Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Can't get to login screen.

  1. #1

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Can't get to login screen.

    I am stumped.
    My laptop is having a problem which appears quite similar to others I have read about (I have of course been Googling furiously), but is oddly complex.
    The laptop of mention is an Alienware M14X (a bit over a year old [however, the hard drive is only 2 months old as I had it replaced by a Dell technician]) running Windows 8.1 (fairly sure it's 8.1 pro).

    Yesterday I attempted to restart my computer. All the programs closed and Windows began to restart. However, with absolutely zero forewarning, it installed two (I think it was two) updates before turning off. Then, as it should, my laptop sprang back to life, told me it was configuring updates, and displayed the Windows logo.
    Here's where the problem occurs.
    From that moment, and every time I have turned my computer on since, after displaying the Windows logo, my computer's screen turns blank (blank not black. It is still receiving a signal from the laptop and I can even control the brightness) and stays that way.
    Want to know what I think makes this interesting?
    I sit here, watching my screen, and every now and then it flashes two icons in each of the bottom corners. The icon on the left tells me my ethernet cable is plugged in. The icon on the right tells me my language: "ENG." Furthermore, I have some degree of control over the mouse. That is, although the cursor doesn't originally display, moving my physical mouse displays the cursor on screen. Every few seconds though, the cursor resets to the centre of the screen and disappears until I move my mouse again.
    Please note that this is NOT the issue where I can press CTRL + ALT + DEL and access the Task Manager to reboot the File Explorer. I can NOT "blindly" enter my password. I do not ever see the login screen nor get past it, despite the fact those icons flicker every 10 or 20 seconds.

    I have of course tried several ways to fix it. I have tried: two separate restore points; a "bootrec /fixboot" command; booting into low resolution video mode; booting into safe mode (the blank screen and cursor problem persists in safe mode); generic Windows 8 diagnostic fixes.
    I have also run a thorough PC Doctor test (which takes hours) from the boot selection screen. PC Doctor claims there is nothing wrong with any component of my computer.

    For me, any kind of data loss is an extreme way to fix things. I would really rather not perform a PC refresh or reset. I live in Australia. To download all my programs again at 500 kb/s will be a nightmare. Not to mention, I will hire a professional before I think about losing even one precious photo. I'm sure you can relate.

    So I desperately need help. Please.
    This is my first post. I hope it's all good.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    A couple of things I'd try.

    First is if you have a spare monitor about, connect that and maybe even try playing with the settings to see if you can change it between mirrored and extended desktop mode to see if there's any difference.

    I'd also get a copy of a Linux Live distribution like Ubuntu or Knoppix. The idea being to see if you can get some kind of complex GUI on the screen. I am of course assuming that everything looks normal and proper up until the point the desktop and/or login screen would normally appear. You could also probably try putting a copy of Win 8 on a USB drive to see if that works.

    The only two possibilities that make any degree of sense given what you describe is either an issue with the GPU or a software issue. If the portable Linux/Windows doesn't work, my money would be on a bad GPU, otherwise I would say software issue.

    Finally, not to kick you while you're down, but this is a prime example of why it's important to back up important files. Though you could use the Linux distribution, assuming that works, to back up the files like photos.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Thank you for a quick reply.

    I forgot to say I already tried a monitor which hasn't worked for me.

    I've now created a Live Ubuntu USB and successfully booted into it. I have a "complex GUI" and am able to use it normally.
    Your assumption that everything boots properly up until where the login screen should appear is correct.

    PC Doctor, which I used to test for hardware problems, claims my GPU is fine. My money is on a software issue.

    Being so terrified of losing information, I do back up my files to an external hard drive. My most recent backup is a week old.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Xaphoon; 11 Oct 2014 at 00:26. Reason: Forgot to say something.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    There's really no such thing as a GPU diagnostic that I've ever seen, so I wouldn't trust anything saying the GPU is fine unless it came straight from nVidia/AMD/Intel. So at this point there's not much more you can do short of trying to reinstall Windows and see if that resolves the issue.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    Any chance you could tell us why you replaced a hard drive after 8 months?

    Is there a light which displays when the hard drive is working? If so, how is it showing?

    Most Dell systems have key combinations during boot which will start a diagnostic. You may have used that during your hard drive replacement. Are any of those options working?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Asvent, the 'key combinations to start a diagnostic' which Saltgrass mentions are the ones I used to verify my GPU is fine.

    After 8 months, I had my hard drive replaced because it had died after the daily struggles of travelling in a school bag.

    As far as I am aware, there is no light to see if the hard drive is on.

    This morning, I reset my computer, performed 124 updates, updated to Windows 8.1, then started installing the set of drivers on a Resource DVD included with my laptop.
    My computer was working fine.
    Then, after installing all the drivers in one go, I restarted my laptop. I am now having exactly the same problem I had before.

    So to be clear: this is a completely fresh computer with no more software than what is certified and recommended to my system, suffering under one very peculiar bug.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    Hardware driver updates also come with Windows Updates. I have had some of those cause Blue Screens on my systems.

    Whenever I install updates, I always try to keep track of what is being installed, and will not approve certain updates, especially if they are optional, until I know the system is up to date otherwise and running normally. Other folks recommend doing only a few updates at a time, so you might be able to catch the offending ones.

    Also, the drivers from the Resource DVD are probably out of date if you updated to 8.1, download those drivers directly from the Dell site.

    Since you system is back were it was, I suppose there is no way to remove any of the most recent updates.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Can't get to login screen.

Similar Threads
Thread Forum
How do I change the login screen image? (NOT lock screen)
So I disabled the lock screen as it's just another unnecessary click to login, but what I want to be able to do is customise the background image of the login/ctrl+alt+del screen. I know you can change the "accent" colour but I don't want to use a solid colour. How do I go about this?
Cannot get rid of login screen
Hi; I have been trying to get rid of the login screen so I do not have to type in a password . I have tried the settings in user account . checking and unchecking the different boxes as instructed by searches . So is there a way to get rid of this or not ? thank you much for your help
Installation & Setup
Cannot get login screen
I shut down my computer last night and walked away. When I went to log in today I receive a message that an app is preventing shut down. The screen does not let me do anything. It shows this message and says the computer is locked. It does not give me the ability to log in or do anything else. I am...
Performance & Maintenance
Changing the local user login name on the login screen
Hello nice people ! Windows is asking me for a password despite I've never had a password. Here's what happened: I've never had a password and choose during the win install to have 1 local account without password. I used to have a user/login name with an non ascii character (), and it...
User Accounts and Family Safety
Black screen with cursor after Login screen.
Hi, I have recently installed windows updates and after restart the black screen occurred after I typed my password. About five days before that I have reinstalled my Mobile Intel 4 series driver and now in Device manager it shows 3 grayed out monitors which were installed when I have reinstalled...
Drivers & Hardware
Login screen
My wife said that her login screen had ______________ i. Now it has_________________ ->. What is the difference between a login with an i. Or an arrow. She wants the i back.
General Support
Black Screen in login screen Windows 8 Pro 32. GTX 550
Hi everybody. I'm kinda desperate with that problem, i hope you can help me. I installed Win8 Pro, everything fine, i installed some programs and the latest drivers from Nvidia, i ran windows update so i rebooted, bios screen was right and then it appeared the win8 screen with the window and...
BSOD Crashes and Debugging

Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook