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Windows 7: Windows are black, start menu doesn't work

29 Apr 2015   #1

Windows 7 Premium 64 bit
Windows are black, start menu doesn't work

Very recently I began encountering an issue where, randomly, windows will stop appearing as they should. If I open task manager, Steam, Firefox, etc, the contents of the window will appear as black. The top bar and borders around the window will appear, however everything inside the window will be black. Additionally, the start menu does not display any options. To make matters more confusing, any windows already open BEFORE encountering this bug will continue to work. So, if Firefox was opened before encountering the issue, it will work just fine. However any window opened after this point will appear as black. Since I was unable to save screenshots, I have attached pictures of the issue.

In the picture you can see Firefox open and working just fine. However, I noticed the problem when a Steam notification appeared as a black box. You may also notice that the task bar does not show any open windows. You can also see how the start menu has stopped functioning.

System info:
I have updated my graphics drivers to the latest version. Windows is also up to date.

Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
Intel i5 2500k Sandy Bridge
2x4GB DDR3 1600MHz G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage
1 WD Velociraptor 300GB SATA 3GB/s
1 Seagate Barracuda 750GB SATA 3GB/s
1 WD Black 2TB
2 EVGA GTX 570 HD in SLI
Silverstone OP850 - 850W PSU
Super Writemaster DVD drive.

The only significant change before I started encountering this problem was updating the graphics drivers, however that at least 1 week before I encountered the issue. However, the other day windows notified me that the graphics drivers crashed but fully recovered. I'm not sure what to think.

Edit: I will also add that I was able to close and then re-open firefox while encountering this issue. When re-opened Firefox was NOT black and functioned normally. Additionally, even though the options in the start menu were not visible, I could still click shut down.

Attached Thumbnails
Windows are black, start menu doesn't work-20150429_153022.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2015   #2

Linux Lite 3.2 x64; Windows 7, 8.1

The first thing I would do is backup your data to another drive.

Run GSmartControl to see SMART attributes and to run the Long generic test on the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows are black, start menu doesn't work

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