Error Message: VFAT Device Initialization Failed

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Article ID: 139063 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q139063
Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect your system.
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SYMPTOMS

When you start Windows, you may receive the following error message on a blue screen:
VFAT Device Initialization Failed

A device or resource required by VFAT is not present or is unavailable. VFAT cannot continue loading.

System halted.

CAUSE

This problem can occur under any one of the following conditions:
  • If the Ifshlp.sys file is missing from the Windows folder.

    -or
  • If the Config.sys file contains a line that points to a previous version of the Ifshlp.sys file.

    -or-
  • If the following Ifshlp.sys statement is deleted from the Config.sys file after you reinstall Windows:
    DEVICE=C:\Windows\Ifshlp.sys
    -or-
  • If the [Paths] section in the Msdos.sys file is incorrect.

    -or-
  • If a Winboot.ini file from a previous incomplete installation is present in the root folder on your Startup disk.

    -or-
  • If a "maxfilecache = 4096" line is present in the System.ini file.

RESOLUTION

Warning This workaround may make your computer or your network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.

Note An antivirus program is designed to help protect your computer from viruses. You must not download or open files from sources that you do not trust, visit Web sites that you do not trust, or open e-mail attachments when your antivirus program is disabled.

For additional information about computer viruses, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
129972Computer viruses: description, prevention, and recovery
To resolve the problem, use one of the following methods.

Ifshlp.sys File Missing from Windows Folder

If the Ifshlp.sys file is missing from the Windows folder, extract a new copy of the file from your original Windows floppy disks or CD-ROM to the Windows folder.

For information about how to use the Extract tool, view the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
129605 How to Extract Original Compressed Windows Files

The Config.sys File Points to a Previous Version of the Ifshlp.sys File

  1. Windows 95

    Restart your computer. When you view the "Starting Windows 95" message, press F8, and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.

    Windows 98

    Restart your computer, press and hold down CTRL after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.
  2. Use a text editor (such as Edit.com) to open the Config.sys file.
  3. Delete the line that loads the Ifshlp.sys file. Note that Windows automatically loads this driver when you start your computer.
  4. Save and then close the Config.sys file.
  5. Restart your computer.

Ifshlp.sys Statement Was Deleted from the Config.sys File After You Reinstalled Windows

When you reinstall Windows, the Ifshlp.sys statement is deleted from the Config.sys file and it is not replaced. To add the Ifshlp.sys statement to the Config.sys file:
  1. Windows 95

    Restart your computer. When you view the "Starting Windows 95" message, press F8, and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.

    Windows 98

    Restart your computer, press and hold down CTRL after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.
  2. Use a text editor (such as Edit.com) to open the Config.sys file.
  3. Type the following line in the Config.sys file:
    DEVICE=C:\Windows\Ifshlp.sys
  4. Save and then close the Config.sys file.
  5. Restart your computer.

Incorrect [Paths] Section in the Msdos.sys File

  1. Windows 95

    Restart your computer. When you view the "Starting Windows 95" message, press F8, and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.

    Windows 98

    Restart your computer, press and hold down CTRL after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.
  2. Type the following command at a command prompt:
    attrib -s -h -r msdos.sys
  3. Use a text editor (such as Edit.com) to open the Msdos.sys file.
  4. Verify that the following lines in the Msdos.sys file are correct [Paths] WinDir=Windows WinBootDir=Windows HostWinBootDrv=C where Windows is the folder that contains Windows. Note that if you are using disk compression software, you must change the drive letter in the HostWinBootDrv= line to the drive letter of the host drive.
  5. Save and then close the Msdos.sys file.
  6. Type the following line at a command prompt:
    attrib +s +h +r msdos.sys
  7. Restart your computer.

Winboot.ini File Present in the Root Folder of the Boot Drive

  1. Windows 95

    Restart your computer. When you view the "Starting Windows 95" message, press F8, and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.

    Windows 98

    Restart your computer, press and hold down CTRL after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then choose the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option from the Startup menu.
  2. Type deltree winboot.ini at a command prompt to delete the Winboot.ini file in the root folder of the boot drive, and then press ENTER.
  3. Restart your computer.

There Is a "maxfilecache = 4096" Line in the System.ini File

Use any text editor (such as Notepad) to open the System.ini file in the Windows folder. Type a semicolon (;) at the beginning of the "maxfilecache = 4096" line, save the file, close the file, and then restart your computer.

MORE INFORMATION

For additional information about how to determine which folder Windows is installed in, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
305792 How to Determine Which Folder Windows Is Installed In

Properties

Article ID: 139063 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kberrmsg kbfaq kbfile kbprb KB139063

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