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Windows 7: Black Screen On Boot After Windows Update

17 May 2010   #1

Windows7 x64 Pro
Black Screen On Boot After Windows Update

Welcome all, first post, been lurking for a while. I need some advice now.

My problem started yesterday, woke up in the morning and woke up my computer - it ran for about 20 seconds and then locked up. Keyboard or mouse input did nothing, so I hard restarted. The system tried to run a disk check on reboot, which I skipped, but then booted to the infamous Black Screen of Death, all I had was a mouse cursor. I was able to get the sticky keys screen to pop up, but nothing else; I was unable to bring up Task Manager, System Properties, or any windows.

Rebooting and letting the disk check run found some errors, corrected them, but did not solve the black screen problem.

Booting into Safe Mode produced the exact same problem.

Booting to the Windows CD and running repair did not solve the problem, performing a system restore also did not solve the problem (last system restore point was at a critical system update on the 12th, the system had not been shut down since then).

With no other options I formatted the drive and reinstalled Windows. Everything went fine and by yesterday afternoon I had a nice new install of Windows. Woke up this morning and the system was still fine, Windows Update popped up saying a restart was needed to finish a critical system update. Since the OS install was less than a day old, I didn't think anything of it. The system went down, installed the update, on reboot Windows ran through a disk check, found and corrected errors, rebooted again, and then booted to a Black Screen of Death.

I really don't know what to do right now. I figure I can format and reinstall again, then disable automatic updates, but that's not really a viable long-term solution. Or maybe there's something other than the system update that causing the problem? I'm not sure what to do.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

OS is Win7 x64 Pro running on an AMD FX-60 system.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


First, please run these bootable hardware diagnostics:
H/W Diagnostics:
Please start by running these bootable hardware diagnostics:
Memory Diagnostics (read the details at the link)
HD Diagnostic (read the details at the link)
Also, please let us know how you installed drivers after installing Windows.
If it wasn't the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website, then it's probably caused by an older driver.
Please let us know the exact make and model of the motherboard
Also, please let us know the exact make and model of any other hardware that was installed on the system.

Usually you can fix this by downloading the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website (not from the PC manufacturer or Microsoft) and installing them PRIOR to visiting Windows Update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2010   #3

Windows7 x64 Pro

Thanks for the reply!

I've been working on the system a bit in the last few days and not posting updates here. Quick summary:

IBM's DFT Advanced Test and Exerciser run - no errors.

WD DLG-DIAG Full Scan run - no errors.

MemTest86+ run for over 9 hours - no errors.

I've been spending much of my free time reinstalling Windows and then installing updates, drivers, and software in various orders with restarts between to try to find an order to the boot crashes. I've borked 7 installs of Windows now, and I've yet to find any sort of rhyme or reason to what will kill it.

PSU is my top suspect right now, but I'm really not sure what to make of this.

MoBo is an ASUS A8N-SLI Premium, AMD Athlon FX-60 CPU, 3GB PC400 RAM, Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX+ graphics card, WD RE2 500GB SATA HDD, ASUS SATA DVD/CD-RW Drive (don't know specifics off the top of my head), Antec 500W PSU.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 May 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


You've passed the hardware tests
You've installed the drivers in the correct order
There's not much left other than hardware causes.

FYI - most problems are solved by the original poster, with us just providing suggestions to help point the way.
I'd pay attention to your thoughts about the PSU.

Try this free stress test to see if it helps point out any issues:
Try this free stress test: Free Software - GIMPS
Prime95 Setup:
- extract the contents of the zip file to a location of your choice
- double click on the executable file
- select "Just stress testing"
- select the "Blend" test. If you've already run MemTest overnight you may want to run the "Small FFTs" test instead.
- "Number of torture test threads to run" should equal the number of CPU's times 2 (if you're using hyperthreading).
The easiest way to figure this out is to go to Task Manager...Performance tab - and see the number of boxes under CPU Usage History
Then run the test for 6 to 24 hours - or until you get errors (whichever comes first).
The Test selection box and the stress.txt file describes what components that the program stresses.
If it's the PSU, you can help figure it out by removing anything that isn't necessary (and disabling anything not necessary in the BIOS). If it is the PSU, this reduced drain on the system will allow it to go longer between problems.

For example, once Windows is installed, remove the CD/DVD drive (disconnect both cables).
If you have a modem, remove it. If you have a storage hard drive (not the one with the OS) - disconnect it
Any other devices in the PCI/PCIe slots - remove 'em (if the mobo has built in video, remove the video card to help with the testing). Any devices in the USB/1394/other external connections - remove 'em.
etc, etc, etc - the more that you can remove, the more easily you'll be able to verify if it's the PSU or not.

Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2010   #5

Windows7 x64 Pro

Thanks, I'll run GIMPS as soon as I get home from work.

The main thing that throws doubt on my PSU theory, in my mind, is that I've never suffered any kind of error while the system was up. So far every single system failure has happened the exact same way - I manually restart and the system reboots to a black screen. The only variation is sometimes Windows will check the HDD for errors before it boots to a black screen and sometimes it will check the disk for errors and then boot normally.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2010   #6

Windows7 x64 Pro

I've been able to run GIMPS just fine without errors.

This windows install is developing odd errors though: the browser won't load webpages anymore and any game I play CTDs within 10 minutes with "this application has stopped unexpectedly" and "Windows is searching for problems" dialog boxes.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP


I'd suggest backing up your stuff, wiping the hard drive, then reinstalling Windows "clean"
- no other software than that which comes with Windows
- you can use the Microsoft Security Essentials program for protection while testing
- get all critical Windows Updates
- check Device Manager to ensure all devices are installed - if not, right click on them and select "Update driver software". If you must install 3rd party stuff, please check back here first.

That'll rule out problems with 3rd party stuff - and will give you the most stable Windows installation possible. If it still gives problems, then it's gotta be hardware (with the video being the most likely).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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