Black Screen on Boot
This article was previously published under Q155053
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 314503
When you restart a Microsoft Windows x86-based computer, the computer
stops with an empty, black screen immediately after the power-on self test
(POST) is completed.
The master boot record (MBR), partition tables, boot sector, or NTLDR file is corrupted.
- Create a Microsoft Windows boot disk to start the computer. For
additional information, please see the following article in the
Microsoft Knowledge Base:
If you can start the computer without errors, the damage is limited
to the master boot record (MBR), boot sector, or the NTLDR file. After
Windows is running, immediately back up any data of value. Use Disk
Administrator to verify that partitions on the boot drive are the
correct size. If there are invalid partitions, the best solution is to
re-create those partitions and reformat the affected drives, then
restore the data from the most recent back up tape. If the system
cannot be started from a Windows boot disk, you will most likely
have to reinstall Windows and restore from tape.
How to Create a Bootable Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition
- Run the latest virus scanning software to verify no virus is present.
MS-DOS-based virus software is sufficient for this purpose, even if the
file system is NTFS. MS-DOS-based virus programs can be run from an
MS-DOS boot disk.
- Ensure the master boot record (MBR) is valid. Boot from a virus-free
MS-DOS version 5.0 or later boot disk with FDISK on it. Run the
WARNING: If your computer is infected virus, using the FDISK /MBR
switch may prevent you from being able to start your computer. Before
using the FDISK /MBR command, you should be certain that your computer
is not infected with a virus.
Before you perform this step, see the following Microsoft Knowledge
Using FDISK /MBR for Troubleshooting Windows NT Boot Problems
- If the primary boot partition is a file allocation table (FAT)
partition, boot from an MS-DOS disk, perform a SYS C: command to make
the drive MS-DOS bootable, and then perform step 5 to replace the
Windows boot sector.
- Run Windows Setup and choose the Repair option. Choose the
Inspect boot Sector and Restore Startup Environment options. If the
boot sector on the boot drive is corrupted, this should repair it.
- If the system still fails to boot correctly, use Attrib.exe or
File Manager to remove the file attributes from the NTLDR file located
in the root of the system partition. Copy a new NTLDR file from the
i386 directory of the Windows CD-ROM to replace the existing
- If you are running Windows and the system partition is NTFS, you may have a fragmented MFT that prevents the system from booting.For additional information, click the article number about updating the boot sector below
to view the article about updating the boot sector in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Windows NT Does Not Boot with Highly Fragmented MFT
Article ID: 155053 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51