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Windows 8.1 black screen but mouse cursor visible

Started by Mr. Analog, February 26, 2016, 03:35:44 PM

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Thorin

Are you sure?  I thought we all had Intel HD graphics on the CPU and nVidia mobile discrete graphics installed?  If you're unsure, email our IT department about it.  I found Randy will answer even when I'm emailing from my personal account (like when internet was out the one day I went into the office, and no one else was around to email for me).

Hopefully it finishes the repair for you.  If it's really slow, one other thing to check is whether you have the right powerbrick plugged in.  If an undersized one is plugged in, the CPU will be throttled to 0.6GHz instead of it's usual 2.4GHz-3.2GHz range, to ensure it doesn't starve for electrons (which actually isn't a problem with our laptops, but Dell uses the same tech for this in all their laptops).
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Mr. Analog

By Grabthar's Hammer

Melbosa

Sometimes I Think Before I Type... Sometimes!

Thorin

Quote from: Mr. Analog on February 28, 2016, 04:04:45 PM
I got it all running again, happy day!


That is awesome to hear.  Just in time to do work on it again :)  So, did you figure out whether you have an AMD or nVidia mobile graphics chip in there?
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Mr. Analog

Quote from: Thorin on February 28, 2016, 06:39:41 PM
Quote from: Mr. Analog on February 28, 2016, 04:04:45 PM
I got it all running again, happy day!


That is awesome to hear.  Just in time to do work on it again :)  So, did you figure out whether you have an AMD or nVidia mobile graphics chip in there?


Windows detected it as AMD, seems to work ok
By Grabthar's Hammer

Darren Dirt

Quote from: Thorin on February 28, 2016, 12:59:41 PM
Also, what the hell is wrong with these people at Microsoft?  Why not just look for a key that's being held down?  SO MUCH EASIER WHEN THE VIDEO DRIVERS ARE BORKED BY WINDOWS UPDATE.

Dunno if you guys followed the first link I posted, but it explains what causes this:

Quote
this problem is caused by a mixed set of drivers (different builds) for your graphics card. You can get this if windows updates your graphics card and you don't actually reboot before running the vendors graphics setup program. Basically, windows update attempts to install the graphics driver but it is in use so it puts it into a queue to be installed on the next reboot (not sleep). In the mean time, before you actually reboot or power cycle your machine you use the vendors update program that does not require a reboot. All is well until, some time later you reboot and windows sees that it has a update to install on the reboot and does it. Now you have a mixed build and your graphics card will not work correctly, Also, windows makes a backup copy of the drivers and puts them into its driver store for you and keeps putting it back on your system if the driver is deleted. (but it will work until you reboot again because the actual driver is not installed until the reboot)






I guess when it comes to Windoze, Lesson Learned:

Always do each individual Windows Update one at a time, and immediately after the install reboot!


You know, just to be...


































SAFE.  8)
_____________________

Get better at getting better. Daily.
_____________________

Melbosa

Quote from: Darren Dirt on February 28, 2016, 10:04:29 PM
Quote from: Thorin on February 28, 2016, 12:59:41 PM
Also, what the hell is wrong with these people at Microsoft?  Why not just look for a key that's being held down?  SO MUCH EASIER WHEN THE VIDEO DRIVERS ARE BORKED BY WINDOWS UPDATE.

Dunno if you guys followed the first link I posted, but it explains what causes this:

Quote
this problem is caused by a mixed set of drivers (different builds) for your graphics card. You can get this if windows updates your graphics card and you don't actually reboot before running the vendors graphics setup program. Basically, windows update attempts to install the graphics driver but it is in use so it puts it into a queue to be installed on the next reboot (not sleep). In the mean time, before you actually reboot or power cycle your machine you use the vendors update program that does not require a reboot. All is well until, some time later you reboot and windows sees that it has a update to install on the reboot and does it. Now you have a mixed build and your graphics card will not work correctly, Also, windows makes a backup copy of the drivers and puts them into its driver store for you and keeps putting it back on your system if the driver is deleted. (but it will work until you reboot again because the actual driver is not installed until the reboot)






I guess when it comes to Windoze, Lesson Learned:

Always do each individual Windows Update one at a time, and immediately after the install reboot!


You know, just to be...


































SAFE.  8)

Wow... Sometimes I wonder....

Mr. Analog glad you got it working. Sounds like it wasn't the same bug I've seen for the last year, but that's good cause yours has a solution.
Sometimes I Think Before I Type... Sometimes!

Thorin

I asked for and received a 500GB SSD to replace the 320GB HDD in my work laptop.  I already had an mSATA 128GB SSD in there.  I use the mSATA SSD as my boot drive and the HDD as my data drive.  So I'm replacing the data drive with a bigger, faster data drive.

Should be just an easy swap, right?  Nope.

I couldn't get the HDD out because one tiny little screw just wouldn't budge and eventually stripped.  I ran to Canadian Tire and bought the Mastercraft Micro Grabit Damaged-bolt Extractor.  It's a set of drill bits that are fluted in the opposite direction, so it drills into the screw head to get a solid grip while turning left(y loosey).  Sure was fun having to use a power drill on the inside of the laptop chassis, at least there was still some plastic between me and the mainboard.  Screw came out (and was tossed since it's completely stripped).

Once I got the HDD out, I plugged the SSD into the tray and popped it back in.  Computer starts up and goes to a black screen with a blinking cursor.  AH CRAP.  Turns out the mSATA drive connects to SATA port 1, the HDD connects to SATA port 0.  When Windows was installed both drives were connected, so Windows placed it's special system partition with the boot records on the first drive it found, SATA port 0.  So if I take the HDD out, Windows can't boot anymore.  Okay, so I'll need to clone this drive.

Laptops generally only have one SATA connector you can use.  The instructions say to use a special adapter cable, but by now it's too late and no computer stores are open anymore.  Okay, it's a Samsung, and Samsung says to use the Samsung Data Migration tool to clone.  I can't do this on the laptop, but I can do it on another computer I have here.  Gotta wait for kids to stop watching their shows, as it's the computer that runs Plex, but hey, just a little wait.  They're off, I turn the computer off and attach the old HDD and the new SSD, start the computer back up, and run the Samsung Data Migration tool.

Well, that thing only clones the first drive it finds, which this laptop HDD is not.  The first thing on my Plex computer is its own boot drive, I definitely don't want that cloned!  So, time to find a decent cloning program that hopefully won't require me to make a boot cd/dvd (don't know if we have any blanks around the house).  I found Macrium Reflect Free, it worked really well and I didn't have to exit Windows or anything.  Okay, start that up, what the...  The HDD is listed as no data?  Oh right, it's encrypted.

So, back to the laptop, decrypt the drive, takes a couple hours.  Finally, I'm at the point where I have the old and the new drive hooked up and can start cloning.  Reflect Free does its thing, takes maybe 40 minutes.  Yay!  Everything should be good to go!

I stick the SSD into the laptop, sure enough it boots up.  Because of the drive encryption on my machine and a new piece of hardware getting installed, I have to find my encryption key.  Not hard, but I had to swap back to the old HDD to boot up and then access the work network to get the encryption key.  When I finally have that and punch it in, magic!  The cloning works.  Unfortunately with all the plugging and unplugging of drives, the drive letters have been mixed up (and the special system partition is now available via drive letter?  wtf?!).  Well, that's easy to fix once I get Sql Server to stop trying to access a drive through a letter that doesn't exist at present.

That gets me thinking.  Sure enough, the Plex machine has the same problem with mixed-up drive letters.  Unfortunately it also messed up uTorrent and when I start that up, it starts trying to download everything again because it can't find the files that were already downloaded.  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!  MY RATIO!!!!!!!!  Get that stopped toot-sweet, and after a couple of reboots and plugging drives in one at a time, it's back to the right drive order (at least Windows boots up really, really fast; almost so fast one wouldn't have time to press F8...)

So I started that 8:30pm or so, I'm now writing this at 3am.  I still need to encrypt the new SSD, then pop the old HDD back in and re-encrypt and wipe it.

Man, my home desktops are so much easier to work on...  And mSATA drives are TINY
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Lazybones

Quote from: Darren Dirt on February 28, 2016, 10:04:29 PM
I guess when it comes to Windoze, Lesson Learned:

Always do each individual Windows Update one at a time, and immediately after the install reboot!



As opposed to what, also no I never just apply them one at a time? Apt-get my OpenSSL is broken? Yum install we didn't compile that feature, or Apple update we removed that function and we won't support it any more?

Quote from: Thorin on March 27, 2016, 03:20:21 AM
Man, my home desktops are so much easier to work on...  And mSATA drives are TINY

Too late now but not much of this was a surprise to me.

1. Always dycrypt before upgrading a hard drive, it is common in our procedures at work (for laptops) but rare at home.
2. On windows 7 and higher the windows backup toll will let you image the primary windows partition easily to a network or external drive. You just then boot with the windows disk and restore... It works very well and kind of ignores funky partitions for the most part.
3. Drive letters always get messed up when moving drives around.. Always good to manually halt services that depend on them and document which drive is which.

The stripped screw however isn't something you can prep for however and that would have driven me nuts.

Thorin

March 28, 2016, 06:54:43 PM #24 Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 06:58:36 PM by Thorin
ugh

I had backed up all the files from my old hard drive to another drive, except ones that I should not put on non-work computers (these are called "highly confidential" in our company, and we have to track all the possible locations they've been).

I thought I was out of the woods, I had the new drive in and bitlocker-encrypted it, it had all the highly confidential files on it, life was looking good.  So I deleted the backed-up files, since I didn't need them anymore.  To make sure I didn't leave highly confidential data laying around, I popped out the new drive and put in the old drive so I could wipe it and re-encrypt it, just in case.  Turns out this messed up Windows and BitLocker (more BitLocker, I guess?) and both the old drive and the new drive got corrupted.  AAAAAGHGHGGHGHGHGHGHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I've learned a bunch about BitLocker-encrypted partitions now, how they can be "lost" or become "RAW" file systems.  Manage-Bde and Repair-Bde, although they're supposed to be able to fix this, actually do not work as advertised (at least not in my situation).  In the end, I used M3 Data Recovery (expensive, man) and saved almost all of the files in the corrupted encrypted partition.  Lost a couple of databases, but these can be recreated.  Went through and checked all the database backups I had, either zipped up or not, and weeded out the ones that were corrupt.  Not bad, actually, I either had a current version of the database or a working backup for all but two.  Also lost some source code, but it's stored in version control so that was easy to rectify (did you know TFS does not let you auto-resolve all conflicts at once, you have to click "replace local file" for each of a thousand files?)

Oh, and I had to reinstall Sql Server.  Some file somewhere was missing a couple of bytes (corrupted partition, remember), and that stopped Sql Server from starting at all.  Luckily I was able to uninstall just the instance and then install the instance again, and then things went back to normal.

If I had the time, I would now:
1. copy everything of importance off my C: and D: drives (mSATA SSD hooked to port 1 and regular SSD hooked to port 0)
2. wipe then pull the regular SSD
3. wipe the mSATA SSD
4. install Windows on the mSATA with the system boot partition getting created on the mSATA
5. re-connect the regular SSD, partition and format
6. copy everything back to the right places (and maybe move some stuff to the D: drive to make space on C:)

Then in the future I'd be able to swap out the regular SSD to my heart's content.  Of course, the laptop is four years old so I dunno if that's worth taking the time to do.  I will most likely get a new laptop in a year.  They've already pushed replacing mine twice (the second time just recently).  I don't mind, I'd rather other people with slower, older laptops get upgraded first, since this thing is actually quite capable compared to what we're ordering for work these days.  But when I get the new one I will likely check if there's an mSATA as a system drive, and if there is, wipe everything, pull any extra drives, and do it GOD-DAMN RIGHT.

oh, and moving from 7200rpm 2.5" laptop HDD to 2.5" SSD has made backing up and restoring database about twice as fast (if not three times) and copying files from C: to D: and back about five times as fast.  Plus I went from 320GB to 500GB.
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Tom

<Zapata Prime> I smell Stanley... And he smells good!!!