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Troubleshooting Error Messages on a Black Screen that may Occur During Startup or Boot

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There are many reasons that a computer does not startup or boot into the Windows operating system. If your computer will not start or boot, you will see or hear symptoms to indicate the general area of the problem. If you are not sure what the problem is, see Overview of How to Troubleshoot Problems When a Computer Does Not Start Up or Boot Properly .

Startup Symptom: Computer may display an error message on a black screen during startup or boot

Use this document if the LED lights glow, you hear the sound of a fan or hard drive spinning, but a text message indicating an error displays on a black screen when the notebook power button is pressed.
The cause of this problem may be an error in the instruction being sent from the BIOS to a hardware component (e.g., keyboard failures), or an incompatible device driver. These types of problems can usually be resolved by clearing the error message and then installing updated firmware for a critical component.

DO THIS FIRST - Perform a hard reset

If a PC suddenly fails to boot properly, you should perform a hard reset as the first procedure.
  1. Disconnect all peripheral devices and remove all USB devices and media cards. You want to test the computer not the accessories!
  2. Disconnect the AC power adapter, remove the battery, and then press and hold the power button for at least 15 seconds .
  3. Reconnect the AC power adapter (but do not connect the battery), Press the Power button, Look for glowing LEDs near caps lock and num lock keys, and Listen for sounds of a disk drive and fan turning.
Actions to take after performing hard reset


Search Web for Specific Error Message
If the displayed error message does not appear in the list, search the following web sites for a specific solution:
Alternately, you can continue with the actions in the general black screen troubleshooting sections below.
The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is available on select HP Notebook PCs manufactured in late 2008 and beyond.
To access the Startup Menu and the troubleshooting options on an EFI-based computer, press the power button and immediatly press the ESC key. If computer does not display a EFI Startup Menu, it may a non-EFI computer.
The EFI environment allows you to select from the following options:
The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) was not available on computer manufactured in 2008 or earlier.
When you try to start your computer, it may appear to stop responding with an empty, black screen before reaching a blue screen or the Windows logo. If there is no specific error message provided, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot a black screen.
To remove all non-system disks and reboot the computer, follow the steps below:
  1. Disconnect any eSata, USB, or 1394 (Firewire) devices that are attached to the computer.
  2. Remove any CD / DVD discs or memory cards from the drives if present.
  3. Press and hold the Power button for 30 seconds to turn off the computer. Then, press and release the Power button to turn on the computer.
NOTE:During startup, a computer checks several devices for an operating system in a pre-determined order. You can change the order that the computer uses in the system BIOS. For more information on changing the boot order, see HP Notebook PCs - Configuring the Boot Order on a HP Notebook PC .
After removing any non-system disk:
  • If the computer starts up normally to the Windows desktop, no further action is needed.
  • If the computer still stops at the black screen continue by restoring the BIOS default settings.
To restore the BIOS default setting, open the BIOS Setup screen as follows:
  1. Turn off the computer and wait five seconds.
  2. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f10 key to enter the BIOS setup menu.
    NOTE:On some computer build between 2002 and 2006, press the f1 key to enter the BIOS setup.
  3. On the BIOS Setup screen, press f9 key to select and load the BIOS Setup Default settings.
  4. Press f10 to Save and Exit .
  5. Using the arrow keys select Yes and then press Enter when asked Exit Saving Changes?
  6. Follow the prompts to restart your computer.
If the computer stops responding at the black screen, continue the troubleshooting actions in the next section.
To perform a memory self test, follow these steps:
  1. Plug the AC adapter into the computer.
  2. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  3. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f10 key to enter the BIOS Setup Menu.
  4. Use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to navigate through the menu selection to locate the Diagnostics .
  5. Use the Down Arrow and Up Arrow keys to select Memory Test .
  6. Press Enter , and then Yes to perform memory test.
  7. After test completes, press f10 to Save and Exit , and then press Enter to Exit Saving Changes? .
Many computer problems are related to soft failures (or degraded performance) on the hard drive. The HP Hard Drive Self Test will repair soft errors on the hard drive, but it will not report the errors. After the test is complete, restart the computer to see if test repaired the problem you may been experiencing.
Use the steps below to test the hard drive in a computer using the HP Hard Drive Self Test.
  1. Plug the AC adapter into the computer.
  2. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  3. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f10 key to enter the BIOS Setup Menu.
  4. Use the Right Arrow or Left Arrow keys to navigate through the menu selection to locate the Primary Hard Drive Self Test option. Depending on your BIOS, this may be located below either Diagnostics or Tools .
  5. Select Primary Hard Drive Self Test , and then press the Enter key to start the test.
    NOTE:The exact wording of the option for your particular BIOS may be slightly different.
The Hard Drive Self Test performs a Quick Test followed by a Comprehensive Test . During each test, the window displays a status bar and an estimated time to completion. See HP Notebook PCs - Testing a Hard Disk using the Built in Self Test for additional information.
  • If any test fails , contact HP service and support for instructions on how to order a replacement hard drive.
  • If all of the tests pass, the hard drive is not damaged.
  • If there is no physical problem with the hard drive or memory, then try Reinstalling the Windows operating system .
Alternate access to the hard drive test on newer notebooks
If you have a computer with an EFI pre-boot option (late 2008 and newer), boot the computer and press the esc key to access the EFI Startup Menu . Then press f2 to select the System Diagnostics menu and press f4 to perform a hard disk test .
If none of the above actions has resolved this condition, you may have a corrupted operating system. Therefore, you need to reinstall the Windows operating system on the notebook. See HP Notebook PCs - Repairing or Reinstalling The Operating System for additional information.
If none of the above steps has resolved the issue, please contact HP for help.
After you have completed the troubleshooting process and your computer has booted normally into the Windows operating system, you should:
  • Run HP Assistant to update HP software and drivers.
  • Run Windows Update to update operating system and software.
  • Run anti-virus program to remove any virus.