Dealing with Windows 7’s White Screen of Death

CoWoman facing critical deadline when computer crashesA lot of you run Windows as virtual machines on your Macs, so this post about the Windows 7’s ‘White Screen of Death’ is especially for you.

The other day, a friend of mine forwarded an urgent message about her desktop PC. She said that after she logged into Windows 7, her computer screen went completely white and she couldn’t perform any tasks. She said she tried every command prompt that she knew, including running cmd in Safe Mode. Pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete pulled up the Windows Task Manager, but from there, she couldn’t proceed further and her screen turned white again.

Several Windows consultants in my circle of contacts offered the following suggestions:

• While the cause is not obvious from the description, it could have been due to a bad program or update install that messed things up. If that’s the case, System Restore is likely to fix it.

• I got caught with a variant of a piece of malware last fall, and her PC may have been similarly infected. System restore is probably her best bet. As soon as she gets her system back, she might want to run Superspyware, AVASTantivirus, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in safe mode to make sure the malware is gone.

• I would suggest using a repair CD of the same Win7 Version, boot from it, and work your way to the Repair selection. Do a Repair.

If your friend doesn’t have a Repair CD, she can create one from another Windows 7 machine of the same bit type (32 or 64) using the following instructions:
1. Click the Start orb.
2. Click All Programs.
3. Click the Maintenance folder.
4. Click Create Repair CD.
5. Insert a blank CD or DVD in the optical drive.
6. Click to write the CD/DVD.
7. Remove the CD, label it and put it in the computer.
8. When booting the computer, look for a prompt to press F11 or some other key to get the boot menu.
9. Select the CD/DVD drive to boot from.
10. Watch for the “Press any key to boot from the CD” message while booting and press the space bar or any key.
11. Follow the menus to find System Restore.

She should try to restore from the most recent date available. If that doesn’t solve the problem, repeat the process and try an earlier date. Good luck.

After receiving the replies from the consultants, I learned from my friend that her internal hard drive that contained 95% of her documents was toast. I suggested that she contact a reliable data recovery service like DriveSavers.


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Filed under Data Recovery, Troubleshooting, Viruses and Spam, Windows on a Mac

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