Boot Problem (Blank Screen & Cursor Only)



It worked. Thanx. But can it be solved permanently?

I got this last Friday. Turned my laptop on - everything seemed to be normal. Entered my account password - and after the blue "Welcome" screen, at the moment when the desktop should appear, all I got was a black screen with the mouse cursor.

I tried all accounts, safe mode, quite a few reboots.

Tried F8 (recovery utility).

Boot repair didn't find anything. Memory check was ok. "Last known good configuration" didn't help. System restore point didn't help.

In the end, I managed to copy all of my files to an external HD via the command prompt using a nice tool called "robocopy" (see Wikipedia or google for it). If you use robocopy, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST or you'll end up with a big mess in the destination directory, or subfolders in the directory which you are copying will not get copied. This is the syntax I used, for example:

robocopy C:\Users\Daniel\Documents G:\a\Documents1 /COPYALL /E

Note that this is only going to work if you previously installed an external HD on your system. If you didn't, bad luck. I tried it at work (the problem occurred at work) with a colleague's external HD.

Using the "diskpart" utility, with the "list disk" command I could see it, but with "list volume" I couldn't. Using my own external HD at home, that one did appear with "list volume".

After backing up all of my files, I did a full system recovery. Unfortunately, on Toshiba laptops, you lose all content on the main partition (C:) of your HD. On my newest laptop, the secondary partition's data does get spared; on my older (8 months) laptop, it gets erased also.

I suspect the cause to be some kind of virus (though it's weird that Avira didn't catch it; Avira tends to be pretty good). I hadn't installed any new software (or hardware) recently. So really, I have no idea what caused this...



Vista sucks!

no one has an answer not even techs have the answer. I have a perfect solution! remove vista, clear partition and get XP then wait until microsoft fixes their crap and maybe you could then use vista appropriately. until further notice I will keep my windows XP OS and throw my 32-bit business vista in the incinerator.

Screw you microsoft, perhaps you should have tested your "new" OS before marketing it to the public. Then and maybe then a large percentage of us wouldnt have to deal with it.


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
In several of the cases above, a licensed copy of vista will solve the problem. It's built in Pirate protection.

Hi, try to disable the service "Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)"
using msconfig, that solved the black screen problem for me.

When I got this problem with a black screen after welcome,
I run msconfig and disabled all start up programs and all services,
and the problem disappeared.
Then i enabled all start up programs and still no problem.
After that I enabled all services and the problem came back.
I disabled all services again, and started to enable them about
20 a time. About half way through the list I found the one that caused
my black screen problem. It was "Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)"
I left it disabled and enabled all other services.
The black screen problem has not come back.

Some additional info;
I´m not using the Vista side panel.
If the side panel is set to turn on at login, it seems the WIA service is started by it,
and the black screen problem occurs again.
The fix is more accurately:
1) From the controll panel turn off the auto start of the side panel.
2) Using msconfig, disable the service "Windows Immage Acquisition (WIA)".

My solution

This solved it for me. Mine actually started with a missing or corrupt winload.exe. After repairing that. I had the black screen with a moveable cursor nothing else worked. chkdsk /r fixes all kinds of XP probs so I tried it. Went through a LOAD of screens, took a couple hours. After this ran is when the blank screen issue started. I could see my hard drive going like crazy when I would get to that point so I knew it was TRYING at least.

Solution for me.
I loaded vista onto another drive I had then booted up and took a look at the other drive. When I double clicked it I had no permissions. I right clicked, when into security and took ownership of everything then I went into the permissions and added the everyone group with full permissions and let it run. Took about 30 mins or so but I have 240 gigs of stuff on there. After that unplugged the new drive, restarted and viola. HOpe that helps someone. If you need help with permissions etc that should be easy enough to google. If you think it's dumb to require some additional hardware then you haven't worked on computers enough. Having a spare hard drive, ram etc is the same as having a screwdriver and hammer around the house.

I have seen this 3 times in the last two days: windows startup progress bar, then a cursor on a blank bg, none of the keyboard options work.

my solution (the squeamish should look away now):

find an install disk
install to a new folder on the hard drive (I use windows2), DO NOT use the "format diak" option
you will get a warning about instability for mult. installations on one drive, ignore it
set up the new install
copy the files from the old "my documents" folders

job's done, get paid
works in both xp and vista, no clue what causes this

Did anyone try changing there ram? I've heard in some instances this works. please advise as a friend of mine has the same issue.

I work for a fairly large PC Repair company and have seen this problem a lot, especially in the past few months. The ONLY resolution to this problem in Windows Vista has been to reinstall the OS. Repair installs don't work and neither do system restores.

If you can boot into safe mode successfully then usually it means there is a driver issue, most often graphics driver related.

If you can do ctrl alt del and switch users and it work, that problem is unrelated.

So far the powers that be at Microsoft haven't found a resolution to the issue. I hope this saves you some time in your repairs.

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