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HELP! Am I suffering from the "Black Screen of Death"?

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Old 01-03-2009
 

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HELP! Am I suffering from the "Black Screen of Death"?
Hello all.

I'm taking a deep breath now as I prepare to write out my elaborate dilemma here in the hopes that I'll get a response from a kind Vista-savvy user hangin' around. : )

Before I begin, let me say that I have not yet contacted Windows support. I like to avoid calling whenever possible, but if that's what it takes to fix my laptop...so be it.

All my troubles started early this afternoon. The laptop I own is a Dell Studio 17 and is still under warranty (it's just about four months old). It started to lag a bit today, so I just gave it a reboot. For some reason though, as soon as it finished booting up and got past the "Welcome" screen- it went completely black!

At that point, all I could see on my screen was my cursor. I had tried bringing up Task Manager, but to no avail. Rebooted a few times...still the same problem.

Now, my boyfriend, who is much more computer-savvy than I, suggested that I boot up in Safe Mode and try a "System Restore"- so I did and picked an earlier date this month. I rebooted after the restoration was complete, and I STILL got the black screen!

Trying something different, I booted up in Safe Mode again, but this time I brought up Command Prompt and typed "msconfig" to get to System Configuration. From there, I deselected "load system services" and "load startup items" under Selective Startup and gave 'er another reboot.

Well... I got excited this time because...HOORAY! It got past the black screen! It loaded up most of my desktop, though I could get no internet connection and it still had the "Windows '95" coloration as it does in Safe Mode. My boyfriend instructed me to go back to System Config to re-check "Normal Startup" from what I had changed earlier. I rebooted the laptop yet AGAIN...and I was so pleased! It seemed as though the problem was fixed! My desktop loaded up with it's regular Vista toolbar (though the Media toolbar that's usually at the top of the screen did not come up.) BUUUT...

My cursor does NOT work! I can move it, but it's so unresponsive that it's almost as if I'm clicking on a screenshot of my desktop rather than the actual thing. I've tried time and time again to bring up Task Manager or bring up ANYthing at all... but it just doesn't work! I'm typing this as I've got the laptop in Safe Mode.

PLEASE, somebody help! I really don't like the idea of having to replace my laptop after only four months.

Thanks in advance!
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