XP: Black screen with blinking cursor

By manofmany ยท 17 replies
Feb 21, 2008
  1. K I had an issue where my FIL was watching a video and everything got HUGE on the screen and froze. He restarted it and it would then freeze at the splash screen. I uninstalled the display adapter and it gets past that. It goes past the Computer is starting screen. When I click on his name to load his personal settings, it switches to a blank black screen with a blinking cursor. No keys or mouse response. The CD-ROM will still open. Any ideas?
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    If you've got a bootable XP CD try the following:

    Put the CD into your optical drive and boot off the CD. When presented with the option, choose "R" to load the Recovery Console. It'll probably ask you to select which Windows installation you want to repair, I assume you only have one so choose it. If it asks for the Administrator's Password, type it.

    Type "fixmbr" (without the quotes) and hit enter. It'll probably ask you if you're sure you want to run fixmbr, which you are or you wouldn't be at this screen eh :grinthumb? Hit y.

    When this completes, pop the disk out and try booting as you would normally.

    If any of that turns out to be inaccurate you have my apologies... working off memory :(.
  3. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Their CDROM isnt reading disks.

    Besides, if it's actually booting to the Welcome screen on XP, wouldn't that mean the MBR isn't messed up?
  4. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I am now able to get into Windows past the loading personal settings prompt. It lasts for about 20 seconds before it goes to the black screen with the blinking cursor. Any ideas?
  5. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I got the other cdrom bootable and am running chkdsk /r right now. Anyone have any other suggestions short of formatting? It boots into windows and then goes to the blank black screen.
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Welp, phase two. Read this entire post before you do anything because you'll likely have to look information up regarding the system you are working on.

    Go back into the Recovery Console and get to the point where you can start entering commands (after it requests your password and such).

    Enter the command "CD .." as many times as it takes to get to the root C:\ drive (probably only once assuming you start with "C:\Windows") and then enter these commands in order and don't mess em up ;).

    ATTRIB -H C:\\boot.ini
    ATTRIB -S C:\\boot.ini
    ATTRIB -R C:\\boot.ini
    DEL boot.ini
    BOOTCFG /rebuild

    After you enter this command it will say the following (bolded text is my notes):

    "Scanning all disks for Windows installations.

    Please wait, since this may take a while...

    The Windows installation scan was successful.

    Note: The results are stored statically for this session. If the disk configuration changes during this session, in order to get an updated scan, you must first reboot the machine and then rescan the disks.

    Total identified Window installs: 1 (Unless you have more of course...)

    [1]: C:\Windows
    Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All): (Say "y" for yes)
    Enter Load Identifier: (Just call it "Windows XP")
    Enter OS Load Options: (See below)"

    Now it is very important that you do one or both of the following two things for Load Options; First, every Windows XP owner (which includes you) must use /FASTDETECT as an OS Load Option when the rebuild process is finalizing. Secondly, if you are the owner of a CPU featuring Intel's XD or AMD's NX buffer overflow protection (look your CPU up on their website), you must also use /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN as an OS Load Option.

    Okay, so assuming you have to enter both options you want to type the following after Enter OS Load Options:

    /fastdetect /noexecute=optin (There is a space between the two commands and yes, optin not option)

    CHKDSK /R /F (Might take a while)
    FIXBOOT (Might ask if you're sure, you are so "y" for yes)

    Type exit and pop the disk out. If your system doesn't boot now then I give up :(.
  7. Cerberus

    Cerberus TS Rookie Posts: 56


    Have you tried going in under safemode?
  8. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Yes I can get to safemode and have tried several things to no avail.
  9. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Zenosincks I tried all those commands minus fixboot and it still does the same thing. I can get logged into XP but it randomly then goes to a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
  10. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    If you can get logged in for any length of time, create a new user account with admin priviledges and then reboot and use that account to run sfc /scannow.

  11. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I just tried to reinstall XP and while at the Installing screen it went to a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
  12. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    It is beginning to sound like your bios video operation is wanky!

    Does your motherboard have an ESCD reset?

    Have you tried a bios (cmos) reset?
  13. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Keep in mind I can get it safe mode and it never goes wacky.

    I'm not sure if it does or not. Its a dimension 8250 (dell) but I cant get the online manual to load.
  14. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I just took out the battery, I'm gonna let it sit for a few minutes and see if that helps.
  15. manofmany

    manofmany TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Update: I got a fresh install on there. Everything went fine while running UNTIL I installed the nVidia driver for the card! The second I installed it I got the blank screen with the blinking cursor...
  16. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    What is the video card and what driver did you attempt to install?
  17. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Boot into Safe Mode, uninstall the current drivers and try using drivers that were released previously. If this doesn't work, uninstall the drivers totally, boot into Safe Mode with Networking and see if Microsoft offers drivers for the card during Windows Update. You'll see it on the left after it finishes searching to see what updates you need. It'll say something like "Hardware Optional".

    Sorry about wasting your time with that long post up there ;).
  18. stevebardocz

    stevebardocz TS Rookie

    XP not booting with blinking cursor and larger laptop hard drive


    I finally was able to get my system to boot after backing up all my data. I used a linux system resource CD to boot and then ran "wizard" which it tells you to do to run a GUI session of linux after it boots to a prompt. Then I ran GPart I think - whatever the partition software was. I reduced my partition to 130GB and left the remaining 30GB as a new partition, and it booted just like other postings online had said! Finally. Thank God!

    In Out Board Specialist
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