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Boot to Blank Screen in Windows 7 Pro - Help Please

by paperpuncher2 / November 28, 2009 11:37 AM PST

Hi all,

I just put down the cash for a custum core i5 system on black friday and am having some serious Windows 7 issues. The relevant specs are as follows:

Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.66 Ghz
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3L Motherboard
2 x 320 GB HDDs in RAID 0
HIS ATI Radeon HD 4350
Coolmax 600W PS
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

It's been a long story and a frustrating day, but I'll try to boil this down to the basics. I had a little trouble up front getting the Windows 7 installer to accept the correct RAID drivers but finally got that ironed out and the installer kept going as normal. When the installer got past the first reboot, the screen went blank and didn't come back around for a long time. Not sure what had happened, I waited around for a while and then rebooted. Same thing happened. It did this blank screen thing several times in a row (as in, the monitor goes to sleep becuase it's not receiving signal). Assuming that something had gone wrong in the install, I re-installed from scratch, hoping that would fix it. It didn't at first. I eventually got it boot correctly (purely by chance) and thought my troubles were over. Unfortunately, it's doing it again now, and making for a very angry Windows 7 user.

That's the back story. The summary version is this:

-Whenever I boot the machine, I get the "Starting Windows" graphic (the moving pixie dots), and then the screen goes blank - no mouse cursor, no response of any kind even though the machine is still running.

-I can consistently get the OS to boot in safe mode (with or without networking) and it seems to run smoothly that way.

I'm at a loss here, never having encountered an issue quite like this. I searched diligently aroung the interet, and havn't been able to locate anyone who has experienced quite this same problem. I would greatly appreciate any help.

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(NT) Did you thoroughly test the RAM ?
by VAPCMD / November 28, 2009 12:04 PM PST
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Great thought...but no luck
by paperpuncher2 / November 28, 2009 2:39 PM PST

Honestly, I thought you had something there. Running tests has uncovered some interesting extra facts, but hasn't solved the problem.

Quick note: I neglected to mention that the memory on this machine is dual-channel 2 x 2GB DDR3 RAM.

First, I ran a memtest86 on both sticks as they sat in the correct slots (1 & 3 according to the MB manual). The test ran for about 10 seconds, crashed, and restarted the machine. Repeated identical tests after this produced the exact same results. Then I tested each stick separately sitting in slot 1. Both sticks checked out with a complete error-free pass. That makes me think that the memory itself is fine and the motherboard itself may be the piece of hardware having issues (since it is the only piece that could make two perfectly good stick malfunction).

Adding another wrench into the situation, I tried one more thing before calling it a night. I took out all RAID array settings (treating each drive as a simple, separate, SATA drive), used only one memory stick in slot 1 (the way each stick passed the test with no problems), and attempted to re-install Windows 7. Unfortunately, even with the simplified setup, the same symptoms occurred exactly the same way as before.

Anyone want to back me up on the motherboard guess?

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Mega Tough
by im_davy / November 29, 2009 2:31 AM PST

This is a tough one, one thing I think it could be is the virtaul drivers that 7 uses could be malfunctioning, did you try downloading and installing the drivers you need in safe mode? I would start there, get the drivers done and try the boot again, but I don't know alot bout ddr3 and windows 7 but I do know that when you boot your computer you hit a dead zone, that's the time when 7 doesn't send any info to your monitor, some monitors go to sleep and some just show a black screen (actually on) and that varies, so if you have a virtual driver that isn't picking back up after the boot then it would stay black instead of coming on, that's my reasoning.

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by paperpuncher2 / November 29, 2009 11:22 AM PST

Problem solved today. Went back to the store I bought the motherboard from and swapped out the old one for a new. That turned out to be unnecessary in the end. Turns out it did have to do with the video card all along. Here's how I finally got it to resolve.

Went along with the Win 7 install as normal. When the screen went blank on the first reboot, I simply waited. after 5 minutes max, the computer rebooted on its own (turns out it was happily finishing the Windows installation by itself, just not showing on the monitor. After this reboot, the system got to the pixie-dot "Starting Windows" screen, and blanked as before. However, I kept my eye on the HDD activity light. Once it completely quieted down, I used some prior knowledge of the Windows 7 install process and a lot of blind faith. Basically I started hitting the enter key everytime the HDD light would stop. Eventually I heard the Windows boot sound (I had the speakers plugged in and powered on). At first I wasn't sure what that meant, but I figured it had to be a video card issue since I was fairly sure the machine had just booted - just wasn't displaying. After sitting around for a few minutes, all of the sudden, the screen popped up, and I was in a fully booted, perfectly running Windows 7. As the screen came on, I saw a pop-up saying that new drivers had been installed. When I clicked on it, sure enough, it referenced an ATI update that had been installed.

Thanks for the help guys!

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(NT) Good to hear you got it and Thanks for the feedback !
by VAPCMD / November 29, 2009 12:20 PM PST
In reply to: Solved
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