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Grey Screen on Restart

#1
Hi everyone, this is my first thread... I just wanted to find out exactly what's causing something with my computer... It has caused no problems thus far, but it does concern me... when I first got my new computer a little over a year ago, it wasn't happening, however after about six months, it started showing a grey screen on start up... after I enter my user password to log into Windows, it then goes to a totally grey screen which stays like that for about 30 seconds or so, and then my regular desktop appears, and starts to load...

what in the world would cause something like this?... I have the top of the line virus protection with Nortons, so I know it's not a viral problem, and I also installed the Dirver Doctor software recently and updated every single one of my drivers that was out of date, so all my drivers are working properly and up to date... even though the grey screen hasn't caused any problems other than slowing down my start up process a little, it just doesn't seem normal and was wondering if there is a way to correct this... thanks for your help.
 

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H2SO4

A bit of a numpty
Vista Guru
Australia

Posts
1,241
#2
Does the same symptom happen if you boot the machine into safe mode (press F8 at startup)?

What about if you log on as a different user (in normal mode), even if you have to create a new account for the purposes of the test?

Those are not meant to be solutions. They're just troubleshooting steps to help us understand the nature of the problem.
 

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#3
Does the same symptom happen if you boot the machine into safe mode (press F8 at startup)?

What about if you log on as a different user (in normal mode), even if you have to create a new account for the purposes of the test?

Those are not meant to be solutions. They're just troubleshooting steps to help us understand the nature of the problem.
Thank you so much for your insight... I will perform those trouble-shooting steps and then let you know the results.
 

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#4
Does the same symptom happen if you boot the machine into safe mode (press F8 at startup)?

What about if you log on as a different user (in normal mode), even if you have to create a new account for the purposes of the test?

Those are not meant to be solutions. They're just troubleshooting steps to help us understand the nature of the problem.
Ok H2SO4, I performed the trouble shooting steps you instructed me to do and here is what I found out:

1) In Safe Mode: symptom does not occur, and goes right to desktop

2) After creating another user account: on restart, and after entering password, instead of getting a grey screen, I just get a regular dark/black screen (showing white pointer) for about the same amount of time that the grey screen appears in my regular user account, which from what I remember is normal on start-up. I restarted about three times in a row, and it did the same each time.

Then logged back into my regular account, and the grey screen was still there. By the way, which I forgot to mention in my original post (if it means anything), the white pointer is also there when the grey screen exists before the desktop appears. So, from what I can compare from this, the grey screen appears in place of the regular dark/black screen on start up (for about 25 - 30 seconds) before desktop appears.
 

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H2SO4

A bit of a numpty
Vista Guru
Australia

Posts
1,241
#5
OK, since it does not happen in safe mode, the cause is presumably something which loads in normal mode but not safe mode - an optional component of some sort.

In process-specific terms, it seems that something is delaying the initialisation of Explorer.exe when the user logs on. Perhaps the "culprit" optional component is waiting for something, and it's willing to wait for roughly 30 seconds before it gives up, or it's actually doing work during that time.

One way to troubleshoot further would be to use the MSCONFIG utility with its diagnostic and selective startup capabilities. If you run MSCONFIG, try first invoking the "diagnostic" startup mode. If the delay is gone on the next reboot, you could use MSCONFIG again to try "selective" boots with different groups of optional components enabled until you find the one causing the grey delay.

It's quite likely going to be the anti-virus or an Explorer "shell extension" of some sort - something which aims to extend Explorer's functionality.
 

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#6
OK, since it does not happen in safe mode, the cause is presumably something which loads in normal mode but not safe mode - an optional component of some sort.

In process-specific terms, it seems that something is delaying the initialisation of Explorer.exe when the user logs on. Perhaps the "culprit" optional component is waiting for something, and it's willing to wait for roughly 30 seconds before it gives up, or it's actually doing work during that time.

One way to troubleshoot further would be to use the MSCONFIG utility with its diagnostic and selective startup capabilities. If you run MSCONFIG, try first invoking the "diagnostic" startup mode. If the delay is gone on the next reboot, you could use MSCONFIG again to try "selective" boots with different groups of optional components enabled until you find the one causing the grey delay.

It's quite likely going to be the anti-virus or an Explorer "shell extension" of some sort - something which aims to extend Explorer's functionality.
Hmmm, very interesting... I have been in the "msconfig" utility before, but just to select Start-up applications... I have never changed or altered any other settings in that utility before, but I notice one thing in there that might be a factor... under the General tab where you select the "diagnostic" and "selective" start-up options like you mentioned, the "selective" start was already chosen... the way you were explaining here, it almost seems like the "normal" start-up is what most Vista users have it selected as?... am I correct by assuming this, or is "selective" start-up the default selection?... once again, I have NEVER changed any option under that tab myself in that utility, and I am the original owner of this computer, since I bought it brand new in the box... if I am not correct by assuming this, should I then select "normal" start-up and then see what happens?... I will not try this until I hear back from you... thanks again for all your incredible insight.

I am editing this post right now, because I just realized why the "selective" start-up was selected even though I never physically went into the General tab in the "msconfig" utility to choose it... since I selected my start-up items from the "start-up" tab in that utility, it automatically selected "selective" start-up under the General tab... I just went back into the start-up tab and started going through my start-up items again, and deselected six or seven items (no "windows 32 items") that I know that I really don't need running at start-up, however after restarting my computer again, the grey screen still appears, which means none of the items I disabled at start-up just now were the "culprit"... what do you think I should do from here?
 
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#7
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

I believe all my drivers are up todate, but a couple of months ago, i tried driver detective , it literaly found dozens of drivers that needed updating--what nonsense. Needless to say, I uninstalled DD and did not update what it found.

IMHO, it is best to go to the specific websites of the vendors and download the drivers from there! :cool:
 

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#8
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

I believe all my drivers are up todate, but a couple of months ago, i tried driver detective , it literaly found dozens of drivers that needed updating--what nonsense. Needless to say, I uninstalled DD and did not update what it found.

IMHO, it is best to go to the specific websites of the vendors and download the drivers from there! :cool:
Thanks for that... yeah, I did notice that a couple of the drivers that it said that were "out of date" actually weren't when I went directly to the manufacturer's website to check them... when I ran DD, it only found about eight out of date drivers, so it didn't find as many as you experienced using it... but let me ask, did you have the same grey screen at start-up problem?... thanks for the info!
 

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53
#9
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

I believe all my drivers are up todate, but a couple of months ago, i tried driver detective , it literaly found dozens of drivers that needed updating--what nonsense. Needless to say, I uninstalled DD and did not update what it found.

IMHO, it is best to go to the specific websites of the vendors and download the drivers from there! :cool:
Thanks for that... yeah, I did notice that a couple of the drivers that it said that were "out of date" actually weren't when I went directly to the manufacturer's website to check them... when I ran DD, it only found about eight out of date drivers, so it didn't find as many as you experienced using it... but let me ask, did you have the same grey screen at start-up problem?... thanks for the info!
No I did not have the same gray screen problem. I suggest you role back the drivers, one by one that DD detective installed to see if one is the problem. Also go to each website to check the eight drivers.

If the gray screen appears for the same amount of time as the black screen did you could just live with it.
n'est-ce pas?
 

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#10
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

I believe all my drivers are up todate, but a couple of months ago, i tried driver detective , it literaly found dozens of drivers that needed updating--what nonsense. Needless to say, I uninstalled DD and did not update what it found.

IMHO, it is best to go to the specific websites of the vendors and download the drivers from there! :cool:
Thanks for that... yeah, I did notice that a couple of the drivers that it said that were "out of date" actually weren't when I went directly to the manufacturer's website to check them... when I ran DD, it only found about eight out of date drivers, so it didn't find as many as you experienced using it... but let me ask, did you have the same grey screen at start-up problem?... thanks for the info!
No I did not have the same gray screen problem. I suggest you role back the drivers, one by one that DD detective installed to see if one is the problem. Also go to each website to check the eight drivers.

If the gray screen appears for the same amount of time as the black screen did you could just live with it.
n'est-ce pas?
Ok, but I think I need to clear something up... I have JUST (within the last week) installed DD and let it do its thing, but I have have been having this grey screen issue on Restart for about six months, so DD is NOT a factor in causing the grey screen... I thought that if I could fix some out of date drivers, it might fix the problem, but obviously it's not that... and yes, as long as the grey screen isn't an indication of a bigger problem yet to come, I can definitely live with it... it's just that I know it's not normal, and I really don't think it should be happening, but if it's there without causing any harm, I'll just have to live with it... but on the other hand, if I could get the Restart back to normal, it would give me much more peace of mind.
 

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53
#11
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

Thanks for that... yeah, I did notice that a couple of the drivers that it said that were "out of date" actually weren't when I went directly to the manufacturer's website to check them... when I ran DD, it only found about eight out of date drivers, so it didn't find as many as you experienced using it... but let me ask, did you have the same grey screen at start-up problem?... thanks for the info!


Ok, but I think I need to clear something up... I have JUST (within the last week) installed DD and let it do its thing, but I have have been having this grey screen issue on Restart for about six months, so DD is NOT a factor in causing the grey screen... I thought that if I could fix some out of date drivers, it might fix the problem, but obviously it's not that... and yes, as long as the grey screen isn't an indication of a bigger problem yet to come, I can definitely live with it... it's just that I know it's not normal, and I really don't think it should be happening, but if it's there without causing any harm, I'll just have to live with it... but on the other hand, if I could get the Restart back to normal, it would give me much more peace of mind.
------------
Have you installed a driver for your monitor? What is the monitor?
What is video card and driver version?

Have you tried using msconfig to seelective disable strup items to see if one is causing problems? Also windows defender software explorer should list starup and other items.

It is either a software conflict or hardware problem related to your video card or monitor. I would also check your bios and see what video setting you have--and try to change it to what other choices you have for exdample if auto to specific adater and vive versa.

keep us posted if you find problem and are able to correct it.
----------

Edit: From your earlier post it does not occur in safe mode or when you set up a different user: so it appears the prroblem may be a software conmflict with some startup item. So use msconfig or windows defender to selectively temporially remove starup items--a couple at a time to see if any cause the problem to disapear. Then you can narrow it down to which one. Also what security apps do you have installed? Can you diable the real time part of these, to see if this might be the cause.

This is a step I believe you did not do before. When doing this don't worry whether an item is needed or not---you are trying to find if there is a conflict! Are you behind a router?--if so disabling any security startup items should not be a problem for a short period of these test. If no router--disconnect the modem during the test when you need to disable any security startup items,
Good luck
 
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#12
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

Have you installed a driver for your monitor? What is the monitor?
What is video card and driver version?

Have you tried using msconfig to seelective disable strup items to see if one is causing problems? Also windows defender software explorer should list starup and other items.

It is either a software conflict or hardware problem related to your video card or monitor. I would also check your bios and see what video setting you have--and try to change it to what other choices you have for exdample if auto to specific adater and vive versa.

keep us posted if you find problem and are able to correct it.
----------

Edit: From your earlier post it does not occur in safe mode or when you set up a different user: so it appears the prroblem may be a software conmflict with some startup item. So use msconfig or windows defender to selectively temporially remove starup items--a couple at a time to see if any cause the problem to disapear. Then you can narrow it down to which one. Also what security apps do you have installed? Can you diable the real time part of these, to see if this might be the cause.

This is a step I believe you did not do before. When doing this don't worry whether an item is needed or not---you are trying to find if there is a conflict! Are you behind a router?--if so disabling any security startup items should not be a problem for a short period of these test. If no router--disconnect the modem during the test when you need to disable any security startup items,
Good luck

The monitor is a Compaq WF1907. The video card is NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430.

You kind of lost me with this though:

I would also check your bios and see what video setting you have--and try to change it to what other choices you have for exdample if auto to specific adater and vive versa.
(How would I go in and change these settings?)

And when you say "security apps" do you mean anti-virus/firewall/anti-spyware, etc?... If so, I am running Nortons Internet Security 2009... and No, I am not running in behind a router, so I should disconnect my router while disabling my Nortons like you said... but do you really think I should disable it to check for this problem since that's something that needs to be running at Start-up at all times anyway?... if there is a conflict involving my Nortons, then I should be looking for the other Start-up item that conflicts with it, because that other item can be disabled on Start-up, and not the Nortons itself?

That's some really helpful advice (using the msconfig utility), and I'm going to do exactly that when I have time later today or first thing tomorrow. I will let you how the troubleshooting goes, and thanks again for your help!
 
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Posts
53
#13
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

Have you installed a driver for your monitor? What is the monitor?
What is video card and driver version?

Have you tried using msconfig to seelective disable strup items to see if one is causing problems? Also windows defender software explorer should list starup and other items.

It is either a software conflict or hardware problem related to your video card or monitor. I would also check your bios and see what video setting you have--and try to change it to what other choices you have for exdample if auto to specific adater and vive versa.

keep us posted if you find problem and are able to correct it.
----------

Edit: From your earlier post it does not occur in safe mode or when you set up a different user: so it appears the prroblem may be a software conmflict with some startup item. So use msconfig or windows defender to selectively temporially remove starup items--a couple at a time to see if any cause the problem to disapear. Then you can narrow it down to which one. Also what security apps do you have installed? Can you diable the real time part of these, to see if this might be the cause.

This is a step I believe you did not do before. When doing this don't worry whether an item is needed or not---you are trying to find if there is a conflict! Are you behind a router?--if so disabling any security startup items should not be a problem for a short period of these test. If no router--disconnect the modem during the test when you need to disable any security startup items,
Good luck

The monitor is a Compaq WF1907. The video card is NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430.

You kind of lost me with this though:

I would also check your bios and see what video setting you have--and try to change it to what other choices you have for exdample if auto to specific adater and vive versa.
(How would I go in and change these settings?) you need to check with support for your brand of computer --Compaq ?or your user manual to see how to get in the bios. Often it is by pressing F2 or escape when you first boot up--you should check out how to do this--you need to know how to do this. May be F10 for a Compaq
 

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#14
Re: Driver Detective--may be problem

How would I go in and change these settings?) you need to check with support for your brand of computer --Compaq ?or your user manual to see how to get in the bios. Often it is by pressing F2 or escape when you first boot up--you should check out how to do this--you need to know how to do this. May be F10 for a Compaq
Ok yes, it's an "F" Command on boot up... I know what you're talking about now... I'm just trying to get used to the terminology here... lol... thanks!
 

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