Windows SBS 2011 R2: Black screen and Mouse Cursor on boot, never boots

After spending a full day on this, we (Your IT Pro and I) finally got it to boot by restoring the registry from a backup which windows keeps.

Boot into Windows Recovery command prompt and do the following:-

  1. CD C:\Windows\System32\Config\RegBack

  2. MD Backup (MD Is the command to Make a Directory)

  3. Copy . Backup  (copies all files in the folder RegBack to the Backup folder created in step 2)

  4. Copy .  .. (copies all files from the RegBack folder to the folder below, Config, overwriting them)

  5. Reboot

Hopefully, this will allow your server to boot.

Updated 17/09/2016 and 14/12/2016:  Updated the instructions for clarity.


  1. YES !!!!!

    Thanks for the suggestion
    My Server boot now without black screen !!!!

    Thanks !
    ( sorry for my english im french )

  2. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Worked perfectly! I too spent an entire day trying to fix this issue. Every other listed fix failed miserably. This one, worked the first time! MUCH APPRECIATED!

    1. Hi Michael,

      Your very welcome, yeah we spent some time looks for various fixes and then we tried this and it worked. I’m glad your server is up and running again.


      1. Wowwww i was just going Crazy since this morning .. Thank god got to see this and this fixed my issue …. Now i am very curious to understand why did my registry get corrupted . I am running 2008 R2 STD as a Domain COntroller

        1. Indeed, if you do find out why this happens then please contact me and I’ll update the post. I’m glad this worked for you. 🙂

  3. Hi, I’m on server 2008 R2 and when I use the command, copy *.* backup under the Regback folder, it says the system cannot find the file specified. Any thoughts?

  4. I followed these instructions verbatim and it did not fix the issue. It also would not let me get past the keyboard option in system repair without giving a “parameter is incorrect” dialog box.

    May have worked for some but for me it left me in a worse spot than where I was.

    1. Sorry to hear that Daniel.

      Sounds like you had a different issue maybe? Hope you get it sorted.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  5. Thank-you! after several hours of sorting out underlying hardware issue, was left with an unbootable system – this is the fix that finally solved it. The frustrating part is that it is very difficult to find out where the problem actually is, just boots to a black screen with mouse, then stops. How are you supposed to find out what is going on?

    1. Great, glad it resolved the issue for you.

      I know, I believe it’s a bug or issue with windows and it corrupts the registry.

  6. This is why I like the internet so much! You’re never alone when you have a problem! Many thanks guys, this helped me out a lot!

  7. Nothing else I attempted changed the “Black screen of death”. Sometimes it’s the simple things that just work. Thanks so much.

  8. This help correct an issue with a Black Screen with Mouse cursor on Windows 2008 R2 Standard after applying some security settings. Thanks for the post.

      1. Hi

        I tried Run as administrator…

        Msg:- “The process cannot access the files because it is being used by another process”

        Please assist

        1. I don’t think we did it from Safe Mode, trying putting the boot drive into a working PC and then copying the registry backup, then put the drive back and try booting. Good Luck!

  9. Our server blue screened on boot after this, had to snapshot back. Still have a broken server….. research continues. Thanks for posting this though 🙂

  10. I have windows server 2008 R2 virtual machine, there is no RegBack folder in the c:\windows\system32\config directory. Any ideas?

  11. Hi there,
    could you please explain more about the first and the second steps?

    i got the same problem and i was able to reach command prompt using the windows media repair, but i didn’t understand what do you mean by navigate and also what do you mean by MD backup.

    thanks a lot for your efforts,


  12. Thanks for the article, excellent suggestion and instructions, but did not fix the issue for me.
    In my case this happens after installing windows updates. Only way forward for me is to do a restore.

    1. Hi Mikael,

      Sorry it didn’t work for you and I’m sorry that you had this issue during the holidays. Have a great new year.


  13. Hi, It does not work. There are just 5 files (default, Sam, Security, Software, System) is that correct? I copied using the command that you explain. Can I find this files in another working server and try to copy?. Or they are generated from q backup that windows keep. Thanks

    1. Hi, Sorry it hasn’t worked for you. I haven’t tried copying from another server, that may not work due to different hardward, software configuration etc… Ensure you have followed the instuctions carefully as I know I myself have had this issue again since this post and messed up the copy. Good Luck. If you haven’t already resloved.

  14. I know this post is very old, but this just worked to save a SBS2011 machine that rebooted and would only come up with a black screen, in normal mode, in safe mode, in directory restore mode, all would just be a black screen with a mouse pointer. We rolled back all the updates we could think of, nothing worked. But this worked! Thank you, life saver 🙂

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