Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Black screen at Windows 2003 Login

Bit of a wierd problem we've had a few times on Windows 2003 servers, especially when they have run out of disk space on the C: Drive - not a blue screen of death, more a black screen of annoyance. The problem is that all the system colours are set suddenly to black (probably after a reboot). This is seen in Remote Desktop mode or local logon - only graphics work (like the Windows logo). You can actually log in and it should then be okay - if you can logon without being able to see anything!

Anyway, this is a known problem (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906510) and has an easy fix. Open Regedit on another computer, click File > Connect Network registry, enter the name of the computer with the problem. Navigate to this reg key:

HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\Colors

And enter the values below! You will find they are all set to "0 0 0" (black) on the broken machine. Don't get them wrong, we did and ended up with a pink desktop! Very nice it looked too, so we left it alone.


Value name Value data
ActiveBorder 212 208 200
ActiveTitle 10 36 106
AppWorkSpace 128 128 128
Background 102 111 116
ButtonAlternateFace 181 181 181
ButtonDkShadow 64 64 64
ButtonFace 212 208 200
ButtonHilight 255 255 255
ButtonLight 212 208 200
ButtonShadow 128 128 128
ButtonText 0 0 0
GradientActiveTitle 166 202 240
GradientInactiveTitle 192 192 192
GrayText 128 128 128
Hilight 10 36 106
HilightText 255 255 255
HotTrackingColor 0 0 128
InactiveBorder 212 208 200
InactiveTitle 128 128 128
InactiveTitleText 212 208 200
InfoText 0 0 0
InfoWindow 255 255 225
Menu 212 208 200
Menubar 212 208 200
MenuHilight 210 210 255
MenuText 0 0 0
Scrollbar 212 208 200
TitleText 255 255 255
Window 255 255 255
WindowFrame 0 0 0
WindowText 0 0 0

Or if you don't like the idea of typing, just create a text file with the text below (including the Windows Registry Editor line...), save it with a .reg extension and import it into the registry:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"ActiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"ActiveTitle"="10 36 106"
"AppWorkSpace"="128 128 128"
"Background"="58 110 165"
"ButtonAlternateFace"="180 180 180"
"ButtonDkShadow"="64 64 64"
"ButtonFace"="212 208 200"
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonLight"="212 208 200"
"ButtonShadow"="128 128 128"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="166 202 240"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="192 192 192"
"GrayText"="128 128 128"
"Hilight"="10 36 106"
"HilightText"="255 255 255"
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 255"
"InactiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"InactiveTitle"="128 128 128"
"InactiveTitleText"="212 208 200"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="255 255 225"
"Menu"="212 208 200"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="212 208 200"
"TitleText"="255 255 255"
"Window"="255 255 255"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"
"MenuHilight"="210 210 255"
"MenuBar"="212 208 200"

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