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Troubleshooting Windows 98 Startup Problems

This article was previously published under Q188867
If this article does not describe the error message that you are receiving, view the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article to view more articles that describe error messages:
315854 Windows 98 and Windows Me Error Message Resource Center
SUMMARY
This article lists troubleshooting steps you can use if your computerstops responding (hangs), or you receive an error message, such as a fatalexception error message or an invalid VxD error message.

This article also provides information about how to use the System Information Utility (Msconfig.exe) to troubleshoot startup problems. After you restarting your computer several times, Msconfig.exe can help you to isolate a specific file or registry entry that is causing the problem. Once you determine the specific entry that is causing the problem, you should edit the appropriate file or registry key to remove the entry and then return the System Configuration Utility to Normal Startup mode.

For information about clean booting Windows 98 by using the System Configuration Utility, please see the "Narrowing the Focus" section in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
192926 How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98
IMPORTANT: This article describes troubleshooting steps that may help you solveproblems starting Windows 98. This information is also available in ourWindows 98 Startup and Shutdown Troubleshooting Wizard. We recommend usingthis wizard, but we have also created this text-based article for yourconvenience. NOTE: To more effectively search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, use keywords that relate to your issue. If you are searching for troubleshooting information that is not mentioned in this article, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base again by using keywords that are listed in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
242450 How to Query the Microsoft Knowledge Base Using Keywords
MORE INFORMATION

Start Windows 98 in Safe Mode

If Windows 98 does not start normally, try to start it in Safe mode. Starting Windows 98 in Safe mode bypasses the current real-mode configuration and loads a minimal protected-mode configuration, disabling Windows 98 device drivers and using the standard VGA display adapter. Tostart Windows 98 in Safe mode, restart your computer, press and hold downthe CTRL key until the Windows 98 Startup menu appears, and then chooseSafe Mode. If you can start in Safe mode, see the steps in the "Windows 98 Starts in Safe Mode" section of this article.

If Windows 98 does not start in Safe mode, see the "Windows 98 Does NotStart in Safe Mode" section of this article.

Windows 98 Does Not Start in Safe Mode

Any of the following conditions can cause Windows 98 not to start in Safe mode:
  • Your computer is infected with a virus.For additional information about computer viruses, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    129972 Description of Computer Viruses
  • Your computer's CMOS settings are not correct. Check your computer's CMOS settings to make sure they are correct. Note that you may need to contact the computer manufacturer to verify these settings.
  • There is a hardware conflict. These conflicts can include, but are not limited to, PCI BIOS settings, IRQ conflicts, redundant COM ports (for example, two COM1 ports, or an internal modem set to use the same COM port as an existing serial port), and defective RAM chips.
  • A setting in the Msdos.sys file needs to be changed (for example, the Logo setting should be set to zero).For additional information about the Msdos.sys file, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    118579 Contents of the Windows Msdos.sys File
  • You have a compressed drive that is unable to mount a compressed volume file (CVF).For additional information about how to troubleshoot DriveSpace issues, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    130018 Computer Caught in Reboot Loop After Using DriveSpace
    133175 Troubleshooting DriveSpace in Windows 95
If you are still unable to start Windows 98 in Safe mode, run the WindowsRegistry Checker (Scanreg.exe) tool as there may be a problem with thesystem registry. To start Windows Registry Checker, restart your computer,press and hold CTRL, choose Command Prompt Only, type scanreg, and then press ENTER. For additional information about Windows Registry Checker, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
183887 Description of the Windows Registry Checker Tool (Scanreg.exe)
For additional information about receiving an error message that your registry is damaged after you run the Scanreg.exe, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
186909 Registry Checker Continues to Detect Registry Damage
If you are still unable to start Windows 98 in Safe mode after you useWindows Registry Checker, install Windows 98 into a new, empty folder.This step helps to establish whether the problem is related to a remnantof the previous operating system (such as a configuration setting) or ahardware problem.

Windows 98 Starts in Safe Mode

If Windows 98 starts in Safe mode, step through the startup process to seeif any devices do not load properly:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click Selective Startup.
  3. Try different boot options. The following table lists several startup options. The options are labeled Boot A, Boot B, Boot C. To use a boot option, click the appropriate check boxes to select or clear them. Follow the instructions below the table to determine the cause of your problem.
                                              Boot A   Boot B   Boot C      ------------------------------------------------------------      Process Config.sys file             Yes      No       Yes      Process Autoexec.bat file           Yes      No       Yes      Process Winstart.bat (if available) Yes      Yes      No      Process System.ini file             No       Yes      Yes      Process Win.ini file                No       Yes      Yes      Load Startup Group items            Yes      Yes      No 						
    NOTE: The Msconfig tool cannot disable a file that has the read-only attribute, although it behaves as though it can. To determine if the Msconfig tool has replaced the file you are attempting to disable with a copy of the file, text similar to the following text should appear at the beginning of the file:
          rem      rem   *** DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE! ***      rem      rem   This file was created by the System Configuration Utility as      rem   a placeholder for your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Your actual      rem   AUTOEXEC.BAT file has been saved under the name AUTOEXEC.TSH.      rem 						
    NOTE: If Windows 98 does not start normally under any of the following scenarios, see the "Troubleshooting Protected-Mode Driver Problems" section later in this article.

    First, try the Boot A option. If Windows 98 does not start normally under these conditions, try the Boot B option. If Windows 98 does start normally using the Boot A option, there is a problem in the System.ini or Win.ini file. To find which line in the System.ini or Win.ini file is causing the problem:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box type, and then click OK.
    2. Click the Win.ini tab.
    3. Double-click the Windows folder.
    4. Click to clear the load= and run= check boxes.
    5. Click OK.
    6. When you are prompted to restart your computer, click Yes.
    If Windows 98 starts normally using the Boot B option, there is a problem with a driver or terminate-and-stay-resident (TSR) program being loaded from the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat file. See the "Troubleshooting TSR Problems" section later in this article.

    If Windows 98 does not start normally with the Boot A or Boot B options, try the Boot C option. If Windows 98 starts normally using the Boot C option, there is a problem with a program that is run during startup. See the "Troubleshooting StartUp Folder Problems" section later in this article.

    If you are still unable to start Windows 98 normally, use the System File Checker tool to check for damaged or replaced system files. To start System File Checker, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, click System Information, and then click System File Checker on the Tools menu. For information about how to use System File Checker to extract a file, please see the "System File Checker Tool" section of the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    129605 How to Extract Original Compressed Windows Files
    For additional information about System File Checker, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    185836 Description of the System File Checker Tool (Sfc.exe)
If you are still unable to start Windows 98 normally, see the"Troubleshooting Protected-Mode Driver Problems" section later in thisarticle.

Troubleshooting StartUp Folder Problems

The problem may be a result of a program that is run during startup. Todetermine which program is causing the problem:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click the Startup tab, and then click each check box to clear it.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
If the problem is resolved, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the Startup tab, click the first check box in the list to select it.
  3. Click OK. and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
If the problem is still resolved, repeat steps 1-3, but click the nextcheck box in the list to select it. When the problem returns, thelast check box you selected is loading a program that is preventingWindows 98 to start normally. Contact the program's manufacturer forfurther assistance.

There may also be a problem with a TSR being loaded in the Winstart.batfile (if the Winstart.bat file exists). If the Process Winstart.bat Filecheck box is available on the General tab in System Configuration Utility,click the check box to clear it, click OK, and then restart your computer.

The Winstart.bat file is usually located in the Windows folder, and isused to load TSRs that are required only by Windows-based programs.

Troubleshooting TSR Problems

The problem may be a driver or TSR being loaded from the Config.sys orAutoexec.bat file. To determine if this is the case:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click Selective Startup, and then click the Process Autoexec.bat File check box to clear it.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
If the problem is resolved, the problem driver or TSR is being loadedfrom the Autoexec.bat file. If the problem is not resolved, the problemdriver or TSR is being loaded from the Config.sys file. To determine whichline in the Autoexec.bat or Config.sys file is loading the driver or TSR,follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Click the Autoexec.bat or Config.sys tab, and then click the check boxes for all non-essential drivers and programs to clear them.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
If the problem is resolved, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the Autoexec.bat or Config.sys tab, click the first check box in the list to select it.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
If the problem is still resolved, repeat steps 1-3, but click the nextcheck box in the list to select it. When the problem returns, thelast check box you selected is loading the driver or TSR that is causingthe problem. Contact the manufacturer of the program for furtherassistance.

If the problem is not resolved, run the Windows Registry Checker as theremay be a problem with the system registry. To start Windows RegistryChecker, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point toSystem Tools, click System Information, and then click Registry Checker onthe Tools menu.

Troubleshooting Protected-Mode Driver Problems

The problem may be a Windows 98 protected-mode driver. To determine ifthis is the case, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the General tab, click Advanced.
  3. Under Settings, click a check box to select it.
  4. Click OK, click OK again, and then restart your computer.
If the problem is not resolved, repeat steps 1-4, but click a differentcheck box to select it in step 3. When the problem is resolved, the lastcheck box you selected is causing the problem. For additional information aboutadvanced settings, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
181966 System Configuration Utility Advanced Troubleshooting
If the problem is not resolved, disable PCI bus IRQ steering in Windows.For additional information about how to do so, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
182628 How to Disable PCI Bus IRQ Steering in Windows
If the problem is not resolved, follow these steps to disable devices inDevice Manager:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click System.
  3. On the Device Manager tab, disable all devices under the following branches:

    • Display adapters
    • Floppy disk controllers
    • Hard disk controllers
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse
    • Network adapters
    • Ports
    • PCMCIA socket
    • SCSI controllers
    • Sound, video, and game controllers
    To disable a device in Device Manager:

    1. Double-click the branch that contains the device you want to disable, click the device, and then click Properties.
    2. On the General tab, click the Disable In This Hardware Profile check box to select it, and then click OK.
    3. Restart your computer.
  4. If the problem is resolved, enable the devices you disabled in step 3, and then verify that no devices are conflicting.

    NOTE: Enable devices in the following order:

    • COM ports
    • Hard disk controllers
    • Floppy disk controllers
    • Other devices
    To enable a device and check for possible conflicts, follow these steps:

    1. Double-click the branch that contains the device you want to enable, click the device, and then click Properties.
    2. On the General tab, click the Disable In This Hardware Profile check box to clear it.
    3. Click the Resources tab and verify that there are no conflicts listed under Conflicting Device List. Note that the Resources tab does not appear for each device.
    4. Click OK, and then restart your computer.
If the problem is not resolved, run the Automatic Skip Driver Agent toolto enable any device that has been disabled. To start Automatic SkipDriver Agent, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, pointto System Tools, click System Information, and then click Automatic Skip Driver Agent on the Tools menu.For additional information about how to use Automatic Skip Driver Agent, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
186588 Description of the Automatic Skip Driver Agent (Asd.exe) Tool
If the problem is not resolved, check for a damaged static virtual devicedriver (VxD) by following these steps:
  1. Restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until the Windows 98 Startup menu appears, and then choose Step-By-Step Confirmation.
  2. Press Y at each prompt up to and including the "Load all Windows drivers?" prompt, and then press N to everything else. Note that you should make a list of all the items trying to load after this point. This prevents VxDs from loading and VxDs in the Windows\System\Vmm32 folder from overriding Windows internal VxDs (VxDs built into the Vmm32.vxd file).

Additional Notes

For information about known hardware issues, view the Hardware.txt file inthe Windows folder.

For additional troubleshooting assistance, view the Bootlog.txt file inthe root folder. The Bootlog.txt file lists the loading status of all real-mode and protected-mode drivers. If Windows 98 does not start properly,the Bootlog.txt file lists the last driver that loadedsuccessfully, and lists a "LoadFail" entry for each driver that failed toload before the problem occurred.

NOTE: Some "LoadFail" entries in the Bootlog.txt file are normal entries.For a listing of normal "LoadFail" entries in the Bootlog.txt file, pleasesee the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
127970 Load Failures Listed in the Bootlog.txt File
w98sessfaq w98ssfaq 98 first boot fail hang noboot no-boot start up vmm32 vxd
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Article ID: 188867 - Last Review: 05/07/2007 21:42:19 - Revision: 3.6

  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
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