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Windows XP won't boot; black screen with cursor control

by bebopfan1 / October 14, 2009 11:28 AM PDT

Hello all,

I am in dire need of assistance and any help is most welcome. I am running a Sony Vaio VGN-AR290G 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.

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About the power button.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 14, 2009 9:31 PM PDT

Next time hold that button for 4 to 10 seconds.

Ok, this is classic OS damage. Repair to the OS in this case is unlikely since Sony repair media is limited. All the methods we try depend on full retail copies of the OS so we can skip ALL those ideas and head for the fix given only Sony's restore media.

1. Save your files.

Read http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?threadID=354911&tag=forums06;forum-threads where we show how to get our files out (see the LaCie Miracle).

2. Restore using the Sony media.

3. You claim you scan with this and that but are you still using Internet Explorer?
Bob

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Thanks for the reply.
by bebopfan1 / October 15, 2009 7:29 AM PDT

Thanks for the response. Yeah, you were right, I just wasn't holding the power button down long enough. I have IE 7 on my computer, but I never use it. Also, if I can get a Windows XP Media Center Edition OEM (for ~$100), would it be worthwhile to try to use the repair function since this is likely an OS issue?

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I'm going with no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 15, 2009 7:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks for the reply.
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Ubuntu didn't work.
by bebopfan1 / October 16, 2009 2:01 PM PDT
In reply to: I'm going with no.

I tried to use the Ubuntu workaround to access my files, but Ubuntu couldn't find the hard drive. It detected the CD/DVD drive and my external hard drive, but not my internal drive. However, I checked the BIOS, and it seems to be detecting the dual 100GB drives. I am starting to fear that this may be more than just a Windows problem.

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That Sony Vaio VGN-AR290G.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2009 1:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Ubuntu didn't work.

Used dual SATA drives controlled by some RAID controller so installing and maintenance is not possible by the average owner. This is why BACKUP is not optional and also why installing other OS's can be beyond most owners.

I'd use the restore media unless there is some reason to recover data files first. http://www.drivesavers.com is likely the place to get the files out if the BACKUP was never done.
Bob

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Explainer for XP and SATA drives.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2009 1:38 AM PDT

Google How to install XP onto SATA hard drives and you see the million posts about this. XP predates SATA and also SATA RAID so you are going to learn far too much if you wanted to install XP from anything else other than the restore CDs.

Sorry but after too many years of noting this and helping many install XP to SATA the brutal lesson is that we want to (a) BACKUP and (b) use those restore CDs.
Bob

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Data recovery software
by bebopfan1 / October 17, 2009 4:41 AM PDT

Thanks for all of your help and insight into this problem. I have looked into DriveSavers, and as you likely know, it's going to be very expensive. However, some of these files are important enough to me to strongly consider using their service. Before doing so, I wanted to know if you recommended any other data recovery software that might be worth trying first, or if further efforts might simply compromise the integrity of the data.

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We have a post about that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2009 4:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Data recovery software

Read our Storage forum sticky at http://forums.cnet.com/storage-forum/?tag=rb_mtx;f06-fd and notice the LaCie miracle entry. You want to try a few "distros" since one may be better than the other.

I know drivesavers is not cheap as we'd like but they have been at this a very long time.

Just yesterday I ran CLONEZILLA and today I am moving onto a shiny new laptop. Backups are not optional here.
Bob

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