireX™ graphics cards

    1. Prepare two CrossFireX-ready graphics cards.
    2. Insert the two graphics card into the PCIEX16 slots. If your motherboard has more than two PCIEX16 slots, refer to Chapter 2 in this user manual for the locations of the PCIEX16 slots recommended for multi-graphics card installation.
    ----------

    In the following section:

    2.2.4 Expansion slots

    There's a schematic and I think my video card is in #2 so it looks like I have some other options (5 & 7?) though I'm not sure. Could you take a look?

    If you can give me some tips how to remove the card I'll shut it down and give that another go. I can also take a photo where card is now and with it removed (assuming I an remove it) and post those online for reference.
     
  15. 2017/06/11
    PeteC

    PeteC SuperGeek Staff

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    Refer to the manual - page 2-41, first illustration under heading 'To install PCIe x16 cards. Note that you need to remove the screw holding the card to the case and to then release the retaining clip shown at the inboard end of the motherboard socket.the card should then pull out easily.

    The card should be in slot #2 as you state. It may or not work in slot #5 which is slower than slot #2.
     
  16. 2017/06/11
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    OK, thanks much for the tips. Funny, the card came right out once I unscrewed it from the chassis, lol. Good god I feel like a dope for not even noticing those before as I've tried to pull it and was like "man, what is holding this thing in?" It also snapped right back in.

    I have some photos up at Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

    I tried to remove/reseat the black and yellow wires labeled P4 and P5, best seen at the bottom right of the 3rd photo, but they didn't want to come off easily. If there's a tip to get those off, I'll give it a go, but I tend to err on the side of caution rather than brute force/oops, I broke it.

    Should I try to reinstall the drivers now via Download Drivers ? Should I go for the automatically detect link or the manual select on the right? If those don't work, should I try switching the video card to the next slot down?

    Right now I don't have any drivers installed, I've run the Display Driver Uninstaller DDU which fixes my black screen at login, so I'm logged in as me rather than booted into safe mode (where I run the DDU).

    Oh, and for the record, the fans on the bottom of the video card are spinning.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Update 7pm PST OK, here's the final update for the day.

    I tried reinstalling the following drivers, all gave me the same result, black screen on login:

    I was running DDU in between each reinstall.

    I then tried putting the video card into the next expansion slot and reinstalled the first driver above (NON-WHQL) and still got the black screen on login. Figured doing the other 2 above would be futile as well.

    What I'm going to do is write up a summary and email it to the shop that built this PC. I'm going to see if they can test my video card or have another similar card they can test in my PC and if that works, I'll just buy it and consider my existing video card toast. I'll also see what they think about testing a different PSU with my PC/existing card. If I end up with a new card, I might get a new PSU as well, I'll ask them what they think about upgrading that to power any possible new video card.

    It looks like the video card is toast, but maybe the power supply is on the way out and isn't getting enough power to the card? Those two scenarios are what I'm going with, let me know what you think as well.

    I'm done here for the night, will be able to read/reply here tomorrow, but won't be able to do anything with my PC until tomorrow eve. If you think there are other things I can try, I'm more than willing to give them a go Monday eve.
     
    Last edited: 2017/06/11
  17. 2017/06/11
    retiredlearner

    retiredlearner SuperGeek WindowsBBS Team Member

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  18. 2017/06/11
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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  19. 2017/06/12
    PeteC

    PeteC SuperGeek Staff

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    I agree - testing the video card is the next step and as the power to the card is supplied from the PSU this should be tested too.
    These are the power supply cables to the card which should, in theory pull off easily.
     
  20. 2017/06/12
    magenta

    magenta Member Thread Starter

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    Yeah, I was able to get those cables off, there are little tab-like things on the bottom of them that seem to lock them in place. You need to press on those and pull the cables off.

    The video card is getting power, the bottom two fans are spinning. I'm not sure if my theory about the PSU suddenly not sending enough power to the card is valid as I don't seem to be having any other power issues, but figure it might be possible, who knows...Right now I'm assuming my video card is dead, unfortunately I won't be able to do anything there until this coming Saturday if I can get someone to test it/a new card. Could be a couple weeks, don't know at this point.
     
  21. 2017/06/12
    PeteC

    PeteC SuperGeek Staff

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    At least the fans are getting power, but the rest of the card ???? I suspect a card failure, only a test will decide one way or the other.

    Keep us posted please.
     

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