Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Win 8.1 Pro 32-bit booting to black screen with cursor...

  1. #1


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8

    Win 8.1 Pro 32-bit booting to black screen with cursor...


    Hey all,

    Have the laptop of a friend's gf with me and boy is it giving me grief. Long story short, it is a refurbished HP that had Win7 Pro factory installed as a factory-refurbed computer...her mother gave it to her and then Win8 was installed via upgrade path, and then Win 8.1 installed via upgrade path. I do not have the license key for Win7 or Win8 (nor can they provide it to me...) so I am stuck trying to get the current install repaired else they are out a few hundred bucks to buy another copy of Windows because none of them remember if they even have install media for any of it. I can't try a PC Refresh or Restore as I don't know what the license key is.

    The issue is that all user accounts (including in Safe Mode) boot to a black screen with a cursor. I get nothing at all. It also seems incredibly sluggish. I can ctrl-alt-del to get that screen for signing out, etc, and I can open the Task Man. and get to some basic functions that way.

    When first booting to the black screen with cursor, there is often an Explorer.exe memory error with the same codes each time. I also get this if I run certain programs that require rundll.

    First, I thought I would try System Restore....but they have System Restore turned off on the machine (very smart 9_9), so no system restore points are available. Then, I thought I would try the 'sfc /scannow' command to see if that repaired the issues, but it will reach varying percentages of completion of the "Verification Phase" (including reaching 100% a few times) and then fail with "Cannot complete the requested operation." I checked to make sure the "PendingDeletes" and "PendingRenames" folders exist where they should, and they do.

    I then thought, maybe the component store is corrupt, so I tried running the 'dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth' command to repair that from normal boot and from Safe Mode with Networking.....this seems to always fail with some sort of i/o error. For the record, Speccy shows that S.M.A.R.T. states the drive is in good health...?

    What's going on here? Any suggestions I can try before I have to tell her to buy another copy of Windows if they can't find the license info?

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    My suggestion is to post the problem on the HP Support forums. They have quite a number of troubleshooting links that you could use, once you post there: Home - HP Support Forum
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    windows 7 to windows 8 was not a free upgrade, it required the purchase of a windows 8 product key..
    windows 8 to windows 8.1 was an upgrade and used the same key as windows 8..

    What you need is to retrieve the windows 8/8.1 product key from the OS if you can...
    Which is not easy to do without a running OS..

    But can you somehow get to a command prompt for the OS you have ???
    Maybe you can re-run windows 8.1 again as an upgrade..
    Insert the windows 8.1 setup media USB/DVD into a drive and use cmd prompt to run setup.exe
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    The best thing to do is access the Windows folder from a working PC - you can then 'retrieve key from backup' with ShowkeyPlus.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly View Post
    The best thing to do is access the Windows folder from a working PC - you can then 'retrieve key from backup' with ShowkeyPlus.
    Another feature - I did not know about...
    Thus now makes it easy to retrieve key from corrupt OS
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Win 8.1 Pro 32-bit booting to black screen with cursor...
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