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Windows 7: Boots to blank screen

01 Sep 2014   #1
GregL

Windows 7
 
 
Boots to blank screen

On a Dell Latitude E6400 laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit, after choosing a user account and providing the password, it boots to a completely blank screen except for the mouse, which can be moved around normally.

Same problem with other user accounts. Same problem booting to Safe Mode.

When I press Alt+Ctrl+Del to try to get into Task Manager, nothing happens.

The screen looks normal when booting up; I see Windows starting, and see the normal screen for choosing a user account. It isn't until after choosing the user account that it goes blank.

This laptop was working normally until this morning.

What can I do to troubleshoot this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
01 Sep 2014   #2
GregL

Windows 7
 
 

Update: I tried System Restore and still have the same problem. I tried System Restore twice -- once with the last restore point from when it was working normally, and again with the oldest restore point in the list, which was from about a week and a half ago. Same result in both cases; looks normal until after logging in, and then the screen is blank.

I thought I'd try a repair install but apparently I can't do that because it can only be done from within Windows, and I can't get there.

My wife has files stored in My Documents etc. If I run a clean install of Windows over the old broken Windows, will she lose those files, or lose access to them?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Sep 2014   #3
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

A Clean Install will wipe them. If you don't format, the old install, including all files will be placed in a Windows.old folder off the root of the boot drive.

You would be better off backing up the data first, just in case. Here is a neat way to do copy and paste from your install DVD:
Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console


If you do not have a Windows 7 installation DVD, or it's not up to the Service Pack level currently installed, you can download a legal copy with SP1 integrated from here:

Windows 7 Direct Download Links

Make sure you get the same version you have, Home Premium, Pro or Ultimate and 32 or 64 bit. Note that Basic or Starter is not available.

I recommend using ImgBurn at 4X speed (or the slowest available) to create the DVD from the downloaded .iso file. Just be careful during the install not to accidentally install some of the bundled junk that comes with it. Always take The Custom Install option.

You can do this on any computer capable of burning a DVD.

YOU MUST HAVE A VALID KEY TO INSTALL THIS .ISO.
The one on the COA sticker on your computer will work.
If you are just using the Recovery Console you do not need a key.

You can also create a bootable USB Flash drive (4GB or larger) to install Windows 7 from.
  • Download and run Universal USB Installer Easy as 1 2 3
  • Select Windows 7 from the first drop down list, all the way to the bottom
  • Select the downloaded Windows 7 iso file
  • Select your USB flash drive
  • Click Create
Before doing any of this, please try running chkdsk and sfc from the Recovery Console (WinRE), your install DVD.

How to run chkdsk or System File Checker (SFC) from the Recovery Console
  • Boot your Vista or Windows 7 installation DVD
  • When you see "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD", press Enter.
  • At the "Install Windows" screen, click on Repair your computer at lower left
  • At the System Recovery Options screen, make note of the drive letter assigned to your boot drive (normally C: ) and click Next
  • At the Chose a Recovery Tool window, click on Command Prompt. You will be sitting at X:\Sources directory.
Run chkdsk or SFC
  • If you did not note the drive letter of your boot disk, you can enter bcdedit and look at the osdevice line to see what it is.
  • For chkdsk, type chkdsk c: /r and press Enter (use the letter from above if not C: ).
  • For sfc, type sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows and press Enter (use the letter from above)
  • Let either run to completion undisturbed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

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