windows vista boots with black screen and cursor

I've been given a laptop to fix which has windows vista (unknown version) which boots into windows, but all you get is a black screen and a cursor.  You can't do anything else apart from move the cursor.  I've got the feeling its to do with a hotfix, but wouldn't if its possible to remove it without going into windows first, which I'm obviously unable to do.
clevelandfireAsked:
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noelmulConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Have you tried booting from the installation dvd and running a "Repair your computer" to try a system restore?

See here how to do it:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/using-windows-vista-system-restore/
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Can you boot into Safe Mode (F8 at startup)?  I have a Vista virtual machine fully updated and it boots fine. You might have a driver conflict. .... Thinkpads_User
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noelmulCommented:
Try pressing ctrl + alt + del and starting the task manager. Under applications select "new task" and type in "Explorer.exe". This may bring back the desktop for you to be able to do more.

I would suggest scanning the computer with the likes of MBAM (http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php).
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noelmulCommented:
Oops you might need to type "explorer" rather than "explorer.exe"
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clevelandfireAuthor Commented:
Safe mode produces the same screen.  As I said, I cannot do anything bar move the mouse.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
So something has seriously corrupted Vista (not a Vista update in my experience, but you may have a driver conflict as I noted).

I think at this point, you should boot with a bootable CD, backup your documents and email (most of this is in your user folder) and reinstall Vista.  ... Thinkpads_User
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clevelandfireAuthor Commented:
Noted.  I'll do that as last resort but I don't like wiping laptops, its a bit of a ballache :\
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I most assuredly understand, however, if it won't start in safe mode, then your options are really limited.
... Thinkpads_User
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clevelandfireAuthor Commented:
Noelmul, just found that about 20 minutes ago and running it now :)
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
So did the repair install work? Once you cannot get into safe mode, things get more limited.
... Thinkpads_User
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clevelandfireAuthor Commented:
Worked. ta
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