Had a bit of weird problem this week I wanted to write down somewhere in case it happens again!
A call came in from a client to say the laptop wouldn’t boot. On starting the laptop the usual Windows 7 boot animation was missing.
The screen was black apart from a series of coloured lines in the top left hand corner.
Turns out there is an option that controls that!
On the boot tab from MSCONFIG is a “No GUI Boot” option.
There is plenty of debate on the Internet as to what this actually does and doesn’t do – I’m not going to get into that here – the end result was that clearing this made the boot animation return.
At this point I couldn’t actually toggle that option since the system wasn’t booting. I had to use a Windows 7 install disk and boot into the recovery tools and run the command
bcdedit /set quietboot on
The next time the system rebooted the logo reappeared. It then became apparent the disk checker needed to run – the laptop had been actually booting after all, but the disk checker wasn’t visible. If it had been left for long enough it would have eventually arrived at the logon screen. After letting the disk check complete (it took about 20 mins) the system eventually booted and I was able to logon ok.
So that was it that right?
Upon next reboot the logo had disappeared again.
After logging in again I checked the “No GUI Boot” option and it was indeed cleared. Odd? What happened to the logo?
After a bit of experimentation we found out that making any change to the boot entry, via BCDEDIT and other similar tools caused the logo to reappear. After logging in and restarting it disappeared again!
Since the problem resurfaced after logging back on we had to assume something was making a change. Using the very useful Autoruns tool we disabled just about every non-Microsoft/Windows program and service that runs when the system boots.
After doing this (and resetting the boot entry) the logo appeared and stayed there after a series of reboots. Progress!
Then it was just a matter of isolating which program or service was causing the issue. This took a while!
Eventually we found the culprit
HP Day Starter
The HP Day Starter service is supposed to read the contents of your Outlook calendar and display your upcoming appointments during the boot process. Since the Windows 7 boot animation would normally be there it would need to get rid of that for it to do it’s thing.
The end user had never used Day Starter and wasn’t interested in using it so we disabled the program and disabled it as on option in the BIOS for good measure so as to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
HP do have full details for configuring the program.
It’s an interesting idea but I’m not sure how useful it would be in practise? Is anyone else using Day Starter?