Windows 7 boots to a blank screen but cursor works

A coworker brought me an HP Elitebook 8540p to diagnose.  It is running Windows 7 Pro.  When it boots, it comes up to a blank screen with no shortcuts and nothing else displayed other than the mouse cursor.  The cursor moves just fine, so it is not locked up.  It will not however give me any other options, including user login prompts.  Just a blank black screen with the movable cursor.  I see no hard drive activity at that point, so it doesn't appear to be processing anything.

I can however boot to safe mode, and I am able to login.  No errors showing in safe mode.
Who is Participating?
JABrownConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
The virus scan on the secondary system detected and corrected issues, and this seems to have resolved the problem.  The hard drive booted normally once placed back into the original laptop.
Nick RhodeConnect With a Mentor IT DirectorCommented:
Perform a System Restore: Boot up in safe mode with command prompt.

Type rstrui.exe and restore your computer to a few days ago.

I would then probably do a hard drive scan if that works out.  Might have a possible issue with the drive/damaged operating system.
aadihConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Some conflicting or malfunctioning driver, perhaps, seems likely.
Free Tool: SSL Checker

Scans your site and returns information about your SSL implementation and certificate. Helpful for debugging and validating your SSL configuration.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Emmanuel AdebayoConnect With a Mentor Global Windows Infrastructure Engineer - ConsultantCommented:
Did you install any drives or Windows update before starting having this problem?

Try to use the "Last Know Good Configuration" by pressing F8 when Windows is starting

ZamZ0Connect With a Mentor Commented:
In safe mode try running from an elevated command prompt sfc /scannow and scanreg /autorun. After that's done try chkdsk /r and restart if it asks you to, which it should.
LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
Since the problem does not occur in safe mode, it may be because of some conflict caused by startup programs (which do not run in Safe mode) or some driver that is not used in safe mode.  In Windows 98/ME/XP/Vista/Windows 7, you can choose which programs are run at startup by using the Microsoft Configuration utility:  click on the Start button, choose Run, type in MSCONFIG (doesn't need to be all capitals), click OK.  Choose the Startup tab, deselect programs to run at startup by removing the check mark.  In Windows 9x/ME, you may need to disable just about everything except Explorer, ScanRegistry and SysTray.  In Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, just click on the button for Disable All. Reboot and see if the problem goes away.  If it does then re-enable the startup programs one (or a few) at a time, reboot, and when the problem occurs again, there is your culprit.  If you have a great number of apps to narrow down on in trying to track down the culprit, do it instead by dividing up the loading programs into successively smaller halves:  disable half of them; if the problem doesn't go away, then the offending app is within the other half, so divide that group into half; or if the problem does go away, then the disabled group contains the offender, so again narrow down by dividing in half.  

In Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7: If the problem continues to come up with all startup programs disabled, then it is probably a driver or service.  You can click on the Services tab in MSCONFIG, click on the button for Hide All Microsoft Services, leaving only third-party services displayed, then try turning them off in the same way you did for startup programs.  Finally, if third-party services are eliminated from being the cause of the problem, you could try narrowing down on Microsoft services in the same way.
JABrownConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
Thanks for the replies, everyone.  Following your suggestions in order, so far I've tried the system restore option, but there were no restore points found.  Same with the last known good configuration.  Secondly, I tried the system file checker, and it said there were errors found but it could not correct them.  Then I scheduled a disk scan upon reboot. CHKDSK reported that it was unable to repair the drive (may not be the exact message - I didn't write it down).

I then decided to pull the hard drive out and move it to another system as a secondary drive so I could do a full virus scan.  While booting on this alternate system, Scandisk did run on the questionable drive and corrected numerous errors.  The virus scan is now running.

Keep in mind that this is not my own computer, so I don't necessarily know all of the history on this system.  If the virus scan doesn't yield any answers, LeeTudor I will move on to your suggestions next.  Thanks again to everyone for the quick replies thus far.
Nick RhodeIT DirectorCommented:
I would do a hard drive diagnostics.  Manufacturers site ususally has the tools available.

Another tool I like to use is to check the smartboard of the hard drive.

User crystal disk for that:
i don't think the virus scan corrected it, but the chkdsk...
Great. You got it working. :-)
JABrownAuthor Commented:
Resolved the issue
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.