black screen on boot, boots only in safemode

  Khav Egy 20:25 16 Jan 2019


I would really appreciate any help/tips what else should I try etc.

My PC:

  • MSI B450 Tomahawk (Motherboard)
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (CPU)
  • 2x G.Skill Ripjaws, DDR4, 8GB, 3200Mhz (RAM)
  • Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 (GPU)
  • Windows 10 64 Bit (operating system)
  • System runs on Samsung nano SSD 970 EVO, M.2
  • SeaSonic Focus+ Gold 650W (power supply)

History (may be unrelated, but who knows):

Apart from GPU my hardware is fairly new (about a month) so recently, after a clean Windows 10 install I was updating drivers, installing other software and testing if it runs properly. At first I also left my old power supply in (bequiet! 730W), but after about 2 weeks when it was in electrical network and got turned on - it short circuited so I got rid of it. I can only suspect it was a culprit responsible for frying my old motherboard (that was a reason for my PC upgrade), even though when tested (before the short circuit episode) the voltages were fine. After I got a new power supply, everything was fine only for about a week, then there was a Windows 10 update. Shortly after that when tested in one of the games - display flickered from time to time, and even froze a few times (requiring PC restart). To resolve this I tried different GPU drivers (most recent ones, a few of other fairly recent versions and the ones I had on my old PC) + I tried deleting any 3rd party software that directly affects the GPU. Nothing resolved this problem and when having the most current drivers I tried another game and just got stuck with my current problem = while I run it screen got gray, PC froze and I had to restart PC, when restarted THIS happened....

Current problem description:

When I turn the PC on - just after BIOS, it begins to load the system (at least the circle from dots moves like it normally did) but instead of showing the Windows 10 "log in screen" only the black screen remains + after a while keyboard and mouse become inactive (mouse has a led diode that turns off, on keyboard caps and num locks do not work).

The longest I waited in this state was about 1 hour, but nothing changed (clean system installation on my pc took about 10 minutes together with reading license information...).

There are no strange noises or motherboard leds turning on on boot.

The only way I can boot and log into system is in safemode.

In safemode everything works fine. Srsly everything - even the previous flickering display problem seems to be resolved. Recently, while in safemode, I made a test run of hd movies in a browser on my max (1600x900) resolution. If not for this I would be sure that hardware is faulty (mainly - GPU), but as it is the software became the main suspect again. (Though I would also appreciate any software tips for testing hardware, as long as it's not a stress testing that may result in frying sth now, I have no easy access to spare hardware parts + after resolving earlier problems - no money for a GPU just to test it)

What I tried:

Everything the depths of Internet could spit out during the 30+ hours of actively trying to resolve the problem. Some of the noticeable things I remember doing, more or less in this order (after every activity below I tried to run in normal mode, but nothing has changed):

  • loading system in safemode (while in safemode everything works, as fine as it can work in safemode...)
  • changing GPU drivers (few times, different drivers, all from AMD official site)
  • trying shortcuts like Windows Key + ctrl + shift + B, ctrl + alt + del (and a few other simple things form Windows 10 official troubleshooting guides for black screen)
  • going into BIOS to check voltages + check if it can detect CPU, RAM, system SSD etc. everything there is fine (but either I am blind or it just does not have a panel for GPU)
  • trying out the following boot options in msconfig (diagnostic boot/minimal boot/basic video mode)- during safemode boot they work, otherwise they make no difference
  • running sfc /scannow
  • then I tried to reset the system settings via windows 10 on boot troubleshooting tools, it actually failed (it went through the first phase and then started system installation, but during installation it restarted and my personal black screen of death just kicked in)
  • I reinstalled the system via a bootable USB, it installed normally, system loaded started fine, but after a few minutes a black screen came - and the fun with looking for a cause of problems started again
  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 10:22 17 Jan 2019

If its OK in safe mode then its usually a driver problem

as you have already done graphics drivers try updaing the others one at a time.

  PAC1 12:30 17 Jan 2019

Go to control panel & select power options.

On left hand side click on ‘chose what closing the lid does’.

Click on ‘change settings that are currently unavailable’.

This will allow you to deselect ‘turn on fast startup (recommended)’.

Once deselected save changes and reboot. You should find that it will boot up 1st time. Some computers don’t like fast startup as it speeds up BIOS checking

  Khav Egy 19:24 17 Jan 2019

Thank you for the tips.

I checked the fast startup option - it has already been turned off, but just to make sure I turned the whole hibernation off. Nothing has changed.

When it comes to drivers - when I reinstalled the system, all drivers got installed in their most basic versions. One thing I noticed after system reinstallation is that I cannot install drivers that are available only in .exe files, these are:

  • SSD driver
  • RAID driver
  • GPU driver

I turned on Windows Installer Service + turned off the driver signature enforcement, but in case of drivers .exe files still won't install anything = SSD driver got installed and informed me that it needs a reboot, but after reboot when I check it's version - it is still the old one. Both RAID driver and GPU driver are drivers developed by AMD, and running their installers results in Error 99 message - I contacted AMD support for further instructions about this (official instruction mentions just to disable driver signature enforcement).

Another thing is - in device manager there is a warning sign near Microsoft Hyper-V driver. Warning message says that Windows could not load appropriate drivers for this device (and there is no information that it is related to safe mode, like in case of devices that are normally inactive in safe mode). Though I guess this one is unrelated to my problem, because if I understand what it is correctly then it is not necessary for system startup in normal mode and I have never used Hyper-V on my PC.

So right now I started updating all of the drivers one by one - when it comes to dealing with my problem - so far with no luck, normal mode still results in black screen, but I still have a few of the drivers left to check.

  Khav Egy 12:34 20 Jan 2019

Problem solved (or at least it's origin is known):

these were actually 3 problems:

  1. new GPU driver is highly unstable(new driver versions result in an immediate black screen);
  2. Windows device manager in safe mode displayed driver versions incorrectly - windows autoupdated driver to the newest one when in normal mode, but because it crashed during autoupdate it still stated that the old driver is installed (when the actual files were from the new, unstable driver);
  3. Windows boot files got corrupted during system reinstallation;

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