Laptop boots to black screen after SSD install

I recently bought an Intel 330 (240 GB) SSD to upgrade my 2-year old HP Pavilion dv7t-3100 laptop, and replaced the battery at the same time with a replacement from HP. I swapped out the hard drive, reinstalled Win 7 using a retail disk, and seemingly had no issues. Installed drivers, copied files over, installed applications, etc. After I was done setting everything up, however, I started noticing an intermittent issue when booting up.

The problem goes like this:
-Power on
-Displays HP bios/startup logo
-Displays Windows 7 "Starting Windows" screen
-Monitor turns off for a split second (this is normal)
-Instead of the Login screen, I get a black screen. Backlight is on, the screen is on, but the screen is completely black. No cursor, no Windows 7 startup chime, nothing.

I have to hold down the power button to get it to shut off at this point. The problem is frustratingly inconsistent; it happens probably 70% of the time. Another 15% of the time I will get a black screen with weird strings of rainbow pixels in horizontal lines; the remaining 15% of the time it boots normally to Windows. Once it boots to Windows it works with no problems whatsoever. Safe mode has booted correctly every time so far - seems this only happens when starting Windows normally.

I have tried reinstalling Windows again, but encountered the same problem after getting drivers and such set up. I've read about similar problems but can't seem to pin anything down. I've run a hard disk check from the BIOS which encountered no problems.

Here are the details of my system:
HP Pavilion dv7t-3100 laptop
Intel i5 processor
NVIDIA GeForce 105M
Intel 330 SSD (240 GB)
Windows 7 Home Premium

Any ideas on where to go with troubleshooting from here would be greatly appreciated. I'm decently tech-savvy (built my own computer this year) but this seems to be beyond my own ability to figure out and Google hasn't yielded any solutions so far.
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  1. Best answer
    I would check the drivers that you are using, since safe mode always works. One may be corrupted or for an incorrect version, like a 64 bit on an x86 or the other way around. Also check for any bios updates for the laptop and check that the bios settings are correct for booting and sata mode (preferably AHCI).

    When you do have a good boot look at the device manager and see if any devices have exclamation points or are missing.

    I would also run memtest86 just because it is free and easy ( ).
  2. Thanks for the tips so far. The drivers were all downloaded off the HP website for this line, but I could try redownloading them and reinstalling one by one. If I get frustrated enough I may start with another clean install and only install one driver at a time to see if I can nail it down that way. I did check for BIOS updates before posting this and found an update, however that hasn't fixed anything. Unfortunately the BIOS is EXTREMELY limited and does not allow access to any settings that would affect hard drive operation.

    I have it running right now and have been through the device manager. There are no missing or problematic entries in the Device Manager; everything appears to have the proper drivers. I ran memtest and it didn't find any errors, so we can at least rule that out.

    Interestingly I've had a few solid reboots in a row now, but since I haven't really changed anything I suspect the problem is still there. The only thing that could have changed in the meantime is that Windows Update installed a bunch of updates while I had it running.

    Thoughts on the next steps / things to check?
  3. Since it always boots into safe mode without issues, that narrows it down to something that loads during a full windows startup. If it persists, I would first try a repair installation (it doesn't take as long and your programs and data would not need to be reloaded: ); if that doesn't fix it then I would do a full re-install and only load one or two HP drivers at a time and then run the machine enough to determine that they are solid before adding the next.
  4. I discovered in the event viewer that the video drivers were often crashing around the same time this issue was occurring. After looking into it I found that the NVIDIA drivers I downloaded from the HP website were outdated and perhaps this was causing the issue. I downloaded newer drivers from the NVIDIA website and haven't had any issues yet, but I've only rebooted a couple times so far. Thanks for the help so far!

    For anyone else with similar issues, the Windows 7 Event Viewer was pretty useful in finding potential sources of the problem.
  5. That would be the most likely cause -- video drivers would crash you without a BSOD, so you may have fixed the problem. Excellent detective work.
  6. It's been a week now and the issue has not resurfaced. Pretty sure it was the video card drivers - thanks again for pointing me in the direction of the drivers. I was afraid this might be a hardware issue!
  7. Best answer selected by seancl.
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