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Windows XP Home will not Boot goes to Black Screen with mouse pointer

Posted on 2013-01-04
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hello All,
I have a Dell Optiplex GX280 with Windows XP Home installed, I think it is SP3. It will not boot past this black screen with the mouse pointer active in normal or safe mode.

Tried the last known good configuration. Tried using the operating startup tools in Paragon Partition Manager 11 to fix the MBR and Boot records and partition records. I have done a repair windows install using the XP Home CD, tried using the Recovery Console to FixMBR and FixBoot as well. Have reseated RAM. Have installed another video card, another monitor, keyboard and mouse and that's as far as I have gone. Cannot get past this black screen.

Any Advice would be appreciated

Many Thanks
Colin Chong
Question by:colingchong
  • 5
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:David L. Hansen
ID: 38744010
Have you been able to run chkdsk /f in safe-mode?

Author Comment

ID: 38744018
Can't get to Safe Mode
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Grassi
ID: 38744029
Looks like you tried everything

It looks like you need to do a complete fresh install

Format the drive NTFS full format not quick

Do you have another drive to use that is what I would do get another drive make that your boot drive then the original drive can be D drive and you would be able to copy the data you had on that drive.

You dont need a very large drive for the OS
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:David L. Hansen
David L. Hansen earned 250 total points
ID: 38744087
Yes, I think that's the next step.  I suspect the drive is degrading.  So like tgrassijr55 said, make your current drive a slave to a good drive and run chkdsk on it from there (and a full virus scan).  If there are no viruses, pull the data off that you need to keep.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 38744127
You could boot from one of the following .....

Ultimate Boot disk
And run some diagnostics

Or boot from a bootable DOS Floppy Disk (or CD) and then run chkdsk /f
(You can make one on another PC or download an image)

You may have to manually copy chkdsk.exe on to the disk.
Always handy to have one of these at hand

[Edited by MASQ]
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

willcomp earned 250 total points
ID: 38744407
Did you run chkdsk /r from Recovery Console? If not, try that first.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 38744529
Does your screen look like this:

black screen with mouse cursor
If so, then it may be that the Windows Shell isn't loading. Can you launch Task Manager by pressing CRLT-ALT-DEL ? If yes, click on File->New Task (Run...) then enter "explorer.exe" into the open field and press OK. See if the desktop comes up.

I've seen this where the user profile gets messed up; switching to a different user profile tends to work. When you boot into Safe Mode, does it give you a choice of usernames to log into? Try logging into the default Administrator account. Once in the Administrator account, create a new user account for you to log into in normal mode.

Author Comment

ID: 38744580
No Safe Mode, going to try chkdsk /r from Recovery Console

Expert Comment

ID: 38746158
run a manufacturers diagnostic on teh drive........run a ram test

try running a boot cd of some sort with say linux or something on it if that works the problem is NOT hardware
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 38746328
do a system restore to a date it was ok with this method :
An easier way is to boot from a Bart PE CD (or UBCD4Win CD) and use the file manager for manipulating files. Here  the procedure :
1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak
2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.
it contains some restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
The restore points are in  folders starting with "RPx under this folder.
3. In such a folder, locate a Snapshot subfolder. This is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder
6. Exit Bart PE, reboot and test

Use a fairly recent restore point from at least a day or two prior to problem occurring .

** you can add the other hives also with this procedure

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/       BARTPE
http://www.ubcd4win.com/            UBCD4WIN

Expert Comment

ID: 38746695
When you start pc and this black screen came up (after windows Logo) - check is there a ping from other PC and if yes can you connect via Remote Desktop Connection?
Also its good idea to download HDD checking software depending from your HDD manufacture - Seagate, WD (usualy they had image which you can easyly burn on CD and boot from it) and then run the tests on your HDD.
And how did you repair you windows XP - the best way will be to use the original installation CD which comes with the PC and then follow this instructions

And last boot from [*] any  free bootable linux distribution like ubuntu and by this way when you start this bootable OS - check what you will see for your HDD - is there any files or not?
Hope that will help

[Edited for the same reason as above - MASQ]

Author Comment

ID: 38747309
Update: After running chkdsk /r from Recovery Console the drive came back enough to see that it might still be recoverable (it booted further on to get to the screen background before it stopped.)

I believe that the drive is on it's way out so I am cloning it across to another drive before I do anything else.

Will start back again with the boot tools to see how that goes. Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread up to this point.

I will update again soon
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Grassi
ID: 38747344
Thats what I thought was wrong

Thats why I suggested that you get another drive to do a fresh install with

I would suggest that you do not try to clone the exisiting disk because of possible corrupted sectors on the drive

Just put newe drive in as your boot drive C format NTFS full format then you can access the old drive now D to get your data.

cloning only works when you make an image after you have a working OS on your drive.
Cloning is not meant to image an existing problematic drive to a new one.
Only bad things can happen.

Expert Comment

ID: 38747454
good idea to clone it - if you can.  If the drive is seriously faulty you may have some 'fun' cloning it.  From memory if you can get a hold of a copy of norton ghost 2003 it has a functionality within the program to ignore errors on the drive......this will allow it to attempt to clone a faulty drive.   If after cloning to a known good drive it still wont boot then try checkdisk /r again and also if necessary run  the repair install again. This may correct any faults from the bad sectors on the old drive
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 38748114
after backup, i suggest to test the drive - to be sure it's bad
download UBCD, and run the HDD diag for your drive brand
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                              ultimate boot cd
http://ubcd.mirror.fusa.be/ubcd511.iso                        direct link UBCD

Author Comment

ID: 38748602
update: Have successfully cloned old drive to a 120GB SSD and after getting past a Microsoft License activation loop have begun the task of multiple updates. If all goes well there and after a couple of other software tests will hopefully give a final update.

Author Comment

ID: 38749434
Final Update: Have fully recovered old disk onto new SSD with no loss of Data or Applications. Computer is running very well.

I have allocated points to those comments that were most useful to me at the time I read them, though all participants were helpful.

It's my hope that the thread will give those that find themselves in a similar situation the desire to go the extra mile and try to recover the disk and contents intact.

Sometimes it's worth trying a little harder for our clients, I know it's appreciated. Many times we go for the easy solution of reformatting too soon.

Thanks again to all
Lord Bless
Colin Chong
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:David L. Hansen
ID: 38752573
I'm going to throw in another comment here just for the sake of thoroughness for future readers.

When drives begin to die, if the platters are in-tact (ie. no degrading of the sectors, etc.) the culprit can often be the traces on the circuit board (hard-drives do have tiny circuit boards in them).  Those traces can crack.  This ailment of electronics is common on older boards no matter what they happen to be in.  If you can get the item into a freezer (yes, you heard me, a freezer) for half an hour to an hour, the contraction due to temperature is sometimes just enough to get those traces to touch each other again.  Voila, you have your drive back (at least long enough to retrieve the data from it)!

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