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Black screen and blinking cursor on startup

This is a discussion on Black screen and blinking cursor on startup within the BSOD, App Crashes And Hangs forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My computer picked up a nasty virus. (Actually, my 16 year old daughter did, but that's another story...rrr) So, the


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Old 01-04-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
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My computer picked up a nasty virus. (Actually, my 16 year old daughter did, but that's another story...rrr) So, the first thing I did was try to restore it to an earlier date. When the restore program restarted, all I got was a black screen with a blinking cursor.

What I've done since then:
1) Reformatted hard drive and reloaded windows 7 from OEM Disk. No change in behaviour. The restore program works fine, but when it restarts, I get the same screen. I've done it twice.
2) Started up in DOS using USB stick, ran CHKDSK as well as other commands, and the HD appears to be fine.
3) Disconnected everything; USB, DVD Drive, peripherals, etc, but still windows won't load.
4) I've changed the BIOS every way imaginable, but it still won't load.
5) I figured that maybe I got one of those BIOS viruses you hear about, so I reflashed the BIOS using DOS. Still, windows won't load.

I believe that all of my components in my system are fine, but there is something small that I'm missing - maybe some way that the computer is instructed to load windows that got corrupted... I'm only intermediate in my knowledge / ability to work with computers, so I'm certain somewhere out there has got something good for me to try. Thanks for any help.

Computer is an Acer Aspire X3910-U3012 which is a Pentium E5700 3 GHz with Windows 7.

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Old 01-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #2
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Oh, another thing - I also tried booting with a Windows XP disk that I've got - that led to a BSOD.

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Old 01-05-2012, 05:03 AM   #3
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Did you wipe the hard drive with a tool such as DBAN or KillDisk (both are freeware)?
Have you performed any other diagnostics?
What did the BSOD say?

I suspect that something, such as the TDSS rootkit, got into the partition table. And a format won't fix that - it requires a wipe of the hard drive. (FYI - I am not an anti-malware specialist, so I don't give advice about that stuff).

I'd suggest a clean install of Windows to start with, but first run these free diagnostics:
I suggest starting all troubleshooting with the following diagnostic tests (located at this link: Hardware Diags ). They'll save you a lot of time and heartache if there is a hardware failure, and you'll have the disks on hand in case you need them in the future:
Quote:
H/W Diagnostics:
Please start by running these bootable hardware diagnostics:
Memory Diagnostics (read the details at the link)
HD Diagnostic (read the details at the link) - Test ALL of the hard drives.

Also, please run one of these free, independent online malware scans to ensure that your current protection hasn't been compromised: Free Online AntiMalware Resources (read the details at the link)
There are also free, bootable antivirus disks at this link: Free Online AntiMalware Resources - Bootable Disks
Then here's the instructions for the clean install of Windows:
Quote:
For testing purposes, it's best to install Windows "clean".
This is, basically, installing it the way that Microsoft intended (using drivers from Windows Update).
This procedure is for Windows 7, Vista is similar (but has 2 service packs)

You will need your installation/recovery DVD(s) before you start. Once you wipe the hard drive there's no going back!!!

1. Backup all your data.
This will wipe everything off of your hard drive, so anything that you want to keep will need to be saved elsewhere.

NOTE: If this is due to an infection, remember to scan the data with another system's current antivirus in order to locate and remove any malware.

2. Connect the system to the internet (if the system says disconnect from the Internet, then do so).

3. Use one of these free utilities to wipe the hard drive clean:
DBAN ( DBAN Download | Darik's Boot And Nuke )
KillDisk ( Freeware Download Active@ KillDisk ).
This will also delete any recovery partitions on the system - so the intallation/recovery DVD's are essential!!!

4. Install Windows by booting from the installation/recovery DVD - DO NOT tweak any settings!!!

5. Visit Windows Update and get all updates

6. Visit Windows Update and get Service Pack 1 (usually under Important Updates). Read these notes for installing SP1: Steps to follow before you install Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center

7. Visit Windows Update and get any other available updates

8. Check Device Manager for any unknown/disabled devices - if there are unknown/disabled devices, fix them with the latest drivers from the device manufacturer's website (not the PC Manufacturer)

9. Download, install, and update a free antivirus so you don't get infected while testing ( Free AntiVirus ).

If the problems persist, then the problem is most likely with your hardware.

CAVEAT: If you have an Asus motherboard, check the date on the C:\Windows\System32\driver\ASACPI.sys file. 2004/2005 is a problem, 2009,2010 is OK. Updates are available at the Asus support website.

CAVEAT: If you have a Sony system, make sure that you DO NOT have the 2007 (or earlier) version of the Sony Firmware Extension Parser (SFEP.sys). Update this driver immediately!!!
Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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Hi Usasma. Thanks for the response. I'll try all that you've suggested. Hopefully the programs that you directed me to can work in DOS, or some other mode as I can't get it to load anything, even safe mode.

As far as diagnostics, my pc came with a disk that has a memory checker and a couple other small things - I've run each of them without discovering anything abnormal.

As far as the hard drive, I used the format command in DOS and then reinstalled using the DVDs that came with the computer. Still, all I get is the same screen.

When I got the BSOD after loading Windows XP, it said something along the lines of: "Windows has detected a problem with your computer and has shut down to prevent any more damage."

Something else that may help your analysis: When I turn it on, I get the "Press Delete for BIOS or Press f12 for Boot Order," and then INSTANTLY it goes to the black screen with the blinking cursor. Not even a second goes by. So nothing at all loads, and I doubt anything is read off of the HD...
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:16 PM   #5
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The diagnostics are bootable, so you won't need to load Windows to get them to run.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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Problem solved! Thanks for your suggestions. The thing that finally fixed it was a suggestion that I saw from another thread on this site. From the command prompt, I ran bootrec.exe /fixmbr and bootrec.exe /fixboot. I guess I needed to rebuild the master boot record - something that I didn't even know existed. It took 10 seconds. I'm typing this from my computer right now! Running like new.

I'm very appreciative of this forum.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LettuceCheese View Post
Problem solved! Thanks for your suggestions. The thing that finally fixed it was a suggestion that I saw from another thread on this site. From the command prompt, I ran bootrec.exe /fixmbr and bootrec.exe /fixboot. I guess I needed to rebuild the master boot record - something that I didn't even know existed. It took 10 seconds. I'm typing this from my computer right now! Running like new.

I'm very appreciative of this forum.
Thank you for posting this! Fixed it for me, too.

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