I have observed the following.

  • I get the welcome screen.
  • I click on my user and get the "logging on" screen.
  • After that all I get is a black screen with a mouse cursor.
  • I can't even start Task Manager. No Ctrl + Alt + Del or Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

It stays like this for about 10 minutes, then the desktop finally starts loading. According to the hard disk drive LED on my case, Windows isn't even trying to access the hard drive for that whole time. It's just hanging doing nothing it seems.

What I have tried:

  • Uninstalled the video driver and removed leftovers with Driver Sweeper
  • Disabled all startup programs and non-Microsoft services
  • Loaded "last known good configuration"
  • Ran the alleged "black screen fix" from prevx against my best judgement (I don't really like running random EXE files without knowing what they do at all)

None of that works.

I can boot into safe mode normally.

My specifications:

  • i7 920
  • Gigabyte X58-UD3R
  • Gigabyte HD5870 1 GB
  • 12 GB Mushkin Silverline 1333 MHz
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I'm also having another problem which I suspect is related.

After I have gotten the computer up and running, everything works perfectly, but when it's been on for a while it starts behaving strangely when changing display modes.
When I start up a game or anything that changes the screen resolution the computer freezes for about a minute every time until I reboot again.

I think this is probably related to the black screen problem.

I just thought I'd check to see if anyone has had the same problem. Let me know if I should post any more details about my system to help diagnose this.

  • It seems there are a looot of things which can cause the same problem. I recommend you not to mark any of these as final answer, to make people read this all. All these answers have useful info.
    – Searush
    Oct 6, 2013 at 17:05

8 Answers 8


The black screen at login is usually cause by a service that starts at login timing out waiting for something to happen.

I had this happen when I enabled (but didn't configure) the NFS client in Windows 7. As soon as I removed the NFS option it suddenly started logging in fast.

  • 1
    You're right. I tried doing a clean boot, disabled all services, then enabled them few at a time. As soon as I started the "Workstation" service, it started hanging again. Turns out it was because I had some network drives mapped to my file server, but I'm not connected to it at the moment (switch broke down). So I guess windows was trying really hard to connect to the shared folders with an insanely long timeout. I disconnected the network drives and all is fine now. I'll have to look into the display mode problems though, hope it gets fixed when I reinstall the graphics driver.
    – steini
    Mar 20, 2011 at 22:19
  • 4
    This should be marked as correct.
    – Joe Taylor
    Jun 13, 2011 at 8:06
  • 1
    This fixed my Windows instantaneously. I've looked at some many other suggestions to no avail. Turned out to be two network mappings I had. This should be marked as accepted May 18, 2013 at 14:42
  • In my case the service hanged-up was the Themes service, possibly Aero (it was on an old netbook with limited RAM), once moved to manual all was working again. Thanks
    – A. Rama
    Jun 6, 2019 at 7:26

Do you have network drives?? Remove them!

It seems strange, but they can cause the same problem (for 6-7 minutes), when Windows tries to assign letters to network drives at startup, but fails because they are offline.

Its explanation was given here in Mark Russinovich's blog (the founder of Sysinternals).

  • 2
    May also apply to offline printers
    – Dave M
    Oct 2, 2013 at 12:15
  • Nice, this fixed my problem! I just unplugged the LAN Cable and was able to get out of the black screen. Next up is to fix the network drive.
    – John Doe
    Feb 3, 2017 at 3:01

I have seen this when a USB DVD was connected to a system and also when a specific USB flash drive was connected. Black screen with cursor for quite a while.

Disconnected and all was normal.


Sometimes Windows can hang for awhile during startup if it has trouble getting a dynamic IP address assigned from your DHCP server. Can you boot into Safe Mode with Networking? If you get the same black screen, try resetting your cable/DSL modem.


When I start up a game or anything that changes the screen resolution the computer freezes for about a minute every time until I reboot again.

Reading this I think it's related to your graphics, did you check the event log and update the drivers?

Although, if you want to perform boot analysis, you could do:

  1. Obtain the Windows 7 SDK, and select to install the Windows Performance Toolkit.

  2. Once the Windows 7 SDK has been installed, go to the directory

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.1\Redist\Windows Performance Toolkit

    and install the right version of the Windows Performance Toolkit for your system.

  3. Perform a boot analysis as shown in this Microsoft document but don't let it prepare the system and make sure that it in configured for a single run, use the -? parameter for help. If done right this will create a .etl trace file in %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Traces which you can either upload so that I can look into it for you or try to analyze yourself by running xperf %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Traces\boot*.etl.


I'm going to take a guess that you have an NVIDIA graphics card like the GTX 460 or 480? If you do, then add yourself to the list of people experiencing this problem for more than a year now (I'm on that list too). Check out this thread to see what people are trying: http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=171920

As far as I know there is no solution yet..


This helped for me:

After logging in, the ctrl+alt+del worked. I opened task manager and restarted explorer.exe. The black screen still came back, but after restarting computer, it was gone.

  • OP states ctrl+alt+del does not do anything.
    – Dave M
    Sep 28, 2013 at 16:33
  • @DaveM tho it may help for someone else with similar problem.
    – Jaanus
    Sep 29, 2013 at 5:42

I read a lot about this problem and read many proposed solutions. What ended up working for me was the following:

  1. Boot up as normal, and wait until you see the cursor on the black screen
  2. When you’re booted, press Ctrl+Alt+Del
  3. In the Processes tab of the Task Manager, find explorer.exe
  4. If you find one, right-click it and select End Process
  5. Select File → Run
  6. Enter explorer and press Enter – the desktop should show up
  7. After it has finished loading, reboot
  8. This time, your desktop will show up without the black screen
  • I share this solution with Jaanus Sep 28, 2013 at 13:12
  • OP states ctrl+alt+del does not do anything
    – Dave M
    Sep 28, 2013 at 16:34

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