Windows 7 hanging at login screen

Hi all,
I am new to the forums and I'm here out of desperation.

I bought my wife a Dell Inspiron Zino HD with Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled about 3 years ago. It has been working well since, with a few hiccups here and there.

Three days ago it started behaving really badly: it would boot normally up to the welcome screen, but when I click on one of the users icons it simply stays there with the rotating icon forever. It won't even show me the usual box to insert the password.
If I boot to a safe mode (no matter which) it boots without problems, but I see nothing wrong with either the device drivers or anything else.

I tried a registry clean, I tried to go back to a couple previous restore points, all without success.

Tonight I found this thread which seemed relevant, so I tried the solution outlined in this post.
After applying the steps (disabling WMI and renaming the directory) I was able for the first time to get the password box when clicking on my user icon in the welcome screen. But after typing my password and pressing enter, I got again the eternally rotating icon screen.

One thing to note is that I cannot even choose the shutdown button (lower right corner in the welcome screen): it will change to the "shutting down" screen and hang there forever.

Another thing: I have a job scheduled at 1:00 AM every night that does a backup of all user directories to a NAS. It starts even if no user is logged in, but now it isn't starting anymore (I can see it because no data gets sent to the NAS).

The computer has a maintenance partition which hosts a few testing tools. I ran all the test a few times, but everything looks OK in the HW.

It _seems_ the problems started with an automatic update firing during the night three days ago, but even going back to a previous restore point does not cure the problem.

I have visited a lot of thread on various forums and I'm really out of ideas now. Can someone help me out please?

Thank you in advance.



Noob Whisperer
Hello Chris and welcome to the forum.
If the system boots fine in safemode then it is likely that there is an application, process or service running at startup that is resulting in your problem.
Try this first;
Grab a blank CD and this program What is Windows Defender Offline? (get the correct version for your architecture 32 or 64 bit). Double click the program and it will create a bootable CD for you that will allow you to perform a FULL system scan of your computer independent of the OS.
Keep us posted

thank you very much for your prompt reply.
I downloaded the tool and did a FULL system scan yesterday, with no results (i.e. system is clean).
In the meantime I also uninstalled my graphics card driver, since I suspected this driver to be misbehaving, but unfortunately this did not made any difference (apart from the fact that obviously I cannot use the higher resolution modes now).
Any other suggestion?



Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The indications you describe would seem to be caused by a driver or perhaps part of the registry has become corrupt.

Have you tried booting using the Last Know Good Configuration option?

If you can start in Safe Mode, you should be able to use MSconfig.exe to trouble shoot the situation. The General tab is for excluding certain types of items. By selecting different options, you might be able to pin down which one is causing a problem. The Services tab can be used by first selecting "Hide all Microsoft services" then unchecking the remaining items in some manner to troubleshoot. The Startup tab can be used also to deselect certain startup items. Some utilities may not run in Safe Mode, but hopefully this one will.

When you remove a device from the Device Management panel, you may be given the option to remove all versions of its driver. In some cases, that will help get Windows reset.

Has your hard drive been making any strange noises lately?

And of course, it never hurts to run a system file check from an administrative command prompt. Again, I am not sure if it can be run from Safe Mode, but try to open a command prompt and type SFC /scannow and let it finish and post back if it shows any files that cannot be repaired. If it will not run from the command prompt, try starting the command window by going to the Start Menu, All Programs, Accessories and right click command window and select "Run as Admin".

Thank you for your help SaltGrass.
I tried the "Last Known Good Configuration" boot option without success.
I also tried the "SFC /scannow" command, with nothing anomalous found.
Next step is trying msconfig.exe as you suggested. Will keep you posted.

Thank you!


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
You hint at a suspicion that it was the possible result of recent updates? You could try this for starters.
Open Control Panle - Programs and features, and click the (Top Left) "View installed updates" select back to the suspicious day - "three nights ago" and uninstall the updates.
Another idea might be that, whilst in safe mode, if able, create another user and try logging in to that user after a reboot. It might enable you to see what is going on with the other users profiles. I would reccomend that you do it this way:

Open a command prompt(Run as Administrator.

Type the following command and enter.
net user administrator /active

Now log off and see if you can log on as Admin - this will give you more power over subsequent alteration to the other users folders.

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