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This is XPe but it's virtually identical to XP.

After a BIOS update, it boots as far as the windows logo/progress bar screen. Then it halts at the black screen which follows this, and does not proceed to the pale blue screen.

If I insert a USB or PS2 mouse, it boots normally.

With the old BIOS, it boots normally.

I suspect one of the "burned in" BIOS options which you can't get at with the CMOS setup app. But I'm not sure how to get at these. It's a 2006 Phoenic Award BIOS.

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I would just send a bug report to the vendor. Only they can repair the BIOS. –  Turbo J May 11 '11 at 12:53
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How long did you wait after the black screen hang? –  TheEmpireNeverEnded May 11 '11 at 12:56
    
@TheEmpireNeverEnded I inadvertently left one unit powered on overnight and the black screen was still there. –  Simon Elliott May 12 '11 at 16:03
    
@Turbo J I've done that but the vendor isn't sure yet what the problem is. It's all getting a bit urgent so I'm looking into it as well. –  Simon Elliott May 12 '11 at 16:05
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