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Windows 7 - black screen with mouse cursor immediately upon restart

Posted on 2010-08-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
Computer in question: Dell Studio 1555, purchased in July 2009 (Service Tag BMBR7K1). Came with Windows Vista; upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium ASAP. I have kept Windows 7 updated whenever Microsoft put out an update. I updated the BIOS to A11 about a month ago. Except for some minor issues, this computer has been running fine since updating to Windows 7 late last fall until a couple of weeks ago (when "McAfee" starting to produce strange symptoms).

Recent history: McAfee Security Center was (automatically) updated ABOUT two weeks ago. After that some Windows tool in the taskbar consistently told me I had no antivirus protection and all McAfee dialog boxes were visually empty. I decided to uninstall the entire McAfee package, then install a new copy. All normal uninstall routes failed; a basically blank McAfee dialog window would come up, but I could go no further. I finally resorted to using the Revo uninstaller. It also failed to uninstall the program, but then offered to remove any remnants of the McAfee software, including registry entries. I instructed Revo to delete any and all renmants it found. That was apparently a BIG mistake! I am assuming it removed or altered registry entries vital to basic Windows 7 operation.

What I get now:
I can turn the computer off ONLY by removing all power OR holding the power button in for at least five seconds. It turns on with just a brief press of the power button. I then get the screen telling me the computer had not been turned off successfully OR a screen which is entirely black except for a small mouse/touchpad cursor, depending on the way the computer had most recently been turned off.
If, from the "not turned off successfully" screen, I select "start windows normally" I next get the black screen with a mouse cursor. If I select "Safe Mode" or "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" I get many lines printed on the screen starting with "Loaded". The final Load is of \windows\system32\DRIVERS\CLASSPNP.SYS"; after another five-ten seconds I get the black screen with a large mouse/touchpad cursor.

I have tried booting from the Windows 7 upgrade DVD supplied by Dell last October, choosing the "Repair Your Computer" option and then selecting Windows 7 (the only choice) as the operating system.
The "Startup Repair" option detects NO problems.
"System Restore" seems to work normally, but choosing an earlier Restore point does not fix the problem
"System Image Recovery" is not a possibility for me
"Windows Memory Diagnostic" does not tell me about any problems found
"Command Prompt" allows me to navigate anywhere I want on the C:\ or D:\ partion, as well as on the DVD.

I tried running System Mechanic Professional 10, to see if it could detect what the fundamental problem is, but it seemed to lack the necessary drivers to be able to access the hard drive of the Studio 1555.

My analysis is that all hardware components of the computer are working fine and that the non-system hard drive contents seem to be intact, but that some critical part of Windows 7 (probably the registry) is damaged severely.

HELP! What tools/techniques are most likely to help me restore Windows 7 without harming my installed programs and especially without harming my user data?

(I have looked at all the responses to ID: 26413565; none of them seem to fit my problem.)
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Question by:RollieL
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by:TimAllan
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by:RollieL
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I haven't read all the comments yet (there seem to be hundreds) but at first glance this approach does not appear to be workable for me. I don't get to the login stage, and can't get any response to <CTRL/ALT/DEL>. Right now I don't know if I can access a thumb drive when in recovery mode.
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by:RollieL
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re: TimAllan's suggested link:
I was able to download fixshell.exe to a thumb drive on another computer, then access it in recovery mode on the affected computer. The program appeared to execute correctly, but it made no change to the computer's behavior. It is still only showing a black screen with a mouse cursor when booted from the hard drive.
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by:Merete
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Sounds like the hard disc has bad sectors, or the MBR is corrupted.. since this is a Notebook you cant really pull much out. Do you have any other partitions?
You could try and install windows 7 to any unallocated space make a small partition and boot off this then fix the boot.ini in the other by copying this new boot.ini back into the old
In the bios set it to load defaults but unplug everything USB
 Go into BIOS again, then select run from HDD.first boot.
Did you delete any partitions?
Clean all your fans in computer since dust may be an issue which leads to heat the computer
refs to>
 If I select "Safe Mode" or "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" I get many lines printed on the screen starting with "Loaded". The final Load is of \windows\system32\DRIVERS\CLASSPNP.SYS"; after another five-ten seconds I get the black screen with a large mouse/touchpad cursor.
Have you tried last known good configuration that worked?
Did you upgrade to the same like Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium?
If it's a Bad Hard Disk test with manfacture diagnostic software or use the chkdsk /r tool in the windows 7 setup options
use the command prompt open - run chkdsk /r
Boot to your Windows 7 Disc select repair then in the System Recovery Options menu, click a tool to open it
could also be the  DVD drive is not the same type Windows was installed on, did you change DVD drives from internal to USB?
--------------------------------------------------
Either way this is a serious problem your facing and if your files are important take it to a DEL repairshop
Before upgrading from Vista to windows 7 it is advisable to run the upgrade advisor
to ensure all programs will run in windows 7 and ensure a good transfer of account settings.
notes
What is classpnp.sys??
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326122
http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=240245
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by:McKnife
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Give this a try:
Setup-DVD ->Command Prompt ->Enter the command
bootrec /fixmbr
and restart.
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by:RollieL
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I'm still pondering Meter's comments.
I tried McKnife's suggestion about fixmbr--the command appeared to execute properly, but the computer's behavior did not change.
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by:Merete
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Any problems understanding my comments?
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RollieL earned 0 total points
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Merete  (I'll spell your name correctly this time!) wrote:
>Sounds like the hard disc has bad sectors, or the MBR is corrupted.. since this is a Notebook you cant really pull much out. Do you have any other partitions?

There were two partitions, C: (system) and D: (Recovery [Vista]). The partition setup had not been modified after the computer left the factory. All tests I was able to perform indicated that the hard drive was physically fine, and that virtually all of its contents were intact. All attempts to repair the MBR were fruitless.

>>If I select "Safe Mode" or "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" I get many lines printed on the screen starting with "Loaded". The final Load is of \windows\system32\DRIVERS\CLASSPNP.SYS"; after another five-ten seconds I get the black screen with a large mouse/touchpad cursor.
>Have you tried last known good configuration that worked?

The "last known good configuration," by the time I tried it, just went back to booting from the reinstallation/repair DVD--i.e., useless.

>Did you upgrade to the same like Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium?

Yes.

>Boot to your Windows 7 Disc select repair then in the System Recovery Options menu, click a tool to open it

Not an option on this computer at this time.

>could also be the  DVD drive is not the same type Windows was installed on, did you change DVD drives from internal to USB?

No change in DVD drive setup after leaving the factory.

>Either way this is a serious problem your facing and if your files are important take it to a DEL repairshop

I was able to transfer all user files to an external USB hard drive before proceeding with reinstallation of Windows.

>What is classpnp.sys??

I have no idea.

>http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326122

I have no knowledge that I was getting a "Stop C2" error

>http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=240245

I do not recognize anything in this article as being likely the same as what I experiencing.

Bottom Line: I gave up / copied all user files / reinstalled Windows Vista, then reapplied the Windows 7 upgrade. I assume that after much more program reinstallation work I will be back in business.

Thanks very much for the attempts to help me resolve this problem less painfully.

   Rollie

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by:RollieL
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I did not find a "magic bullet," but had to resort to a brute force fix. That fix is still in progress, but I expect it to work.
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by:Merete
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Hello RollieL the main thing is you were able to back up your files, the rest  hopefully resolves it.
With regards to the tech site I posted that since the question was>What exactly is classpnp.sys??
If you could post an update that'd be appreciated .
regards Merete
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by:RollieL
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Merete wrote:
>With regards to the tech site I posted that since the question was>What exactly is classpnp.sys??
If you could post an update that'd be appreciated .

We don't seem to be on the same page here. At this point, classpnp.sys is--to me--merely the final driver loaded during an attempted safe mode startup. I do not understand yet what its Windows function is. The article which I believe you are referencing mentions a "Stop C2" error in conjunction with classpnp.sys. I never saw evidence of a "Stop C2" error.
Later: It looks like I was focusing on a different article than you were. I am uncertain at this point whether or not I had write-caching turned on when this whole problem began, but I am sure I had not changed that option in the past six+ months. I believe all drivers would have been absolutely up-to-date when I upgraded to Windows 7 last November. I suspect the only system-level update I had done since last November was updating the BIOS a few weeks before this problem began.
I don't think I've provided the update you (Merete) asked for, but I'm not sure if I have any interesting information to add at this point.
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