Windows 7 Black Screen After Booting
I had to power-cycle my Windows 7 64-bit laptop. The bootup sequence looked normal and reached a point where I could see the black screen with the mouse cursor. After this stage my desktop would usually appears, but not this time. I could move the mouse and I could even establish a remote desktop connection to my laptop. But I could not log in. Every time it would reach the same point – the black screen with the mouse cursor – and it would stop.
I am sure Windows 7′s “black screen of death” may be a symptom of a great many different problems. In my case I found the cause of the problem purely by chance. I decided to log into my Linux Samba server to see if I could ping the Windows 7 laptop on the network. And this is when I noticed that the Samba server was unresponsive. It was still up and it would give me the login prompts, but after entering the password nothing would happen. The problem was that the /var filesystem filled up.
Stuff like that happens from time to time. What is interesting, however, is how Windows 7 responds to a situation where it cannot connect to mapped network drives on initial user login after bootup. If the mapped network drive is set to “reconnect on startup” and the Samba server is slow to respond (high CPU load, out of disk space, or some other issue), the Windows 7 client will just sit there and wait for the second coming. This behavior is unique to Windows 7 and was not observed in XP or Vista, for example.
The workaround is simple: disconnect the network cable, turn off the Wi-Fi adapter (or access point), and power-cycle the PC. When it boots up and it cannot establish a network connection, it will not attempt to reconnect network drives. After that you can reconnect your network adapter. And then, of course, you still need to fix your Samba server. To avoid this situation in the future, you may want to disconnect and re-map your network drives without the “reconnect on startup” option.
Why does Windows 7 insist on waiting indefinitely for network drives? I have no idea. Why does Windows 7 do any of the things that it does? It may be “7″, but it’s still Windows…