Windows XP Black Screen, White Blinking Underscore

By ncas17 ยท 13 replies
Jun 4, 2009
  1. Hi, when windows starts up it gets stuck at a black screen with a white blinking uncerscore at the top left corner. I cannot start in safe mode. The last time I used the computer I played The Sims 3 and then uninstalled McAfee and then did a normal shutdown rather than a restart as McAfee suggested. When I started up the computer today the black screen problem started. I have an extended warranty for my computer but I am afraid that if I send it in for repair the hard drive will be wiped clean an I will lose all of my files. I have an external hard drive and I just need to get into windows long enough to transfer my files. Please Help!!!

    * I also did a hard drive diagnostics test, and said it was ok. And my laptop is an HP dv9000 series, which I know has had some recalls. I just don't want to lose my files!!!
  2. snowchick7669

    snowchick7669 TS Maniac Posts: 660

    Do you have another machine?
  3. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah, an old compaq desktop.
  4. snowchick7669

    snowchick7669 TS Maniac Posts: 660

    I was about to say that you could connect the drive via an external enclosure to your machine to get the data off, but re-read that it is still under warranty. In doing so, you would void the warranty.

    Is there a computer repair shop that is authorised for HP warranty around your area?, meaning that they can take out the hard drive and not void the warranty (our workshop are the HP engineers for our area, so we quite often have to do these types of jobs).

    If so, then explain exactly what you want done and they should not wipe your data
  5. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, I guess I will call HP and see if there is a authorized repair shop near me. I bought the external hard drive months ago and now i'm mad at myself for not backing up my files before this happened.
  6. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can access the BIOS setup utility. Is there anything I can try through this menu???
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    First download "Ubuntu" Linux here: The standard 32 bit version will do it. Burn it to disc as an "image". < very important..! You can then use it as a boot disc, (run it in "test" mode, also called a "live" run). It doesn't install in this mode, and it can read Windows files, so if you have to reformat you'll be able to retrieve your data before you do. In this case, you would just plug the External HDD in, and copy and paste to your heart's content.

    If your HP has a "restore" disc, it may offer the option of a"non-destructive" restore. This mode loads a fresh copy of Windows from a partition, and doesn't reformat the drive. So, boot the machine with the restore disc, and choose "non-destructive" restore. If you are not offered this option, chicken out, until you get your data backed up.

    Just for the record, MaCafee has a removal tool, which usually gets it out without damaging anything.

    Many times the blinking cursor is associated with a HDD detection issue. For example if the drive is not running in the correct mode. You could check BIOS for that, but we don't actually know what mode it's supposed to be in.
  8. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Cranky! I am downloading ubuntu right now but it is going really slow...(almost 4 hours remaining!!!) So hopefully this will work and then I can save my files and then send the computer in for a repair. If I press F11 at startup it takes me to an HP recovery program, but it says that proceeding will erase all of my files and does not offer any other option.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    Ouch, you did click on the "CD" version didn't you? No, really there's a DVD download too! Even my Verizon 1 meg broadband will down it (CD) in just a twitch under 2 hours.

    Remember to get into BIOS and make sure that your machine is set to boot from the CD drive first!
  10. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Crap! I hope I got the right one. The size was 698MB, and the transfer rate is 40.7KB/Sec. I have like 2 minutes left, I hope it works!!!
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    You got the right version, I think it should be the "Ubuntu 9.04 32 bit i386" version, which is the default download.

    There are many download mirrors. IDK how fast your connection is but if it's faster than the download speed you quoted, simply give up and try one of the other servers.

    My 1Mbs Verizon runs full speed @ about 120KBs. The last I tried, at one server I was getting about 60KBs, jumped to a different server and voila. full speed ahead!

    I still have the ISO file on my computer and it's 698MB, so I'm pretty sure you got the right one.

    You do understand about burning an image..?
  12. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I was able to burn the cd, and I put it into my computer and it started up! But now I have another problem... I can't find my files!!! I'm in the trial mode, or whatever it was called, and I am searching for my files and I can't find anything!!!
  13. ncas17

    ncas17 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all your help Cranky! For some reason I was unable to access my files through Ubuntu, I kept getting an error message when I tried to open the OS files. And then I spent two hours online with an HP customer service rep, and still had no solution other than to send it into them for free servicing, which would result in me losing all of my files. Then finally at 6AM I downloaded the Slax operating system and was able to access and backup all of my data. Then I did a destructive restore and the laptop seems to be working fine!
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    Well, you would get an error trying to open any OS files, since those files are hidden by default.

    My question here is, why would you want to access the OS files, since they would be wiped, then replaced by the rsctore discs.

    Couldn't you find photo, music, or video files with Linux? I did a session with one of my machines, it did work like a charm.

    It's a moot point now, but there could always be a next time.

    I was worried you got that wrong mode with Ubuntu, because I misstated the name. "Try Linux without changing your computer", would be the correct session. It's the default highlighted entry.
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