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Windows Thread, Blank screen after Windows screen in Technical; Not sure if this is Windows or hardware, but starting here. I have 31 XP machines all working from the ...
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    Andie's Avatar
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    Blank screen after Windows screen

    Not sure if this is Windows or hardware, but starting here.

    I have 31 XP machines all working from the same image. One has developed persistent problems with differing symptoms, and another appears to be following suit. (I have virus checked them). I would appreciate some help with diagnostics.

    The first computer developed a problem with freezing up, and the hard drive light was fixed on. On forced shutdown, it came up with an error message saying "Disk read error press Ctrl-Alt-Del". I checked the hard drive manufacturer website and downloaded the diagnostics disk, but there was no hard drive fault on extended test. Anyway, it got sent off to the company covering our warranty (the original company went into liquidation). They couldn't find a fault, so it came back.

    Few weeks later, developed same fault, then refused to even come up with error message and just froze during POST. Went back to company, and they returned it having reseated and cleaned RAM.

    In the meantime, another computer started to display blank screen after the Windows logo screen at boot up. Now the returned computer is doing the same. I reimage them and that seems to last a day or two, then they freeze on the user or just give the blank screen on bootup.

    I have checked the web. There is some indication that it may be the graphic settings or drivers. But why is this not happening to all the others?

    The warranty company only seem to be covering the hardware faults, and keep pointing out that my problems are probably software, so I'm going round in circles here. And their turnaround is about a month - longer unless I chase things up.

    I would be grateful for any help in what to look for to try and tie this down!

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Has MS released an 'upgraded' graphics driver or similar? Windows Update installs this and then all hell breaks loose.

    It's also worth grabbing UBCD from http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html so that you can run a couple of alternative disk and memory checks.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Windows update isn't set to automatically install anything, and I haven't updated any graphic drivers recently. The machines were installed in July 2006.

    Thanks for the link.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Hi,

    I have seen the screen go black many times after the Windows Splash screen, I have found the problem nearly always to be either the refresh rate or the screen resolution settings are not supported on the monitor you are using.

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    Andie's Avatar
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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Thanks. I'll have a look at this, but can't understand why it has only started to happen in the last few months, and then only to two machines out of 31, all with identical images.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    bad cables?

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    As in monitor cables?

    I did some swapping of computers/monitors when it first appeared; but this is one of those jobs I end up rushing in-between classes coming in, so may need to repeat this with some consistency (and write it all down!!!). All the cables have been tidied into bundles with cable ties, which means I have to find something to cut the cable ties with first. I will aim swap the monitor cables on one of the faulty machines over permanently this afternoon to see if it makes any difference.

    A faulty cat 5 from wall socket to computer wouldn't create the blank screen problem, would it???

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    yes, I meant monitor cables. Also check for bent pins or damaged VGA sockets. The little darlings do love to kick them.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Andie, does the graphics driver ave one of those little task utils with it that allows you to flip the screen by press Ctrl+Alt+arrow key? I can't remember the keys but you can usually also press a certain combination to up the resolution as well with these programs (eg igfxtray.exe). When our lot discovered this a few went around doing it to all the machines puching up the res til the monitor gave in. This can be done prior to logon so that the screen always goes blank when the logon dialog appears.
    The short fix is to boot in 'Last known good' and long term you need to prevent igfxtray.exe from running by using permissions or software restriction polices.
    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    I have seen the screen go black many times after the Windows Splash screen, I have found the problem nearly always to be either the refresh rate or the screen resolution settings are not supported on the monitor you are using.
    Quote Originally Posted by Andie
    Thanks. I'll have a look at this, but can't understand why it has only started to happen in the last few months, and then only to two machines out of 31, all with identical images.
    I have also experienced the blank screen issue and the problem was as Neil described. Given that the splash screen shows up you know the monitor is doing ok. The splash screen is low res and refresh so should show up on any monitor, the login screen takes its settings from 'display properties' in 'control panel' so could be too much for the monitor to handle, now as to how it happens: somehow, and I honestly haven't figured out *how* yet, some kids have figured out how to changed the monitor refresh rate (this is supposed to be locked off from them).

    Have you tried starting up in 'Safe Mode'? Worth a try, 'cos if you do get an image you can be pretty sure its the res/refresh rate.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Quote Originally Posted by _Bob_
    Andie, does the graphics driver ave one of those little task utils with it that allows you to flip the screen by press Ctrl+Alt+arrow key? I can't remember the keys but you can usually also press a certain combination to up the resolution as well with these programs (eg igfxtray.exe). When our lot discovered this a few went around doing it to all the machines puching up the res til the monitor gave in. This can be done prior to logon so that the screen always goes blank when the logon dialog appears.
    The short fix is to boot in 'Last known good' and long term you need to prevent igfxtray.exe from running by using permissions or software restriction polices.
    Hope this helps.
    Someone did that here the other week, they had changed the refresh rate so that it was out of the monitors display range.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    software restriction police
    Just looked back at the array of typos in my last post and decided this is my favourite. 'Freeze kid! Software Restriction Police!'

    I meant policies of course. ops:

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh
    Have you tried starting up in 'Safe Mode'? Worth a try, 'cos if you do get an image you can be pretty sure its the res/refresh rate.
    To clarify, Safe Mode starts up in 800x600 so should display ok if the problem is as I think.

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    Ok, I see where you are coming from with the resolution thing. You think a child is changing it during boot up. Possible....but we are a junior school not a secondary (perhaps I am too naive..).

    However, we do have a graphics driver that allows us to Ctrl-Alt-arrow key the display around so maybe their poor keyboard skills are to blame.

    The display is already set to 1024 x 768, highest, 60 hertz, by the way. We only got the monitors and computers in July last year. They have a built in resolution notifier that detects and sets optimum resolution, and that only pops back up on screen if resolution is reset.

    At the moment, I am in a between times with this fault, as re-imaging fixes it for a few days. When it re-occurs, I shall try Safe Mode!!

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    Re: Blank screen after Windows screen

    The problem with the blank screen recurred yesterday. I forced shut down with the power button, restarted and pressed F8. From the list of options, I chose Safe Mode. A whole list of files (drivers?) scrolled down the screen and then stopped, and the machine failed to boot into Safe Mode. I forced shutdown again, restarted, F8, and then chose Enter VGA mode (or similar). Machine started with Windows screen and then rebooted in cycle until I stopped it. I then tried restart, F8, Last Known Good Configuration, and got the same blank screen after Windows screen.

    So I re-imaged again, and it looks OK so far. But I would prefer not to have to keep doing this every 10 or so days!!!!!

    Any ideas??

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