SOLVED: Windows not loading, black screen, bars, 12/2014

Update: Our theory from the bottom paragraph has confirmed. Microsoft has confirmed that a flawed Windows Update can impact video drivers, and has issued another fix to automatically uninstall KB3004394.

You may be able to hear sound effects, as though Windows is loading properly, but the screen shows two horizontal bars, and other artifacts and colors occasionally pop up. It appears to be a bad screen or, in the case of our laptop, we thought it was a damaged cable in the hinge. But it turns out this is somehow software related.

Tap the power key. For us, this shut the laptop down. If that doesn’t work for you, you may need to press and hold the power button until the computer shuts off. Once it is off, boot in to safe mode. You should be able to see the screen in this mode. To do this, follow these easy steps:

Press the power button, then immediately start tapping the “F8” Key across the top of your keyboard. Tap it at least once a second, if not twice every second… about the time the computer would normally show the “Starting Windows” screen, you should receive a list of options. Stop tapping “F8” then use the arrow keys to select “Safe Mode” (you do not need “Safe Mode with Networking” at this time) and press Enter. Scary text will likely flash up on the screen, but this is normal, eventually, Windows will load. Things will be off color and the wrong size, but this is normal for Safe Mode.

Now, to fix the Windows Booting issue, you need to remove your display adapter. Again, follow these simple steps:

Screenshot included for instructive purposes, our actual issue happened on an Intel-graphics based laptop.

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Resetting a user’s password with Windows 8 / 8.1

By now, most people know that I love to use NTPassword to reset passwords of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 computers. The developer says it works on Windows 8, but here is the trouble I ran in to this weekend on a co-worker’s Windows 8 machine.

First thing to remember is that Windows 8, by default anyway, uses your Microsoft account to login to Windows. Therefore, if you have access to the internet on another computer, you can simply go to and reset your password by clicking the can’t access your account button beneath the username and password fields. After less than a minute, you should be able to use your new password to login to your computer, if your computer is connected to the internet. We’ll come back to this later, with some tips if your computer isn’t connected to the internet.

First, I couldn’t just reset the user’s password online, because the computer was brought to me in our office and was not connected to our WiFi (and the slim netbook-like computer did not have an Ethernet port), so it had no way to receive the updated password from the website. I followed my own steps to reset (blank) the password, but it wouldn’t allow me to log in. Finally, I devised another solution, and this is what worked for me.

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What is the 700MB+ KB3000850? Pretty amazing, that’s what!

Update: Microsoft has finally brought the KB article online to verify that this “November Update” does bring some new features, but some of the biggest advancements are described here in our post from yesterday. Original post follows…

Windows Server 2012r2 machines recently saw a Windows Update made available, but when clicking to the Knowledge Base Article for more information, the article (KB3000850) was missing. So I did some digging and found this PowerPoint presentation which specifically mentions a “November Update” on slide 7, and confirms the KB number (KB3000850) on slide 20. The slideshow was part of a Microsoft TechEd Europe presentation, and discusses a brilliant new technology being added to Hyper-V for Windows server to deduplicate data within VDI files.

Before we go any further, the large update is also a rollup of all prior updates released for the Operating System, and includes new features. Consider it similar to a “Service Pack” in the old days – you don’t need to install the August Update, then this November update on a brand new machine, but this update should be considered a shortcut when deploying updates to a new computer. If you already have a computer or server running, the update is still considered optional, but will obviously include some new features. Once the Microsoft KB article goes live, you will be able to retrieve more details there.

Let me do my best to break this down in the simplest terms. A hypervisor server might have thousands of VDI (Virtual Disk Image) files. Virtual hard drives. Those drives can have lots of duplicated data, taking up space. Imagine ten hard drives with the same version of Windows. Why have ten identical copies of Windows when you could have one that all ten virtual machines access? This is, of course, an extreme oversimplification of an hour long presentation, but imagine if they finger print the files, verify that different files that need to be made available are available but 100% identical files are de-duplicated, thus saving TONS of space.

I don’t even run multiple virtual machines, and I certainly don’t host a Hyper-V server like some major “cloud-based” companies out there… but this is astounding technology and I can’t believe that they are releasing it to the public rather than hoarding it for their own Azure cloud. I have no use for this update, personally, but I’m excited by it nonetheless, it’s very impressive

Understanding “net neutrality” and Title II vs. Section 706

Listen to / watch the next 3 minutes (or more) of this, continue reading my post if you’re still interested:

In the video, Tom admits that Section 706 sounds like the right choice. And if it were properly amended, it could be.

Understanding WHY geeks want Title II reclassification vs. Section 706 for “net neutrality.” The biggest thing is that Title II might force cable companies to allow other companies to come in and use their lines. Thus forcing MORE competition and a more “free-market-like” environment.

Section 706, by definition, is basically “net neutrality” (no throttling, etc…), and says that the FCC is allowed to remove barriers and “promote competition” in the market, BUT has not been used in the past the same way Title II has (where other companies get to come in and “lease” lines from somebody like Verizon in order to compete with Verizon). So how it will promote competition is unclear.

Internet providers WANT Sec. 706 reclassification because they suggest Title II would “reduce competition.” How many choices for internet providers or cable TV providers do you have right now? How can competition be much more reduced than it already is?

Title II, although from the 1930’s, increases competition. Pure and simple. The parts that do not apply you can easily forbear (like cable companies being forced to assume the cost of putting up telephone poles, etc…), there is more than enough legal precedent to make that simple, it is a common practice. The law from 1996 means the providers the keep the network resources they are already hoarding and not using (spectrum purchased at FCC auctions then left untapped – I can expand on this if requested), which gives Internet Providers more leeway to “experiment” with data shaping – and they assure us that although it might technically violate what we know as the definition of net neutrality, it wouldn’t violate the “spirit” of net neutrality. Because they’ve proven to be so trustworthy thus far.

I would rather see their excess capacity sold and leased to other, smaller, local internet providers and a new era of competition begin – lower prices, faster services, no monthly limitations. Title II is the best thing for the internet right now, lets hope it happens. If you’re looking for a better explaination of why we need net neutrality, I wrote an article back when I was concerned about the potential merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast.