Question Sister's Win10 PC boots to blank screen with mouse pointer. Perhaps broken by a recent update?

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,062
1,123
136
Has anyone else recently found that Windows wouldn't boot past a blank screen with a mouse pointer? Maybe this was caused by a recent Windows update?

My sister's laptop recently started booting to a blank screen (black or grey, I'm not sure) with a mouse pointer. She can't get it to do anything. I tried having her tap the F8 key repeatedly after pressing the power button, but it just boots into some Dell troubleshooter instead of letting her boot Windows in Safe Mode. Of course the Dell tool finds nothing wrong. I also had her try holding Fn while tapping F8 repeatedly on boot, but she still couldn't get into Safe Mode.

After forcing reboot a few times, it finally started the Windows recovery tool. I tried to guide her to System Restore, but it asks for a recovery key or something - which of course she doesn't have. I vaguely recall that I helped her over the phone when she installed an SSD and did a clean Windows 10 install. I suppose she enabled BitLocker encryption when Windows prompted her to do so. She searched her phone for possible pictures of the key, but can't find it. It's not in her Microsoft Account either. I think her user account on the PC was set up as a local account without any Microsoft cloud services.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
16,938
1,568
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I was going to say the same thing "Bitlocker". :(
And if this is in fact the case and she doesn't have the code its done. Nothing but a wipe and clean installation will get it back.
 

Ichinisan

Lifer
Oct 9, 2002
28,062
1,123
136
I was going to say the same thing "Bitlocker". :(
And if this is in fact the case and she doesn't have the code its done. Nothing but a wipe and clean installation will get it back.
So I suppose Microsoft has no idea how to prevent this from happening? I seem to recall this was a problem for people with previous versions of Windows too.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
16,938
1,568
126
So I suppose Microsoft has no idea how to prevent this from happening? I seem to recall this was a problem for people with previous versions of Windows too.

There is one way I know. Don't use Bitlocker or if you do at least make sure you have the recovery key so you have a small chance of recovery if/when it goes south.

My new notebook came from the factory with Bitlocker enabled all I had to do was press the button to encrypt the drive. First thing I did was disable Bitlocker. Then again I don't have anything on it I need to encrypt.

I hope you get her going again. It sucks.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,105
5,001
126
Don't forget, for drives that have used BitLocker and are SED (Self-Encrypting Drives), you need to do a PSID reset on them, if you don't have the BitLocker Recovery Key to disable BitLocker. This requires a mfg tool, that they may be loath to give out, as well as the drive-unique code on the drive's sticker.

Otherwise, you'll just have to physically replace it with a (new) drive, to re-install.

At least, AFAIK. I haven't dealt with BitLocker extensively, this is what I've read thus far.
 

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