Black screen after log in, unable to run Task Manager or any programs

My Dell Inspiron laptop with Windows 7 was working fine until yesterday evening.

When I turn it on, it loads the Log In screen and I am able to type in my password and log in. However, after that I am presented with a black screen and a white cursor. It will not let me open Task Manager and when I press alt, ctrl and delete, after a few minutes I get this error message "Failure to display security and shut down options".

I have tried System Restore but had no luck with that.

I am not able to run in Safe Mode either, it constantly freezes.

My laptop did not come with a Windows 7 operating CD.

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Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The first thing you might try is using the Recovery Environment to use the backup Registry. If you use the F8 key and select Use Last Known Good Configuration, it will replace the current Registry with a previously, hopefully good one.

If that doesn't help, or maybe even if it does, try running Chkdsk. Maybe there is some corruption on the hard drive.

But it sounds like one of the log on processes is not running correctly. So the next two things I would try is to run the bootable version of Windows Defender to check for viruses, and then run a System File Check from Offline.

What is Windows Defender Offline?

To run the System File check from offline, check the first link. If you need to download a Windows 7 SP1 .iso file, you can burn and use to get into the Windows Recovery Environment, check the second link.

How to Run the System File Checker (Sfc.exe) Offline in Windows 7 and Vista - The Winhelponline Blog

Download Windows 7 ISO (Official 32-bit and 64-bit Direct Download Links) « My Digital Life


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Sorry, forum slowdown......

Thanks for your reply.

I tried Use Last Known Good Configuration earlier today, but that didn't work.

I'm not all that great with computers, how will I be able to run these programs if I can't access my desktop/My Computer/run any other program etc and don't have the Windows 7 Setup DVD.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
If you have some type of media that can get you into the Windows Recovery Environment, or you can download and burn the Windows 7 DVD, the link I gave you for the System File checker, goes through the process. The difference in running the recovery environment from an Install DVD is you do not need to enter a password to run some utilities.

You could try running a Startup Repair from the Recovery Environment. It is supposed to run whatever it needs to in order to get your system to boot, but does not always work.

If you cannot do some things, you may be left with whatever recovery utilities Dell gave you to restore your system, which may be a restore to Factory settings.

I tried Startup Repair and System Restore and neither have helped.

I keep trying to back up files using the Dell DataSafe Local Backup that came with my System Recovery Options but just like in Safe Mode, it keeps crashing.

I also tried the SFC system scan, however at 35% completion, it says "Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation".


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The SFC not completing is not a good sign. I can't think of anything for you to do except a re-install, or factory restore.

I had a virus once, change the name of a boot file in my registry. If I would have known then what I know now, I might have been able to change it back, but something like that is very hard to find. What happened to your system seems to be unknown. Possibly corruption, or a virus. But I do not know of a way to repair it without possibly knowing exactly what is wrong.

Someone suggested that I should do a PSA Diagnostics scan.

I did the test and got this error code:

Error Code 2000-0146 Hard Drive self test log contains previous errors

I googled the error code and it seems that there is a problem with my hard drive and I will most likely have to get a new one!

I managed to back up my important files using a Live CD so I'll try doing a factory restore or do a complete re-install but if that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to buy a new hard drive.

Thank you for all your replies.

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