Black Screen on Boot up for ~3 minutes, then runs ok

By horatio1996
Jun 16, 2008
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  1. About six months ago, my machine started giving me a black screen during the boot up process. As soon as I turn it on, I see the manufacturers logo (dell) for about 1 second, then it gives me a black screen with a flashing white cursor in the upper left hand corner. This screen last about 3-4 minutes, then it boots windows XP normally.

    Last week I was in the room while it was booting, and I noticed that it was accessing the network during the black screen portion of boot up (activity light on cable modem was flashing, alot), which got me motivated to fix it. (not sure what that means). I ran virus scanners (McAfee) which found nothing, but I did check the log file in my scanner which shows that my auto virus screening is diabled everytime I boot the machine????

    Checked partitions on the hard drive, found 2- my c:, and an unnamed partition of about 30 megs. (I dont remember putting a second partitions on there - would the manufacturer put that there to use as a virtual memory??)

    Deleted all partitions and reformated the hard drive yesterday, and reloaded XP, but that still didn't solve it.

    Loaded and booted the Windows Recovery Console, and ran the FIXMBR command twice, both times I get the message that "It appears your MBR is corrupted" or something like that but it doesn't fix it.

    Do I have some sort of virus in the MBR that my virus software (McAffee, was up to date before my reformating) never caught or is this a hardware issue- something on the hard drive or mobo going bad?

    I'm reloading some of the drivers tongiht, will reload McAffee and run it in safe mode to see if it can detect anything.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.


    System - Dell 4600 from 2003, Pentium 2, with 512 megs ram, running WinXP
  2. jhnroy

    jhnroy Newcomer, in training Posts: 26

    Boot Error

    You say it is accessing the network during boot this might be due to you're boot priority in the BIOS.
    Go into you're BIOS and set you're boot priority to:
    First: Floppy
    Second: CD/DVD
    Third: HDD or HDD0

    Hopefully this should resolve you're slow boot up.

    Also you can not create 1 partition with you're hard drive the computer does not use 100% HDD when formatting as for it takes probably around 30MB for it self to do what it has to do so that is not a virus.
    Hope this helps you.
    John
  3. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks, thats good news. I'll try that when I get home tonight and let you know if it works.
  4. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    No luck on that. I set the BIOS to the following order:

    1. Floppy - Enabled
    2. CD - Enabled
    3. Hard Drive- Enabled.

    Still gives me a 3 minute hang up during the boot up sequence. Any ideas what I should try next?
  5. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I haven't noticed it trying to access the network except that one time. I haven't reloaded the network drivers since I reformated yesterday, so I don't think it could if it tried to right now.
  6. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Also, on the hard drive, its a 120 Gg hard drive, and the disk manager right now shows only 1 partition of 111.75 GB. Where is that other 8.25Ggs hiding at?
  7. jhnroy

    jhnroy Newcomer, in training Posts: 26

    When you install a 40GB HDD you will see you only get around 37.2GB, so with 120GB it makes sense that you only get 111.xxGB because with HDD you dont get exactly what it says on the box so that is nothing to worry about.

    But for the slow boot that could just be that you're PC handles things this way and is still loading up Hardware.

    Once you have fully loaded and on you're desktop what other problems do you get if any.

    John
  8. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Nothing that I have noticed so far, but nothing but Windows is loaded on the machine right now.
  9. jhnroy

    jhnroy Newcomer, in training Posts: 26

    Windows Installs lots of other hardware such as graphics, sound, CD/DVD, Floppy, IDE Controllers and many more. So it could just be that Windows is booting this all up and that's what is causing the slow boot.

    If you experience any other problem just let me know as for at the moment it seems like you're computer is healthy.

    John
  10. Go into your BIOS and disable the network boot on the NIC if present.

    Does this black screen appear before or after the windows loading logo screen appears?
  11. horatio1996

    horatio1996 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Fixed it- BIOS update & nuked the hard drive

    Found a BIOS update for my machine, and I ran Boot & Nuke on the hard drive, and then reloaded everything. Seems to be running like a champ now. Thanks for the input and ideas!
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