Windows 7 “Black Screen of Death”

Upon logging into a friends Windows 7 laptop I was given to get working again I was presented with a solid black background and a navigation window opened to Computer.  No taskbar.  No desktop icons.  I figured explorer.exe wasn’t running, but a check in task manager proved me wrong.  I Googled around and discovered that though I hadn’t seen this problem before, it was not uncommon.  The fix turned out to be easy:

  1. Get into the registry via regedit.exe. You can launch regedit via task manager (which you can launch via ctrl+alt+esc or ctrl+alt+del and  then choosing it) by doing a File > Run.
  2. Head to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  3. Delete the Shell key.
  4. Reboot.


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