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Old 07-17-2011, 01:46 PM   #1
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Default Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

My roommate's pc was working fine, then one day last week she turned it on and it booted to the windows xp spash screen, then to a blank black screen with the mouse cursor. That's as far as it would go. I could move the cursor but right or left clicking the mouse did nothing. Windows key did nothing. Ctrl-Alt-Delete did nothing. I let it set for 20 minutes in this state, it went no further. When I booted into safe mode, I got the same result, except the blank screen had Safe Mode in the corners. Booted into Last Known Good Configuration with same result.

I put the HDD in another pc and backed up her files, then put it back in her pc and did an 'in place' install hoping to repair Windows. After copying files, the pc rebooted to the spash screen that you see when installing Windows XP Home, then to the blank screen with a mouse cursor. Now the blank screen was light blue with a bigger mouse cursor because the resolution had changed. That's still as far as it will boot.

Next, I did a clean install by deleting and recreating the partition (entire HDD), formatting, and installing XP from the installation disk. Same result, stops at the blank blue screen.

Although I did not believe the HDD to be bad, I installed another known good HDD and installed XP with the same result. I tried installing XP Pro with my own install disk. It's a full install that I have on 2 pc's of my own. The result was the same as with her disk, except the spash screen said 'Windows XP Professional' before going to the blank light blue screen with cursor.

I'm thinking the problem has to be hardware related. Does anyone know what can cause this?

Brand: Gateway Desktop
Model: MFATXPNT NMZ 500SE (can't even find it on Gateway's site)
Mfg Date: 06/24/02
Processor: 1.8 Ghz Pentium (according to bios)
256 Mb RAM
OS: Windows XP Home
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

does sound like a hardware issue do you get beeps from the machine when booting up or any odd noises from the machine? have you tried a brand new hard drive?
is the machine really old?
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

Does she have a discreet graphics card or is it using the onboard graphics? If the system was sold directly by Gateway, the serial number on the PC should start with either 001 or 002, and you can use that to find the information on their site about the PC. If it doesn't have a serial number in that configuration, it's likely it was a reseller that sold the PC, and finding the information will be harder. Look at the motherboard and see if you can find a stick with a 6 or 8 digit number (usually something like 302-542 and so on) and post it here. I'll help you find the board and see if it's what i suspect it is (I used to work for Gateway around the time that this system was sold)

In the mean time, Shut the system off completely, remove the CMOS battery on the board, and unplug the power cord. Leave it this way for about 10 minutes and then put the battery back in.

Try booting the system to something like the Computer Forums boot CD or Hirens Boot CD and run the slim XP OS and see how it does. If it does the same thing there, it's likely a motherboard/Video issue (if onboard) or something else is amiss. While you've got the Hirens boot CD software, run a full MemTest as well, for at least a couple of hours if you can help it, and see if that comes back ok.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

I found the problem. I started unplugging hardware from the motherboard one device at a time and turning on the pc to see how far it would boot. When I unplugged the phone modem, it worked perfectly. I reconnected all the other devices and finished installing WinXP Home with the original install disc. Then out of curiosity, I put the phone modem back in and the pc hung on reboot at the blank screen with cursor. I then put the modem in another pci slot and the pc worked perfectly again. I decided to remove the modem and leave it out for fear that the modem may have caused something to happen to the mobo.

Can a Windows update cause such behavior? If so, would I not have solved the problem by formatting the drive and reinstalling Widows? At this point it doesn't matter. The pc is working fine. I'm just wondering what happened. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks guys.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

Just some experience and hope helps here:

from the original post seems that the safe mode had been executed before the LKGC option.
We should run the Last Known Good Configuration(LKGC) first BEFORE the safe mode.
Since running the save mode first will erase the last known good hardware profile.
Most driver related problem can be corrected by this method.

The PCI modem card works on the other PCI slot, this is a sign of the faulty mobo, at least the PCI slot.

I would suggest reseat the Bios, install the latest mobo chipset driver and reboot, then install the model driver again.

Hope this helps!
Bill
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Blank Screen with Mouse Cursor Only

Quote:
Originally Posted by PcTestCard.couk View Post
The PCI modem card works on the other PCI slot, this is a sign of the faulty mobo, at least the PCI slot.

I would suggest reseat the Bios, install the latest mobo chipset driver and reboot, then install the model driver again.
I disagree. Just because the modem doesn't work in one slot doesn't mean much, even in today's PnP society. Though rare now, hardware conflicts CAN arise, and if the system isn't in the original configuration, (i.e. hardware added or removed recently) then that can compound the issue further.

I really shudder when people suggest "reseating" the BIOS. You can destroy a motherboard if you don't do it right, and on a lot of boards it isn't even possible. There's also no real reason to do so when a CMOS reset or removing the battery is all that is needed.

If the modem works fine in another PCI slot, that's fine - leave it there. If the modem starts causing issues again, THEN maybe it's a bad card, and I would remove it, but if you're not using it now, there's no need to leave it in the system and you can safely chuck it or store it somewhere for later.
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