Have Windows 10 installed on a computer I built. It's been acting sketchy for a while (start menu wasn't working, couldn't update) but a recent update seems to have broken it.

What happens now if I start it up is that the login screen appears, but when I log in I just get a black screen with the mouse cursor. Ctrl-alt-delete brings up the usual screen, but the task manager won't launch.

I'm able to get to the troubleshooting screen by holding shift and then selecting restart after clicking the power button icon at the bottom right corner of the login screen. However, none of the available options work. They all do the same thing: after I select one (e.g. System Restore, UEFI Firmware Settings, etc.), the screen goes black, and then my computer turns on in the sense that its light is on but the monitor is black and completely unresponsive to any inputs. The only way to get back to the login screen from here is to hold the power button to shut off the computer, and then turn it back on again.

The same thing happens when I try to boot into BIOS, which I attempted to do by shutting down while holding shift, and then restarting while holding F2.

I have everything backed up so not worried about losing files. I also have the Windows 10 Home USB stick and a valid serial. At this point I basically just want to reinstall windows (although were it possible to get back in to just sign out of some licenses that would be nice).

Any help would be very greatly appreciated!!!

  • 3
    If you install from the USB drive, you should get the option to keep your files, programs and settings. This should give you a fresh copy of all the Windows files and it should then boot. If not, the problem is in the programs you retained and you'll need to remove them. If Safe Mode boots, you can do it from there, but you may need Safe Mode with Networking in order to free licences. – AFH Feb 3 '18 at 21:42
  • By reinstalling, as @AFH suggests, Windows will also find any drivers that might be missing or outdated. – DrMoishe Pippik Feb 4 '18 at 2:03
  • @AFH the problem I'm having is that I can't get to the point where I can install from the USB drive. I'd be happy to just nuke everything and reinstall clean but I'm not able to do that. – jkjenner Feb 4 '18 at 21:06
  • If you boot from the USB drive, you can install from there. If you can't boot from it, then you haven't written it correctly. I find Rufus works very well for making a bootable USB from an ISO. – AFH Feb 4 '18 at 22:22

Solved this. The problem is that my monitor was plugged into the video output of my motherboard and not my video card. Although this worked fine once I reached the windows login screen, everything that happened before that in the boot process was sent to only to the video card output.

So, after plugging my monitor into the video card output it was pretty straightforward to reinstall windows from USB.

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