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Black screen with cursor after log in - Win 10

2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Windows 10, with all recent updates - Dell Inspiron 3668

This is a problem that I only solved (two days ago) after about 5 agonizing hours during which almost nothing I could find online helped, and I fixed it almost by accident, so I am posting here, just in case someone else ever has the same problem.

I'm not certain what caused the trouble, but it occurred after I had enlarged the cursor for my husband, whose sight is failing, and then brought the size back down a bit at his request. Screen suddenly went black, with only 3 or so icons; I remember that one was the File Explorer icon. Should have taken note of them for future reference, but was too scared and eager to fix things.

I restarted the computer, and from then on, only the cursor appeared on the black background, although I could still move it around. I was able to get as far as logging in each time, only to revert to that black screen.

Tried: Unplugging and reconnecting, also some suggestions for getting to the Task Manager and Safe Mode, but nothing worked. Many seemed to be advice that was posted months, or even years, ago. I was reduced to trying--for the umpteenth time--to get to Recovery by following directions to start the computer 3 times, turning off the power each time when the DELL logo appeared; with a 4th turn-on, the Recovery option was supposed to come up, but it didn't.

You all may know this definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But the next time, just on a hopeless hunch, I did the turning on and off FOUR times instead of three, and Lo! this time, the Recovery panel finally appeared! I chose the method that would preserve personal files, and did a System Restore, and a while later, after some awful suspense, the desktop finally came back. While I am not going to chance trying that process again, it appears that now, with Windows 10, when all else fails, aborting startup at the appearance of the logo FOUR times and then letting it go on and start on the FIFTH try, will bring up an opportunity to use the Recovery function. (I only hope the power button or something else inside my husband's computer has not had its life shortened by hours of all this off/on activity.)

FWIW, I offer this experience in thanks for the many times people here have taken the time to help me with other problems.

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