November 27, 2010

My console screen is black!!

This is the second time such an issue occurred, that I thought I should document it down. Both times, when I tried to rdp into a server, the screen is almost black except for small parts of the screen where I could still make out that I am at the login screen. Checking on the console screen also showed the same black screen. However, if you had keyed in your ID and password before initiating the logon, or key in your password in the black screen, you can still press "Enter" and proceed to logon successfully.

Checking online, others had similar issues but no good solutions, till we stumbled across a post where someone suggested to check some registry settings. That proved to be the case and after reverting the settings, everything was ok.

It seems that if the OS drive got too full, somehow the registry settings for the logon screen colour gets corrupted. This occurred in my case, because I was in fact trying to rdp into the server to cleanup diskspace and was alerted to the black screen.

Further research in Microsoft and we found an article that mentioned such black screen symptoms, although nothing is mentioned on how such registry corruption might happen. This also only seems to happen only for Windows 2003

  • Black console/rdp screen when trying to access a server
  • Screen becomes clear again after successful login

To resolve
  1. Go to another working Windows 2003 server and open regedit
  2. Navigate to the following registry path
    HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\Colors
  3. Right click "Color" key and "Export" to a .reg file
  4. Go back to the server with symptoms and run the .reg file to add back the settings
  5. Restart the server

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