Windows 10 Black screen of death


New Member
Jun 17, 2016
Hello and thank you all for any help or ideas. In general, my computer is 'scanning and repairing' drives on startup, then booting into a black screen with cursor. I don't have a pc easily available to install usb boot programs but have tried a couple thus far. Refreshing or restoring are not good options for me because i am afraid i will loose much of my software licensed to me long ago from school, which is more valuable than the computer. Figured Id ask around before taking it in. Here are the details..

HP dv7t-7000 notebook from 2012 running windows 7
Intel core i7-3720QM cpu @2.6ghz
8192 mb ram
Hdd are two ATA
Bios id f.13

6 weeks ago it auto updated to windows 10 build 7600
1 week ago it started having trouble starting up
-i believe it said something about 'initialize error' on startup screen and went into 'windows repair' for some time.
After that on startup it will briefly say 'disk checking' then 'scanning and repairing drive:' d, sometimes c, and (\\?\volume.. then the windows startup login sound but just a black screen with movable cursor.
I had read that this can be a driver issue, so i have tried logging in blind, clicking around, switching the screen projection, and leaving it over night all multiple times to no avail, just the black screen.

Tried multiple cold boots

Booting into safe mode gives me black screen with cursor and safe mode text in the corners but nothing more.
Safe mode with command brings same but with 'hp recovery manager' window which upon exiting only reboots or turns off.

'Hp recovery manager' window cannot find any system restore points even though I created one just days before this began.

Booting into hp advanced system diagnostics: ran multiple start-up, run-in, system tune up, hard disk, memory and battery tests, all came back good.

Booting into advanced system startup: no restore points, tried to roll back to last build but recieved error, system repair yields nothing new. System refreshing or restoring are not my favorite options right now.

(via these instructions: youtub /watch?v=oopiaiVLn9k ) Booted through usb to windows 10 media creation tool, repair my computer, command prompt, commands:
bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy
But i recieved an error

Booted through usb memtest86, ran three times with many passes, found zero errors.

Soon i will try lighting some candles and performing an exorcism.

Hoping to hear something I have overlooked. What do you guys think?
thanks again,
I would first test the disk. Download Seatools for Dos. That is an image of a bootable CD. There are long and short non-destructive tests. Run them all and call back with the results.
Hi ssl89 and welcome to the forum :wave:

I'd agree with both kemical and bochane on what to try first. I might also add to bochane's remark that you should test your hard drive first. It's also a really good idea to FIRST BACKUP ALL YOUR PERSONAL DATA TO EXTERNAL MEDIA BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH FURTHER TROUBLESHOOTING IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY DONE SO!!! Troubleshooting this kind of problem can often result in the necessity to run a W10 repair or reset or even complete W10 reinstallation. In this case, you'd most likely lose all of your licensed programs you mentioned AND most if not all of your personal data (documents, photos, music, videos, movies, E-mails, etc. etc.). o_O

Keep in mind that your HP computer is 4 years old, and hard drives are only built to last 3 years in desktop PCs and only 2 years in laptops. So if you've never had to replace that hard drive in that computer, it's probably a 80% or better chance that's it's currently failing, or has catastrophically failed and that's why you can't repair your W10. :waah: If your hard drive has failed, it's going to be very difficult to reinstall all those licensed programs you got from your school (I'm a retired Teacher myself); but it can be done. I suggest you start gathering all the discs, usb sticks, and url links to Internet download sites and get that ready just in case.

Also, on creating a bootable USB stick with W10 on it; and THIS IS IMPORTANT! Make sure you are not using a SanDisk CruzerGlide USB stick to do this. And yes, they are the inventor of USB flash drive technology and have the top of the line flash drive products. However, recently, a former member and myself uncovered a nasty bug: and that is you cannot create a bootable USB stick using the Microsoft MCT tool and ISO file from their website for either Win10 or Win8.1. It simply doesn't work.:headache: You can use any other brand of USB stick from what we've seen to overcome this glitch. We have tested both PNY and VERBATIM flash drives and they indeed work.:encouragement: Just about nobody else out there, even other Tech Forums are aware of this glitch. And we found it first here on WF! So, you came to the right place.:)

It is possible to do this but it requires expert skills to do so, and you need a non-Microsoft 3rd party program to do so. If you're interested in trying that, post back for a link to instructions.

Hope this proves helpful and saves you some time and frustration.

Best of luck,:encouragement:
<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>> :usa:
Many thank you's kemical, bochane and BIGBEARJEDI.

Seatools finds the drive but displays no 'selected drive information' and does not show a little check next to it, even after highlighting it. Selecting short test, long test, or accoustic test all immediately jump me to a black screen saying:
Thank you for using seatools for dos. A list of test log files is available by typing... ...(seagate boot) D:\>
It seems the seatools short test is a DST (drive self test) which appears to be the same as the short DST found in the HP advance system diagnostics. I cannot confirm if the seatools long test is also a DST, but I have ran the hard disk short DST, long DST and optimized DST through system diagnostics before and all came back good. I will run the long DST on diagnostics again later once the temp cools off out here.

Thanks for the back up warnings. I'v got most data backed up on a large drive on the other side of the country, so mostly software and newer media projects i'm worried about. Interesting find about the Sandisk glitch, I wonder if that will be ironed out in the next batch. Fortunately I have a PNY atm!
windows 10 in place update, pre req number one says:
  • You will only be able to do a repair install of Windows 10 from within Windows 10. You will not be able to do a repair install at boot or in safemode.

As far as I can tell and understand the only way I can get the media tool going is through a usb boot. But it looks like this same process of windows 10 upgrade can be done through the usb boot of media creation tool, hopefully with the same results. In fact someone on another forum recommend I Try the regular upgrade again linking me to the regular upgrade instructions on this forum.

Will run disk DST's and check back incase anyone is sure a usb boot win10 upgrade will wipe my programs.. if not I will give it a go tomorrow.
incase anyone is sure a usb boot win10 upgrade will wipe my programs.. if not I will give it a go tomorrow.
You can choose to either keep them or have them removed via the USB upgrade method:

This Setup routine has a number of steps, but the important one is Choose what to keep. Here, you can choose “Keep personal files and apps,” “Keep personal files only,” or “Nothing.”
The guide below explains your options:
Windows 10 Tip: Successfully Clean Install Windows 10 -

Regarding Post #5; kemical is correct. However, it's not a bad idea to have a local backup that is current (say from today versus last month!) rather than one you did a while back. I doubt you are doing daily backups and storing them on the other side of the county right?

We like the MACRIUM REFLECT Image File Backup software here, there are only 2 others that are also free we have fully tested in W10; and they are:
1.) Acronis TRUEIMAGE
2.) EASUSTodo

I might respectfully suggest that you make a Macrium Image File backup of how that hard drive is now, AND SAVE IT TO AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE prior to attempting a W10 in-place upgrade or any other W10 upgrade or reset or even complete W10 Clean Install. Here's a great tutorial video on how to get started:

Keep us posted. :nerdie:
Thanks BBJ. With Macrium and the others it appears the only way to back up like that is to be logged into the functioning OS. The problem for me is that windows starts up to a black screen with the startup sound heard at log in, but nothing more -- I haven't gotten beyond this yet since this began. Maybe I'm missing something in the video!

Similarly, with the media creation tool booting from usb I get to a point of the upgrade where it wants me to log into the os and reinsert the usb to start again. I figured I would give it a try from the black screen but since then, it boots into a loop starting with 'preparing automatic repair', the blue troubleshoot page, and then me turning it off.

Many, many thanks for the support guys. I am wondering if the manual selection backup of programs and files on hp recovery manager will give me any advantage in keeping old programs and licenses! After that I'm about ready to throw in the towel until I have time and money to look into hardware replacement.

It is possible to do this but it requires expert skills to do so, and you need a non-Microsoft 3rd party program to do so. If you're interested in trying that, post back for a link to instructions.

Was this another process seperate from what you posted with Macrium?

Ok, ssl89, thanks for your answers back.

Yes, you are right about Macrium not working unless you can get to the OS first, and then creating your Rescue Media disc and the backup Image file onto external hard drive. We need to fix your W10 problem first. In that case we still don't have a clear picture of your hardware environment, as you only gave us partial specs on your computer. We need more please!

What Make/Model are each of your 2 SATA hard drives?? This will enable us to help you figure out what you need to do to test them. Since your laptop is only booting to black screen it may be more difficult to test these drives using that computer; you may need to remove the hard drives one at a time from the laptop and test them in another working computer; either desktop PC or another laptop that's capable of booting Windows. It can be any version of Windows from XP-W10. We just need one that we know is working to test the hard drives. Next, even if the HP diagnostic APPEARS to be the same as SEATOOLS; do not rely on it. Experience shows that manufacturer's internal diagnostics are not reliable.:noway: Period. You need to follow our instructions for testing please.

In order to test each of your hard drives we need to know does that laptop have 2 internal hard drives? yes or no? In any case, we really only need to worry about which drive is being used by Windows as your C: bootdrive. Let's test that drive first, and verify it's ok, and then you can repeat the test on the 2nd hard drive later. Also, if your laptop does have 2 internal hard drives; you should have never attempted the W10 upgrade from W7 on a 2-drive system!! :noway:That's a big no-no in Windows troubleshooting. None of us Techs here do a multi-drive or even multi-peripheral upgrade on an OS without first disconnecting all secondary internal and external (USB) drives and devices such as printers, webcams, etc.

Next, you'll need to buy one of these little SATA-USB adapter kits in order to properly test your laptop bootdrive; that was the drive that original had your Win7 on it as factory configured. Here's the link for that kit which is under $20 US:
Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter
This is very simple to use; you plug in the hard drive you wish to test into the SATA connector and then plug the USB end cable into a working Windows computer as described above. From there, you can download the SEATOOLS for Windows program and run in windows, or use the USB stick which has the SEATOOLS for DOS on it. That computer will need at least 3 USB ports to run the test if you use the SEATOOLS for DOS on USB stick. Test the drive as I described, run both short and long tests to completion. If SEATOOLS returns any errors; that drive has failed and it must be replaced!!:waah:
If you don't have another drive on hand and don't want to wait to go buy another one; use that 2nd internal drive you had and test that using the same method I described in this paragraph above. If that 2nd drives fails SEATOOLS also, then you'll have to buy at least 1 new hard drive for that laptop in order to get any Windows OS working on it, W7 or W10, etc.

You'll also want this link with more information on testing multiple brands of hard drives; as some hard drives won't properly pass the SEATOOLS test. Here's that link:
Hard Drive Diagnostic Procedure

If the original bootdrive hard drive passes SEATOOLS or one of the other diagnostics mentioned in the John Carrona link above, we can proceed to the next step.

The next thing to do here that's easiest is to reinsert that original bootdrive back into the laptop, MAKING CERTAIN YOU DON'T PUT BACK THAT 2ND INTERNAL DRIVE IF IT INDEED HAS ONE!!

Now, use the USB stick you made with the MCT tool from the Microsoft site. (you'll like this next part!). Get a hold of that plug it into the USB port on your laptop and change your boot order in your BIOS to boot from the W10 USB stick. Run the Clean Install option. When the Install program asks for your Windows license key, just skip it, as your laptop will connect to the Internet (it's best to use an Ethernet cable connected directly from the Ethernet port on your laptop (RJ45 plug) and your wifi router or your broadband modem, cable modem or dsl modem). If you don't have a cable handy, you can use the built-in wifi inside your laptop, but you will need to have your wifi password handy and if your laptop has a physical switch to enable/disable it's wifi, you must have it turned on. On most modern laptops, the wifi switch has been removed. In lieu of that, they usually use a Function key 2-key combo to enable/disable the internal wifi, such as <Fn Key + F7>. You should consult your HP owner's manual for the exact keystroke combo.

In any case, the W10 install program will attempt to connect to your existing wifi network either through your wifi router or through a broadband modem combo unit that contains a built-in wifi capability. Connecting to the Internet through your wifi is NOT the preferred method of installation for W10, but it will work as long as you don't have a laptop with the physical switch and it is disabled. W10 does need to connect to the Internet, however, so without a proper Internet connection, the W10 install will fail! :eek::waah:

That is why I am mentioning all this, and using the preferred method of connecting to the Internet with a physical Ethernet cable. Many of my Customer's attempt this W10 install with a wifi connection and it often fails, or their laptop won't take the W10 install program's instructions to enable the wifi and connect.

Now that you understand this part of it, you need to understand that when the W10 install program continues, it will check the Activation Servers at Microsoft for your license key, a special key that they saved for your on their computers that showed you already upgraded from the licensed Win7 that original came with your laptop from the factory, and now your W10 can be completed; it may take several hours for that to happen with lots updates screens and multiple reboots. At the end of the entire process, once W10 comes up and you decide whether to have a W10 Local Login or create a W10 Microsoft Account login that gives you access to the MS store, when you go the This PC or System and check your computer details, the Windows Activation section will show that your copy of W10 is Genuine!! This is very important to know. ;)

Once this is done, I would suggest you determine the health of that 2nd hard drive, if you haven't already done so. If it failed SEATOOLS, of course it must be replaced prior to putting it back into your laptop! o_O If it passed on the other hand, go ahead and reinstall into your laptop. If the BIOS recognizes it on bootup, the drive should also be seen by W10. If it doesn't you'll have to use the Windows DISKMGMT utility to reformat that drive, and then W10 can use it once it's properly recognized.

At this point, your laptop should now be working properly! :up: With one or both drives.

Rebuild your W10, install your web updates such as Adobe & Java; your apps, and a 3rd party antivirus if you have one (or you can use Windows Defender, built into W10 for free). Then you can get your Macrium downloaded and installed; create your Rescue Media, and create your backup Image file to an external hard drive as we discussed previously. If either or both of your internal laptop hard drives every fail catastrophically, you can replace the bad drive, boot your Macrium Rescue Disk and restore your Image backup file from your external hard drive where you originally saved it to, and be back up and running in a couple of hours! :encouragement:

This is a lot of work, so it's not a 5 minute deal here! I urge you to print out this entire Post on another working computer you have access to either in your home or a friend's or family member's and re-read it and follow it step by step. If you do this, there is a like a 99% chance it will work.:up: If it doesn't you may have a bricked Motherboard in that laptop; but we'll get to that bridge when we cross it.

Post back the details of those 2 hard drives for us, and let us know how it goes. It may take you several days to go through all these tests and procedures. If you get stuck again, we are always here 24x7x365, so if I don't reply immediately, one of the other guys will jump in and help.

Hang in there, we'll get to the bottom of your problem. :D


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