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Error Message: Cannot Find a Device File That May Be Needed to Run Windows
Article ID: 132008 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q132008
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
When you start Windows, you may receive the following error message:
Cannot find a device file that may be needed to run Windows or a Windows application.
The Windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file refers to this device file, but the device file no longer exists.
If you deleted this file on purpose, try uninstalling the associated application using its uninstall program or setup program.
If you still want to use the application associated with this device file, try reinstalling that application to replace the missing file.
NOTE: The specific file may not be named.
This error message can occur for either of the following reasons:
WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it.
To resolve this problem, follow each step below until the error no longer occurs:
When Windows starts, the System.ini file and the registry are read to obtain a list of device drivers to load. When Windows cannot locate a virtual device driver that it is attempting to load, an error message is generated.
Virtual device drivers are files required by various programs to communicate with your computer's hardware.
The following sample registry key contains a StaticVxD value:
The data for this StaticVxD value is "*COMBUFF" (without the quotation marks; the quotation marks appear in Registry Editor but are not part of the VxD name). The asterisk (*) preceding the VxD name indicates that the VxD is internal to the Vmm32.vxd file. If the VxD referenced by the StaticVxD value is not internal to the Vmm32.vxd file, its name is not preceded by an asterisk and typically has a .vxd extension.