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.