How to recover from Windows Vista Black Screen and Cursor Only after logon?

A friend brought in a Sony VAIO VGN-CR220E which he upgraded to Windows Vista Ultimate that I have been trying to fix to no avail.  The system boots fine (at least appears to) and displays windows login screen.  Once you enter appropriate credentials, the system goes to a black screen with only mouse cursor which you can move around with mouse but can't see anything else.  

Tried seeing if it was contrast.  Hooked up an external monitor, but it didn't recognize it.  Tried a number of recovery options and diagnostic tests for harddrive, memory, etc. and nothing has worked.  

Before giving up and reloading the operating system, just wondering if one of you wise experts has a fix or some guidance.

Respectfully yours,
Kevin
LVL 61
Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAsked:
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bootrebootCommented:
does Ctrl+Alt+Del work?  If so, bring up the task manager, go to the Applications Tab, press the "New Task..." button, type in "Explorer", and it OK.

If not, will the system boot into safe mode?
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
Nope, doesn't work.
Does same thing in safe mode with exception you can see the SAFE MODE text in the corners of the black screen.  Very weird.
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
Thanks, PUNKY.

I had already tried that and didn't fix the issue.

I apologize for lack of information.  I thought I typed it all in above, but probably rushed hitting submit.
I have the Windows Boot Disk used in link.  I have run the memory test, ran chkdsk, tried going to a restore point, and even the startup repair and nothing worked.

Tried using the command prompt to run "sfc /scannow" but that wouldn't work.
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PUNKYCommented:
If you are able to access bios page, check to see what the video option is set there? Mark the extended if there is so you can test with an external monitor. A bios reset would be good to prevent user might have mess something up in there :o)
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sandercraigCommented:
I think this is a problem with your monitor setup. Do you have dual monitors, if so, do you have dvi converters. (Takes the wider ones to the small blue ones called VGA) or does it split into 2 vga? If you're using 2 monitors and dvi converters, they don't always work that well, and this could result. Try switching to dvi cables if your monitors accept it. I think this could also be a possibility with a single monitor too. DVI converters are weird with vista i've noticed.
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
This is a laptop and the main issue is on the LCD screen of the laptop.  Was hooking up a VGA monitor externally to see if it was just a dead LCD or issue there.
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sandercraigCommented:
Ok, well with a laptop it's a different story, it could be pinched wires. Who's the manufacturer, and what's the model?
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
Sony VAIO VGN-CR220E
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
The oddity is when using the Windows Boot CD to run the recovery or get to a command prompt which works there you get video just fine.  That is what is bugging me.  If there was some issue with the LCD like pinched wires, it shouldn't work anywhere or be intermittent everywhere.  It ALWAYS works through the recovery CD and shows login screen after startup, but NEVER works logged in to either of 3 options for Safe Mode or normal windows.
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sandercraigCommented:
Then it is most likely a driver problem, related to the video drivers more specifically. You could have 2 installed by mistake, or some settings may be wrong. Also the video adapter could be failing or faulty. To me, I'm thinking a windows/driver issue.
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
Yep.  Just finished backing up files for a reinstall.  Thanks for the input.
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Kevin CrossChief Technology OfficerAuthor Commented:
Re-installed operating system and all is well again, so no hardware issues.  Definitely something on the OS/driver level as I had originally suspected.
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