Windows 10 Black Desktop with Cursor Fixed

Symptoms

My Cool ‘n’ Quiet workstation was working fine until some point last night where it showed a black screen with moveable cursor. Attempts to bring up the Task Manager were unsuccessful – the cursor briefly changed to indicate busy state, but Task Manager would not appear.

This morning, the system would boot, displaying the Windows logo, but I was stuck on a black screen showing only my cursor.

I did not make any changes to hardware, and was not aware of any changes made to my system.

Initial Troubleshooting

I plugged my secondary display into my workstation’s graphics card and attempted to tinker with Windows 10’s Project settings (Windows key + P) to no avail.

Stumbling Across a Solution

I poked around within my workstation’s UEFI and focused on Boot Option Priorities.

Last Known Good Configuration

Boot Option Priorities
#1 Windows Boot Manager
#2 SATA: My Windows 10 OS Drive
#3: UEFI: Built-in EFI Shell

I modified Boot Option Priorities:

  • Swapping positions of #2 and #1 resulted in failure to boot
  • Tested UEFI, Windows Boot Manager, and finally SATA. This time, I was greeted by the familiar login screen

Upon login, Windows displayed a notification stating that updates were installed.

Update history (Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Update History) showed that an updated NVIDIA display driver (NVIDIA – Display – 12/29/2016 12:00:00AM – 21.21.13.7653) was installed last night – could this have been the culprit?

Confirmed that this updated NVIDIA display driver is shown for my graphics card within Device Manager.

After successful boot, I restarted my workstation, and reverted changes to Boot Option Priorities. I was still able to boot cleanly into Windows 10.

I ultimately modified Boot Option Priorities. They are now set to

  1. UEFI
  2. Windows Boot Manager
  3. SATA

Script to Run OBS and Restream Chat

I have been streaming regularly for a couple of months now, and had yet to automate the boring stuff, so here comes a first pass…

I wrote previously about using Restream.io. I’ve been using Restream Chat’s Windows application (details), and will continue to do so pending clear signals to transition to a single streaming service.

Enough about me: let’s get on with the show.

During installation, Restream Chat adds a Desktop Shortcut. This shortcut is an Application Reference (.appref-ms) located in C:\Users\[YOUR-WINDOWS-USERNAME]\Desktop

Restream Chat also adds a Start Menu Program Group with a similar shortcut to C:\Users\slash\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Restream.io\Restream Chat.appref-ms

Let’s dive in…

I dragged and dropped the Restream Chat shortcut into a Notepad window to see what would happen, and was greeted with the following output:
https://restream.io/restream_chat/RestreamChat.application#RestreamChat.application, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=907cb1181ada7abb, processorArchitecture=msil

I used this as the basis for the first iteration of my batch script

First Iteration

start "" "C:\Program Files (x86)\obs-studio\bin\32bit\obs32.exe"
start "" https://restream.io/restream_chat/RestreamChat.application

Observations
OBS starts with errors

  1. Error: Failed to find locale/en-US.ini
  2. Error: Failed to load locale

Launches default browser, and creates a new entry in recent downloads. This is a minor inconvenience.

I explored for a way to request the RestreamChat application from its URL without launching the default browser. One suggestion was to use Wget for Windows, but I would like to avoid any external dependencies.

Second Iteration

start "" "C:\Users\Public\Desktop\OBS Studio.lnk"
start "" "C:\Users\[YOUR-WINDOWS-USERNAME]\Desktop\Restream Chat.appref-ms"

Observations
This works! … but what if I want to remove both desktop shortcuts?
Why does this work?
Probably because the OBS Studio.lnk desktop shortcut includes Start in: “C:\Program Files (x86)\obs-studio\bin\32bit”

Third Iteration

cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\obs-studio\bin\32bit"
start "" obs32.exe
start "" "C:\Users\[YOUR-WINDOWS-USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Restream.io\Restream Chat.appref-ms"

That’s it for now. I may take this a step further in the future, but as they say… “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

How to Unify Chat Across Multiple Channels Using Restream Chat

I’ve been using Restream.io to simultaneously broadcast my stream to three different channels.

I use their Restream Chat client (Windows) to monitor chat across all three channels.

Sometimes, I type responses to chat directly in the channel. However, I know that most established streamers respond to messages in chat using their microphones.

To increase the transparency of chat activity across the separate channels, I began using the Restream Chat client’s built-in bot.

Restream Chat’s bot can interact with viewers on your behalf. By default, the bot is turned off. To turn it on and bring together chat messages from separate channels:

  1. Open Restream Chat
  2. Click the cog wheel icon, directly to the left of the minimize icon in the Restream Chat window. This brings up the Settings pane
  3. From the Settings pane, select Bot from the menu
  4. Check “Enable bot”
  5. Check “Enable message relay between all chats”

Restream Chat also makes it easy to configure an overlay so that messages from the separate chats are visible in stream. Barring the ability to highlight specific messages, I am holding off on using that feature.

Updates
Restream.io’s Help Center (support.restream.io) also has an article on this subject https://support.restream.io/restream-chat-app/basics/how-to-setup-the-restream-chat-relay-bot

Order Placed: Ringke FUSION Case for iPhone 7 Plus

My iPhone 7 Plus finally arrived, almost a month after I ordered it through my wireless carrier. I relished the unboxing experience, as one does with Apple products, but held off on activating the phone for the time being.

I remember when I purchased my iPhone 4, I dropped it on the tiled floor in my bathroom that very same day. The unprotected phone suffered a series of scratches, one deep enough to be felt.

Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past, I began searching for a suitable case to protect my new phone against accidental drops.

I searched Amazon.com for iPhone 7 Plus cases, ultimately choosing a clear Ringke FUSION Case (MSRP $9.99, Amazon.com) over similar options like the Spigen Ultra Hybrid case (MSRP $24.99, Amazon.com), which leaves the iPhone 7 Plus camera lens unprotected.

The Ringke FUSION Case features a clean design with protection in all the right spots. The single cutout on the back face is amply sized for the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera system. I avoided cases with rear cutouts that were sized just right for the camera and quad-LED flash, fearing interference.

I’m looking forward to receiving the case and retiring my iPhone 6 Plus, which has been running dangerously low on storage space for far too long.