Black logon screen for Server 2003


This is the first time I’ve run across this issue, but what was happening is I’d see a black screen both through RDP and from the actual server console.  You could see a little bit of the windows logon box, but it was cut off where the username and password fields would be.  If you can fumble your way through the logon screen you’d be able to logon but everything was still black, the only color you’d see would be in the desktop icons.  This makes it virtually impossible to do anything on the server.  This situation does not cause a work stoppage, as all the background services ran fine, you just can’t logon and do anything. 

So I started searching around and ultimately ran across a MS KB article 906510.  I’ll paste in the information below, but the KB said it was an issue with the color scheme, and the registry values were all set to “0”.  At least that is whats listed as the cause of the black screen symptom, but it does not offer an explanation of what would cause the numbers to get set to “0” in the first place. 

To resolve this I had to do the following:  (NOTE: the drive mapping step was only needed for my solution as the server was not on the domain and not using internal DNS, so I could not authenticate on the domain).

1. Map a drive from another network machine to this server using local admin credentials.
2. Open regedit and connect remote registry to the server in question. (this will not work unless you map the drive first – see above note)
3. Use an export from a working server of the registry key noted in the MS KB and import that into the remote server.
4. Attempt logon through RDP or at the console, the color issue should be resolved. 

I wish I knew what caused this issue, but I can’t find much as to the actual cause.  I heard talk that maybe it was a disk space issue, but my server had 10GB of free space, so that wasn’t it.  Hope this information helps someone in the future.

About Joe

I am the author of this blog, IT engineer, husband, father, and somewhat of a nerd.

Posted on March 31, 2008, in Professional/Tech, Software and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for this post . After looking fo r2 hours I came across this. This was teh fix I was looking for. I think you are right about what caused it. My server got down to 0 kb free and then I had this. Many thanks.

  2. OK, my server just experienced this. Once connected to it (and after discovering that it was just a matter of tabbing my way to the right fields), I was able to login, get a normal desktop, and discovered that I had less than 100MB free on the C: Partition.So, perhaps it is a disk space issue.

  3. Yes, the root issue can be caused by lack of free disk space.

  4. OK, my server just experienced this. Once connected to it (and after discovering that it was just a matter of tabbing my way to the right fields), I was able to login, get a normal desktop, and discovered that I had less than 100MB free on the C: Partition.So, perhaps it is a disk space issue.

  5. Yes, the root issue can be caused by lack of free disk space.

  6. Thanks. My issue was rdp to the server and the console session produced the baclk screen but after importing the reg key the rdp worked again.

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