Windows XP won't boot; black screen w/ cursor

Microsoft Windows xp media center editio...
October 16, 2009 at 13:15:29
Specs: Windows XP, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.00 GHz; 2 GB RAM
Hello all,

I am in dire need of assistance and any help is most welcome. I am running a Sony Vaio with Intel Core 2 Duo 2.00 GHz processor and Windows XP SP3 Media Center 2005. The computer boots with the Windows splash / loading screen as normal, afterwards, when it would normally show the desktop, I am left with a black screen with the cursor in the middle (not blinking). I have control of the cursor, but can't do anything else. Ctrl+Alt+Del does nothing and pressing Shift 5 times does nothing. I have attempted the normal system restore, booting in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with networking, and Safe Mode with Command prompt. All of these result in the same black screen with cursor control.

I am not aware of any viruses that might be on the machine. I regularly run SuperAntispyware, Malwarebytes, and virus scans with Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition. None of them detected anything earlier in the day prior to the problem. However, Firefox had frozen up an unusual number of times yesterday. When it froze, I noticed that there was always an advertisement on the site that didn't load properly, so I attributed it to that. Also, the night before, I received a Cicerouiwndframe not responding error on shutdown, but that is not particularly unusual as I have seen it before, though not recently. Further, I noticed yesterday that my computer was having trouble recognizing my printer in one of the USB ports, but when I switched to one of the other ports, it worked fine. In trying to resolve this issue, I have disconnected all auxiliary hardware (mouse wireless adapter, printer), but this produced little effect.

Once I get to the black screen with cursor, the only way for me to turn the computer off is to disconnect the power cord the back of the computer and remove the laptop battery. Pressing the power button does nothing. I was working in Excel last night with a couple of Firefox windows open when the computer suddenly froze up. Today, I'm left with the black screen and cursor. There are some important files that I need to retrieve from the hard drive, so at the very least, some help in accomplishing that would be most appreciated.

I don't have an original Windows XP Media Center Edition disc since the computer never came with one. Apparently, Sony includes a recovery kit as a special partition on the hard drive, but it's not clear what this recovery will do or if it would allow me to use the Windows XP Media Center repair function that would be found on an original Microsoft disc.

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October 16, 2009 at 13:28:32
First, this sounds like a serious problem because of the
number of hardware/software problems. It could be a virus but
it would be very hard to tell in the current state of the
machine. Fixing it would be very difficult because it can't boot
past a certain point.

Second, Sony's repair partition would probably wipe all data
from the hard drive first, so you need to get the files off first.
You can do this at a local computer shop, but they will charge
a large sum of money, however they may be able to fix the
problem with the OS as well. In most cases, you need a
more expensive copy of the Windows disc to get a recovery
option, and it would probably not work anyway.

To recover data yourself, try hooking up the hard drive in the
broken machine to an SATA/IDE enclosure or similar, then try
accessing it from another computer. (I can't provide many
details on this because it depends on your hard drive model,
OS, hardware, etc.)

Your safest bet is to take it to a computer store, but before
you do that, this may help:

Can you type any letters/numbers at the black screen, and
does it have any text on it?

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October 16, 2009 at 13:46:08
Thanks for the quick reply. No, I can't type anything on the black screen. In safe mode, the words safe mode are in all four corners of the screen, but in normal mode there is no text. In regard to trying to repair the OS with an original disc, I'm not sure it would work anyway. I have MCE 2005 w/ SP3 while the only OEM versions of MCE I have ever seen only have SP2, and as far as I know, slipstreaming SP3 onto MCE 2005 is not possible.

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October 19, 2009 at 00:52:12
Your not alone on this one, this happened to me last night with a vaio SZ. when the Sony Phoenix screen appears hit f10 to load the vaio control centre, which will give a lot of options (more than just clearing your disk) I am running a hardware test now but I suspect the hardware is fine. I think this is a software issue, and probably something to do with an update gone wrong. The good news is if your drive is ok the vaio should let you access the date and make a backup from the f10 options.

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Related Solutions

October 19, 2009 at 10:01:51
This has to be something to do with the most recent update, because after I did the update, Windows started acting weird. Then just today, I came back from a screen saver and nothing happened. When I hit ctrl alt del, a log on box opened up (which is what should have happened in the first place, I password protect my screensaver) and when i logged back in... Nothing worked. I tried restarted, but am getting the black screen with a cursor. I can't get anything to work. I'm running the HP recovery console and running hardware checks before I resort to a recovery. I'm surprised this is happening to a number of people...

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October 19, 2009 at 16:56:11
I believe that this probably was caused by a Windows update gone awry. Also, I have been extremely hesitant to use the F10 option in my Vaio because I have heard from other Sony users that have had catastrophic results (i.e. loss of data) when using the F10 Sony recovery console. The BIOS recognizes the dual 100GB drives, but when I tried to access the hard drive using an Ubuntu boot CD so I could copy my files to an external HD, Ubuntu couldn't see the laptop's hard drive. Please post back with any updates.

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