Windows

Question

Windows 10 Pro boots to a black screen.

By pkuefler ·
I have a number of Lenovo PC's that have been having an issues where the system slows down. After restarting the PC the PC will boot to a black screen. CTRL-ALT-DEL does nothing, nor does CTRL-SHIFT-ESC. The caps locks does respond. We where able to get one PC to show a display after pressing CTRL-WINDOWS-SHIFT-B but only once on one PC. You do see a lot of disk activity but that is it. If you attempt to boot into safemode the system appears to hang at the Lenovo splash screen. The only way to fix the PC is to perform a system restore. We have made sure that the BIOS is at the latest level. I am unsure how to troubleshoot this further. Any ideas would be great.
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All Answers

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This sounds like hardware issues.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Windows 10 Pro boots to a ...

If it was software you would reboot and it would clear up.

Few details about the PCs are told but here's what I encounter most often.
1. The PC is overheating. We clean the heatsinks, vents and do a fan check.
If it's over a few years old we may replace heatsink compound.
The criteria for fans is "works like new."
2. We see a lot of cranky hard disk drives now. We move those units up to SSD (solid state drives) since prices have fallen.

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Re: This sounds like hardware issues.

by pkuefler In reply to This sounds like hardware ...

It does sound like a hardware issue except a system restore or rebuild fixes the black screen issues. This is happening in a fairly clean office environment on a range of PC's that are 1 to 3 years old. It is also happening on PC's with SSD drives and regular spindle drives.

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As a test.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Re: This sounds like hard ...

Take one and perform a clean install.
Take another and make it a clean boot.

I don't have such a machine available to me so I'll share what I'm seeing such as some updates stumble with some corporate installs. But here I see no detail so I'll go with these are bog standard installs.

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Re: a number of Lenovo PC's

by Kees_B Moderator In reply to Windows 10 Pro boots to a ...

I see Bob Proffitt thinks hardware, but that doesn't really explain your "a number of". If it's more than one (how many?) I'm thinking software.
- either a Windows update done on all PC's messing things up (maybe because you didn't use the highly recomended policy setting in Windows 10 Pro to tell Windows Update to never update drivers), or
- malware that spread itself via your LAN (if all these PC's are connected in a LAN)

Go back to factory conditions on one of those PC, and see if it works again.

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Thanks Kees.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Re: a number of Lenovo PC ...

My thoughts were along the lines of what we see at the shops.

-> To add more to what we see is that a Windows Update has been seen to take over a hour on PCs with cranky HDDs. The screen is blank/black for over a hour which makes the owner think it's broken. It's broken a little. That is, we let such work it out and the machine goes back to how it worked before.

But today's users will not tolerate such behavior so we are replacing a lot of the now rather famous HDDs with the SMART Value's 01 and 07 that you and I have seen too many times.

At the office we've replaced all but a few HDDs in the fleet with SSDs. Between that and Windows 10 our IT support levels are at all time lows. It isn't needed very often.

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Re: Thanks Kees.

by pkuefler In reply to Thanks Kees.

We have a mixture of spindle drives and SSD drives on the newer PC's. We have left the systems running for hours with no change in the black screen so I don't think its a slow windows update. We should also be able to boot into safe mode but have not been able to as the system appears to hang after the Lenovo splash screen when you select any safemode option.

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Re: a number of Lenovo PC's

by pkuefler In reply to Re: a number of Lenovo PC ...

I started by disabling windows update when the issue first started to happen as I thought the same. I have recently discovered that the windows store and Microsoft 365 are still updating themselves and have disabled both using GPO. I have scanned all PC's for malware but have found none so far. Kaspersky is the endpoint software that we are using but I have also used Malwarebytes and to scan. We have had to rebuild a few PC's because the system restore did not work or was missing. So far those units have not had the issue again. It would be nice to know what is causing the issue all together.

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That reminds me of a few failures we had.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Re: a number of Lenovo PC ...

Not the exact issue but a few update failures. Turns out these were upgrades from other versions of Windows and in one case just a BUM install from the PC's maker.

I'm going to share we do not do any forensics about this at the office. If we find a clean install clears it up we do that and get the laptop back into service. The problem only happened on a handful of machines so it would be a waste of our time to dig into why. For us the causes were clear enough that we did the clean install and moved on.

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Just a test

by BOB.B In reply to Re: a number of Lenovo PC ...

You may need to try different stuff until you figure out what is causing this.

On one machine.
Disconnect from the internet.
Do a clean install.
Pause windows updates.
Use gpo to block driver updates from winupd.
Connect to the internet and visit the maker's site.
Get the latest bios and drivers for the machine.
Resume windows updates.
Test.

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