This is known as a KSOD (blacK Screen Of Dead), it's not to be confused with the more popular term BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death); a KSOD happens after the login screen where as you describe the screen would turn blank/black with only a mouse cursor to interact with exactly nothing.
At this point, the OS is supposed to load the shell. If, however, the shell that needs to be loaded has been set to something different or the shell itself has been corrupted/damaged then it might not be able to load as you could see here. PrevX has written an easy fix which you can grab by clicking on this link to fix the KSOD issue, this simply does the following:
Correct the ACL permissions of the following key to the default permissions:
Recreate a REG_SZ string called
Shell and set it to
You need to put back
explorer.exe by simply executing
sfc /scannow if it is broke.
In case you can't get to CTRL+ALT+DEL or Safe Mode, you'll need to start from the installation medium:
Insert the installation medium, get to the recovery mode but don't let it recover things.
Start up the command line.
In case you want to manually adjust registry changes, start
regedit and load the hives in:
In case you want to automatically fix this issue, run the following two commands:
sfc /scannow to fix Operating System files, which should put
fixshell.exe, the tool you downloaded from PrevX, which fixes the registry.
Be sure that you have tried to upgrade your graphics drivers, because you might not have a mouse cursor at all and be reading this. Other people report to remove media like DVDs or Bluray disks, which might interfere with your boot...