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Windows 7: Blackest Screen of Death?

14 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Blackest Screen of Death?

Hello you sexy, sexy smart people.

I'm not a tech noob by any means, but ... most of said experience is with XP. Ive beaten back a foe or two when proper error screens came in color, but I seem to have encountered a problem that the net hasn't addressed yet ... or it's just got me so frustrated I can't tell the difference between a hardware/software fail ...

Here are the facts:

HP Pavillion P6230y
W7 Home Premium x64
amd phenom II x4 810
8gb ddr3
ati radeon hd4200
750gb seagate h.d.
pci-e 16x dell monitor
stock keyboard and mouse
This is a stock desktop cpu, no equipment being changed in or out, no dual boots or separate OS installations.

For no apparent reason thus far, the machine cannot load past a white flashing cursor on a black screen. The load-up process inconsistently starts with 1. boot diagnostic screen 2. occasionally goes to a blue HP start (esc=boot drives; f9=diagnostic; f10=setup; f11=recovery) 3. raid devices 4. hangs at cursor, sometimes going black, then back to the cursor.

Surely there must be a way to fix this?

1. Start it in Safe Mode or Recovery Mode!
Tried, but hitting the f6/f8/ f11/del/f2/shift keys at start-up are unresponsive.

2. Run the diagnostic!

Fails when testing the boot path (if not further along, as well). Error code: "BIOHD-4 - Uninitialized/Corrupt Boot Structure Detected". Similar to this case, but ... Vista can be fixed?

3. Boot from a disc, run a chkdsk or fixboot!

Tested W7 home pre disc will not boot. Hitting 'esc' successfully brings up the boot menu, but goes straight to BSOD regardless.

4. Did you get into the BIOS Set-Up and make sure the disc drive is initializing before the HD?
Yes, and still the only way to prompt the "insert a disc/hit key to restart" screen is by deactivating the HD port. Not very useful, and I'm starting to get worried...

I don't hear any beeps or noises at start-up to indicate a hardware problem. But still ... Is this a dead drive? A fried motherboard? Software based?

I've been a loudmouth about how great Windows7 has been ... Experts, I implore you ... don't leave me yearning for previous OS's and that familiar blue screen!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2011   #2

Windows 10 Pro x64

Hi NoneMoreBSOD welcome to the forums

Can I just ask, you say you tried booting from a Home Premium disk, what sort of disk is it? Was it a retail disk, or a disk that came from the OEM (HP)?

I wouldn't like to stake my life on it, but it sounds like a corrupt MBR, although the fact that the DVD drive won't boot is slightly worrying as you say. If it's an OEM disk though, I may have an explanation for that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hi severed, thanks. I dig yr warlock, I've got a wh revenge bass (but that usually only comes out around halloween).

This machine was purchased from a big-box store, and as such came with no disc. Only the as-yet hypothetical "recovery console". I believe I also neglected to mention in the previous post that this machine has been cleanly working (more or less) flawlessly for over a year.

Initial booting was done with a ... 'procured' copy of w7 home premium x64. Tested and verified on another machine. As that's clearly not proper troubleshooting, I tracked down a friend with a full retail copy. Still goes to cursor, unless hd is deactivated. The disc drive does light up, sounds like it's moving. I will see if I can track down an appropriate HP version.

A corrupt mbr? I haven't taken any walks through the registry ... or is that located in the motherboard or CMOS?

Again, infinitely grateful for any help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64

The MBR is the first segment of the hard disk, it is the last thing the BIOS loads after performing the POST and before handing over to the bootloader. It holds details of the bootloader and the OS, so that your computer knows how to boot.

I redact my previous statement, although it could be a MBR problem, (the flashing cursor would suggest it's finding something, or it would say "No OS installed" but can't read it) I wonder whether it is in fact a HDD problem.

Would it be possible to try swapping in an alternative (blank if possible) HDD to see whether it allows you to boot from the disk like that? In the meantime, I'll try and get a bit of interest in this thread going from some people who probably know a bit more about this than I do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Thanks again, severed.

In the next few hours I will purchase an as-near-identical drive to swap into the machine. This seems like the next/only step. I'm not even opposed to wiping the drive and doing a clean install ... but I'm uncertain of how to do that without the capability to initialize from a disc.

And to answer possible forthcoming questions - Yes, everything seems to be mechanically connected properly, and No, unfortunately I don't have the system capability to boot from a USB either.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hello Again.

Problem still unresolved.

A new, clean HD has been placed into the machine. Recognized by the bios, still going to the blackest screen of death. Interestingly, the old hard-drive was placed into an xp x64 machine as a second drive, and not only was it instantly recognized, but all of the data was perfectly intact!

I've tried a horde of w7 installation/reboot discs on both of these drives. Nothing recognizes/initializes. Just as I was about to give up (utterly), I accidentally placed an XP sp2 Dell disc into the machine ... and it boots for both drives.

Granted, this isn't very useful on a W7 HP machine. It runs through the common files for a few minutes until "starting windows", where it goes to a wonderful and familiar blue screen of death. Again, hardly unexpected, as this is a dell disc in an hp machine...

Which brings me to my final point. Regardless of whatever happened to this machine that's still undetermined, my biggest aggravation here is seemingly the dumbing-down of repair functionality. I'm not sure where blame for this lies, but common sense says it's shared ground between some of W7's less-than-admirable changes and what conceivably appears to be a fierce proprietary blockade on HP's part.

A proper OS repair/installation disc should have been included in the purchase, as the "recovery console" seems to utterly worthless. Does anyone else think I may have to break down and purchase an actual official "recovery disc" from HP specifically suited to this model?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2011   #7

Windows 10 Pro x64

Hi again NoneMoreBSOD.

Ok, so we've ruled out Hard drive corruption, that's something at least.

My next port of call would be to go back to the MBR theory. Would it perhaps be possible to try and boot the suspect drive in the XP machine? I know chances are it won't work epecially well, (Im assuming the XP machine has low specs, especially as it is an OEM machine) but I'm interested in whether it will boot. Also it will tell you that Windows 7 is not genuine, because it doesn't have the right certificates, (again nothing to worry about, we know it's not supposed to be in there)

Basically, if it doesn't: MBR problem (which can be fixed)
If it does: Machine problem, most likely CD drive, (which again, is a PITA, but can be at least partially fixed)

A proper OS repair/installation disc should have been included in the purchase, as the "recovery console" seems to utterly worthless. Does anyone else think I may have to break down and purchase an actual official "recovery disc" from HP specifically suited to this model?
Agree about the recovery console. I have had this debate a few times recently, in my mind it's just irresponsible. (and for the record, the blame squarely lies with Microsoft there, they are asking OEM's to link the recovery console to their recov. partitions)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2011   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hello again, the internet.

Problem still unresolved. Apologies for the delay, but my overnight-ed set of recovery discs from HP were lost for two weeks by FedEx. Should I ever fix this issue, I will be summarily be eaten by a flaming lion, being struck by lightning.

I suspected the 'suspect' drive wasn't the culprit when I plugged it in as a secondary and all the data was fine. Partially loading from it confirms it.

Furthermore, after installing a new drive and pulling install files from the 3 discs, it restarts & goes to the blackest screen with flashing cursor when attempting to load them(?).

I am currently trying to use this tutorial already provided by sevenforums to run a fixmbr/fixboot/fixanything ... but am ashamed to say ... I can't figure out how to boot to command prompt? I know DOS is gone (don't understand why...) but can't get past a wall of HP screens.

Basically, I boot on the 'old' drive - i am forced to shuttle between five frustrating discs. After finally getting to the menu which probably should have a 'boot' command on it, I'm left with 5 commands:
1. Run Computer Check-Up - Hardware Diagnostic Utility by PC Doctor (passed, useless)
2.Microsoft Start-Up Repair (goes through it, black screens)
3. Restore to a Previous State (inapplicable)
4. File backup program (inapplicable)
5. Reset & Erase Drive (nooooo thank you)

Am I missing something?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Well, well, well.

This issue has been solved. Determined to be a W7 problem, exacerbated by HP redtape.

After booting into BS proprietary HP recovery console, have your cat stand on alt + d - this will bring up the command prompt.

From there, delete the BCD, rebuild the BCD, run FixMBR, run FixBoot. Act like nothing ever happened while setting up a recovery partition...

3 cheers to SeveredSolo for his help. I truly appreciate your seemingly universal support for problems small and large. I owe you a drink!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2011   #10

Windows 10 Pro x64

Hi NoneMoreBSOD,

Glad to hear it's resolved

How did you create the recov. partition? Did you use my tutorial? (just curious )

Your very welcome, I'm just sorry I couldn't be of more help
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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