Completely black screen after windows format

Hi all,

I've just used HP Recovery from boot up (F11) to begin a reinstallation of windows 7 on an HP Pavillion dv7.

The Recovery process began, and went through formatting the disc to 100%, but after re-booting, all I get is a completely black screen. Nothing at all appears on the screen, not even an HP logo or a flashing cursor.

I have tried booting to the BIOS using F2, I've also tried re-booting to F11 (the Recovery screen), as well as giving F6 and F8 a go, and also tried the Esc button. All of these options are to no avail, I have nothing on my screen but blackness.

I can hear the fan starting up, and an attempt is seemingly made to reach the DVD Drive, as that spins briefly as well, but then nothing. The fan remains running, but there's absolutely nothing on my screen but blackness. It's almost as if the VGA screen is not working.

I did not make recovery discs prior to attempting the Recovery, which in hindsight was stupid, but its done now :(

Advice please?



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Hi there, and welcome to the Forum: View media item 647
Can you tell us why you had to reinstall your Windows7 on your Pavilion laptop?

There are 4 problems that typically cause a blank screen problem on laptops:
1) Failed laptop battery
2) Failed LCD panel display screen
3) Failed embedded graphics chip on the Main board
4) Faulty hard drive

The easiest things to do are swapping external components around to troubleshoot which problem you have. Of course you could also take to your local Computer Pro and pay a Tech to diagnose for you. Make sure you get a written estimate for the repair (parts & labor) after the diagnosis.

To do yourself start here:
For #1): shut off the laptop MAINS power by unplugging your AC adapter from the Wall Socket. remove the laptop battery. plug in the AC adapter back into the Wall socket. If the display comes back, you have a faulty battery, and it must be replaced. Decent replacement batteries can be had for $65-$85 US online.

For #2): borrow or buy an external flat screen LCD monitor (you can use an old CRT if you have one laying around, but LCD isbest), and plug into the VGA video port on the side or rear of the laptop. You may have to use a switching-key sequence such as <Fn-key+F5> or <Ctrl-F7> key while the laptop is booting up to tell the laptop you wish to use an external display source (the LCD or CRT) to display all information on instead of the internal LCD panel display. If the laptop now displays on the external Monitor, you have bad LCD panel screen and it must be replaced. This is best to have done buy a repair shop if you've never done it yourself before.

For #3): If the result of Test #2 above is that you get no display on the external monitor (no bootup flash screen showing HP logo; we call that the "splash screen" or the Windows login screen or BIOS), then the embedded graphics chip on your Main board is toast. This means a very expensive Main Board replacement; typically $175-$400 or more in the US; up to $1500 or more if outside the US. That graphics chip is soldered (hardwired) into the Main Board circuitry and cannot be replaced by normal means.

For #4): The hard drive needs to be tested and or replaced. You can download the free SEATOOLS drive diagnostic from Instructions for making a bootable test DVD or USB stick with the SEATOOLS program on it are on their site. Once you boot from either media (DVD or USB) and run SEATOOLS, make sure you run both the short and long versions of the test. If SEATOOLS returns errors, your hard drive has failed and must be replaced!

Note on #4: If you find your Hard Drive has indeed failed, you can remove it from the laptop with a few screws (download free users manual from and it will show you how and where to do this), and replace the hard drive yourself. New hard drives depending on capacity and type are often under $100 on ebay or amazon. Most shops in the US charge $140-$200 for the replacement and Windows reload. Since you don't have the Recovery Discs and used the Recovery Partition, expect this to be more. Set your faulty hard drive aside to attempt Data Recovery if you didn't remember to backup your personal data either. Post back for instructions on how to do that. You can also pay to have the Data Recovery done on that bad drive; that runs from about $35-$250 or so depending on how badly the hard drive is physically damaged.

Further note: It's never a good idea to attempt a Windows factory Recovery from a built-in drive parition without the Recovery Discs you forgot to make; in Computers over 2 years old, the hard drives have often begun to fail or have completely failed, in which case the files on the built-in Recovery Partition cannot be read back properly due to read sector error corruption, and therefore they get stuck during the reinstall process, as happened to you. The Recovery partition should only be run upon testing the hard drive for full functionality, as that process only works about 30% of the time even with a good hard drive. Of course, most home users wouldn't know this; but you do now. This same caution is why you should NEVER attempt a factory Recovery or Reset WITHOUT BACKING UP ALL YOUR PERSONAL DATA (DOCUMENTS, PHOTOS, MUSIC, VIDEOS, EMAILS) TO EXTERNAL MEDIA FIRST!!

These are the most common remedies to your problem. Give them a try and let us know how it turns out.

Best of luck,:computer:

Last edited:

Firstly thanks very much for responding!

As to your question, why did I need to reinstall?

The laptop was given to me by a work colleague who had previously attempted to format and reinstall windows, but had somehow messed up the process so that a it would no longer boot into windows at all, so I figured my only option was to try the process again from the beginning. I booted to the HP Recovery programme and successfully ran the format to 100%, at which point the laptop wanted to re-boot. It was getting late so I powered off at that point and started it up again in the morning only to discover the problem described above.

I've now completed 1) of your 4 suggestions above, but after removing the battery the display does NOT come back.

Options 2) and 3) which you've provided will need to wait till I borrow an LCD display. However if it's going to cost much, then it isn't worth me laying out the cash as the laptop isn't worth that much to me.

I think your suggestion of taking it to a local computer expert is my next option.

I will respond again when I see how that goes.

Thanks again


So I borrowed an LCD monitor last night and tried both of the switching-key sequences you mentioned above, without success, i.e. the laptop did not switch its display to the the external Monitor.

I'm left now with only with options 3) and 4)

If I'm reading your message correctly then it would seem that the embedded graphics chip on your Main board is indeed "toast"?

One other thing that I forgot to mention, the original owner of the laptop told me that the he'd been having trouble with the fan constantly running, making the laptop very loud all the time, and that even so it was still on occasion overheating and shutting down unexpectedly. The fan had been replaced under warranty 2 years previously for exactly that same issue. At that point it had been under a year old.

I did notice during the format process the fan had been purring away very loudly right from boot up, and that the left side was very very hot. Knowing what I know now it seems a reasonable assumption that the main board has been damaged by overheating.

In light of all this do you think its still worth taking it to someone locally? Or am I certainly looking at spending more than the laptop is worth?


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