Fixing the Black Screen of Death (KSOD) on SBS 2011

This weekend, an IT reseller contacted me with a problem they had. After the RAID controlled failed on a SBS2011 Standard, they receovered the server from the SBS Backup using the Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) process. After the server was restored, they booted the system and encountered the Black Screen of Death (KSOD). This is a condition where the system boots up and nothing comes up on the screen except a black screen with a mouse pointer. Nothing else can be done to the server, and no amount of waiting will get this server to carry forward in the boot process.

It turns out that there is a known condition that causes this severe problem. In the migration process from SBS2003, the reseller installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for WIndows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 utility. This utility allows a user to read and restore a backup set created by the NTBACKUP utility in Windows Server 2003 on a 2008 R2 server. The problem occurs when the user does not uninstall this utility after they have finished restoring the backups. In this condition, all server 2008 R2 backups (yes, including those done in SBS 2011, or any backup that uses the WBEM engine) will be corrupt, and will cause this condition when performing a BMR restore.

The reason for this is that a specific folder is ommitted from the backups – c:\Windows\Registration – if this condition exists.

This condition is now noted in Update Rollup 3 for SBS 2011 –

The simple fix for this is as follows:

  1. Copy the contents of C:\Windows\Registration from a working SBS2011 server
  2. Boot into the Windows Repair/Recovery mode using SBS2011 Disc 1
  3. Open up a command prompt and browse to C:\Windows\Registration
  4. Copy the files (from a USB drive or something) over to the server

The server should now boot up.


8 thoughts on “Fixing the Black Screen of Death (KSOD) on SBS 2011”

  1. I should add that after the successful boot, that it was necessary to to also run a System State Restore for full fuctionality, Thankfully this completed the successful restore and the SBS server is back on site and running flawlessly.

  2. To uninstall NTbackup Restore Utility, go to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and View installed updates.
    Under the heading “Microsoft Windows” , look for “Update for Microsoft Windows Windows (KB974674)”.
    Double click or right click and choose uninstall.

    1. Hi Bojan, if you have a spare hard drive, you can disconnect the production server boot drive and install a fresh copy of the OS on the spare. After it boots, you can copy the Registration folder to a usb drive and replace it on the production boot drive by using the repair mode option from your install disc. hope this helps.

  3. Thank you so much for your blog entry. What you offered along with the following got me back up without having to do a complete reinstall of the OS or active directory (Server 2008 R2):

    1) Followed your steps in “Second – Help!”
    2) Next:
    Start the server by using Windows Server 2008 R2 media.
    Select Repair your computer.
    Select Command Prompt.
    At the command prompt, run the bcdedit command. Lists of items appear under Windows Boot Manager and under Windows Boot Loader.
    Look for the values for the following items :
    Under Windows Boot Manager, the Device item should be set to unknown.
    Under Windows Boot Loader, theDevice and osdevice items should be set to unknown.
    Run the following three commands to correct the settings, and then restart the computer:
    bcdedit /set {default} device partition=c:
    bcdedit /set {default} osdevice partition=c:
    bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=c:

    Or, locate X:\Sources\Recovery, and then run StartRep.exe to start a quick automated startup repair utility that corrects boot environment values.

    3) System would boot without a KOSD but immediately shut down before I could to log in. I went into safe mode and then rebooted and everything worked.

    4) fyi, at this time I have not performed the “Third – Cleanup” step outlined in the article.

    Hope this helps.

  4. 3) System would boot without a KOSD but immediately shut down before I could to log in. I went into safe mode and then rebooted and everything worked.

  5. Thanks.

    This worked a treat, some Microsoft Update caused the server not to boot. Restoring from two days previous gave me the mouse issue but following your instruction everything worked.

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