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XP Home black screen after splash screen, no login

Posted on 2004-10-19
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Gentlemen,

I have a Windows XP Home computer that displays a black blank screen shortly after the splash screen is displayed.  Here's the story leading up to this:

I reinstalled the original XP Home disk back into the machine that has been my Linux box.  The machine came up, and I logged in.

The first thing I saw was all the game icons on the desktop.  User accounts on this computer are all limited accounts, not administrators or power users, so it must have been me installing these games for my son, because I'm the only administrator.  

The second thing I saw was the absence of a task bar at the bottom of the screen.  Pressing windows-E wouldn't bring up the explorer.  I had a computer that was in the functional equivalent of a vegetative state.

The next thing that occurred to me was that, since it's been 6 - 8 months since this XP Home disk has been installed and used, it must be very behind on updates.  Since I have an SP2 disk, I figured I had a magic bullet that would be a reasonable first step, so I used it.  

After rebooting, I watched the Bios messages, watched the XP Home splash screen come and go, and then    nothing.  Just a black and blank screen.  I think an underling cursor was blinking in the upper left corner.  The green monitor LED stayed green for minutes, while I waited for some sign of life.  (if no video was being sent to the monitor, the LED would have turned amber.  it didn't.)  

I booted into safe mode and could do some things, but I'm at a loss as to why the screen between the splash screen and the login screen is the Black Screen of Death, and I'm at a loss as to why Explorer is apparently not running when logging in under a user account.

My current thinking is to declare victory and to reinstall.  Problem is that I cannot find the original XP Home disks.  I have a fresh and virgin copy of XP Pro that I wouldn't mind terribly installing.  But if I'm going to do that, I want to do the install on an unused partition on the disk I have already installed Linux on, so that I can have a dual boot machine that uses a 200G 7200rpm 8Mbcache hard drive.

My preference is to solve the problem(s) and try to avoid scope creep.  

Any thoughts on troubleshooting a dark XP Home login and missing task bar?  (if this fails, the dual boot question will be next.)


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Question by:ChrisEddy
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by:Asta Cu
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I upgraded to XP Pro SP2 and love it, but did my homework first and made sure that my HW and SW was compabitle.  XP SP2 is very different with many added security features.  Here are some links that may assist you.  The really good news about XP SP2 is that you get FREE Microsoft support for that version via phone, Email or Tech Chat (the latter my choice), and they've been very responsive.

The purpose of the Boot.ini file in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314081&Product=winxp

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/windowsxpsp2

Your computer stops responding when you restart to complete the installation of Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885626
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by:Asta Cu
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Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/842242

Description of the Windows Firewall feature in Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/843090

You receive a "Stop: c0000135" and "winsrv was not found" error message after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885523

When you boot in SAFE MODE, can you check the event logs for errors/messages?

Update to the Setup program to examine the version of the Ntldr file
This update modifies the Setup program in Windows XP to examine the version of the Ntldr file that is installed on the computer. By examining the version of the Ntldr file, the Setup program can prevent overwriting a later version of the file with an earlier version of the file on computers that are configured to use dual-boot or multi-boot operating systems. For example, if you install Windows XP on one partition, and the version of the Ntldr file that is currently installed on the computer is replaced with a newer version of the file, you cannot start the operating system that is installed to a different partition.
More here.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;838204
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by:Asta Cu
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Your Computer May Pause with a Black Screen If You Press ESC During Startup
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;331799

I also found MANY games that Microsoft listed with the Black Screen problem you mention.  
http://search.microsoft.com/search/results.aspx?st=b&na=88&View=en-us&qu=black+screen
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How to Remove Linux and Install Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314458
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by:Asta Cu
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Excerpt from the last link... SUMMARY
This article explains how to remove the Linux operating system from your computer and install Windows XP. This article assumes that Linux is already installed on your computer's hard disk, that Linux native and Linux swap partitions are in use (which are incompatible with Windows XP), and that there is no free space left on the hard disk.
NOTE: Windows XP and Linux can coexist on the same computer. For additional information, refer to your Linux documentation.
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by:Huseyin1
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I think your going to need a reinstall, therfore XP PRO is needed, install to another partition as you wanted.

H
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AbacusOnsite earned 55 total points
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Did you upgrade the firmware or change any of the settings in CMOS while running Linux?  XP doesn't always like firmware changes.  Speaking of which, make sure that your settings in the CMOS look okay... bus speed, cache settings, USB, etc.

Personally, I would just install a fresh copy of XP Pro.  If you do, you'll be glad you did.
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by:ChrisEddy
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Gentlemen,

Thank you all for respond so promptly!

My take on the general concensus is to reinstall rather than troubleshoot, which I am leaning towards.  However, before I declare victory on this, I'd like to see what I can do to learn more about the state that this box is in, and possibly how it got that way.

Question: Is there a way or a tool of insight to determine what is the next running thing is after the splash screen; what *is* the name of the login process, and where does it reference it's configuration data;  and what is the proper process startup sequence on the success path.  

Btw: On a Linux box, just because the display is unresponsive doesn't mean that the whole box is toast, but that the display subsubstem is in a confused state.  The OS can and is still running, and allows access via telnet/ssh from another computer on the network, or to boot the machine in a reduced functionality state (not unlike safemode, but with a few more degrees of freedom).


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by:Asta Cu
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There are a number of places to find the loads; boot.ini, start-run-msconfig (start up and services tabs) and the like.  More shortly.  In MSCONFIG, you can opt for a selective start up to uncheck items reboot and test and then recheck them as needed.  When you modify XP's start up, you'll see a window at each reboot saying you've modified, blah blah; just check that you don't want to see that again as you go through the process.

This may help as well...
Boot.ini   http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289022
Event logs http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308427&Product=winxp
Also Clean Boot for troubleshooting XP, need to locate some more links.
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by:Asta Cu
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I'd check the list to see if you are running any programs known to have problems with SP2
Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/842242
Detailed Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation walkthrough
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;875364
Contact a Support Professional by Email, Online, or Phone .... another option and FREE for SP SP2 ... They've been very responsive when I've needed them to work through issues I couldn't resolve in the time available using their Technical Chat options.
http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?gprid=6794
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by:ChrisEddy
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Hmmm ....  Excellent!  I like your thinking!!

I knew about your option A), but I think I was too close to the problem being mine, rather than someone elses.

Option B) is a truly great nugget of information.  I will try this and report status!

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by:Asta Cu
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Top notch!  Crossing fingers and listening further when time permits.
":0) Asta
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by:ChrisEddy
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Gentlemen,

I apologize for not reporting status back later, but I've been working on other things.  No, I haven't gotten back the machine, but I hope to in a couple of days.  

Since there are a lot of good ideas, and I can sniff victory in the air nearby, I wanted to award points sooner rather than later.  I'm concerned about people losing credit from the good suggestions that have been made when I'm the one not being responsive, when the "old question" timer goes "ding" and automatically rules the question abandoned.  


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by:Asta Cu
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Thanks, ChrisEddy.  Hopefully the issue will be resolved; if problems arise related to this comment and I'll do what we can to bring it to an excellent conclusion; as I'm confident applies to this team as well.  ":0) Asta
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