[Solved] Dell Precision 3510 and 7510 black screen on boot
09/23/2016 9509 views
I wanted to put this out here, in case anyone else has encountered it, or had any ideas.
We are currently seeing Precision 3510s and to a lesser extent so far, 7510s, with Windows 7 that will boot up past the Dell splash screen and hang on a completely black screen (no blinking cursor) before Windows loads.
Here's what we know:
- First, we thought it was a video driver, because it was not consistent. When we updated the video driver, the problem on those computers went away.
- It may have something to do with the BIOS, as when newer versions of the BIOS came out and we updated it, the problem went away.
- Some users report it happening on a regular startup, while others say it happened when they were trying to come out of sleep or hibernation.
- There may be a problem with the way we configure the BIOS/UEFI. I created the 7510 image, and made it using UEFI boot with legacy boot ROMs available. The 3510 image was created by someone else, and they made it using Legacy boot.
- The 3510s exhibited the problem first, and I want to say those haven't had (m)any problems since the BIOS updates, but the 7510s started having this problem in the last few weeks.
- A rough estimate, as far as I can tell, is that it might affect less than 20 3510s and 7510s combined, out of about 120 of those models in our organization.
- The problems for the models may be different, just with similar symptoms. As I mentioned before, fewer 3510s have been having the problem since the BIOS update, but at least one, possibly two 7510 users reported this immediately after Windows Updates.
- Some computers had been fixed with the video driver ad/or BIOS updates, but others would never come back from the black screen, and needed to be rebuilt.
- We image using Acronis.
- I have been investigating the possibility of BIOS/UEFI misconfiguration, especially with the 3510s, since they were made with Legacy Boot. There are several articles about using Windows 7 with M.2 NVMe SSDs which state that with Windows 7, UEFI Boot, Legacy Boot ROMs, and RAID On must be selected in order for it to work. These options were set before the 7510 image was created.
- Due to the recent reports of 7510s experiencing the problem after patches are applied, we are investigating recent Windows Updates.
- Some of my team members believe users are holding the power button down to shut the computer off after they have initiated a shutdown. This has been replicated by the IT department, but because this has been reported directly after Windows Updates, and when trying to come out of sleep or hibernate, this cannot account for all instances.
If anyone wants additional information to try to troubleshoot, just let me know; I've included what I can think of for now. If and when we find the cause and fix, I'll post it here. I'm also posting this elsewhere.
Answer Chosen by the Author
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We have been able to recover several computers by booting from a flash drive with the Windows Recovery Image from Dell, and doing a startup repair. Credit goes to my coworker, Melanie, who figured this out.
For whatever reason, I have not been able to do the same with a regular Windows 7 iso or DVD; it has only worked with what we downloaded from Dell.
First, use these steps from Microsoft to create a bootable flash drive:
Second, download the Windows Recovery Image from support.dell.com > Drivers & Downloads > Operating System. Note that while this was for Precision 7510s, Dell only offers a Windows 10 recovery image, so I downloaded the Windows 7 image from the Precision M4800 page. It wants you to install Dell System Detect first.
Third, UEFI boot to the flash drive (legacy boot told me that it wasn't the same operating system), and start Startup Repair. It will fix the problem and reboot, and Windows will be able to load again.
Hopefully this can help someone else.
Answered 12/06/2016 by: ondrar