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Apologies if this has already been asked/answered. I googled and only seem to be able to find posts about people having the problem where the screen stays black indefinitely. Mine just goes black for about a minute then loads the desktop normally.

It's been doing this for about a week (on a w7 installation I've had for over a year)

Once the desktop loads there is absolutely nothing to tell me there is a problem. Device manager doesn't show any exclamation marks. I have a minimal amount of startup programs (as a rule I often go through msconfig removing any bullsh*t that is added by adobe/apple etc..)

Can you suggest a way or ways to find out what is causing this delay?

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Ok, I'll start at the beginning. Have you got the lastest drivers for all your hardware?
Has this problem manifested since a certain program / piece of hardware / update was installed?
Are all relevant updates installed?
Have you done a full Virus Scan with an up to date Virus scanner?
I know its very basic but often basic steps solve problems.

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Yes I have all the latest drivers. The most significant thing I've done around the time it began was update my graphics card drivers to the latest. I keep my windows up-to-date with windows update. I use windows security essentials - I haven't done a recent scan, but I am fairly sure there are no viruses. I'll do a scan. – MrVimes Nov 22 '10 at 16:14
Have you tried rolling back the drivers for your graphics card? One nVidia card I had I had to be really carefull with the drivers for, if I got them from MS Update they sent my PC screwy and I could only get really low res and 16 colours. I always had to get them from the site. – Joe Taylor Nov 22 '10 at 16:24
I deliberately avoided the ones from MS update (they were older than the ones available from nvidia's website) but to see if they are the cause I'll try rolling them back – MrVimes Nov 22 '10 at 18:16
I re-downloaded and reinstalled my graphics drivers. they are the same drivers (160.99) but for some reason this fixed the problem. As you suggested drivers I'll accept your answer. – MrVimes Nov 23 '10 at 18:10
Seems a bit of a freebie but I won;t complain. Thanks very much – Joe Taylor Nov 23 '10 at 19:32
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I think I finally figured out what was causing this.

It's something that's been in place for a while but never used to be a problem. I have two PCs connected via a crossover cable. The main PC has a bunch of mapped network drives. If the second PC is not switched on, the main PC will show 'could not reconnect' on these drives.

Now this never used to slow anything down, but I just deleted all these connections, and the black-screen delay has gone away completely.

It seems like something has changed in the way windows tries to reconnect network drives... namely that it hijacks everything else and tries for a longer period before it decides it can't reconnect.

Shame, because I liked having those connections. I'll try recreating them but without the 'reconnect at logon' check-box checked.

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