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The specs

  • MacBook 13", mid-2010
  • nVidia GeForce 320M
  • Partitions:
    • Macintosh HD (27.5 GB free of 179.2 GB)
    • BOOTCAMP (5.72 GB free of 70 GB)
  • Windows 7 SP 1
  • RAM: One 2 GB stick, one 1 GB stick, both 1067 MHz DDR3
  • Installed applications:
    • 64-bit:
      • Boot Camp
      • CCleaner
      • GIMP 2
      • Java Runtime 7
      • PeaZip
      • Rainmeter
      • TeraCopy
    • 32-bit:
      • BIMP Lite
      • Glary Utilities
      • Google Chrome
      • KeePass 2
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Notepad++
      • 3
      • Skype
      • Steam (plus five games)
      • VLC
      • WinDirStat
      • WinSCP

The problem specifics, and what I tried

  • The computer boots fine and shows the "Starting Windows" screen. The screen goes blank for a moment, then my pointer appears, then the screen goes black again for good. There's not even any backlight.
  • F8 works fine. Safe Mode with Networking works fine.
  • I booted into Safe Mode and installed the newest GeForce 320M driver, 320.49 WHQL. The problem persists.
  • I went to "Repair Your System" from the F8 menu, then used the startup fixer and the RAM checker. Both found no problems, and the problem persists.
  • Lastly, I tried a fix off the Tom's Hardware forums: booted to safe mode, created a new admin account, deleted the old one, and rebooted normally. The problem persists.

This is a problem that has persisted with my computer, after multiple clean installs. I want to make sure it's not just something I happen to be doing over and over again after I get Windows installed, hence the program list.

share|improve this question
If it was me, I'd remove all of the 3rd party video drivers completely, since it sounds like windows native drivers are working (which is what's happening in safe mode). Obviously you're not going to get the performance out of that, so if you get it to work, you'll have to install the apple flavored video drivers (from boot camp) and go from there. Why are you installing the video drivers again? Boot camp should be the one to manage that. – skub Jul 2 '13 at 0:51
Yikes, I didn't realize that about BC's video drivers. (Although, now that I think of it, there can only be one reason why Aero works only after installing them.) I'll uninstall 320.49 and use the BC drivers CD. I do definitely want the performance out of it, though: those Steam games are a big reason for the Windows partition. – A. G. Jul 2 '13 at 1:16
Bootcamp took care of all the drivers for me. What prompted you to install the video drivers? – skub Jul 2 '13 at 1:22
Knee-jerk reaction more than anything. "My screen's not working. It's probably the display adapter.... Ding! Update the drivers!" I just went on nVidia's site and downloaded the installer. – A. G. Jul 2 '13 at 1:34
I would disable all of your startup applications one by one to see which one is causing this problem. Make sure you update the Boot Camp drivers if you have not already done so. – Ramhound Jul 2 '13 at 11:16
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It would seem that Nvidia's GeForce 320.49 driver is bugged. I developed the same issue after updating from version 320.18 on Windows 8 with an Nvidia 330m (using their GeForce Experience auto-updater. Worked until I tried to boot back into Windows a few days later.). Reverting to the 320.18 driver appears to have fixed the issue for me (I had to use System Restore, as Windows 8 doesn't offer an easy way that I can see to boot into Safe Mode without having access to Windows 8's settings).

GeForce Experience is still offering to install the 320.49 driver for me, but I can no longer find reference on Nvidia's website that this driver was released out of beta on 7/1 as GeForce Experience reports. Since I remember seeing it as the recommended version on 7/2 (when I saw this question and went to update my Windows partition), I can only guess that it has been pulled, and looking through the Nvidia driver forums makes it sound like the driver had other issues (I can't find a good source for this problem specifically).

320.18 appears to be the recommended version currently. Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
This happened before I installed 320.49. Things seem back in working order now that I uninstalled that. Windows took over without asking me and installed a "Video Controller (VGA)" driver without my permission. (I found out later through the installer for 320.18 that it was 261 something.) Problem is, Aero won't work to its full effect now. I'm installing 320.18 right now and will report back with my findings. – A. G. Jul 8 '13 at 18:16
320.18 is installed and everything works again. Thanks! – A. G. Jul 11 '13 at 2:21

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