Windows XP is, at this point, a fairly old operating system. However, there is still a decent amount of users who still use it, and some of them have been facing a weird problem. Namely, when you turn your computer on, it will show the Windows XP startup screen, and the screen goes black, rendering your computer useless.
This issue plagues quite a few users, and the root cause behind it is still unknown. There are a few possible causes, such as explorer.exe not loading, or power issues, and even video card driver issues, but none has been confirmed as the only solution.
There are a couple of things that you can try. They’ve all been reported to work for various users, and which one works mostly depends on what is causing the problem in your specific case. You can go ahead and try them one by one, and see which of them helps you with the issue.
Method 1: Perform a power reset (laptop only)
Performing a power reset will discharge any electrical build up, and as mentioned earlier, that might be one of the possible causes for this issue. Performing a power reset is fairly easy, so read on to see the steps.
- Unplug the laptop from its power source.
- Remove the laptop’s battery. You might have issues with this if your laptop’s battery isn’t removable, because in that case you will need to disassemble the laptop. If this is the case, move on to the next method, and come back to this one as a last resort.
- Hold the power button for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. This will drain all electricity from the laptop.
- Put the battery back in.
- Power on the laptop. At this point, it should boot up just fine and you’ll be able to use it again.
Method 2: Start explorer.exe manually
Sometimes your computer actually boots up, but explorer.exe doesn’t start, and all you get is a black screen and your mouse cursor, but you can’t really do anything with the computer. At this point, you will need to start up explorer.exe manually.
- When at the black screen, press simultaneously on your keyboard Ctrl, Alt and Delete. At this point, you will either see Task Manager directly, or a menu offering you to Lock Computer, Shut Down, Change password and Task Manager. Whichever it is, you need to open Task Manager.
- At the bottom, there is a New Task Click it, and you will see a pop-up window with a text box.
- Type in explorer in the text box, and either press Enter, or click OK on your keyboard. Everything should be back to normal now.
Method 3: Boot into safe mode and check the video card driver
If the video card driver is corrupt, booting into safe mode successfully, which boots with generic drivers, will tell you that. If this is the case, you will need to reinstall the drivers for your video card.
- Before Windows XP boots, continuously press F8 or Shift and This will lead you to a menu with several boot options, choose Safe Mode. See if this fixes the issue, and if it does, move on to the next step.
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard, and open Control Panel from the start menu.
- Open System, and navigate to the Hardware Open Device Manager.
- Under Display Adapters, find your video card, and right-click it, then choose Uninstall from the menu. Follow the wizard until you’ve uninstalled the drivers, and reboot in the end. When your computer boots up, it will boot with the generic driver again, only it will detect that there’s a missing driver and install it manually.
- If, however, it doesn’t, it means that the driver is completely corrupt, and you will have to manually download it from the manufacturer’s website. To do this, see step 1 from this method, but instead choose Safe Mode with Networking, to have internet access.
- Go to the website of the manufacturer of your video card, and download the latest available drivers.
- Go to your Downloads folder, and install the drivers you just downloaded. Reboot once more, and the device should be working without any issues.
This is a fairly odd issue, but whatever the cause is, you can solve it by following any of the methods above. They are made to fit different situations, and you are bound to find one that will help you with your specific one.