Computer Boots to Black Screen with Blinking Cursor

Amazingly, when it comes to computer errors, when your computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor is far better than just a plain blank screen when the computer boots. We have to look on the bright side here and presume that the fact that you can see a blinking cursor is a good sign. At least we can treat this as a bit of clue on what to try when troubleshooting this black screen on start up.

When the average computer user sees a black screen on startup appear on their computer monitor panic immediately sets in. Both black screens and blues screens are known disasters that are dreaded by most. But as I said, seeing a black screen with a flashing cursor is not that bad.

Please note that this particular error has stopped your computer from entering Windows. It is not a black screen with a movable mouse cursor on the screen it is a black screen with a flashing cursor that has not entered Windows yet. If this error does not suit your symptoms please see “My computer has a “Computer black screen” for more information.

Please note that the you can boot up Any computer, fix & install Windows easy with a boot disc especially made for this error. Of course you can try everything listed below first as you might get lucky! Hope you do! :)

Computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor – Common causes

There are many possible causes when your computer boots to black screen and I will try to mention as many as possible. Some causes of a black screen are incorrect shutdown of your computer, not waking from sleep mode, not knowing where to boot to, corrupt software, damaged start up, and the list goes on. When moving forward with these troubleshooting tips, make sure you do have a computer that boots to a black screen with a blinking cursor. Otherwise you are looking at the wrong tutorial.

The last sleep transition was unsuccessful:

This is one that I have had a lot of experience with.  People have the Windows sleep mode enabled on their computer and after to going to sleep, the computer does not wake up. This sounds crazy, I know. I have written an article on the computer will not wake up from sleep mode. In this example it is also possible to see a pc blank screen where there is nothing but a black screen and that’s it.

When your computer will not wake up try starting your computer in safe mode. Simply start your computer and hit either the F2, Del, or sometimes the F10 key on the keyboard. When you enter Safe mode you should then shut your computer down correctly. A clean shut down. This should wake up the computer. Then you should disable the power saving mode as soon as you can because it will most likely do it again next time. To adjust your power saving sleep mode go to the control panel, then choose the power options icon.

Computer boots to black screen with blinking cursor – A device is connected

Did you leave a USB flash drive connected to your computer or maybe an external hard drive? Either way, the computer might be trying to boot to this device but it is not a bootable device. Remove all devices and try to start your computer again.

Below in the comment section one person had a card inserted into a printer and the computer was trying to boot to that so you really need to look outside the box for this step. Boot up any computer  restore your Windows and Data

Faulty Device causes the computer to boot to a black screen

Another cause could be that you have a faulty device such as a DVD drive or CD drive. The computer is trying to find all devices connected to the computer and comes across a problem device. This often causes a black screen with a flashing cursor. If you disconnect the faulty DVD drive your computer can start without errors. People are often aware of a faulty DVD drive because you might have had previous problems removing discs or opening the contents of a disc.

When you see a black screen with blinking cursor you can almost come to the conclusion that your actual computer is fine because it is still running but just not loading into Windows. As we have seen, there are a number of causes which also equally creates a number of solutions.

Years ago I had a computer that was hit and miss when starting up. Sometimes it would boot to black screen with blinking cursor and then other times it was fine. It turned out to be the cd drive. The computer was performing Power-On Self-Test (POST) and was not finding the cd drive occasionally. As soon as I disconnected the faulty drive, the problem never surfaced again.

Your boot options have mysteriously changed

It’s probably not a mystery, however for some reason your computer is trying to boot to other devices and not your hard drive. You can restart your computer and get into your bios to change these settings. Here’s how to get into your bios and change settings. When you are in your bios, change the boot order or boot priority to the first being the hard drive. Exit and save your settings.

This error can happen when the computer is not shut down correctly or you have another device plugged in.

You recently installed new software, updates, or drivers

Getting a black screen with a flashing cursor is very common after installing new software, downloading updates, or even installing new drivers and devices. If this happens and you have either Windows Vista or Windows seven, your first port of call would be to insert the operating system disc. Although Windows xp is a bit more difficult to deal with, both Windows seven and Vista will repair most problems for you. This is why you should try this method first.

This can happen after installing almost any piece of software including Windows updates, believe it or not! The problem is, if there are two programs clashing, there is not much you can do to stop this..One has to go. For this reason, when installing absolutely anything on your computer, including a simple toolbar, I recommend you create a restore point for safety reasons. Imagine if everyone actually stuck to that rule???

Anyway, if you see that flashing cursor you are almost guaranteed that your computer will boot from a CD or DVD. After all it is looking for something to boot to. Of course at this stage, when you see the flashing cursor, it is too late to insert the CD, and it is too early for other remedies.

When you insert your operating CD you must restart your computer. See the following instructions.

You upgraded your hard drive and now you see a blinking cursor

You installed a larger hard drive and now you have a black screen with a blinking cursor. If you put the old hard back in the computer it runs fine. This is a common problem for Dell laptops and some desktops where the BIOS does not like hard drives that are larger than 127GB. To fix this problem you can install a smaller hard drive for the main operating system or partition the one you have so that the main drive does not exceed 127GB.

Computer boots to black screen with cursor windows 7 – Restore your Windows 7 computer

If your computer boots to a black screen when using Windows 7 you can always try to recover a working system by using your Operating system disc!

1. Boot from the Windows 7 operating system disc. If your computer is not set to boot from cdrom first then you need to be able to enter the BIOS to change your boot options.

2. Choose your language from the list.

3. Choose the Repair your computer option on the install now section.

4. Choose the System restore option.

5. Choose  a restore point. If you have installed a program today that caused a problem choose a restore point prior to that?

6. Let it take you back to when you didn’t have a problem.

These instructions above will work for Windows Vista as well.

Also see this article on Repair Windows XP.

If you do not have your original operating system cd then try this one: $49.95 for The NO.1 Boot Utility Disk – praised by PC Magzine!

Computer boots to black screen with mouse

When your computer boots to a black screen with a mouse cursor, that means that you have logged into Windows. This is a different problem from the one described above. If your computer boots to a black screen with blinking cursor and you have not logged into Windows, there are different troubleshooting steps for this.

If you are seeing a black screen with a mouse, and possibly you could move that mouse cursor around the screen, then I have a few things for you to try.

  • You could login to another user account to see if that user account has the same problem.
  • You could enter task manager by hitting the CTRL ALT DEL keys on your keyboard. Then you could go to the applications tab and press on new task. Type in explorer.exe to see if that works.

Notes on having a black screen with a flashing cursor:

  • This black screen tutorial has been split up into separate sections as people are getting confused with what to try for their actual problem.
  • This tutorial is not about a black screen with a movable mouse cursor on the screen (although I have mentioned it above), it is about when computer boots to a black screen with blinking cursor and has not entered Windows yet.
  • There is a difference between a total blackscreen and black screen with a blinking cursor. One has a sign and one doesn’t.
  • Boot up Any Computer, Fix & Install Windows Easy.

More options when dealing with a pc blank screen:

Buy the Ebook “Recover Your Computer From a Black Screen” (Now FREE)

Computer Boots to Black Screen

Let us know about your computer black screen with blinking cursor experiences below as there are many more causes and solutions to learn from. Also see these extra Troubleshooting Black Screen tips.


  1. khaleel says

    Thanks for the article, but my pc has nothing attached to it and I get black screen with flashing cursor alot, my littlw brothers keeps shutting it down by disconnecting the wires, and now it keeps restarting with black screen on boot. Any help??

  2. JinJoo says

    Thank you SO MUCH for this article!!! I saw that dreaded black screen with a blinking cursor and my heart sank. I would never guessed it was due to my husband plugging in his iPod to charge via USB!!!!!

    I thought I would have to try several things before I could try to resolve this issue.

    BIG cyber hugs!!!!!

  3. rajnikant singh says

    I have dell inspiron 1545 Laptop.Last year i replaced my original HDD and Battery with a china made (economical but might be the headache now) HDD and battery.It worked fine for 1 year.
    Day before yesterday after i shut down my laptop and the next morning when i switched on my laptop A BLINKING CURSOR came up on TOP LEFT MOST CORNER.
    Steps taken….
    1. swicthed off laptop>> took out battery> run laptop on main power> clicked f2 f8 f10 etc…del..didnt work
    2. plugged in battery, charger both and then clicked f2 f8 f10 didnt work.
    3. took out battery and charger > clicked power button for 30sec > then plugged in charger > on the laptop> clicked f2 f8 f10(suggested by some website).
    some says my hdd has died out …I dont wanna lose my data (very imp) help me out

    • says

      Seriously if you do not want to lose your data then you should remove the hard drive, put it in an external case that suits the drive, then connect it to another computer and get your files off. After that, I would start trying to fix the problem.

      If you cannot get the data off your hard drive then you will know there is a problem with that.

  4. Kat says

    My computer has been down for days with a black screen and blinking cursor. After searching through the Internet for days and trying others ideas, nothing had worked, I could not even get it to go into safe mode. F2 worked like a charm! Thank you for breaking it down in non “tech” terms. As soon as I read that not shutting down properly could be the culprit, I knew that’s what had happened. Can’t thank you enough – you saved me from the expensive “geek squad”!

  5. cat says

    ps. I have tried the boot order as per your comments but no luck. And F8 just won’t work. I can get the black start up page and bios but nothing else, always back to the black screen and cursor. is the only other solution to use a repair disc of some sort?

    • says

      A Windows repair disc would be good, as it could be that your files are messed up on your hard drive. It depends which Windows operating system you have. I have Windows seven and my computer would not start so it ran a diagnostic for me and fixed it.

  6. cat says

    Hi! I am having problems with my mum’s laptop and wondered if you could advise me please! On start-up I have the black screen with cursor. Tried F2 and got a page with ‘hp advanced system diagnosis’ but no safe shut down option anywhere (just start up/run in tests etc)- F10 and there is the blocky safe mode I think you were talking about. (InsydeH20 setup utility whatever that is!!) Again I can’t see an option to shut down just security/diagnostics/syst configuration/exit -help! Can you give me any advice on what best to do- have no clue about these things but would like to give it a try myself before taking it somewhere in case its something easy to fix!! Thanks in advance!

  7. says

    Please help! I have a Dell Laptop, I think it says Inspiron on it. Clearly, I’m not anywhere close to being an expert on computers. Anyway, like everyone else, I’m having the issue with the black screen and blinking curser. I was doing my usual thing on the internet and suddenly, my anti-virus says I have a virus and I need to get rid of it. So I click ok and it restarted my computer (it does that sometimes, I recognize that it’s the anti-virus I use because of the logo). When it starts again, it shows the Dell logo, loads, and then gets stuck at the black screen with the blinking white curser.

    I have tried:
    – force shut down and trying again, hoping for it to load

    – attempted to get to this bios with del, F1, F2, all the Fs in general, escape, and possibly my whole keyboard… -.-” none of them worked

    – spent a few hours attempting to find a recovery disk. It didn’t work.

    – went through the whole list of comments trying to find something that worked. it didn’t

    – spent another few hours trying to find help over the internet with another computer (I’m borrowing it temporarily, but I am PANICKING about my computer!)

    – I tried waiting half an hour at first with it unplugged.

    – Tried taking out the battery underneath the monitor, waited 2 minutes, then put it back. Nothing different happened.

    – And when I try pressing too many keys on that screen, it starts beeping for every key that I push.

    So far, nothing has made any effect in changing anything about the black screen with the white blinking curser. I have tried anything suggested that I could. I’m PANICKING and EXTREMELY WORRIED and FREAKING OUT all at once. It’s frustrating. >.<
    I know you're probably really busy, but please help me as soon as possible! I kind of have a time limit. ~shudder~

    • says

      Did you try booting in safe mode? Is your keyboard working at all? it sounds like your antivirus has removed something you need for windows to boot. If you had a windows operating system disc or recovery disc this would help. It would replace the file you need automatically.

      • says

        Thank you so much for replying!
        I am still panicking. I can’t get to Safe Mode and I tried every key listed in the instructions. F8 won’t give me any response on the black screen with the blinking underscore or when it says the “F2 for Setup” and “F12 for Boot Options”

        However, I have found out that if I hold down the F2 button or the F12 button at the specified time, the BIOS finally comes up. On the other hand, I can’t figure out how to go from there. I am having trouble following the instructions above because I can’t seem to find the right thing.

        When I go to Boot Sequence, the order is:
        -Diskette Drive
        -Internal HDD
        -USB Storage Device
        -CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive
        -Onboard NIC (This one’s box is unchecked, so it’s not on the list. The rest are in that order for default too.)

        Is there a way to get to Safe Mode from the BIOS? And I don’t know if I have a recovery disk or not and where it is. (Unless you are talking about a completely blank disk. I found something about that on the Dell website yesterday, but I have no clue about the disk burner and apparently it only works if you are already in the Windows.)

        My keyboard is working, I think. There isn’t a good way to check since it’s in the laptop and all. But if I press random keys enough times, it starts making a beeping sound for every key that I press. I know the F2 and the F12 keys work now. Same goes for the arrow keys and the enter key.

        • says

          You can set the boot order to put the internal hard drive first. You need to read the instructions on the screen in the bios to tell you how to do this. Please take a good look around and you will see the instructions. The changes only work if you actually save them when leaving the bios.
          Also disable the option to boot from a floppy..
          See what happens when you have done this..

          if nothing changes..

          Then start your computer again and quickly press the ESC key then keep pressing f8.

          if you cannot get into safe mode then the virus has taken more than we think. You will need a repair disc.

          Which Windows are you using?

          • says

            I think it is a Windows 7 and nothing happened. I asked about the repair disc/Windows disc. Turns out, the disc itself was originally built into the computer and it should exist in the computer somewhere? I am not clear on all the details about that, but apparently, we never used a disc to begin with.
            Do you know anything about that situation or do you know how to get to it? It’s still going to the black screen with the blinking underscore and it’s starting to really get on my nerves.

            When you said to disable the option of booting from a floppy, you meant to uncheck the thing that says USB Storage Device, right? I just want to make sure I’m not messing something up accidentally.

            Wait, is it possible to buy a repair disc from a nearby store or something? I’m not sure how it will work out.

  8. mayra says

    You are awesome! I was able to fix my daughter’s computer with your suggestions. Boy was she grateful. It was as simple as going straight to F10 and changing the order back to first booting from the hard drive. Simple yes, but only after learning what to do from you. Even greek is simple if you know how to speak it. lol Thanks so much for teaching me a little greek. My whole family is grateful as I am the only one in a family of five that is a little computer savvy.

  9. Daniel says

    Hi there. My computer has a similar problem but instead of a blinking dash/underscore, it has a stationary one. The computer eventually boots up but before it does, it gets stuck on this black screen for a while which has a stationary dash in the top left corner. I am running windows 8.

  10. says

    Kind of strange problem.My PC wan`t boot,just blinking cursor on top left corner.No boot even from dvd drive with bootable windows.When remove hard disk,dvd can boot.Hard disk from my PC boots on another PC normaly.Hard disk from another PC boots on my PC normaly.Hdd status perfect and testing with fabric test found no problems.
    Any ideas? :)

  11. Alece says

    You are a genius! MUAH! My computer was trying to boot from the stupid flash card we put in printer the other day! Geez! Gotta love ya! I was freaking out! Thanks!

  12. Alecs says

    hey there… here is a completely new simptom… i have on a computer the infamous “Black screen with blinking cursor” immediately after starting the pc… First, i thought it was a hdd problem, so, i tried with a new hdd, same problem, BIOS sees the hdd… both of them, and the CD-Rom… boot order is correct, it won`t boot without the cd rom, with it, with the original hdd, with another hdd… no usb devices attached, new data cables… tried on both controllers… and again. BIOS sees everything, but, still won`t boot… so please, if u have any ideea… it`s very much welcomed

  13. Eric says

    Just want to add my thanks. My PC kharma has been rough lately, and one of my important pc’s would’t boot all of a sudden, not even let me choose setup or boot from cd, etc. You were correct – it was my work blackberry plugged into usb for charging, once i removed that, the pc booted fine. Saved me a weekend of taking the hood off and poking around for nothing! Thanks much!


  14. Chris says

    Problem? Black screen with flashing _ in upperleft corner.

    Issue: Was on the internet – did nothing at all different than any other time, watching a video on YouTube … computer spits out error msgs about Write Error ??

    Action: Tried the System Restore … something didn’t work as now the above problem is occuring. Cannot:

    – get F8 to work
    – have no orignal disk / DVD that came with computer. Only Drivers and Drivers / Utilities disk that don’t even open
    – changing things in F2 won’t work / F12 won’t work
    – tried regular vs. USB keyboard – no difference
    – tried F10, ‘delete’ … nada
    – basically …. NOTHING works from startup, and screen constantly stays at the above problem stage.

    Help!!!! Very frustrated with a computer that just craps out when nothing differently was done from one second to another :(


    Hi i have a HP pavilion Dv6748us and i am have a problem with it. I used it in the day good and in the even it wont come just a black screen and the lights for the power , speaker and the other control lights are just blinking.It like the computer want to start up and it wont start. You can see the fan starting and stopping. If you press ctrl, alt and delete the light will stop blinking and they will stay on and the fan will stay on but you will still have a black screen.Can someone tell what can be causing this problem. i tried heating around the video card but nothing.

  16. Amber says

    What can I do to repair the black screen with blinking curser if I cannot locate The operating disc (Win XP) that came with my computer?
    If tried system restore but had no luck.

  17. Jackel1337 says


    I am Jackel1337 and i have a problem… My computer turns on and goes straight to the black screen with blinking underscore… it does not give option for bios or anything… ive done lots of things to see if any would work… and nothing helps… email me any advice that might help solve this problem plz.

    – Jackel1337

  18. tonzie22 says

    I disconnected all the cords and opened up the computer, reset the CMOS by removing the CMOS battery, leaving it out for while (30 seconds to 1 minute) and putting back onto the motherboard.

    And it worked. Got back into my Windows 7 operating system.

  19. Shurk Chang says

    Thank you sooo much i though i was doomed, but I did leave my external hard drive plugged in. I took it out and voila!! It worked!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. JoeBrown says

    This is what worked for me after trying tons of suggestions. I booted with the windows cd. Deleted the recovery partition which in my case was 10gb, just enough to install Windows Home Premium. Installed Windows to that 10gb partition. Then I was able to access my files, back them up, reformat the whole drive and reinstall windows. What would have been easier would have been to remove the hard drive, use a drive adapter and copy all of the info off the drive to another computer. Put the drive back in and reinstall windows after deleting all partitions from the windows install screen. Either of these scenarios would have destroyed the recovery partition but I wasn;t able to access the recovery files anyways….. Bottom line, there was a boot problem that fixed itself when I formatted the recovery partition.

  21. John says

    • Dell Inspiron 1200
    • Black Screen, Flashing cursor in top left corner.
    • No cables plugged in other than power
    • Boots from Hiren’s Boot CD
    • Can’t boot from Win XP Disc

    Any ideas?

  22. Ysabette says

    Thank you so much for this. I kept getting stuck at the black screen with a blinking cursor, changing the boot order worked like a charm (somehow USB had ended up at the top of the list?). Thanks again!

  23. Greg says

    Thanks so much for the tips! Just unplugged my mouse and keyboard, and took my cd drive out, and it worked again. Not sure if my cd drive was faulty, or if it was just the usbs, but ill check into that later.

  24. Courtney says

    This problem recently happened to me after I purchased an external hard drive to keep important files on. I like to leave it plugged into my computer so I don’t have to crawl behind the tower every time I want to access something on it… How can I ensure this won’t happen again short of leaving it unplugged when the computer goes to sleep?

  25. Gillian Leigh says

    I recently agreed to install some programs on my dell laptop (windows 7 version). When restarting the screen is black with the flashing underscore in the top left-hand corner. I have tried pressing all the F buttons, & all the other buttons for that matter, turned it on & off & still nothing happens. I don’t have any discs. Any advice?

  26. Jem says

    Ah! Perfect!
    Tried the safe mode option but it didn’t work, pulled out my USB, printer and mouse and what do you know.. success!
    Thanks heaps :)

  27. ankur says

    hey m stuck on this black screen with blinking underscore i tried windows seven disk to reinstall its again get stucked on “press any key to boot” screen, windows xp doesn’t work either, only i can do is to boot from linux disk to browse my stuff, my hd is fine i guess, can reach any file from linux cd.
    Please kindly help me out.
    with regard

  28. MICK says

    Hi, my problem is when I trade on Forex my charts flicker and jump all over the place. The computer has Windows XP and is a dual monitor as I need all the charts I can get. Would you know how to remedy this. Everything else is fine. If I keep my charts small it can stop the splitting and jumping however small charts have no value to me.
    Kind regards,
    Mick….. Ireland. xx

    • says

      Hi Mick
      Some stuff is made for later versions of Windows. I am not sure if you are opening these charts in Excel or on the internet on a site but I will guess that you could try changing the screen resolution to handle what you are looking at better. You can do this by right clicking on the desktop and choosing properties from the menu. Maybe you could choose 800×600 to make the charts larger???

  29. Yata says

    I have a Dell computer just purchased it last year and the other day it shut down while I was using it and now it is giving me a black screen with blinking cursor but I can’t do any thing else. Can you please help?

    • says

      Have you started with the basics like checking to see if something is plugged in or if all your cables are in correctly.

  30. nosh3 says

    okay I have windows vista on my sony vaio I get the blinking cursor. I dont have a disk is there a way to still view my old pictures or is all lost. nothing seams to work with mine.

  31. Hari Veturi says

    I tried to install Mac OSX Mountain Lion on my PC! So, I erased my windows partition and installed mac on it! But now I get that black screen with blinking cursor and I can’t do anything! Even if I press any key, all I do get is nothing! I still get to the black screen with the blinking cursor! Can you help me?

  32. Alex says

    I’ve been having the problem that’s being described on my desktop here where my computer turns on then goes to a black screen with a blinking cursor, but should there also be a green vertical line on the side of my monitor as well? Well if that is normal, I have tried restoring my computer to one of those automatic restore points that Windows creates when updating and my computer still had not been able to go past the black screen and I have not recently installed any programs into my desktop. I was just using the internet on day and all of a sudden my desktop just began shutting off. I turned it back on like 5 minutes later just to the black screen. I also do not have any external drives on my desktop as what you said in the arrival above of which may be the problem to some computers. Please help because I have no idea on what I should do.

  33. Liana says

    My brothers downloaded a game off of some website and ever since then Norton protection messages have been popping up on the screen. Then one day, when I turned on my computer, there was a black screen with a flashing cursor. I have no idea what happened, I think the computer may have crashed? But I have no clue. If anyone has any help as to how to fix this, it would be of much help. My whole life is on this HP MINI and I really need it. Please and thank you(:

  34. Mason says

    My problem was that I was downgrading from Windows 8 Release Preview, and I had a power failure durring the process. The I received the Black Screen with flashing curser. I went into my BIOS and loaded all of the defaults. Went in and it said that their was no OS installed. Because I have a net book, I didn’t receive a Boot Disk. But I recently found out Legaly, I can download my original OS from another computer as an ISO file, move to my 1TB External Drive, plug it in and changed my BIOS, and TaDa!
    Dell Inspiron Duo, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

  35. JC says

    Thank you thank you thank you!! Very simple fix. Was panicking. Stupid USB port!! Did I say thanks?

  36. moth says

    The solution to my black screen problem was not even too deep into your list of easy fixes. I am thrilled to get my day back to normal so easily. Thanks.

  37. not telling says

    Hi there i have just got cursor mania and i put i restore delfult and its dosent look like it the computer im using is a Lenovo g575 please help me

  38. Arthur Kay says

    I spent all day trying to get past that blinking cursor. Then I stumbled across your discussion of this problem. I started going down the line and found my usb printer was plugged in. Removed the USB cable and its working great now. Thanks very much.
    Arthur Kay
    I’m going to look into the bootable disk mentioned in your column.

  39. danad says

    Thank you so much for all your positive, encouraging, fun way that you direct people to the problem and the detailed solutions. The way that you share your personal experience and information is so helpful and refreshing to make a person think that they can fix their computer problems. With your amazing help, we finally (after disconnecting the flash drive to no avail) opened our minds to the solution: unhook the auxiliary printer!!! Wow, thanks you just saved us $100 for tech support!!!

  40. Notgoodwithcomputers says

    Hello, i first want to say that im not very tech saavy and that my problem occured after installing a windows update.
    After reading your article im convinced that it was the update and that booting with a windows 7 os disk will repair it, but i dont know if that will wipe my memory or just take the stupid flashing dash in the top left of my screen after i turn on my computer.
    Im using a toshiba laptop less than a year old and i really need what i have saved on it for school. Please help me out and thanks in advance.

  41. Raquel says

    I want to thankyou for your wonderful advice. I was having a problem with this black screen and after reading your article, I began to work. I found out that it was trying to boot to a non-bootable device and have changed the settings in the bios system. After doing that, the computer started just fine. Thank you again for the tips and hope that they also help more people as it has helped me.

  42. Chino says

    my quick solution to black screen with just a flashing cursor was to use Hiren’s Boot Disk and a program on it called “Plop Boot Manager”. Apparently, something was preventing my Windows Xp from properly booting. This Plop Boot Manager, within a click of the mouse, was able boot itself and find and boot my windows. Pretty neat since this is the first time seeing my screen since getting the Blue Screen of Death when my computer would freeze at “loading your personal settings” then BSOD.

    Here are the steps I took to recover. 1. found a copy of Hiren’s Boot CD 15.1 with over 2 gb of programs and burned to a dvd that became my boot disk. Within HBCD, I used Mini Windows XP – from there in the programs list, I used Acronis software (disk director and true image) to 1. create a clone disk of my “master” hard drive. Since I had 2 of the same computer, creating a clone of my hard drive allowed me to have 2, one as a plug and play “test” environment and backup copy. 2. After sure I had a clone and files backed up, I wiped/scubbed my hard drive test drive to DoD standard using Acronis. 3. Then created a new partition using Acronis Disk Director. Now the new partition was new viewable by Acronis True Image. This allowed me clone from “master” to this drive that had just been scrubbed. 4. Now the test, try to boot it, and I came to a black screen with flashing cursor. In HBCD, I used Plop Boot Manager, and like magic, in 1 click, it found the windows boot screen where it booted like normal. This time only that it booted all the way normally with no BSOD.

    • Marley says

      Thank you for this!!! I had a great computer that one day wouldn’t start up and just showed me a blinking cursor. I have had it sitting in my closet for about six months. Tried the very first suggestion on this page and it worked!

  43. Robin says

    Hello Mitz, can you help?

    My friend’s Acer Win XP Pro hard disk is dying (some errors even after chkdsk), she’s lost the restore CDs that I made for her 6 years ago, and of course the software won’t let me remake ’em. So I restored from the recovery partition then cloned the disk onto a new one using Ghost v9 on my PC. I set Ghost to make the new drive bootable, but it isn’t: I get the black screen with flashing cursor. Here’s what I’ve done so far, all to no avail:

    – I checked that the PC will boot from the restored old disk (so I know that drive boots)
    – I ran fixboot in the recovery console
    – I ran fixmbr in the recovery console (it said the boot sector was non-standard, but I ran it anyway)

    I might try recloning using a different utility like clonezilla, in case this is a Ghost problem.

  44. Crystal says

    Man, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to post here, but I’ve tried a whole lot of these solutions and nothing has worked.

    Mine is an MSI GT laptop; it’s new(ish), and second hand, and I’m pretty sure this is my fault, because when it arrived I decided I wasn’t satisfied with how it was setup and proceeded to reinstall Windows 7. It booted up great the last time I used it; I installed all the updates, installed all the drivers, restarted it a couple times, and it was working like a charm. Then I put it into hibernation and left it alone for a day, and now I have the blinking black screen cursor of evil.

    As to what I’ve tried so far:

    1) I can’t get into the BIOS. When I restart, it doesn’t say “Press such and such to get into the BIOS!”, and nothing I press works (I think MSI almost exclusively uses Del, but in a fit of maadfobdogbd I also tried lots of other keys.) For that matter, I also can’t get into safe mode.

    2) As far as I know there’s nothing wrong with the keyboard. I can actually adjust screen brightness with it. There’s nothing connected to the computer.

    3) The Windows OS CD doesn’t work. It seems to think about using it, and whirrs around with it for a bit, but I never get anywhere other than black screen, blinking cursor. I’ve tried both Windows 7 and Windows XP, but nope.

    Sorry for the trouble. Hope you can help! Thanks.

    • Crystal says

      Ooh, and I forgot to mention. It does beep once on startup, so system boot is doing fine.

    • Crystal says

      Alright! So I managed to get into the BIOS. It looks like it was a Win7 hibernation problem, and I couldn’t get into the BIOS because (obviously) when you’re in hibernation you’re supposed to start up from hibernation and shouldn’t be in the BIOS (or safe mode, or anywhere) in the first place.

      What I did was that I dug up my giant box of computer parts and found an old hard drive that had Windows installed on it. It wouldn’t boot from a USB or CD, but it did boot from another hard drive, so I finally managed to shut it down properly.

      I’m still getting black screen of blinking cursor evil, but this is progress.

      • says

        Thanks for sharing all your steps here Crystal. I am sure some of this will help someone else.

        Have you confirmed that your Windows os disc works.. If it does then you could go into bios and disable the cd drive and only boot to the hard drive.. (The original hard drive if possible.) This will test to see if it will go into the hard drive.. IT would even be better if you disconnected the cd drive properly, just to test it.

        • Crystal says

          My OS disc works but it looks like the volume was corrupted beyond repair (it failed when I tried to boot from the original hard drive) so I was going to do a full reinstall. I’m getting a different error now, but it’s probably because I haven’t set up the RAID drivers properly.

          Thanks for the reply! =)

  45. Danielle says

    my laptop has Windows Vista on it… it’s a HP and doesnt come with a reboot disc. and I never got around to making one… my new laptop also HP but runs on Windows 7 if I made a reboot disc from that would it work? or do I HAVE to have vista?

  46. says


    I’ve done all of the above with my Compaq, but when I try to reboot from F10 or from the recovery disk I got when I got the computer, I get No IDE device, or No Hard drive…

    If I’m getting that far, do you think it’s because My hard drive is cooked, or could it be elelctrical / a connection?

    Thanks and Happy Holidays

  47. Dan says

    Hi, I’ve been having this problem on a Compaq. It says no IDE device on the black screen after I’ve tried the multiple tricks to boot other ways, and the recovery disk that it came with only goes so far, then says the hard drive can’t be found.

    In your experience, is it more likely my hard drive is legitimately fried, or that it could be a connection/electrical problem?

    Thanks and happy holidays. Dan

  48. Gary says

    I have a similar problem. When stating Windows XP my system boots to a blinking black screen, with the windows page behind it.
    There is also a clicking sound when the screen flashes.
    Any suggestions how to fix this.
    I have a lot of pictures and files in my documents that I do not want to lose.
    I am not very good with computers so hopefully there is an easy solution
    Thanks, Gary.

    • says

      The clicking sound coinciding with the screen flickering sound like a monitor or video card problem.. Probably more the monitor if the sound comes from there? It is hard to say without hearing this..

  49. eekme32 says

    I have the same issue with a blinking cursor after the bios on a Toshiba Satellite L655-S5096. To make a long story short this laptop is for a client. I took out the hard drive and reformatted it on my computer using a tool I bought on eBay (Eforcity USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA Converter Cable). I put back the hard drive and still no go.

    I removed all the optical drives, ram, wireless card and battery then did one at a time and still a no go.

    The laptop is running Win 7 So I popped the disk in tried the f2 and changed it to boot up on optical and still get the cursor blinking. Tried to hit f12 to and the screen comes up but after you select load from optical and there it went again with the blinking cursor. I even, tried to boot Win 7 from a bootable made USB and the same problem.

    I can’t get a safe mode or anything to go at all. Once the bios screen is passed it goes blank and the cursor blinks.

    I also hooked the laptop to an external monitor just to “x” out this problem and the same issue with the blinking cursor.

    After all this all I can think of is that the motherboard has a short or the CPU is bad. Either way those parts are way too expensive and I would rather have the client buy a new computer.

    In the past 4 months I have had 4 Toshiba’s with similar motherboard related problems. Toshiba has a big problem on their hands..!

    After all this I said what the heck… I took the entire laptop apart and removed the Cmos battery, processor, motherboard and all the other drives I had previously removed and just let it sit there. I cleaned out the heat sink and fan, after about 30 minutes I reinstalled everything back except for the Cmos battery. Note also on the CPU I put some thermal paste and then installed the heat sink with the fan. Well after all this I booted up the laptop and I still got the blinking cursor, BUT this time it only blinked like 10 times then it self booted my Windows 7 disk I had in the Cd-Rom drive. I don’t know what it was but I finally got it to work. After I installed the new system I took the laptop apart and reinstalled the Cmos battery and the system still worked. Call it luck but the laptop issue with the blinking light was solved and I made 150.00 on the repair..!

  50. Gorav Singh says

    :pfff: Well :hello: , i m also struck with problem. My is Lenovo S-10 3 , well it’s very nice and dependable laptop.

    But as far as this problem is conserned, My laptop, starts, goes to boot and then stop. 😥

    *****what i would like to add other than up mentioned methods i have tried yet!! *****

    As soon as i activate boot from hdd (on any position, in boot sequence) in the boot menu , everyother option become unbootable and end up with blank screen with blinking cursor; untill the next restart, where i have to go again in the boot menu and disable the hdd. :pt1cable:

    But i can boot from ln, usb, external hdd or cd. Only condition i have to disable the Hdd in the boot menu.

    infact it seem, the computer is not able to reach hdd as the led light of hdd didn’t glow.

    *fixing boot mbr. didn’t resulted success. 😮

    *Installing new os. also didn’t work. 😮

    *reseting cmos… well, i still working on it.

    I am left 1 option to try, format everything and try, Format everything and male partitions a fresh and ten a clean install :non: .

    • says

      Hi there
      Wow you have done alot here
      I would test the hard drive by putting it in an external case (a 2.5″ One) and connecting it to another computer to see if you can access it. These cases are under $10 and very handy to have.
      Also when your hard drive it out and bios is set to boot to the hard drive start the computer without it and see what the message is on the screen , if any.
      Another thing you can check is the ram..Just take one piece out..then try…then swap them around and try the other.

      • Gorav says

        Mitz, Thanks for the Reply. And Sorry for “My” late Reply. ;P Life is going a little haywire in recent Days – as if sth new is there. What a Drag.

        Ok!! Jokes apart. I had taken a note abt your Suggestion, and will implement Asap.

        And Yes! Keep it Up.

  51. rinalt says

    Hello, so i bought a computer from studentcomputers it worked fine with the built in graphic card however suddenly after trying to turn it on one day , the screen went black straight awayy , keyboard or mouse did not work, and a long code was displayed at the top left. I’ve called student computers and they told me my built in graphic card was faulty therefore they told me to remove me and to try the normal graphic card which comes with the computer i have done that and it worked!! However, after turning it off the next time it didnt work the problem is it doesnt even load anything straight away a black screen comes with the flashing cursor at the top left but this time without any code, once again no keyboard and mouse works. I have tried several re bootings + plugged all the cables out but it seems like it doesnt work.
    Any help?

    • says

      When the computer worked did it everything the keyboard and login all normal?
      What about the plugs. are they in tightly.. in the right spot for onboard video?
      Maybe there is a problem with your onboard video now..
      Can you try another keyboard? If you could get into safe mode you could completely update drivers for the onboard video.
      What about trying a boot disc or your operating disc to do a repair? (not sure if you can if the keyboard not working)
      Another thing to do is get another video card to try in it..Maybe you can go to studentcomputers and ask them for one to try.

  52. Haider says

    um guys.. I recently got my Dell Inspiron Laptop I got an error while surfing online i restarted my laptop for some odd reason.. and it doesnt seem to start anymore it keeps getting a black screen with a blinking curser on top left now.. i am not sure what to do i read ur article thing but dunt seem to get what i should do for my part i have a f2 to get into setup when i press it theres a boot sequence in general settings where there are some options like Diskette Drive Internal HDD USD storage device CD DVD CD-RW Drive and Onboard NIC all are checkd but Onboard NIC (I just thought i should share that.. ) now to the problem i cant go past the blinking curser idk wat to do please doo help !! my email is feel free to contact me there … Theres nothing like system restore or anything.. idk wat to do x.x all i have are the recovery disks i made when i got the laptop 3 months ago and a CD for dell inspiron software installer…… PLeasee I am so lost… and I wana get this fixed before my exam comes..

    • renee says

      hi i just read your article, i too have the same problem today..a few days ago it said i shut off my virus protector and wouldnt let me turn it back on?? said i wasnt allowed, so i finally did a system retore for before that date. and then i was on the net and it shut down on me and when i started it back up it was a black screen with a blinking cursor…what the heck? so did anyone answer your question? if it worked please let me know. i have the cd to reinstall but having an issue trying to get it to work. thanks so much, renee

      • Sarah says

        Hi Renee. I just wanted to say the same exact thing happened to my dell Inspiron laptop not too long ago. I actually didn’t even notice my norton protection programs were off until later. While I was using my laptop it said I should shut it down for its safety or something and I when I started it up again it had a blue screen that flashed by then went into the whole safe mode or normally screen. If I tried to start normally, the blue screen flashed and back to the safe mode or normally screen again. So I went into safe mode and had to restore it. Worked fine after that, and then I curiously looked at my computer protection and finally noticed that norton wasn’t responding at all. It wouldn’t even show up if I clicked on it -.- I had to download something to get rid of it, then reinstall it, but after that it was all good ^.^
        Right now I’m having a problem, I turn on my computer, the dell logo flashes by when it loads, and I come to the black screen with the blinking cursor. Also, my laptop screen is broken, so for both the issue I had, and for this one, I have to rely on an old computer monitor.

  53. Jon says

    Here’s my situation:
    I turn the computer on, it boots, it beeps, I get to the screen where I can get into BIOS/XpressRecovery/etc. however I cannot hit Del, F1, F2, F9, F12 etc. and get into bios or any sort of setup. Just says “prepare to enter setup” then continues to a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. I tried taking out the mobo battery and setting up from there and I get two options (restore defaults/last working config), both take me to the same blinking cursor in the upper left corner. I’ve done all the take a stick of RAM out and try each one in the different slots, I’ve replaced the mobo battery with a new one along with a few other little things i read online…Running out of ideas here, any help is greatly appreciated!

    Mobo – Gigabyte GA-965P-S3
    CPU – Intel Core 2 duo
    Graphics – HIS Radeon hd3780x2
    RAM – G.Skill DDR2 RAM 2GBx2
    PS – Antec 650W
    Ps/2 keyboard
    No mouse
    No USB devices connected

      • Jon says

        Keyboard seems to be working fine because it is detecting that I press DEL to enter BIOS. However, it says “prepare to enter setup…” only to continue to the blinking cursor. Also, after resetting the CMOS the keyboard is responsive and I can use the arrow keys to select options after a checksum error appears only to continue to the blinking cursor screen.

  54. Bobby says

    My pc is running windows xp. Im trying to boot from cd/dvd drive in order to install windows 7, i have changed the boot order so cd/dvd drive boots first. After i insert the disk and restart the pc, the black screen with flashing cursor comes on and sits there for about 20 seconds in the meantime i hear the disk spinning and the light flashing, all of the sudden the disk and flashing light stops, the black screen goes out and windows boots normal from the hd. What could be the problem???

  55. Phyllis says

    My Dell desktop, running Windows XP, now boots to a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. I booted from a Windows XP CD but didn’t have the admin password to run a repair. I don’t want to reinstall Windows because I have a lot of picture files on the hard drive that I don’t want to lose. Do you have any suggestions on how to get my data and/or boot to Windows?

    • says

      Sometimes the admin password is nothing so you just press enter at that stage..Did you try that?
      Also you can take the hard drive out and place it in as external hard drive case and connect it to another computer to get the files off.

  56. says

    My Gateway DX series pc (2009) suddenly only had My Computer Icon on the desktop. I restarted the pc and now it shows Gateway screen (with F2 Bios Menu and F10 Boot Menu). After that, just a black screen with a blinking cursor. Even when I try tapping or holding F10 for Boot Menu, it brings me to the same black screen with flashing cursor. HELP!!!

  57. Matthew says

    I’ve recently run into some booting issues as well. I have Windows 7 and things seemed to be OK up until this weekend. I had gotten several system and software updates from Windows Update last week, and then later I got the really fun blue screen of death. I figured I’d run a chkdsk before things got worse. I chose the option to repair damaged sectors and was going to let it run overnight. Before I went to bed, it appeared to be stuck on step 5 at 13%. I didn’t worry about it then, but when I got up several hours later, it was still at 13%. I managed to exit and shut down, but then Windows wouldn’t start… I got my OS CD and went to the repair options and was going to try a system restore, but there were none! I thought that was odd since it always creates them before updates. So now, since my lovely backup drive stopped working a little while back, I do not know what to do. I’m running another chkdsk from the boot CD, but it appears to be stuck at 13% again. What can I do?

    • says

      There must be something wrong with your hard drive..I would not run chkdsk as it will be trying to repair bad sectors and you might have files on those bad sectors. Can you try another hard drive? Or can you put your hard drive in an external case and try to access the files to copy to another computer?

      You also could try repairing the boot sector of your hard drive but there possibly could be other problems.

      • Matthew says

        Ahh ok. So my feeble attempts at fixing were actually bad ! Curses… I know it’s definitely something with the hard drive, so I’ll have to replace that. Miraculously, a few restore points finally showed up upon a second attempt (I have no clue how that worked out), so I’m able to boot Windows OK now. I’ve got a new external hard drive and I’m backing things up. Do you recommend getting a new hard drive altogether or should I look into the BootSuite program that you wrote about in your other entry that you linked, try some more diagnostics, and then ultimately format the drive ? Would formatting get rid of the errors or whatever it may be ? Would I possibly be able to find out what the issue is with BootSuite ? I also did a memory test, and it seems that’s fine for now. I need to install some new RAM chips though. I’m stuck in the stone age with only 2GB xD.

        PS You’re my new favorite. So amazingly helpful !! :)

        • says

          I think you found a restore point that was not corrupted. You could try a free program to check the health of your hard disk..But before you do anything backup your files…When Windows is running nicely set a new restore point and then start to check the hard drive and upgrade stuff… you can try for a free hard drive diagnostic tool…You can also check out Bootsuite as it is a crazy program that does everything!

  58. Dane says

    I am having a black screen with fashing text cursor in the upper left hand corner. I have tried all suggestions left on the posts below. I am unable to start in safe mode. No response. I have also even tried the recovery disc, but that only gets 77 percent done from the two discs and stops. It doesnt make it to the welcomr nor the log in screen. I need help.

    • says

      Have you tried going into bios and changing the boot order to hard drive only?

      Also when you put the recovery disc in what did you do? A repair.??

      Which version of Windows are you using?

      • Dane says

        I am using windows vista. I have also changed the boot order. I do hear the hard drive turning as well. The recovery disc was to change all window settings to default.

  59. Gabriel says

    Hello, please answer me!

    I have a black screen with blinking cursor at the left top.

    I already tried this :

    * – Everything on this article and others,
    * – Reinstaled windows (boots ok from dvd )
    * – Instaled MAC OS and worked ok (hackintosh mode )
    * – Disconected everything but the HD
    * – Disconected the graphics card
    * – Replaced the font
    * – Changed bios settings in every possible ways
    * – Replaced the HD (another windows instalations works, and the same hd works like a charm on another computers!! )
    * – bla bla bla etc……

    I can get into the setup of the windows dvd, instal it on had, but :

    Misteriously the internet works like a shit ( its not the problem, desactivated lan too ) ,
    Misteriously when I put another windows hd of another computer it works, (the internet keeps working like a shit and I have the feeling that computer is notd runing well.
    Misteriously after everything work fine ———————————- everything happens again! the death black screem with the blinking cursor!

    What could this be ?

    I think is a mobo malfunction, but what can I do? MAC OS runs perfectly on the PC,

    I think that my computer is now alergic to WINDOWS after instaled MAC OS

    • says

      Wow what hell you have been through…
      So its not the hardware because mac works…and its not the hard drive files…
      What about the bios. Did you change settings in there? What is the boot order?

      • Gabriel says

        Its working now, (until now)

        I just disabled the usb ports and the windows loaded, and I simply didnt did this before because I thought that in my particular case a computer without GOOD USB ports is not a useful computer and I didnt wanted to spend money with no sure of 100%….

        But misteriously, its working now with enabled USB ports, all I did was disable boot from USB, LAN, etc. My fault ….. =]

        Maybe it is just a misterious problem with my onboard USB, a pin, resistor etc… wow…..

        I am doing windows updates right now and I’ll keep you posted!

        Thank You Mitz !!
        Congratulations to you and your website !


        • says

          Glad you found the problem..this is similar to when you leave a usb flash drive plugged in… That is a common cause of a black screen and a flashing cursor. Never heard of this one though…Thanks for adding to our list of problems.. :)

          I was telling you to check the bios to see the boot order…great find… Interesting..note to self..don’t disable booting from usb..

  60. myenglish says

    I have a similar problem. Don’t know what has caused it. But, I can move the cursor and it even lets me log into the system with username and password. it gives me Ordinal 2000 error. Except for letting me log in it won’t let me do anything else neither does it show anything. Same in safe mode as well. But it works fine with Ubuntu live CD(haven’t installed UBUNTU though). I can go into safe mode with command prompt so if there is anything that could be fixed from command I can give it a try. IDeally, reloading the OS and losing personal files isn’t an option. Please pls help me. I have restore points stored even a few days before the problem has occured, but restoring to previous date isn’t even progressing and it is failing.! Any help is much appreciated.

  61. gabe says

    my laptop has this problem and i have been trying to fix t for a long time now. i finally found the alienware windows 7 cd that i came with and i set the laptop to boot to the cd instead of the hard drive BUT…for some reason it still wont boot to the cd, it just goes back to the black screen with the blinking cursor. i checked to see if it was still set to boot to the cd and it is…idk why its not working.. please help! thanks.

    • says

      Did you try changing the settings to just boot to the hard drive and nothing else? Make sure you take all usb drives and cds out..even external drives..Then set it to boot straight to the hard drive and see what happens…

  62. chris says

    i have the black screen with flashing curspr. i tried all those ideas an none worked. i cant even get it to boot from the cd

  63. Lisa says

    I hate to sound repetitious but after reading all of these, mine is a little different. I have a Dell PC, not laptop. I turn it on, it says Dell real quick, then goes to black screen and says I can push ctrl and enter to not use password, or just enter to use password, either one I push, it goes back to the password prompt. When I try to enter a password the curser just keeps on blinking and will not enter any letter. When I try anyway and push enter it says to stop and halt and power down the computer. I power it down, turn it back on same thing. I cannot push f2, f12, f nothing, it has no affect. But enter will, so the keyboard is working. The lights are on, enter button works, but no other keys I hit act as if they are communicating. The computer will not respond. Even if I knew the password I cannot even enter it.

    • says

      Are you pressing F2 and F12 to get into BIOS? Did you try DEL key of F10?
      Is the password page black and white page or is it a Windows login page? Are you trying to login to Windows or is the login before Windows has started?

      • Lisa says

        I have tried f2,f12, all the f’s, and del. The page is black and it comes up before Windows. It says Dell, real quick the goes to the black screen, asking for the password with the cursor next to password but when I type nothing enters. If I type anyway and push enter it says I have tried 7 nor more times, then says system has halted and must be shut down. Thankyou….

        • says

          I can’t tell you if this is a bios password screen or a virus of some sort. Do you have an antivirus boot disc to scan the computer?

          • Lisa says

            I don’t have the boot disc. I bought it refurbished and only used it once and then put it away for a year because I have a laptop. I didn’t get online with it just checked it out. Wanted to use it for my son when he needed it for school. It had XP on it and seemed fine. I think it could be bios, I just can’t get into it to solve anything. I’ll look through my computer stuff and see if I can find that disc. I did have some boot discs for everything for my Dell laptop but not sure if those would be compatible?? Thanks again.

          • says

            If you have a dell restore disc it can sometimes be compatible…If it is the same operating system it could work,…so for example if you wanted to repair an XP home computer you could probably insert any Xp home disc to repair..

  64. hannah says

    i had the same problem with the black screen and flashing line in top left corner, i get it on there most times now and have decided the best option is just to wait 5-10 minutes and it is ok, no data lost. i previously tried pressing various buttons and taking the battery out but didn’t seem to work.

  65. arun says

    iam getting a black screen with 2 strips of white color on top and bottom side of the screen(they are probably the edges of the bios screen).ican enter in to the bios menu by pressing F2.this is intels desktopboard DG41RQ.i tried booting by another memmory modules ,hard disks etc.problem is with the board itself.does this is related to any bios corruption??does virus can attack cache memories or bios memories?

  66. leigh says

    i got the black screen with flashing cursor when trying to put extra ram in pc any ideas. please

  67. Ronald says

    Hi need help with my emachines laptop and it’s for windows vista. The problem is that I don’t what exactly happened and when I turned it on it just showed a black screen with a small flashing line on the left side corner. I don’t have a system operating disk and I don’t know what to do.??? I tried letting the battery die and taking out the battery. Then I put back the battery and plugging the battery cord. It still shows the flashing line and I can’t do anything!! When I hold a button it makes a noise help me !!

  68. Pat says

    Yesterday morning I woke up to the black screen with a blinking cursor, and that’s all I’ve been able to get since. I located my repair disc and booted that from the CD/DVD Drive. Using the disc I first tried the system repair step. That step has only told me that if I recently connected an external device such as an MP3 player, I should disconnect and restart my computer. I did have my i-pod connected to the computer when it apparently decided to go to the black screen with a blinking cursor, but that has been disconnected since I started trying to fix the problem. Nothing else external is plugged in. Re-starting the computer hasn’t worked, even after the system repair telling me to disconnect/restart. The log of the tests the system repair does indicates that the OS is booting properly, but that is obviously not the case.

    I then tried system restore, which failed a couple of times, but ultimately worked. However, the successful system restore has made no difference, as I still end up back at the black screen with blinking cursor. The successful system restore also didn’t change the results of the system repair telling me to disconnect/restart.

    Any other ideas?

  69. Godfrey says

    I having same problem. First of all I left my laptop on to download something and slept off, by the time I woke up I saw a blue screen with error messages. I removed the usb internet modem that was plugged in and did a restart and then the problems starts >>flashing cursor. I decided to reinstall windows 7 still no success, when I try to boot from my windows operating disk . it keeps displaying starting windows and the windows logo like forever. any solution?

  70. Hillary says

    I have this issue – black screen with blinkning underscore in upper left hand side of screen. The recovery point trick does not work in this instance. NOr does the f8 work, nor can i get to a command prompt. Has anyone been able to fix this issue without losing all their data?

  71. Lissette says

    Hello Mitz,
    I am having the same problem with the black screen and the blinking dash in the upper left hand corner. This started when PC Doctor told me to Reboot at the same time I was prompted to restart due to updates to the system (unsure the reason for the updates). So when the reboot began and the system restarted I ended up here with the black screen and the blinking dash.
    I was able to bring up the BIOS Setup Utility on my computer but when I bring up the Boot device priority it shows the following:
    2nd BOOT DEVICE [SATA:3M-WDC WD5000]
    3rd BOOT DEVICE [CDROM:4M-TSSTcorp ]

    I am not sure as to whether or not I am in the correct screen on the BIOS or not because I also show a BOOT SETTINGS CONFIGURATION option in the BOOT tab. Please help me, this has been going on for almost 16 hrs now. I can follow any instructions you give me but I do not have a lot of computer knowledge. Thank you in advance.

    • says

      The best thing to do is put your operating system cd in and then start your computer. What you need to do is a system restore or a windows repair.

      • jake says

        hello mitz i am trying your tips but my computer will not respond to anything i have tried the windows disk i have tried getting to the bios but it just will not respond to anything at all i have tried using a new keyboard but that will not help either it seems to skip the start up screen really fast in a bout a second i just cannot get it to respond please i really really need some help

        • Marnie says

          I had the same thing happen to me yesterday after putting in updates on windows…. It started when my computer was started up after shutting down for updates. I too don’t know alot about computers….. I was freaking cause I couldn’t even get into the computer to try a restore. I called a friend… What we did to get into the computer. — Manually turn off computer (push button on tower), leave it for 4 seconds. Push it on.
          This is where you have to be quick….. once you push the button, within 2 seconds you will see a blue screen, and at the bottom there are 3 things you can hit….. F1, something else and …. esc. Esc is the key to hit (but you must do it right when the blue screen is on). Right after you hit esc the computer will go to a black screen with has computer data.
          Ignore….. then it will quickly give you another bluescreen with choices… At this point hit the top one listed……. this will load your windows for you.
          I know this doesn’t fix it for you but at least you can access you computer. Does this every time you shut off you computer and restart until you get it fixed. For me I’m using this method till I can get the person who built my computer to fix my hard drive.. as I believe in my case because of updating, it’s changes the configuration.
          Hope this at least helps ..

          • jake says

            yes i read that but my problem is still the flashing cursor and i cannot get any buttons on the keyboard to do anything it will not respond to keyboard and i have tried several i press all of the buttons recommended but it seems to just skip every command and go straight to the flashing cursor screen

          • says

            So you are sure you do not have anything plugged a usb stick?
            What about your cd or dvd player..could this be faulty?
            You can try doing what Marnie suggested…or..
            Can you get into bios by pressing the del or f10 key when starting the computer. Then you could see if your computer is seeing your hard drive. If you can see the hard drive listed..then go to the boot options and make the hard drive the first boot option…

  72. Remi says

    I have a similar problem. Using Windows XP my system boots to a black screen with a flashing cursor in the top left corner. When I boot using my Windows CD to attempt a recovery it tells me that there is no drive attached however when I boot using the Ultimate Boot Disk for Windows I can access the drive and see all my files. I tried the solutions listed by making the drive the first option in the boot sequence and even removed my CD drive to make sure it wasn’t causing an issue.

    Any suggestions or tools available to fix?

  73. says

    If you choose to repair then your files will still be there..but if you choose to format then the files will be gone!
    If you are buying a repair disc then they usually repair and not format… Formatting is only possible if you use the original operating system disc..

  74. Pius says

    Have the black screen with a blinking cursor on top right corner. Tried to go into BIOS by pressing DEL, but still the blinking cursor. XP DVD is in the drive, won’t automatically boot from DVD-ROM. What to do? HELPPPPPP!

    • Pius says

      Got into BIOS, changed the priority. Now with a “Press any key to boot from CD….” After press many keys, nothing happens.

  75. resa says

    I have also followed the instructions, and when I entered my BIOS Boot Device Priority page, it gives me these three options:
    -Removable Dev.
    -USB:Single Flash Reader

    What should I do?

  76. auerica says

    I have followed all of the steps and recommendations above, but still cannot get away from the flashing cursor. When I enter my BIOS screen, it gives me options of:
    Floppy Group
    HDD Group
    CD-ROM Group
    Network Boot Group

    Which order should I have my priority set? I have restored all system defaults and still cannot get away from the flashing cursor. Any help will be greatly appreciated!!

    • says

      Hi Auerica
      If you try to make the first boot priority the (1)HDD which is the harddrive. Also disable the cd rom…You can try this first…then if that doesn’t work change it to boot to (1)cd rom and then (2)hard drive but if you have an operating system disc put it in the cd rom drive. Hopefully it will start the cd and show you a menu to repair.

  77. Andy says

    My omputer does this when it has been switched off for more than 10 minutes.
    The only way i can get it to boot up is to unplug two of my harddrives and then turn on.
    I then wait till windows has loaded and switch off.
    Connect one harddrive back up, switch on, wait for windows switch off.
    PLug the second in and switch on and wait for windows.

    I have 4 harddrives and a Graphics card all needing power.
    Is my power supply on the blink..

    in Bios it is all set how it should be nothing has changed and power levels in Bios seem to be fine.

    Any Ideas???


    • says

      What about the connector for the motherboard to the hard drive..Have you tried other Sata cables or whatever you have? I am not sure why you would have four hard drives when you can have an external hard drive so cheaply….?

  78. R. Aganon says

    Thanks so much! I was in such a panic when I saw the black screen with the flashing cursor on my desktop. I went to my laptop googled, “black screen with the flashing cursor” and came across your site. After reading about the computer trying to boot off of a flash drive, I saw my ipod shuffle connected and realized that was it. I yanked it out, turned to computer back on, and all is well!

  79. Andrienne says

    If I am trying to restore and repair my windows, will this disc still work for Windows XP?

    I noticed how on the “How to repair a Windows XP installation without formatting your computer and loosing your files” thread, it mentions how you need the original Windows XP cd except I do not currently have one. Also, the other solutions listed above did not seem to help me as I checked my BIOS and set the harddrive as first priority, also my computer will not go to safe mode.

    • says

      You can buy a repair disc that will do the same thing…Thats what these discs are made for..It says it covers XP…

  80. pritesh says

    how to delet & creat partion of hard disk when we formetting pc? plz describe step by step…..thankx

  81. lara says

    Thank you! My pc is finally working properly after 2 days of the dreaded black screen. Your advice was very helpful.
    Again, I can’t stress this enough, but thank you.

  82. freebirdjr says

    Holy cow! Talk about an adventure! There is no other way to say it! FIRST: Make sure all components are plugged in! SECOND: Then turn on. If it doesn’t start, systematically eliminate ALL external components from the motherboard all the way down starting with the hard drive, the cd-rom drives, and anything else. Start and restart with each removal. If that doesn’t start your system up, then logically it will be the last thing you went to. My boyfriend and I had a fiasco with a new harddrive and he read off this post. From the beginning, I tried everything listed and come to find out it was loose memory from a previous repair by a local technician. Absolute IDIOT. SATA is so easy, no IDE bullpoop to confuse you-slave and master don’t exist. AND A 1.5GB Processor Motherboard can be configured with a 3.0GB Harddrive WITHOUT A JUMPER!! Just know your SATA ports and go into BIOS (F2) and configure your Boot Sequence to: CD-ROM, then HARD DRIVE, and whatever else. Then configure your SATA on to what you hooked up on your motherboard. The numbers are on the motherboard for crying out loud! And they will match up to the ports you activate in your BIOS. Who cares about all the other stuff if your’re a newb, this is for the uninitiated! Learn from this website, it rocked! Thanks so much for your help!

  83. Tux says

    i have the same problem with the blinking light. but when ever i try to boot up my bios it asks me for a password. i’ve tried to reset my bios and it still ask me for the password. this is a gateway desktop. im trying to fix it for a friend.

  84. Tracey says

    I don’t have an operating CD because they do not issue them with the laptops/computers anymore. Now what?

  85. chen says

    i mean to get to the bios. i also have the black screen with the blinking thing. probably from not shutting down the computer properly. what should i do?

  86. chen says

    what if i have windows xp on a macbook, how do i boot menu it?
    i tried pressing f1 f2 f10 del nothing happen. what to do???

      • chen says

        hi again.
        i did press the option key and then i choose to boot with windows and after, instead starting windows xp, im getting a black screen with the blinking thing on the top left nothing else happening . how do i make it log in and run windows?
        thank you…

  87. Greg says

    Hello – The reason my computer does not load windows is because my hp officejet is plugged into a usb port, and the computer is trying to boot off the printer (like you suggest above). I have to unplug the printer from the usb everytime I reboot or start-up, or else I get the blackscreen with cursor and it won’t let me do anything at all. How can I get the computer to stop trying to boot off of the printer? Unplugging and plugging the printer everytime is very frustrating. Thank You!

  88. Jerry Sherman says

    Black screen with flashing A:\> cursor what command do I do to get the computer working again…Many thanks…

  89. May says

    I cannot rebot my computer. At all.
    I have windows acer vista. NO operating disk because the people who made this computer decided not to make one… And no i didnt lose it cus i NEVER got a cd with this.
    I always have this black screen with the blinking dash and im GOING INSANE

    • says

      Did you go into your bios to see what your boot options are? Is there any time when it did work and then the black screen came back?

  90. sally karstens says

    This is a bit lengthy, but am at a loss………

    After correctly installing new memory, when I booted up for the first time, I got the HP start up screen, and it froze in that position indefinately. After unplugging everything and checking memory installation for at least 12 times, an installation/restart info page came up.With a wireless keyboard and mouse(maybe unrelated) I could not do any prompts.
    After shutting down, checking memory installation once again, I restarted, but only to a Black screen with a white flashing dash in the upper left hand corner.
    Also, as it was trying to boot up it made a patterned clicking that repeated 8 times.
    This now happens everytime I try to start it now.the black screen with the flasing dash, and the series of clicks………
    PLEASE help!

    • says

      Have you removed the memory and gone back to what you had in the first place? Or was there a problem with that? Also have you go the right memory?

  91. Sleeps says

    I am trying to boot from the operating disk but when I click on the system restore option it says that no restore points have been created on my computer’s system disk. Is there any other way/option to do this without wiping my computer clean?