I have had this problem and have been one of the lucky few to get round it, however I believe I may know the cause or part of the cause for this, and a way to get round it hopefully. I got this issue after an unfortunate power cut, the system started up but then shut down again unexpectedly, after that I got this 'black screen of death', I then went on to many forums to find out the best options for solving this, I knew there was a definate way to fix the problem with a full destructive recovery with the recovery partition you get with vista, however I didn't want to lose all my data so when the computer starts up tap f8 until you get several menu options. the top option should be 'repair my computer', you should now have a very basic log in window which has your username, (if you have no password just press enter). now you should have several options of recovering or repairing your PC. the most successful so far is a normal windows restore which takes the computer back a few days, I would recommend a week to 2 weeks if available. once completed this should get rid of the 'black screen of death'. once logged on run command prompt with administrative properties then type in 'sfc /scannow' this will hoefully find anything else which is currupt. I have found the main reason for this is actually vista's own way of performing better... on most people with this problem I spoke to had an option enabled on the hard drive by default : 'Enable write caching on the disk' : 'this setting improves disk performance, but a power outage or equipment failure might result in data loss or curruption' this option can be found by going into device manager - find your primary hard drive, right click, properties, policies. this is the closest ive found to a cause of this 'black screen of death'