Windows Vista Home boots to a blank screen

Melinda Burns
Melinda Burns used Ask the Experts™
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I have a Windows Vista Dell laptop that when you boot normally, it boots to a blank screen. If I use the Ctrl + Alt + Delete it will bring up the task manager but anything I try to switch to brings up a blank screen. If I boot into safe mode I can see everything fine.

Interestingly, the login page displays fine. It is just the desktop that is a blank screen.
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open the task manager,

click file and run...

type explorer.exe then OK.

Does everything show up then?
Perhaps the user profile is corrupt. Try creating a new one. In Task Manager run explorer.exe and see if you get the desktop back.
It's called the Black Screen of Death. The simplest way to get rid of it is boot off a Vista DVD and do a repair install. Alternatively you can boot into safe mode (with networking) and download the following file (http://info.prevx.com/download.asp?GRAB=blackscreenfix) and run it.
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Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
Correction. When I bring up the task manger window, I recieve the options but any option I click on goes to the Black screen.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Before running explorer.exe check to make sure it isn't already running in processes. If it is then stop it there first.

If running explorer.exe fixes the issue then you may want to check the registry setting:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Make sure that explorer.exe is listed in the data in the right pane.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
I will  boot into safe mode and try these and will let you know how it goes.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
I tried creating a new user. And this time I get a nice blue screen with the mouse pointer. Not the BSOD but the microsoft background blue screen. I can move the mouse fine. I guess I should also add to that in the other profile I can move the mouse as well but it is a black screen.
You're not by any chance auto-hiding the taskbar, are you??
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
Not that I know of. This is a friends computer that I am working on.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Sounds like a corrupt profile.  Do you have the taskbar (also known as start bar) with the new user? Can you right click on the screen of the new user and create a new text file to see if it creates an ICON on the desktop?
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
No cannot right click on new user desktop.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Did you verify the registry setting:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Make sure that explorer.exe is listed in the data in the right pane.

Make sure that it ONLY has explorer.exe listed and not something else.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Also, when at either the black or blue screen can you get the windows key to do anything? (bring up a menu)
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
pony10us... There are three folders under Winlogon  Autologonchecked, gpextensions and notify

While Winlogon is selected in the left window pane there are 20 settings. Shell = explorer.exe

Does it need to be anywhere else?
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
Windows key does nothing while in the Blue or Black screen. All that works is the mouse.
When booting computer press f8 then choose last known good configuration
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
joinaunion,
I have already tried that and that does not work either. But thanks.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
mel11755 - That is the correct place to look.  Make sure that the only thing on the shell line is explorer.exe

I am not aware of any other location that needs to be changed. There was a virus that went around that caused this type of issue. Not easy to get rid of.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
ok that is the only listing
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Take a look at this registry setting as well:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
"Userinit"="C:\\Windows\\system32\\userinit.exe,"

(That's how it should look)
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
Entry is correct.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
hmm - I don't know if this is a good idea but since you have tried just about everything else  :)

http://www.prevx.com/blog/140/Black-Screen-woes-could-affect-millions-on-Windows--Vista-and-XP.html
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
This was all good until it told me to click on the Application Tab of the Task Manager. I can hit ctrl + Alt +delete and get the menu for the task manager but any selection if select I get the black screen again. no windows unless I select switch users. then it gives me the option to select another user and when I do, Black screen..
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Try booting into safe mode with networking and see if you can do it.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
I will try that. Currently I pulled the hard drive from the laptop and have attached it via USB connection to scan with my antivirus and malware to see if that finds anything. If that doesn't work then I wlll try booting in safe mode and downloading the fix.  Thanks for be patient with me. I will let you know tomorrow how things go.  
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Okay, gl
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
No go.. I even resorted to performing to a restore points and there were no restore points. Then I was just going to use the recovery partition but that was empty.  I think I will just have the customer request a new disk and reinstall from a disk. I will leave this open for another day just in case someone has another suggestion. Thanks all for your comments

Commented:
This has happened to me almost 6-8 months back. It happened right after a microsoft update.

The F8 "Last known good profile" only works until the time you don't have a successful logon. Once that is done, the config is overwritten as a successful event.

Try to remove the VGA and Network drivers. If you can logon in safe mode, it can very possiblly be one of the drivers causing the issue or it could be a service, which you can manage from msconfig.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
I will try to remove the VGA and Network drivers and let you know tomorrow how it goes.
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
NO this did not work either.
Steven CarnahanAssistant Vice President\Network Manager

Commented:
Mel11755,

I can suggest reading one more thread to see if there is an answer but otherwise I am at a loss.

Sorry

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vistarepair/thread/ee13b981-e7c5-4dc8-b993-f79480aa8b1a
Melinda Burnscomputer support

Author

Commented:
Iwill try this.
computer support
Commented:
I ended up reinstalling the os.

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