Fix for Windows Vista Black Screen of Death, aka KSOD

Found this solution on the LogBlog after another failed Vista boot up. This issue is being referred to as the blacK Screen Of Death (KSOD), and is described as:

“KSOD Defined: Where after a reboot the Windows Vista PC boots up to a black screen with a white mouse cursor and nothing else ever loads (no logon screen, etc). Safe mode does the same thing. Last Known Good configuration and System Restore do not fix it except in rare cases where performing a System Restore to 1 month ago or earlier does (thanks Mike Katz for figuring that out).”

Their solution:

Here is how to recover from the KSOD (blacK Screen Of Death):

There apparently this a problem related to the Remote Procedure Call service (RPC) running under LocalSystem account instead of NT Authority\NetworkService account.

1. On the affected machine, boot using the Vista Media and Select “Next” and then in the bottom left you will see “Repair your Computer”; select Next and then Select Command Prompt.

2. At the command prompt, launch regedit.exe and load the SYSTEM hive, follow the below steps.


b. On the File menu, select Load Hive.

c. Browse to %WINDIR%\System32\Config Folder and select “SYSTEM”

d. Select Open.

e. In the Load Hive dialog box, type in “MySYSTEM” box for the registry hive that you want to edit.

3. After the hive is loaded, modify the following key value per the instructions below: You will need to know what ControlSet the machine is currently running on, this can be determined by going to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\MySYSTEM\Select and find the “Current” value in the Right hand side. (Example: Current value is 1 then the ControlSet will be ControlSet001)

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet00X\Services\RpcSs (X is the Number from the Current Key from above)

Value Name: ObjectName

Old Value: LocalSystem

New Value: NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService

4. Unload the SYSTEM hive by selecting the key “MySYSTEM” and then select File -> Unload Hive… menu item.

5. Exit regedit.exe

6. Reboot the system normally

Thanks to Ira for posting this information. I was ready to throw my monitor across the room the most recent time this happened to me.

Comments [61]

  1. I’ve had this issue with XP as well. I’m not sure if this is the same since it is supposed to be a Vista issue. I used to have Vista installed on this laptop, but since it was designed to be an XP system and I kept having drive corruption problems, I switched back to XP. Now this has come up. I tried putting new drives in and reinstalling XP, but after a few weeks it comes back. I’ll try your fix if it is possible on XP.

    1. Hi All,

      My Dell Mini Inspiron Netbook just experience KSOD yesterday. Just a moment ago it is fixed alreadyy applying the instruction I got from this exchanges. Had i not got the instruction from this blog, I would have had paid a lot of money from the shop. My netbook is fixed with the old files intact.
      Thank you for sharing.


  2. Hi Julie, I am so glad to hear that it worked for you. Thanks for letting me know via trackback/pingback.

  3. Hi. i have a issue on this because in the Key: ”

    “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet00X\Services\RpcSs (X is the Number from the Current Key from above)
    Value Name: ObjectName
    Old Value: LocalSystem
    New Value: NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService”

    Is always like this (Localsystem) . I dont have nothing to change!!!

    What can i do??

  4. I have the same problem as Daniel.

    I have been searching for hours and no other solution is working for me.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  5. what do you mean by “Boot with the Vista Media”? I cant find that anywhere- is it a cd or something?

  6. Arrgh What a major pain in the butt! I am with Daniel. Same stuff! I’ve restored to a month ago. The pc has never shut down correctly so it’s been Hard shut down forever! I suspect this is part of our problem. I have reset the sysem shutdown key to 1 for yes… shutdown. Its still coming up with the Black Screen! Brand new laptop! Wanna cry. My son is in colelge and needs his shtuff!

  7. I got a new laptop for my son in college and he just called me with the same problem. I told him to take the battery out for a bit and then replace it. I then found these threads on the issue and called him back to, wondering how I could walk him through these solutions on the phone. Guess what…..removing the battery WORKED!!!!
    At first blush I am thinking that there may be something getting stuck in some type of Random Access Memory and by removing the power and letting it sit clears whatever is there – I am an old computer guy who’s last proficiency was NT and I have no Idea how Vista works (or not) – hope this is of some help and for those of you who are Vista guru’s you might want to explore this direction.

  8. Like Daniel, my system already shows NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService. I tried changing to LocalSystem (intending to change it back) and, unless I did something wrong, the computer changed it back to NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService before I could.

    I have not added any hardware or software. I did make the “mistake” of defragmenting my hard drive yesterday.

    I have been experiencing the KSOD problem for several weeks. I was using the “restore to earlier restore point” solution. However, I am down to one restore point and now that is not working.

    I am reluctant to reinstall Vista since that apparently does not really fix the problem.

    Has anyone found another solution?

  9. I, too, am having the same problem as Daniel, above:

    (Old Value: LocalSystem
    New Value: NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService”

    Is always like this (Localsystem) . I dont have nothing to change!!!)


    …I found a way to extract old files from the affected laptop and put it onto an external hard drive that I had laying around. Which I then can access from any computer. This is what I did.
    ***WARNING***: Instructions are given in a way where my 5 year old nephew can follow them. I’m a noob when it comes to computers, so, sorry to all you IT Experts 🙂

    1) Connect my external hard drive (via USB) to the affected laptop

    2) Turn the laptop on, repeatedly tapping on F8 to take me to the ADVANCED BOOT OPTIONS.

    3) Select Repair Your Computer

    4) Under SYSTEM RECOVERY OPTIONS I selected Command Prompt

    5) Typed C: [Press ENTER]

    6) At C:> typed regedit [Press ENTER]
    – The registry editor will open.

    7) In the Registry select ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’ and then go to File > Load Hive.

    8) On the left panel, select Computer
    – You should then be able to see your external hard drive, as well as your OS (C:)

    From here on out, I’m not completely sure if this is how it is going to look for everyone. But this is how it looks for me (I have multiple users on this computer so I just went to into the user’s files and selected which ever files I wanted to COPY onto the external hard drive. )

    9) I Double Clicked on C: drive > double clicked on users > double clicked on the user under which my files are located

    10) I then located which files I wanted to copy. I right clicked on the file, selected copy.

    11) I then clicked on Computer on the left panel and then double clicked on my hard drive ( Mines was listed as the E: drive ). This should be located under Hard disk drives.

    12) Upon entering the hard drive, right click anywhere on the white part of the main box. Then select paste. I would give it some time to make the copy since the Estimated Time box doesn’t appear, just to make sure the files is being copied properly.

    I did this for all the documents that I needed ASAP and also for some family pictures. I still can’t come across a solution to fixing the “KSOD”. I tried many many “solutions” but none of them worked. I think I might just as well do a reinstallation of VISTA since I got everything that I needed from the laptop.

    Be patient, optimistic, and keep persevering. Hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!

  10. I am up the same creek as Daniel and others. My system is not set to localservice… I have tried a few of the resore points from before the machine failed and none of them get me operational…. Any other ideas on how to fix this junk!

  11. I’m having the black screen of death problem. I’ve spent 2.5 hours on the phone with Dell who told me to contact Microsoft who I chatted with for another 2.5 hours before they told me they would have to escalate my problem to an expert. Still waiting for that phone call back.

    I’ve tried regedit solutions in this link:

    But I can’t get to the control panel to do some of the other solutions. Whether I boot up normal, from the DVD, or in SafeMode, I still just get a black screen after I log in. I’m about to give up and reinstall (YUCK).

    1. Hey when you get a screen of startup then there is an option of easy access turn that on and log in after that press shift key 5 times and the a screen will pop up and you can access control panel

  12. Only fix that works for the Black Screen of Death problem, if your Vista boot disk can’t recognize any issues with your Vista installation, is to boot your computer to other OS, you have to install or have to have and put your Vista hard drive totally shared for the network and for users.
    This helps you to get rid of the permission problem that is causing your Vista to lock up. (You can maybe unplug your cord from the network just to make sure nobody will hack into your system, while you are applying this fix).

    Next step is to Boot into your newly opened Vista installation and run Regedit. You can see there many HKEY_XXX_XXX folders that contain your registry information, choose CLASSES_ROOT folder and click Edit from the toolbar, from there choose Permissions. Give “Creator Owner”, “System”, “Administrators” and “Users” Full Control, If you can see your own account name there, delete it. Go trough rest of the 4 HKEY_ folders Editing permissions and giving Full Control to all accounts except “Everyone”. After giving permissions, exit and reboot your computer. Now you can put your Vista installation HD private again by right clicking the hard drive icon, properties and uncheking shared options.
    Now you should have everything back without having to install Vista and all programs all over again!

    1. All this did for me was make the system BLUE screen of death before even reaching the KSOD (after the windows loading bar that is).

    2. OMFG! THANK YOU! i cant belive ive been working on this problem for so flong and its a @!*#ing permission issue??? made total sense after reading it too because the issue started after taking control of the drive on another machine to remove a prety bad infection. tested it out and sho nuff, problem solved. why does it ALLWAYS have to be an ID10T error?? 🙂

  13. This problem began to occur within the past few weeks on a laptop computer. I found that Fn-F8(CRT/LCD) brings the screen back to life. You may have to press it a few times because it cycles between having an active display and output to a video projector. This is not a cure, but at least it gets me a working computer.

  14. After installing vista service pack 2 My acer notebook when the computer booted up it went to a black screen after the initial loading progress bar. I tryed to boot into safe mode but my keyboard didn’t work. Finally I did the following to get my notebook to work:
    1.) Booted up repeatedly pressing F5
    2.) Pressed F8 for more options
    3.) choose the default “Repair Computer”
    4.) Logged in
    5.) Choose Restore – I choose a point a day before the Service Pack 2 install.
    6.) After restore – Restarted and it worked

    I think I’ll wait for Service Pack 3

    1. Sorry about the bad information concerning Service Pack 2. At the same time I had loaded ActiveSync for my Motorola Q 9c Phone. It turns out that this application was causing the problem. I used the procedure above to Restore my acer laptop to a time before all the phone drivers were loaded. Then instead of using the disk supplied with the phone, I let Vista find the drivers. Everything works good now. Including Service Pack 2 and all the updates. There appears to be a problem with ActiveSync and Vista on an acer laptop.

  15. tried everything for the blackscreen event eventually pressed left alt +F 10 which takes ur computer back to day1 U will lose everything on ur c drive but end result a working computer hope this helps btw my computer had preinstalled windows

  16. Windows Vista black screen … before windows login … there’re few ways to resolve this problem … but I think the best one is this:

    If you can run Windows under safe mode … then just go C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers\soqwx32.sys
    JUST DELETE THIS FILE! soqwx32.sys
    PERM DEL (Shit + Del) or empty recycle bin after deleting

    After that, restart and try to run windows normal mode and if everything’s ok, windows will ask u for windows activation (product) key … just enter your product key and everything should be ok.


    P.S. If u don’t have that file or u can’t resolve ur problem write me and e-mail … we gonna try something else 🙂

    1. hi read your post and dont have th esoqwx32.sys file.. at least not found via command prompt.. only way I could navigate into that directory as os would NOT load.. BSOD and all.. any ideas.. have tried every other friggin idea out there. Mac time..???

  17. My friend suggested to scan my laptop with these three:

    AVAST! Home Edition,
    CCleaner and
    Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.

    After removing/deleting ALL the infected/malicious files/registry, the KSOD was gone. I no longer see the black screen with the white mouse pointer. I hope this helps.

  18. OK KSOD fans.. HAVE tried all. nothing worked. pressing shift key 5 times and attempting to open explorer, gui tries to open and hangs.. nothing. restore points dont work, rpcSs (NT Authority) has correct value.. doesnt work. I had this problem a bit ago and ended up re installing vista.. now 30 days later problem is back.!! ARRGGHH.. ideas..?

  19. here is a new solution for the Black screen of Death.
    Using the ultimate boot disk tools, used explorer to access the registery directory at C:|windows\system32\config\ found two registery files “software” and “software_previous” I renamed the “software” file into “software_corrupt” and the “software_previous” to “software”.
    Guess what! it worked.

    link to me if you want to say thanks 🙂

  20. Me too I have tried everything .. Do we reallythink that it is a ploy from Microsoft to make it a pain in the ass for users who have pirated their software?

  21. I have tried everything listed here nothing works at all … I still have the black screen of death! Surely someone out there must have a fix .. PLEASE PLEASE HELP

  22. Well non of the things on here worked….. I’m seriously starting to consider other options for a computer.

  23. I booted with dell media but there is no “next” to choose from. So, I can’t go any further with this. Any help people?

  24. I have the problem of a KSOD on booting into safe mode and when trying to reinstall.

    On booting into windows vista I get a message about windows failing to start due to recent hardware change.

    All this due to an update from windows! I don’t even know how to fix it without being able to reinstall….

  25. Hi, I’ve the same problem too but I don’t even have a cursor – just the black screen. It started happening when I purchased Uniblu Registry Booster. Every morning I have just the black screen, then I re-boot and it’s fine.

  26. Also have this problem (with Windows 7 RTM 64 bit). A good workaround for me is pressing the source button on my LCD to switch to the other input channel and then press source again to switch back. It looks like windows has a problem detecting the display when it goes to the login screen and then decides to blank it or only show a mouse arrow. Seems like a bug to me. There are some “Display is not active” errors from the atikmdag source in the event logs that might be or not be related to this. I’ve recently updated my drivers (for an ATI 4600 series card), but that did not solve the issue.

    1. You don’t seem to understand the problem with the KSOD.
      Pressing F8 does NOTHING!!! – YOU CANNOT GET INTO THE SYSTEM. Even inserting the original widows Vist – DOES NOTHING – NOTHING!!!!!

      1. FTR there are several different types of KSOD.
        It sounds like you have a faulty motherboard or display, or for some other reasons your computer does not power on, (think battery/power supply failure).

        The type of KSOD described here does not result in a completely black screen, rather it results in a black screen with a mouse cursor, which is almost always a software windows registry related issue, but can also be linked to a failing HDD etc.

  27. Hi there,

    after reading on different forums for several hours and trying different things, I did a system restore using Norton Ghost. It recreated my system to the state it was prior to the problem. It took about 3 hours. It didn’t work.

    Then I just removed and put the battery back in. It took about 1 min and it worked.

    Hope it will help someone.

  28. Dude… people ain’t gotta go through all this cuz when you get to system32\config you will prob notice that when you attempt to open “system” it won’t let you because it is still being used by the computer…I tried to terminate it from task manager but it just wouldn’t go away!! So I did the following:

    I booted to the empty screen where there was nothing,
    hit control + alt + del
    got to the task manager
    went to the Applications tab in the task manager dialog box
    clicked the New Task… button
    in the create new task window typed “cmd”
    from the command prompt I just typed “explorer” and it didn’t work for the first time, but the second time, IT DID…After typing “explorer” the task bar appeared, and the background and all…SO try that before you do the more advanced technique explained in this website!!

    Good bye you geeks!!! just kidding I’m one too!!

    1. This problem is still out there… my desktop recently started to KSoD before any login splash screen appeared. Good thing my laptop still works….

      And of course, none of the solutions have done anything so far. All the registry keys mentioned on the internet are fine.

      (Using SP1)

    2. this is it… it worked for me… thanks a lot… I have opened task manager and opened “iexplore.exe” to search online for a solution… never thought it was so simple… to open “explorer” instead… anyway, thanks a lot, again, u solved it for me, at least for now… hope it stays this way…

  29. I fixed my black screen problem by realising that the bios boot section had moved my usb drive to the main boot drive. the only way to get around this is to disconnect all usb devices (leave keyboard attached) boot the comp 1 – 5 secs go into your bios make sure that the main boot device is the hard drive with windows on it, save and boot again and it should load windows (7) in my case, if not then boot and 1 – 5secs in press F8 and manually choose your hard drive to boot from, I realise that differnt motherboards have different keys to press, but they all should allow you to choose which hard drive to boot from manually. After you get into windows create a back up and then fix the comp with windows repair and it should successfully rewrite the boot commands again. I hope this helps.

    1. the problem you discribe here is different than the others..
      This is a common problem with many BOIS setting .. Well you do get a black screen with a blinking line cursor.. that is before Vista actually loads..
      the KSoD issue – vista loads to the point where you would normal get the user id prompt.. but all you get is a black background with a mouse cursor; the cursor does move with mouse movements.

  30. This fixed it for me…
    This problem was on my windows 2008 server but probably applies to Vista also…

    I tried all theses things which didn’t work:
    Vista repair disk
    Chkdsk from another win2008 computer
    System restore (no restore points available)

    In the end, what finally fixed it for me was resetting the security permissions on all the files on C. Apparently after the disk was loaded in an XP computer, the permissions were corrupted causing windows 2008 to hang. After setting all files to Full controll (everyone) I was able to open the security analysis tool (mmc) and re-apply all windows default permissions.

  31. Stanley and Rusten’s solutions worked on my wife’s laptop. I took the battery out, waited for awhile, put it back in, started the laptop up, and it worked fine.

    I would try this before any software solutions…

  32. Thankyou as this is by far the most helpful of any soultion available. I seem to be a part of the ‘nothing works’ population in which every possible solution has been ineffective. This is quite ingenious, and i did not think it was possible. This way i can backup everything i need and re install windows.

  33. I have been working on a HP Pavillion dv6000 that has the KSOD issue, but not able to use the Ctrl-Alt-Del or Ctrl-Alt-Esc. I have found success in using the GS MRI disc, for those who know what GS MRI is, since I don’t have an available VISTA disc. In the GS MRI program, there is a Windows Recovery Environment (Vista Machines Only). I first use the regedit.exe option to manually delete the system registry key. This is an intentional creation of a boot error other than the KSOD. (Because, when I tried using the recovery environment, it advises there are no problems). I then use the recovery environment and repair the missing “system” registry key. This process seems to have worked for me… I can’t guarantee it would work for others though. Seems like the KSOD had multiple different remedies that work for some but not for others. It may also work with BartPE… I havent tried it though.

  34. Hi guys, i have the KSOD problem, and i try many solution also can’t work. Which is can’t open Task Manager, can’t restore it, even format also cannot works. Even this topic solution I also try, but I donno to edit value for what purpose? When I change the value and it will change back. Someone pls help. Any other solution T.T

  35. seems all these problems are happening with laptops…some people say switching back and forth from lcd to crt fixes the problem…thers say removing the battery..both of these fixes point to one problem….if you have to change video outputs or unplug power it simply means you monitor (or other PHYSICAL conponents) are having problems….my suggestion is this. Unplug the battery leave it unplugged for a couple minutes.
    if this works to temporarily solve the problem then its not a software problem or a registry problem…registries dont change everytime you turn off the copmputer..if it were the registry you would notise immediatly and every time you boot the computer….im thinking this is more of a hardware related issue. Email me at with input on this

  36. I have an HP Pavilion A6210Z PC, and I have been trying to fix the blackscreenofdeath prob. since BEFORE Christmas with no results. In my case, their is no cursor, just black, and the only thing I see is when I first turn it on: For a moment, the screen has a square in the middle that says “ATTENTION VGA no signal.” And from the start, it beeps, one short and one long beep, pauses, and continues this long-short beeping. Also, I do not have a “control” key, just control, “windows logo,” and alt, on my keyboard’s left-hand side, although there is a key that looks like a document page on the right-hand side between the “window” and ctrl. One thing I did notice when I opened the side panel was that there was a watch battery (wth?) on the motherboard, which I have replaced recently to no avail. The fans all work, btw. I really want to at least get it running so I can back up over 200 albums that I have on Media Player that I put on from CD’s I got from the library (some of which have been lost or sold) before I reload Vista. Also, before I forget, this PC has NOT been connected to the internet for a year now-I’ve mainly just used it to listen to my tunes and play a few CDrom games. Please help me, Obi-wan, you’re my only hope! XD

  37. Working on a clients computer, tried everything (and I mean everything) mentioned here and nothing has fixed it. I’m considering just backing up all their data (by opening regedit and selecting import so I can access the files on the computer).

    Unless someone can come up with another solution?

    Also, Kick967, It’s not a watch battery it’s a Lithium battery and it’s used so that even when the computer is turned off, the BIOS has some power so it can retain its settings (time, date etc)

  38. Sick of this now, tried everything. I’m gonna boot up a Linux distro to copy files an just reinstall the whole thing.

  39. Hi.
    As this site is in the top ten Google hits for “KSOD,” I will post my successful resolution of a KSOD here. I hope that you can edit your original post to reflect some of the evolution of the KSOD since you first encountered it.

    I had two machines with KSOD. One occurred before the login, the other after login. The one that had the ‘early KSOD’ gave me no joy. I mounted up the drive in a second system.
    I ran chkdsk /f — no joy.
    The winlogon value was explorer.exe — no joy
    The RpsSc value was the correct network one — no joy
    No restore points were available.
    Safe mode was not available
    Msconfig cannot be run from the recovery environment
    Sticky Keys and CTRL-ALT-DEL -> taskmanager do not work.
    I reworked the registry from the RegBack directory.
    I renamed the winevt logs.
    No Joy.
    I copied off the important data and reformatted.
    If there is a cure for ‘early KSOD’ I don’t know it.
    Neither does MS Product Support, who I called for only the third time in a decade as an IT professional.

    The ‘late KSOD’ unit is a different and more joyful outcome.
    CTRL-ALT-DEL -> taskmanager DOES work.
    Safe mode worked.
    Then things got tough.
    SFC wouldn’t run
    Explorer wouldn’t run
    msconfig wouldn’t run.

    But cmd would run
    AND Regedit would!

    Disable UAC -> regedit
    Key EnableLUA give it a value of 0

    Enable the administrator account.
    You might have to reboot after disabling UAC to get a cmd prompt that will work (sufficient permissions)
    At the cmd prompt –> net user administrator /Active:yes

    Now we’re starting to cook with gas.

    Boot up into normal mode.
    Try logging on as administrator.
    My first attempt didn’t play…BUT

    Logging into safe mode ->msconfig ->diagnostic start

    got things going.

    Log in to administrator in Normal Mode
    Now run cmd -> sfc /scannow.

    Lots of errors it says. Check C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log
    Searched for ‘failed’
    Lots of files!
    Almost all in c:\windows\softwaredistribution


    That’s the windowsupdate files.
    I am in diagnostic mode, so I can rename SoftwareDistribution to SoftwareDistributionOld.
    For good measure I rename C:\Windows\System32\winevt\Logs to LogsOld and create a new Logs folder.

    Boot up in normal mode.
    WindowsUpdate won’t play
    Error 80072EFD — firewall issues
    But Windows Firewall is off…hmm

    cmd -> netsh winhttp reset proxy.

    Windows Update now works.
    So does IE

    This unit was only SP1 — so I downloaded the full SP2 package.
    Installed it
    And then every other myriad update it didn’t have.

    Turn on UAC
    Turned off the administrator
    cmd -> net user administrator /active:no

    Logged into the original profile
    Installed Flash 10.1

    All good.

    Call to MS Product Support — $59 (waived as a Windows Update issue)
    Fixing a KSOD — priceless


  40. I have the KSOD on my Toshiba A135 laptop, on Vista Home Basic, and I went into the registry and that, and the ObjectName file already was NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService, but I still keep getting it.

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