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Computer stuck in safe mode with black screen - help!

Yesterday I tried to start my computer in safe mode (Windows XP) by pressing F8 and got a black screen. I forced my computer down by pressing the power button and restarted it in normal mode. It seemed to be working fine in normal mode. This morning I ran msconfig and told it to boot in safe mode. When I restarted my computer all I got was a black screen. The power button on my Dell monitor goes from green to amber and stays amber. When I push the menu button on my monitor it says that it is in power save mode and to press a key or move the mouse - which I did and nothing happens. I tried control+alt+delete to try to get to the task manager and I get nothing. I switched out the monitor with one that I know is working and got the same results, so it's not the monitor. I've tried forcing the computer down and restarting, but since I have it set to start up in safe mode it just goes back to the black screen. Any suggestions?

cpapania has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
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Clarification Request
(NT) What version of Windows?

In reply to: Computer stuck in safe mode with black screen - help!

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(NT) Let's hope it's not "XP" but XP SP3, etc.

In reply to: What version of Windows?

All Answers

Best Answer chosen by cpapania

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In reply to: Computer stuck in safe mode with black screen - help!

Let's say it doesn't boot SAFE MODE but the Fkey works as described and how it's worked for years.

Tap the FKEY and select start normally.

If you set it in Windows to start Safe Mode with MSCONFIG, you have work to do to undo that if the F-Key fails (which really points to a hardware issue such as PS2 emulation in the BIOS, not a Dell keyboard or some other dozen causes.


Now that we know this adds "safeboot" to BOOT.INI we need to edit that with any live bootable CD. In your case I suggest Hirens since it has XP on it and lets beginners work this out. Here's a link about BOOT.INI and Hirens.

2. noted EDITBINI when is on the Hirens CD.

Good luck!

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In reply to: LONG SHOT.

Appreciate all the suggestions. Will give it a try.

Thanks so much for the links.

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Could be proper.

In reply to: Computer stuck in safe mode with black screen - help!

For example many old PCs have an onboard and another video connection. I don't see details about the PC and not much about how far it goes in Safe Mode.

There are both hardware and damaged XP OS issues to consider here. A PC that doesn't work in safe mode is usually a damaged OS in my experience and recovery varies with what CDs we have to boot and work with. My favorite XP recovery is the old parallel install so I can access the old XP system to see if it can be fixed. Another is the XP REPAIR INSTALL (both of these are widely discussed so I can't duplicate the web here.)

There are good hardware causes too. But the most common is some old box the owner never cleaned and the heat and such finally killed a board or card.

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In reply to: Could be proper.

I have an old (purchased in 2006) Dell Computer which runs Windows XP. It has the parallel ports from the monitor to the cpu. Excuse me if I don't used correct computer terms - I'm not very computer savvy. When I start it up I get nothing on my screen. The power button on my monitor briefly glows green then goes to amber. I was hoping for a simple solution, but it looks like I'm going to have to get my computer guy out here, if he'll return my phone calls.

Thanks for taking the time to reply Bob. Happy

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Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2

In reply to: Thanks

According to my paperwork for my computer, that is my operating system.

The computer is a Dell OptiPlex GX620 Desktop Pentium 4 640/3.2GHz if that means anything.

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It means you have to get estimates.

In reply to: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2

I see a similar PC for well under 99 bucks at many places. for example.

I dropped a hint about the need to tell how far it goes in safe mode but don't see much about that.

In my city they charge 40 or more dollars to take the old PC at the dump. You may want to forget this machine if you have other working PCs.

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Safe Mode

In reply to: It means you have to get estimates.

I get nothing on my screen when starting in safe mode. The cpu powers up, the power button on my monitor briefly turns green and them amber, but nothing ever comes up on the monitor screen. when I press the menu button on my monitor it says that it is in power save mode, but pressing a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse makes no difference.

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Keep writing.

In reply to: Safe Mode

In order to select safe mode we tap the usual F key and select from the menu. If this is showing this means it's usually just a damaged OS. Repair seems too hard on folk today so my advice is to recover any files you want to save with the methods we talked about here in this forum or your own way then reinstall the OS.

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Do you have data on that PC you don't want to lose?

In reply to: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2

There're ways to get the data off that PC if you have something there you don't want to lose. I won't go into details unless we hear back that you do have data to be saved.

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In reply to: Do you have data on that PC you don't want to lose?

Yes, I do have data that I don't want to lose. I backed my computer up a few months ago on an external drive but there is some recent information that I don't have backed up.

It seemed like it was running ok in normal mode before I switched to safe mode. I guess I was hoping there was a way to get it out of the safe mode boot, but that doesn't sound likely. Sad

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OK, two ways to recover data

In reply to: Data

First you can get hold of a "live CD" you can boot from and copy your data to an external hard drive or flash drive. Examples of "live CDs" are Ubuntu and UBCD.
The other way is to remove the hard drive and either put it into another PC or an external enclosure. Enclosures cost in the neighborhood of $30 and are probably the easiest solution since you can then just plug it into any USB port and access it on another computer. If you go the enclosure route, you mainly need to know whether your hard drive is IDE or SATA.
Good luck.

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