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I'm getting a black screen after BIOS.

I've read some other questions (one two three). Unfortunately, none of these apply to me.

After my BIOS displays the HP logo, I authenticate with my password or fingerprint (tried both). Authentication is accepted, I see a _ in the top-left for less than half a second, and the screen goes black. I left it black for about twenty minutes before giving up.

I've tried this both on battery power and plugged in. (Power has been causing some weird issues lately, Followed this advice.)

My most recent action was to clear the Windows event logs (security log, application log, etc.). I did back these up to files. I performed the clearing through the Windows Event Viewer GUI (Clear LogSave and Clear).

I am not seeing the "Starting Windows" screen with the four colorful orbs. Booting from a Linux (Mint 14 Cinnamon 64-bit) LiveCD or persistent USB with F9 at startup works fine, and I can access my Windows files.

How can I recover my access to Windows?

HP EliteBook 8440p, Windows 7 Professional 32-bit (on a 64-bit motherboard). Intel Core i5 M540 @ 2.53GHz. 4GB RAM. HP built-in BIOS.

EDIT: I have noticed some activity while my laptop sits at the black screen. One of my connected USB flash drives (with an installation of Linux, if it matters) displays a flashing indicator light intermittently, and I can see the "muted" indicator change from "muted" to "not muted" as the system boots. Pressing the buttons to enable/disable the wireless radio and trackpad causes the buttons to change state but of course I can't evaluate their actual effect because I don't even have a pointer, much less a web browser.

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Keep tapping the F8 button after you see the HP logo to see if you can get the diagnostic menu (repair your computers, safe mode, etc.) and if so, go into "Repair your computer" and see if you can use System Restore to go back to a previous point.

If that fails, you can also try tapping the F11 key (this is an HP specific key) to get into the recovery mode. This may allow you to access system restore as well to go back to a previous snapshot. Be careful not to confuse the terms "Recovery" and "Restore", as the first one usually refers to resetting the PC to the original image it came with, and the latter usually refers to the MS Windows System Restore.

If the above shortcuts fail, you can try booting off of a Windows 7 DVD (or bootable Windows 7 USB drive), and click on "Repair this computer" at the main Windows 7 install DVD setup screen. This may also grant you access to the above System Restore tool. While you're here, you can also run CHKDSK (to check the disk for file system or physical errors), run Startup Repair (for boot related automatic fixes), run the Windows memory tester or launch the command prompt for further diagnosing.

The idea is that if the issue is HDD related, CHKDSK may tell you that is the case (or outright fix it). If it's RAM related, the memory tester can check that for you. If it's driver related, trying to boot into Safe Mode or using System Restore to restore a previous snapshot may also take care of the issue or at least point you in the right direction. Good luck :)

P.S. Have you tried reseating your RAM?

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