Blank/dark desktop after login to Windows 7

After pressing ctrl-alt-del, entered my credentials & hit ENTER into my Windows 7 Professional on X230 laptop,
occasionally the Desktop is complete dark/blank.  

It responds to & launches the Task Manager if I press ctrl-alt-del : while in Task
Manager, I go to "Run" & enter "cmd" & at command prompt, issued "explorer"
as well as "dvm" (desktop manager) but they were never displayed in the desktop.

I've tried killing the dvm process & launch it at command prompt: could see the process 'dvm' in
Process List in Task Manager but nothing displayed.

Usually I wud power cycle & about half the times, the Desktop would recover/normalize: but at
half the times getting a blank dark screen is highly unproductive : it took almost 25 secs to boot
up even though I'm on a full SSD (Crucial brand)

This SSD was moved over from an X220 to X230 but I recall for the first few weeks, I don't have
this issue till lately
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
Is  event viewer accessible ?
Start -->eventvwr
try a system restore to a date it was ok
1. Try safe mode and check if there is a temp user in c:\users
2. Check for Virus/Trojans
3. Remove everything from startup (from run type msconfig)
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Are you using the latest version of your video drivers, if yes, then go back one version and if no, try the latest version.
>>  This SSD was moved over from an X220 to X230   <<  this is not recommended
is windows still reporting genuine?
WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyCommented:
run msconfig and check for anything from the previous hardware that may be in startup.

I would delete the video drivers and reinstall, confirm they're the latest.
WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyCommented:
if you have a hard time getting past the blank screen delete the video drivers in safe mode and restart.
how is it going sunhux?
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Wow, I'm overwhelmed.

>is windows still reporting genuine?
Yes, it's still reporting as genuine.

I know how to do "Restore to a previous point" in Win XP, how's this done
in Win 7?

I think this issue started around the time after I was uninstalling iTunes (trying to
 downgrade to an older iTunes as TAiG reported it "cant detect the Apple driver")
& turn out I was not able to install any version of iTunes subsequently : it just roll
back towards the end of installation.

I'm not too savvy with Windows: after moving over this SSD from the X220
to X230, I got our corporate laptop support guys to update with the latest
drivers (for a few items including video, I recall)

msconfig : do I look under Startup or Boot or which tab?
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
There's no malware/virus reported: I've scanned using the latest Officescan & Malwarebytes:
hmm around that time, I also run a "disk defragmentation"
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Will try Safe mode next.

So far I've not seen the message “You have been logged on with Temporary profile” so
this may not be the issue

Haven't tried launching Eventvwr from the command prompt when the screen is blank.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
> delete the video drivers in safe mode
in which folder is the video drivers stored?  I'll moving them to another location
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
you can go into the device manager to see what video drivers you have and then you can right click on it and choose uninstall or preferably you can got to programs and features and see if there is any video driver software installed. you can then go to the manufacturer's website and see if you have the latest version. I had asked several comments earlier which video drivers you are using which manufacturer?
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
As John probably suspects, it may not be video driver issue:
just happened again & I went to command prompt from Task Manager (which
I could always launch by pressing ctrl-alt-del):
eventvwr  managed to launch the Event Viewer screen;
also "shutdown /i" launches the shutdown GUI.

If it's video driver, then Eventvwr, Shutdown GUI all shouldn't display, right?

Trying Safe Mode next.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Lionel, attached the screens showing the Display Adapter drivers & Monitor driver
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
The earliest System Restore (which is an Automatic one) that I have is 14 Aug so I restored to that
point & rebooted: still getting that blank dark Desktop screen;  I've undone it after that as it doesn't

Booting up in Safe mode twice appears to be good ie the full Desktop (in Safe mode with larger
fonts on a lower resolution screen is displayed).
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
What's the actual command to launch the desktop at command line?
Is it dwm  ?
running ok in safe mode shows the problem is  probably a bad driver
can you uninstall the video driver in safe mode?  then reboot and install it again
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Then why does eventvwr & the other tools consistently are able to display when launched from
command prompt?  Don't they use video driver as well?

From the Task Manager, I click "File", "Run", & enter "services.msc" which displays the Services screen:
so I did restart of Desktop Window Mgr Session Mgr as given below but it did not display the Desktop
screen still:
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
> why does eventvwr & the other tools consistently are able to display when launched from
> command prompt?  
& the above was done while the Desktop is dark blank
to what is the above an answer, sunhux?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
The images you gave show these are 2013 drivers you should go to Intel's website and get the latest drivers for the video

As to why explorer isn't starting it can be one of many reasons, including a conflict with the video drivers and/or any of many latest windows updates so let's eliminate the video as a possible cause by updating it first and then go from there if needed.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Just installed drivers from the above about 3 hrs ago, rebooted the X230
& still getting the dark blank screen after login to Windows 7
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Did you use the procedure suggested; boot into safe mode, then uninstall video drivers, reboot and then reinstall latest drivers?
did you try a system restore yet?  if not now is the time to say:  yes i can!
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
I've done a system restore (to a Automatic Restore point created on 14 Aug: did not help as
indicated above.

>Did you use the procedure suggested; boot into safe mode, then uninstall video drivers, reboot and then reinstall
No, just run the installer directly on the laptop after it's been downloaded.  But that website owner did not require
me to do so
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
ok the only way we are going to know for sure that it is a not a video problem is to follow the procedure I suggested; boot into safe mode; uninstall all drivers AND video software; reboot; hit f8 key again and this time boot into VGA mode (normal boot using generic drivers); can you see see screen or is it black using VGA option? If you can use see screen then it is a video driver problem; if screen is still black then it is something else.
William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
You may have a corrupt user profile. Are there any other accounts on this PC where someone else could login and see if it does the same thing? If not, you can go into Control Panel - User Accounts - Manage User Accounts and try to make one. If you're on a domain then have another domain user login and see if they get the same thing.

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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
William may be right: created an extra local account & looks like I repeat login 3 times
& this new account did not give this issue while  my "offline" domain account which
I login as  mydomain\my_id  (which was working fine more than a month back) gives
this dark blank screen almost 80% of the times.   Under certain circumstances, I'll
still need to login using my domain account though for most of the times, a local
account suffice for my daily tasks.

I repeated the above test without rebooting the laptop: just ctrl-alt-del to logoff
& relogin using the new local account & the "offline" domain account alternately

Lionel, for my educational purpose & in case I still need to upgrade the video drivers
later, can you tell me which folder(s) hold the video driver files?
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
If needed, I can create a new EE question:
how do we go about troubleshooting a 'corrupt' user profile?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Driver location--most common in C:\Windows\System32 but you can check by going to Device Manager and then properties and then driver details. Use the vendor software to remove the drivers.

Corrupt Profile: The best way is to start a new profile instead of trying to fix a corrupt one. To do so reboot your PC and then logon as a different user--important to follow this step or else it won't work. Then go to c:\users and rename the corrupt profile something like c:\users\profile.bad then reboot and try loggin on again--should create a new profile but if not then follow these additional steps: Start Regedit Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ ProfileList
and see if there is a .bak in the list for the user and if rename it by removing the .bak (check to see there are no conflicting names in the list that will prevent renaming); then reboot and logon on again.
William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
Using lionelmm's steps above, you can recreate your user account by first renaming the "old" one and starting fresh. Then just copy over your documents, favorites, desktop shortcuts, etc. It'll take a little time to set everything back up, but that's probably what you'll have to do since your user profile got corrupt.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
The newly created account enables me to get the Desktop displayed
fully within 5 secs (yes, this is a full SSD that I have) while the suspected
corrupt DomainId profile can take about 60secs to display the Desktop
if it ever get displayed.

I've since login almost 9 times to the newly created local account & it
has never fails to display the Desktop fully so alluding to corrupt
profile issue

Ok, will do :
cd /users
move MyCorruptDomainId  Renamed_MyCorruptDomainid

Then which are the files to copy over?  Looks like there's quite a number
of large *profile* under my profile's folder:

C:\Users\MyDomainId>dir/s *profile*.* |more
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is ACDA-4389

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Adobe\Color

06/02/2015  03:15 PM    <DIR>          Profiles
               0 File(s)              0 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

12/03/2015  02:16 PM           181,623 Google Profile.ico
               1 File(s)        181,623 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Microsoft\FORMS

19/08/2015  05:02 PM                12 Default Outlook
               1 File(s)             12 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

28/07/2015  10:35 AM             2,840 Default Outlook
08/04/2015  10:20 AM       267,001,856 - Default Outlook Profi
29/08/2015  12:30 AM     5,687,018,496 - Default Outlook Profi
29/08/2015  12:30 AM     1,418,085,376 SharePoint Lists - Default Outlook Profil
               4 File(s)  7,372,108,568 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet

19/08/2015  11:58 AM             4,374 eProfile[1].png
               1 File(s)          4,374 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox

17/06/2015  09:48 PM    <DIR>          Profiles
               0 File(s)              0 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Temp\_MEI67002

28/04/2015  01:20 AM            17,408 win32profile.pyd
               1 File(s)         17,408 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Temp\_MEI67882

09/05/2015  02:53 PM            17,408 win32profile.pyd
               1 File(s)         17,408 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Temp\_MEI72522

26/08/2015  09:26 PM            17,408 win32profile.pyd
               1 File(s)         17,408 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync

25/08/2015  07:36 PM                74 AccountProfiles.dat
               1 File(s)             74 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

05/08/2015  11:47 AM             4,608 Default Outlook Profile.srs
29/08/2015  12:30 AM             4,434 Default Outlook Profile.xml
               2 File(s)          9,042 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox

17/06/2015  09:48 PM    <DIR>          Profiles
17/06/2015  09:48 PM               111 profiles.ini
               1 File(s)            111 bytes

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Roaming\Skype\shared_html\pcj\i\images

11/10/2010  04:49 PM             1,611 profile-96x96.png
               1 File(s)          1,611 bytes

     Total Files Listed:
              15 File(s)  7,372,357,639 bytes
               3 Dir(s)  97,507,782,656 bytes free

sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Hmm, recalling back, this probably surfaced after I uninstalled iTunes (to downgrade
to an older version ) & after that I could not install any version of iTunes anymore.

Attached the full file list found under the corrupt c:\users\MyDomainId

On the newly created local account's profile, there's very little files in it &
all of them are not bigger than 3MB while the corrupt one has huge files
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Do not copy over any files from the corrupt profile other than one that you need, like my documents, my music, my pictures and items like your internet explore facvorites and or your firefox profile.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
From the list of files under the corrupt profile that I've attached earlier, could you edit it &
reattach?  I'll need my Outlook files for sure, Favorites & Firefox.

Suspect iTunes could be the issue, so I'll just repeat the backup of my kid's iPhone after
I've got this fixed
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
The good thing about the procedure that I have given you is that you are not DELETING the old profile, simply renaming it--all the files from the "corrupt" profile will be there for you to access as you discover which files you need to "transfer" (copy/move) over to the new. You can still get to the files from the corrupt profile--when you logon to create the new profile it will not delete the renamed one.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Renamed my existing folder/profile at command prompt:
cd /users
move MyDomain_id  Corrupt_MyDomain_id
mkdir MyDomain_id
& copy over the files from the local account dir to the newly-created \users\MyDomain_id

When I logged in, it appears to be initializing something & the Desktop got displayed with
a message at the bottom right corner: "you are logged in with a Temporary profile which
will get deleted when you logoff"  : what does this message mean?

VPN, MS Word+Excel are working fine & I copied over  Desktop so practically all icons are
there in there with a few missing.

What's in \users\MyDomain_id\Appdata\...   ?
It's quite a large folder & looks like my Outlook info are cached there.

The next thing is to get Outlook working with "autofill" of email recipients still intact.

I don't use Music & Videos
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Well before we start worrying about missing files--has the problem that this question is about, the blank desktop, solved--can you login as normal and get your desktop?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
FYI the procedure you used, the one of manually creating the new user folder is NOT one I would recommend--I am very surprised that it worked. If you read the procedure I gave you it is 1) reboot 2) logon as a different user 3) rename corrupt profile 4) logon as user (allow Windows logon to create required folder in c:\users) 5) Move/copy needed files to newly created profile.

You can find desktop icons from old corrupt profile in c:\users\user-name.corrupt\desktop
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
> the blank desktop, solved--can you login as normal and get your desktop?
Yes, it's solved;  consistently getting the Desktop displayed.

It worked despite using the method I described earlier, just that I'll need my
Outlook stuff back.  Just found that my IE & Chrome browsers'  histories are
gone so will need these back as well
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
You want to minimize what you bring over because if you end bringing it all back you may bring the cause of the screen issue back. As far as Outlook goes you can copy the Outlook folders but you will have to re-create the Outlook account(s) first then copy them over--these can be found here C:\Users\corrupt-user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook. The IE history cannot be transferred (that I know of) and on google chrome data is in C:\Users\corrupt-user\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Are the following big files crucial at all that they need to be copied over:
(perhaps my Outlook customizations/settings & cached recipients info
 & ideally my IE/Chrome's Favourites):

 Directory of C:\Users\MyDomainId\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

28/07/2015  10:35 AM             2,840 Default Outlook
08/04/2015  10:20 AM       267,001,856 - Default Outlook Profi
29/08/2015  12:30 AM     5,687,018,496 - Default Outlook Profi
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Once you have recreated your Outlook profile and had your Outlook synch up to the server and having downloaded all the folders (looks like you are using office 365 or Exchange, right?)  then you can see what is missing, what is not working right. If you are using office 365 or Exchange these .OST files will recreate themselves
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