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Win8.1: Safe Mode frequently breaks with empty black screen


Noc

Member
Posts
49
#1
I’ve had this problem for years: Every now and then, Safe Mode “breaks” and booting into it gives a blank black screen: no logon screen, no desktop icons, nothing. The mouse becomes visible when I move it and the “Safe Mode” text in the corners briefly appears, but it all vanishes when I stop moving the mouse. Otherwise, the mouse buttons, keyboard, etc. are unresponsive; the only way to exit is with the power button.

Weirdly, the issue doesn’t affect normal Windows, which works fine; it only affects Safe Mode. It occurs seemingly at random – sometimes after less than a week, sometimes after more than six months – so I can’t pinpoint what causes it.

(To clarify, I don’t use Safe Mode that often; I just check it weekly to make sure it still works for when I do need it, since it breaks so frequently.)

Running SFC fixes nothing; each time it says no corruption was found. The only way I know to fix it is to roll back to a previous System Restore point, or to reimage the drive from a full system backup.

I regularly update Windows and all other software. All my system’s drivers are up to date from the manufacturer’s website. I run DISM (dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth) and SFC (sfc /scannow) weekly, though that evidently doesn’t help prevent or fix this issue.

Right now, Safe Mode is again broken, and this time all my System Restore points are inexplicably corrupted, so the only option left is to reimage the drive, which is a pain and a last resort.

At the moment my most pressing concern is finding a way to fix Safe Mode so that it works again. Afterwards, I’d like to find what causes the problem to begin with and stop it from happening in the future.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

(See “My Computer” below for specs)
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus G750JZ-DB73
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-4700HQ @ 2.40 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUSTek Computer Inc. G750JZ (Intel/Haswell)
    Memory
    32 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4600 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
    Sound Card
    PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Spybot Search & Destroy
Posts
34
#2
I cannot answer your questions right now, but a few more details may be helpful (for me or someone else).
1) Which malfunction forces you to use the safe boot? Is it the same problem which happens with your system time to time, or different random problems?
2) Which boot menu you use: standard Windows 8 or classic (Windows 7 like)? In the last case, does "last good" option help or not?
3) You have two video systems. Does it happen with both of them or only with one? I suppose you should be able to switch between drivers and video outputs for built-in display or connect an external display to alternative output of your PC.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro

Noc

Member
Posts
49
#3
1) I just boot into Safe Mode once a week to test that it still works for when I do need it, since it breaks so frequently.

2) I’m not sure what you mean by “boot menu”; from normal Windows I shift-click “Restart”, which takes me to the advanced startup options, and from there I click on Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings. After rebooting from there I just hit “4” to enter Safe Mode. There are other ways to enter Safe Mode, but this is the quickest one I know and it doesn’t require changing anything in msconfig, which would be tricky to undo if I get stuck in a broken Safe Mode.

3) My laptop comes with both integrated Intel graphics and a high-power Nvidia GPU, which is only used for demanding apps like games. Windows and most software all use the Intel graphics.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus G750JZ-DB73
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-4700HQ @ 2.40 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUSTek Computer Inc. G750JZ (Intel/Haswell)
    Memory
    32 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4600 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
    Sound Card
    PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Spybot Search & Destroy
#4
tweaking.com's windows repair all in one -- click only the fix safe mode choice for now. Although best to run in safe mode with networking, I have used normal windows for a quick one-click fix.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7 Pro 64bit [MS blue-disk set]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2 Acers & 1 Antec[?]
    CPU
    i7 in 2 Acers, i5 in desktop
    Motherboard
    Desktop w/Gigabyte
    Memory
    Two w/16GB, 1 w/8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Laptops GameWorthy; Desktop maybe GameWorthy
    Monitor(s) Displays
    flatscreens; 2 are BluRay worthy
    Screen Resolution
    1368x768; 1600x900
    Hard Drives
    1TB internals; 2 ext usb WD 1TB HDs
    PSU
    what's PSU?
    Cooling
    Regular plus external fans
    Keyboard
    desktio w/PS2
    Mouse
    desktop w/PS2
    Internet Speed
    DSL middle level [160?]
    Browser
    from Netscape 0.9 to FF 36
    Antivirus
    well-balanced, well-configured mult-layered defense is best
    Other Info
    From MS-DOS 3.3, MS-DOS 6.22, from Windows 3.1 to WFW 3.11 to Windows 95-98SE, now to Windows 7 Pro.
    Security for now: Windows 7 Firewall, Emsisoft AM, MSE [scan-only], SpywareBlaster, Ruiware/BillP combine

Noc

Member
Posts
49
#5
tweaking.com's windows repair all in one -- click only the fix safe mode choice for now. Although best to run in safe mode with networking, I have used normal windows for a quick one-click fix.
I ended up reimaging the drive, which fixed Safe Mode for now. Next time it breaks, I’ll try that out. Thanks.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus G750JZ-DB73
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-4700HQ @ 2.40 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUSTek Computer Inc. G750JZ (Intel/Haswell)
    Memory
    32 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4600 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
    Sound Card
    PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Spybot Search & Destroy

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