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Windows 10 PC won't boot - black screen with flash

  Ian Witt 08:42 11 Nov 2016

I have a Windows 10 desktop PC I built a few years ago which will no longer boot.

The BIOS splash screen displays (and I can access the BIOS by pressing Del at this point), but after that there is no Windows loading screen as usual, just a black screen with an underscore/cursor character in the top left corner which flashes indefinitely. I have left the machine in this state for over an hour and seen no progress.

While this black screen is shown, I can press CTRL + ALT + DEL and the machine will reboot. I can also press the physical power button on the machine's case and it will turn off immediately.

I have read around a bit online (I've always worked in IT, so can usually solve my own problems!) and tried each of the following (rebooting several times after trying each thing): ◾Mashing F8 and SHIFT + F8 during boot to try and enter Advanced Startup ◾Checking boot sequence in BIOS has the HDD as first boot device ◾Manually forcing boot from the HDD through BIOS ◾Removing all other boot devices from the boot sequence in BIOS ◾Removing all connected peripherals (USB dongles for Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, even network cable) ◾Physically disconnecting other listed bootable devices internally where possible (i.e. disconnecting power and data between motherboard and optical drive) ◾Resetting BIOS to default settings

Nothing so far has made any difference and I cannot get the machine to boot.

I do not have another machine available which can take the HDD (or a caddy to connect it to my Surface via USB), so I cannot currently inspect the contents of the drive at all.

I also do not have any Windows installation media to try and boot from - I bought an OEM copy of Windows 7 (which I cannot find unfortunately) when I bought/built the machine and it was upgraded to Windows 10 via the online download a few months back.

Other details:

MoBo: MSI H67MA-E35 (B3)

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 s1155 (x64)

PSU: CoolerMaster RS-460-PCAP-J3 (460W) which came bundled with the CoolerMaster Elite 335 case

RAM: Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit (CMV4GX3M2A1333C9)

What should my next steps be?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:04 11 Nov 2016

Its struggling to find the Hard drive or SSD.

Is the hard drive recognised in the BIOS?

power on then power off after 5 seconds - repeat three times and then let it try and boot if the hard drive is seen at all it should boot to advanced tools where you can try a startup repair.

otherwise download and make a win10 iso to burn to disk or USb set bios to boot from USB or DVD and boot from the iso to attempt repairs

however it is possible the hard drive is failing.

  Burn-it 19:10 11 Nov 2016

I will second that, and add that you need to get that drive looked at before you do any reinstall. It may be something as simple as the boot flag on the disk getting corrupted.

  Ian Witt 13:05 13 Nov 2016

Thanks for the responses guys, appreciate it.

The HDD is indeed recognised in the BIOS, I can set it in the boot order and also force an ad-hoc boot from it, but in either case I end up on the familiar (and now very annoying!) black screen with the flashing cursor.

I'm running some hardware diagnostics from a bootable USB now to eliminate memory or other components as the cause. Once this is done, I'll try the power off cycling you describe and see if that makes any difference.

To create a Win10 boot ISO, do I just use the tool here: click here ? If not, where should I go to get a boot ISO for Win10? That page says I need a Win10 product key, but all I have is my Win7 OEM installation media, which I can't even see a product key on...

In terms of getting the drive looked at before any reinstall of the OS, is there anything I can do myself in this respect (if it's something like the boot flag being corrupt as you suggest for example), or am I going to have to consider involving a repair professional in your opinion?

  Daniel Hirst 13:39 13 Nov 2016

when booting to the recovery CD, you should be able to do an automatic repair - if not try opening a command prompt and trying these 3 to fix the MBR

bootrec /scanos - to see if windows can find windows

bootrec /fixmbr - rewrites you Master Boot Record

bootrect /fixboot - rewrites boot sector

  robin_x 14:25 13 Nov 2016

You can connect to another computer and run Produkey in offline mode to get W7 key

Don't go formatting or reinstalling until you find the key

Not sure if you found your W7 OEM DVD. If not, you can make another.

(read the FAQ if problems with the tool)

W7 DVD has a Repair option to try Startup Repair / Command prompt etc

Minitool Partition Wizard Bootable allows inspection of HDD in-situ, in case of partitions becoming RAW or Unallocated (which can be fixed by its Partition Recovery Wizard function, when disk is highlighted)

If you want W10, you'll need to buy a license after 30 day trial period

  Ian Witt 09:06 14 Nov 2016

So, can I use the link I found above to make a Win10 recovery disc and is it possible to boot from USB rather than DVD (as the only optical drive I have is in the faulty machine and I do not have another machine to move it to for burning the disc purposes)?

And if I do make a Win10 recovery disc one way or the other, am I going to need a Win10 product key as the webpage implies? If so, how do I get my Win10 key, as I upgraded via the download when Win10 was released to Win7 customers?

  robin_x 09:42 14 Nov 2016

Oh, if you took advantage of the W10 free upgrade, the machine is registered for life on MS Servers.

If asked for the Key during install, just click Skip or Next.

If you download the iso file from the link, you need Rufus to burn it onto a 4GB or more USB Flash

Or the W10 Media Creation Tool can also do this ("For another PC" option)

You don't need to reinstall W7 first with either method

  Ian Witt 12:02 15 Nov 2016

Ok, I managed to sort this by creating Win10 installation media, booting to that and accessing System Restore and recovering to a recent system restore point.

Thanks for your help.

  robin_x 12:22 15 Nov 2016

Jolly good, thanks for updating

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