Windows XP startup problem (black screen)

By sk1ttl3s · 103 replies
Dec 30, 2004
  1. xearon

    xearon TS Rookie

    Could Windows update have installed SP2 when your pc started to experience this?
  2. problemsolver

    problemsolver TS Rookie

    Blank Screen Fix

    Computer: Dell Inspiron 9100
    Graphics card: ATI Mobility Radeon 9700
    Operating system: Windows XP SP 2

    Symptom: Black/blank screen after windows logon screen
    Cause: Dust (most likely reason in my situation) and/or video card needing to be set in place
    Solution: Dusting the graphics card and motherboard and connectors

    *IMPORTANT- first, check black pin before trying my solution. Link section below has two links to Reed Switch (black pin).

    I have a Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop with a Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics card. After a futile search of over 200 websites and forums, all being inconclusive, I determined to resolve this problem myself. It is a recurring black screen/freeze after windows logon issue that seems a problem commonly associated with Inspirons and ATI mobility cards. Since my hard drive was overheating, I dusted the three fans at bottom of the laptop. Dust must have lodged into the graphics card from cleaning because this is when the real problem began. Upon booting the computer, after the windows logon screen there was a blank screen. There seemed to be a background running because of light flickering.
    I restarted, pressed F8, went into Safe Mode, went into Device Manager, opened “Display Adapters” and disabled ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (make sure the drivers are the normal ones, not changed by any other mod like Omega drivers. Driver Cleaner can help delete all ATI drivers that the ATI uninstall program doesn’t do).
    I went into normal Windows in VGA mode, which Windows automatically detects after the Radeon graphics card (adapter) has been disabled. Did excessive research and tested everything in Windows for two days with the Mobility Radeon adapter at times enabled or disabled. Finally I left the Radeon adapter enabled with its original drivers and restarted.
    Then, as I knew would happen, the blank screen after the windows splash screen came on so I tried a TV tuner to see if a secondary monitor would show the background. Nothing showed up on my TV. But I left the Radeon adapter enabled with original drivers before what I was about to do.
    I shut down the laptop and let it cool down for a hour on its back. Be warned: doing the following steps can break your warranty, so do so at your own risk. Anyway, I made sure I was grounded by touching the metal parts at back of the laptop before disassembling the laptop.
    Many laptops do not have removable video cards like Inspirons do. Other laptops may have unremovable video cards permanently etched into the motherboard. But I disassembled all the way to the video card, removed the video card on my Inspiron 9100. Inspected for damage and burn on both top and bottom sides... none. I’ve never overclocked the video card or flashed the bios so a “dead card” was unlikely.
    The video card had some dust on it, so did the motherboard near the fans. I used normal kleenex (twisting the edge to reach tight places with dust can help) and blew off dust from the video card and motherboard. Checked connectors for dust. Blew on them too. I closely inspected every area of the video card and motherboard and other parts of the laptop to make sure it was thoroughly dusted. That being done, I put everything back in place gently and firmly.
    Then on the next restart the video card worked perfectly. The blank screen was gone.

    Step#1: check to see if there’s dim background showing desktop icons, etc behind blank screen (using something like a flashlight). If there is a dim background showing stuff, it might be a backlight problem in the monitor.
    Step#2: read the Links Section below for information on other things that may be causing your problem
    Step#3: think about whether you have a warranty before taking apart the laptop
    Step#4: be sure you’re using the original Radeon drivers not Omega drivers (or other mods) before disassembling the laptop (if you choose to)
    Step#5: read Dell safety instructions especially about grounding yourself so electricity does not jolt you. Do not ever take apart the monitor itself, it has stored electricity that can kill someone. If the monitor is the problem, have an expert do it.
    Step#6: look at black pin first when disassembling computer
    Step#7: remember where all the screws and parts belong
    Step#8: check video card carefully and dust carefully where needed
    Step#9: put everything back in place
    Step#10: restart and see what happens

    Observations while troubleshooting:
    IMPORTANT-Some people experience issues with the black pin directly under the plastic peg on Inspiron systems. It can cause Windows to go into permanent standby/blank screen after windows logon screen. This was not the cause of my problem—but check into the black pin first before taking on my solution. How to check the black pin (reed switch) can be found in the links section I have included near the end of this post.
    -entering dxdiag while radeon adapter is enabled caused blank screen with a flashing hyphen at top left of screen then the hyphen freezes. green and purple kaleioscopic colors form before screen blackens out.
    -trying to change resolution with radeon adapter enabled brought a blank screen
    -using “resolution/refresh forcing” freeware didn’t work
    -tried Fn+F8 at bootup to toggle CRT/LCD on exterior monitor, got blank screen (some people may get a secondary monitor to work but dust may be lodged elsewhere inside, so this may cause differing symptoms)
    -I never got any error messages when the blank screen happened
    -I could not see anything behind the blank screen (but if you do, then you may have a dim screen, which may be a backlight issue with your monitor)
    -noticed five default monitors in display properties > settings > advanced > monitor

    Observations made after my fix:
    -tried installing radeon omega drivers v.3.8.231, but caused problem after bootup with BSOD error: ati2dvag.dll which might be the Infinite Loop error. Had to enter Safe mode, uninstall omega drivers, then let windows install normal Radeon drivers again after normal bootup. If you have Infinite Loop error, look for Infinite Loop Fix in links section I provide below.
    -five “default monitors” are still listed in display properties, so let me know if a fix is found for this.

    Different causes of blank screen after windows logon screen as following:
    Reed switch (black pin):
    Windows XP hanging while loading agp440.sys:
    Infinite Loop Fix (related to ati2dvag.dll reboot errors):

    Disassembling Inspiron 9100:
    Discussion at Dell for more comments related to blank screen:
    Troubleshooting a Video Adapter and Computer Monitor:

    Hope this helps.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    ATI drivers are known to be flakey. Use the last known working driver.
  4. katedid

    katedid TS Rookie

    Black screen on safe mode

    Hi, This is a first for me. so hope I get it correct. daughter in another city has black screen after having to shut down. opening on safe mode. has tried f8, but cannot get to reboot thecomputer. can anyone help
  5. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    there are so many diff posts here I would not know where to begin
    laptop or PC who was frist I forgot
    ATI drivers just keep reloading back date drivers till it works
    you can check for chipset drivers from the MB manufactorer don't have to go back to intel ,unless it's an intel board.
    watch out for MS auto updates they can screw up other softwares
    turn it off and load onlt the most critical one's manually
  6. mattgarnham

    mattgarnham TS Rookie

    This is doing my head in now


    My Spec is as follows:

    X-Blade Case (Desktop)
    Asus K8S-MX Motherboard
    ATI Radeon 9600 256mb Graphics Card (AGP)
    2 GB RAM (2 X 1 GB Sticks)
    AMD 3700+ (754 pin)
    2 x 200GB SATA RAID 1 hard drives
    1 x 100GB IDE Hard Drive
    Samsung 913N Flat Panel Monitor
    2 x installs of Windows XP Pro (1 on the IDE and 1 on the SATA drives)


    Booting windows, shows the windows logo. then stops and goes black screen.
    Booting into the second install of windows - same issue. Booting into safe mode: starts loading drivers, then stops at gagp30kx.sys and does nothing else. Same on the other boot.

    Because there is the same issue on 2 different installs of windows, maybe it is a BIOS based issue?

    Solutions Tried:

    Changing the AGP speed from x8 to x4 - useless!!

    Solutions about to Try:

    I am about to pull my computer apart, dust everything off and then plug it all back together, but I am not hopeful.
    If that does not work, am going to try to re-install the bios.

    Any other ideas would be really good and helpful


  7. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    According to google, gagp30kx.sys is related to ATI driver problem, or something that's not aggreeing with your motherboard... try windows generic drivers or update drivers/chipsets.. or try repairing/reinstalling windows.....

    while you've pulled apart the pc, try booting with minimal hardware (vid, sound, cpu/mobo, ram, hdd1) and see if it works.. and who knows.. a lot of things seems to be fixed by dusting :)
  8. mattgarnham

    mattgarnham TS Rookie

    Hiya guiys


    Basically had to boot using Winternals and then replaced the driver file gagp30kx.sys. i got the copy of this driver off my other pc.

    after replacing that, it was 100% sorted back to normal.

    If you dont have winternals, may i suggest you buy it, otherwise, i cant think of a way to do this.

    Good luck guys

  9. Mr. Fixit

    Mr. Fixit TS Rookie

    Black screen - FIXED!!

    Thank you all who kept this post alive and all the great advice.

    I was running a desktop with an onboard nvidia card. I was replacing it with a pci ati card and it kept getting the black screen until i went into device mananger and uninstalled the nvidia card and hit show hidden devices and removed another instance of nvidia.

    I also removed any nvidia service from startup and services.

    Fare thee well!
  10. mrkrandall

    mrkrandall TS Rookie

    Blank screen after MS Logo

    I am looking for technical support / advice.
    Here is a description of my problem;
    I loose video (blank screen) after windows logo during boot. I can choose "Safe Mode" (F8) options, but the system will not boot in safe mode. I can view and change BIOS settings, But nothing helps.
    I believe that I damaged/corrupted the Nvidia 5600 driver in the XP PRO OS. How do I get rid of, or fix, it? The PC/OS is loading up normally (the sounds happen, HD spins, peripherals are initialized), I just loose my ability to see after the MS Logo screen.
    I was thinking I could take the drive out of the machine, put it in an external case, and access it from another machine. Since I probably cannot access the system pieces, I was wondering what I could delete on it so it would use a default vga driver? or something?

    OS = XP Pro SP2
    Proccessor = AMD 2800 Athon
    Motherboard = MSI KT4V Series
    Video Card = Nvidia 5600
  11. hardrive

    hardrive TS Rookie

    black screen

    Hello all, my screen also goes black when i start windows xp home sp2 os . Also, when i try to take the windows xp tour choosing the animated choice my screen either freezes or goes black . when it just freezes the word flash appears on the top left of the frozen screen. I have 256mb ram new maxtor HD and an abit vl5 motherboard and a 1ghz PIII cpu. The OS was just clean installed. Any suggestions welcomed.
  12. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    Hardrive: Update your video card drivers. By the way.. What is your video card?

    mrkrandall: Use your windows XP cd to perform a Windows Repair.. that should default all your drivers to generic drivers, including everything else, as well as roll back any recent windows updates you've downloaded..
  13. hardrive

    hardrive TS Rookie

    mrkrandall my video card is a ATI 3D RAGE PRO PN 109-49800-11 8MB 2X AGP
  14. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    Yes it is normal for the video card to heat up, but if its overheating then you have a problem there. You can download something like speedfan or a temperature monitor to get a rough idea of what its at..

    So tell me, have you installed the latest driver set for your video card?

    Seriously, if you want a new video card you may as well think of a few upgrades for your pc.. for doing simple stuff like surf the net and use microsoft office etc. that computer is fine and will do the job, but if you want to start playing some type of media i think there is a few components holding you back. You might as well be rebuilding your PC.
    Although to answer your question, yes another video card with a bigger memory on it will ease some of the stress... which i believe is causing your pc to crash...
  15. hardrive

    hardrive TS Rookie

    black screen

    yes N3051M, I have downloaded the latest ati driver for this ati video card. The original os was windows me millenium ed. and clean installed windows xp home ed. sp1 . The os was clean installed on a brand new maxtor 200 gb hardrive so i do not think there are viruses. I checked the memory with windows memory diagnostic from microsoft tool and no errors showed. I'm waiting for a new video card i ordered any day i am very curious to see what will happen.
  16. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    the video card will show some improvement but if you're planning to run windows xp on it you would need 512mb ram for a smoother operation..
  17. hardrive

    hardrive TS Rookie

    Black Screen

    I am about to try a ATI RAGE 128 PRO 32MB PCI VIDEO CARD V44 just to see what happens .I know its below your recommedations but for something like 512mb they expensive.Any way my cpu can only handle up to 1.1ghz and the other video cards require a faster cpu . what do you think?.
  18. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    lol.. let me clarify..

    the video card you are getting to replace your current one is OK.

    I was talking about your actual system RAM. You've mentioned in your previous post that you have only 256mb of RAM.. Although it is sufficiant to run windows, you'll be trading off a lot of features and some ability of your PC.. So in other words an addition of 256mb RAM would help you a bit in the long run..
  19. frog98146

    frog98146 TS Rookie Posts: 21

    Same problem but started when

    Hi first time posting here amazing how many folks having my same problem just in different ways. I have the same problem but started when I added CTL 7Gx Monitor I can go to safe mode and it works great. Safe mode with networks work great. reboot normal mode and see every thing up to when it should go to the login screen screen go blank, BLACK, and you can see hd light working.

    In safe mode click on display setting in control panel and the properties is grayed out so I can't open them. By the way this is a desk top not a laptop. well I'm doing this on my laptop but my desk top is the one having the problem. I'm I confusing you yet.:confused:
  20. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    If safe mode works, then its a driver issue. If your monitor came with a driver CD then reinstalling the driver or updating it may solve the problem..

    Otherwise try changing the refresh rate.. If you can't get in through the normal right-click destop>properties then try going to Control Panel>Display Properties>etc? You can try login as true admin instead of the normal power user admin, if you have that..
  21. frog98146

    frog98146 TS Rookie Posts: 21

    fixed it

    I booted into vga mode and it let me in. :approve: I was suprized cause it didnt for like 5 times. I reset every thing and then set res at 75 and now every thing works. Love this display. Although some words have a goust behind them. Like colored letters other then black have a shadow effect.but it looks cool kind of like it like that lol! Can't complain got the monitor for free. Thats right a 279.95 monitor for 0.00! Yah just can't beat that.:D
  22. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    play around with the refresh rates and resolutions if you want untill you find that ghosting dissapears..

    Nice catch on the monitor tho :)
  23. GingerNinja

    GingerNinja TS Rookie

    Hey guys.
    I am also having a similar problem to the previous ones.
    First of I was just typing up a word document and then the screen went blocky (Blocks made of sets of lines if that makes it any more clear most people don't understand what I mean as it is hard to explain.) I have had this problem many times before and I normally just have to turn of the computer, unplug the monitor and plug it back in. (I have always suspected that the Video Card was loose as this process moves it about a lot.)
    When I turned the computer back on nothing had changed. The blocks were still there from the first screen. After this I took the card out and repositioned it but the problem was still there. I decided to try the monitor in the port on the Motherboard but the screen was just black. I took out the Video Card and tried again. This time I got a picture and it was working well.
    Later on the same day I went back to my computer. I turned it on and it worked fine whilst loading but as soon as it went past the first Windows XP loading page it just goes black.
    I have tried everything that I can think of such as going into Safe Mode and Enable VGA Mode.
    When I go into Safe Mode it gets stuck on
    When I go into Enable VGA Mode the same problem occurs (black screen)

    If anyone has any ideas on what is wrong and how to fix it I would be very greatfull.
    Cheers in advance.

  24. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Sounds like you should try (re)installing your mainboard chipset drivers, particularly AGP drivers.
  25. ArcNatural

    ArcNatural TS Rookie

    Hello I have this black screen problem and I have been trying to fix it. I believe my problem is a driver issue, however I am unable to startup in VGA mode. I checked my device manager and it says I have VGASave. Device type: Non-Plug and Play Drivers. Manufacturer: Unknown and Location Unknown. It also says VgaSave is working properly. My comp was working fine until my brother downloaded a patch for some game and it required a restart. While I have all the Safe modes, I am unable to start with VGA. I have a AMD3800+ and Nvidia7900 GTX Card. Do I need to disable my Nvidia Card display adapter in order to go in VGA mode? Or is there a VGA I can download to enable it in my bios menu.
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