Black screen (of death?) on 2 computers, no way to boot in safe mode

By Anicouni
Dec 21, 2010
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  1. Hi, this has happened on 2 computers, after playing a game or just going for a quick chat onto a game's linked server.

    The first computer is a HP m8247c with legit Vista. I wanted to give you a link for the specs, (sorry, I'm writing this on my cellphone, and I can't select and copy the specs from the site). As a newbie, I am not allowed to give you the link, but it's easy to find, although I don't think it's necessary to have the computer's specs to be able to envision the problem. The second computer is an e-machine, built up a couple of years ago and running on legal XP.

    My 13 years old son used to play an online game, Teeworlds, a couple of times per week. Our home computer operates on Windows Vista, with Avira Antivir for the security.

    The last time he played that game was the last time the computer worked. I tried to ask him what had happened, but he couldn't tell me. Then, a similar thing happened with a second computer... That refreshed his memory. For what he remembers now, the next time he turned our computer on, he clicked on the Teeworlds icon, clicked run, then a blue screen appeared with lots of writing on it about memory transferring to hard disk and a lot of numbers at the bottom of the screen. He then force closed it by pushing on the power button. At the next restarting, he couldn't get further than the HP home screen, not able to get into Windows, and then the screen turned black, with only the insertion pointer blinking. I tried many times to restart in Safe Mode, without results. The computer is frozen, doesn't obey any command, the screen is totally black except for the insertion pointer and I have to push on the power button on the tower to turn it off.

    A few weeks later, with our computer still down, my son went to his grandmother to do his homework on her computer. That computer operates on Windows XP with 2 antiviruses, one of which is Avira. He went to the game's site on that computer, then, looking for a friend, logged onto a server where this guy was. That server worked like a CTF, but in the server list had a different game type name. He went onto that server, exchanged a couple of messages to say hello, logged off and did his homework. The next time we turned that computer on, a lot of writing appeared on the screen, then it went black. Not even the blinking of the insertion pointer in that case. Following that, it has been impossible to turn the computer off, even by pushing on the power button. We have to unplug it. It won't start in safe mode either.

    This reminds me that last spring, we got another plague, Vista Internet Security 2010, which also froze the computer. Fortunately, I was able to login in safe mode and was able to find a solution on the web, that included both a patch to temporarily disable the popup windows and a scan with Malewarebytes. I am now writing this on my cellphone, but when I recuperate our computer, I'll get back to you with the exact name of the expert. Credits are due to whom they belong.
    By the way, we then had the misfortune of having an up to date Norton Internet Security as protection. It never saw anything, even when doing full scans in safe mode, and "They" insistingly wanted to charge me 99$ to solve a common bug their product had let pass. Ha! We are not with them anymore.

    Did we get this malware through Teeworlds? That's a good question. The thing is, we don't do any other "risky" activities. One thing is certain, though, the last two bugs appeared just after using a server linked to that game. But anybody can set up a server linked to that game.

    I want to repair the computer myself: I cannot afford to send the computer in for repair or debugging. And I don't want to erase the hard disk.

    I am willing to learn and to take the time to do all the work necessary to fix this, but I simply don't have much of a clue on what to do.
    At least, with the second occurrence of the same problem, we now known where/how it probably began.

    I can't put a link to my thread on that subject in the Teeworlds forums, but if you need, you can look for a thread entitled: "Got a computer bug -- through Teeworlds??"

    Thanks for looking! ;-)
  2. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,011   +18

    Are you able to boot from a CD?
  3. Anicouni

    Anicouni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you Gwailo247.

    Hmmm. I see now that it's the fundamental question!
    I don't know. I haven't tried it.
    I don't even remember where I put that Windows recovery disc I made... :(
    So, I'll have to come back with that answer before anything else...

    What live cd would you recommend if I don't find mine?
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,011   +18

    The goal here is to be able to access the disks and back up the documents. After that worst case scenario is that you have to format the drive and reinstall.

    If you don't have any windows disks, I believe you can burn a Linux disk that will run the OS without installing it. Download an Ubuntu iso and burn it, and then hopefully you can boot the computer, and then see if you can access the hard drive.

    BTW this whole scenario is probably way out of my league, but since nobody else is responding I figured I can suggest some non invasive things to get you started. If you can access and back up the contents of your hard drive, that's probably a good first step.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

  6. Anicouni

    Anicouni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Aaahhh! That's so good!
    The link you just provided me leads to a download for the Vista recovery disc. I had been looking for this for a long time!
    I'll begin by that.
    The instructions look clear enough. I think I can do it with the instructions showing on my cellphone. I'm actually on my cellphone right now.

    Actually, I remember I had tried to download some tools on a USB flash drive but hopefully I had done it wrong because nothing happened when I tried to start the computer with that. There was so much stuff I was supposed to put on a disc or flash drive and so many steps that I understood nothing of what I was supposed to do. I followed the guidelines from a French site, but everything was so complicated.

    Thanks! I'll be back after I try what you showed me. :)
  7. Anicouni

    Anicouni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi LookinAround, what with Christmas and all, I haven't been able to do just what you said yet.
    However, I found the 2 recovery dvds and a Startup Material Diagnosis cd I had made.
    I ran all the different tests on the Material Diagnosis cd. There is no material failure.
    When I turn the computer on, I can see the HP home screen, with 3 options: esc, F10, and F11. If I do nothing or hit any other key, the screen turns black with just the insertion pointer blinking.
    I tried the 3 options and they all work, meaning: they bring me to a new menu.
    About the esc=boot menu:
    At "Select a Boot First device", I chose from the Hard Drive Group:
    - Ch2 M. : Hitachi HDT725032VLA38
    Then I got this answer:
    Read File TOOLBOX. PCX failed
    Batch FILE A. AUTOEXEC.BAT missing
    I was able to reproduce this message a couple of times, but now, if I hit esc from the HP menu on the blue startup screen, then choose the same Ch2 hard drive as the startup drive, I get just the blinking pointer on a black screen.
    I did nothing else, I am pretty sure. I looked at the menus for F10 and F11, but did nothing because I couldn't understand what to do. I exited both without doing anything or saving any potential changes.
    Does that message about a missing AUTOEXEC.BAT file mean anything at all about my problem?
    Could I run the Recovery discs to save my data? The instructions manual says it might or might not ask me if I want to save my data. I read there is the option of doing a system restore from the recovery discs.

    I'll be looking for a live cd to save my data within the next few days.

    I hope you are having a happy Holidays time. :)


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