Vista boot Stuck on a black screen with a mouse cursor

I’m not your help desk

Ok so a totally crazy name for a post. Here is the deal. I tend to be the tech support for much of my friends and family. My most recent conquest was one that was very challenging. I figured if it took me a few nights to figure it out and searching on the above got me the answer. It took a lot of reading comments in forums to get the right answer in my case. So I wanted to write a quick post with how I solved it and hopefully help someone out in the future.

So friend calls up and says, Geek Squad wants 130 bucks to upgrade my laptop to Windows 7. Can you do it? As usual I tell them to go to Geek Squad or use this other friendly company I know that does this on a regular basis. Essentially I don’t want to become their IT support for life. But an hour later he calls back and says, now this laptop won’t even boot. It just comes to a black screen with the mouse after I log in to the Vista login screen. Well I had some time that night so I said said drop it off I’ll take a quick look.

The Battle

So I tried the basics you will find if you search “Vista Black Screen Mouse Only” you will get long forums like this with various solutions and things to try. Mostly just people complaining about Microsoft. In any case this particular friend is not very technical so he would never have been able to figure this out.

I finally stumbled upon this thread which led me to the answer. It’s a long read and has lots of different answers but let me summarize.

1) Get to a command prompt using many of the ways described on the net. Pressing F8 on boot, or if you have to power off and on the hard way it should bring up the startup menu with command prompt as an option.

2) Get to C:\Windows\System32 and run MSCONFIG.EXE like shown below.

Run MSCONFIG.EXE

Here is what to type in

3) This should pop the GUI which you can choose the selective startup options as shown below.

System Configuration Screen

Change to what's highlighted here!

4) Choose Ok and then restart.

Next Steps

At this point I was able to login and get the desktop back. I still assumed other things were wrong so I started cleaning the system with the typical spyware and virus tools. In this case the problem continued to exits so I used the Windows Easy Transfer tool described here to backup all his data. I then installed Windows 7 and recovered his data from the backup.

At this point the response is that his laptop has never worked better.

Hope this helps someone.

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