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[Resolved (by a higher power)] Can't boot Win98 even in safe mode

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by KevinKe, Feb 1, 2003.

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  1. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    I changed two things in my Dell XPS T500 (Win98, not SE) this week and now I find my PC unable to boot.

    What happens: The PC freezes with a little blinking cursor in the upper left corner of the screen. When I boot normally, this happens after the Win98 logo appears and I hear the hard drive loading a bunch of stuff for about 30 seconds. When I boot to safe mode, this happens immediately. I can get to the DOS command line (both safe mode and normal).

    What I did to the PC:

    1) I installed more RAM 2 days ago, added 256Meg to my existing 128. Took a while to make it work, but it was working fine for about 24 hours. I was feeling confident after this success (note the foreshadowed irony), so then I...

    2) removed a bunch of stuff from windows startup by unchecking several boxes in the startup tab of the system configuration utility. Unfortunately, I didn't write these down. I checked with a website that listed a bunch of stuff that was OK to remove. I remember that two of them had to with my ATI video card, the web site said they were utilities that could be accessed through control panel, and I didn't want them cluttering up my system tray.

    I ran the Dell diagnostic that came with the PC and it says everything is fine (including the new RAM.) I also tried loading several old "good" registries, including one from before I added new memory--to no avail.

    I've never been this stuck before. Any other ideas? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Kevin
     
  2. Miz

    Miz

    Joined:
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    From Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 188867:

    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.

    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), defective RAM chips. Note: although the new RAM worked for a while, it may be that it is defective or not seated completely. First try reseating it. If that doesn't work, remove it completely and see if the system will then boot. If it does, then you'll know the source of your problem.)

    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).
     
  3. southerngq

    southerngq

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    When you get to the command promt type the following.

    scanreg /fix and hit enter.
    This will repair any problems in your registry. Then reboot

    If this does not work, you will probably have to reload Win98 SE.
    You will not lose any data when you do this unless you decide to re-format.
     
  4. Jeerajat

    Jeerajat

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    ok scan the hard drive fully also, The main problems coudl be running of drivers
     
  5. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    It's almost certainly the ram, nothing you did in msconfig could cause the problem you are having.
     
  6. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the responses. Here's what I've done:

    1)I have removed the new RAM and am back to my single old 128Meg DIMM. This memory passes the Dell diagnostic program, but FWIW so did the new RAM I removed.

    2)I reinstalled Win 98, which went fine until the part where it searches for hardware, when it froze repeatedly and had to be manually re-booted. Miracle of miracles, eventually it finished installing and I got back to my desktop.

    3) Unfortunately, once it looked like it had stabilized I ran Outlook Express to check email and the whole thing froze up again. I restarted the PC and --you guessed it--I was back where I started, with the little blinking cursor and/or the "Windows protection error" message in the top-left of the screen.

    4) I then reinstalled Win98 AGAIN, hoping to get to the point where I can backup my data before I reformat the HD and start over. I haven't gotten there yet, although I did get to Safe Mode once and was able to back up 500Megs onto some Zip disks I had lying around. But safe mode won't let me use my CDRW, which I what I really need to do my backup. I can also access DOS in either safe or normal mode.

    I have 2 questions: is there anything else worth trying to get to "Normal" windows? If not, is there such as thing as a DOS-based CDRW program that I can use to backup my data without Windows? Thanks for reading this painfully long post and for any suggestions--it's therapeutic to vent after spending 30+hours on this during the last week.

    Kevin
     
  7. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Although there are ways of getting CD-ROM support in safe mode, it is not going to be of any use as far as backing up files using a CD-RW drive is concerned since you will not have support for those processes.

    You might as a test at least see if you can boot Windows in what is called "compatibility mode". Again you won't have CD-ROM support, but if you can do it, it will be a clue as to what is wrong and may point to a solution.

    To start in compatibility mode run msconfig, click on the "advanced" tab and check "force compatiibilty mode". You might also want to try first selecting the Vga 640x mode of video driver support. If you can boot that way, then you will have CD-ROM support -- the problem being with the video drivers which should be reinstalled.

    If you can boot in compatibility mode (which is just a test), there may be drivers in autoexec.bat or config.sys causing a conflict -- try disabling those files. Or you may have problems with your CD-RW software, try uninstalling that and reinstalling from Safe Mode.
     
  8. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    Well I can no longer get to safe mode so I'm not sure I can force 'compatibility mode' as you suggest. I also renamed my autoexec.bat and config.sys files to keep them from loading--but that didn't help either. Win98 is still clearly trying to install itself, but it's stuck. Any other thoughts? Thanks.

    Kevin
     
  9. southerngq

    southerngq

    Joined:
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    Houston, we have a problem............

    Let's see what we can figure out.

    We will try basics.
    Do you have your configuration cd that came with your system?
    If so, insert it in the cd-rom drive and reboot.
    You should get an option to boot to cd or boot to windows,
    choose cd
    Choose the option to install Windows 98
    and follow the steps to this.
    This is sort of a backdoor installation.


    After you have completed this, let me know where you are.

    Also, if you end up back where you were and can boot to the command promt, type this

    scanreg /restore

    This will restore your registry to the last "clean" boot.

    Let me know
     
  10. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    If the reinstall is hanging during the hardware detection phase, is there any peripheral hardware you can easily remove? You want to try it with as minimum a configuration as possible. Remove Sound cards, network adapters, removable drives, etc....

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;q188415

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;q193156

    If you can access a command prompt try reading the detlog.txt or setuplog.txt files by entering at the c:> prompt:

    edit setuplog.txt or edit detlog.txt

    The file should open in the DOS editor. You can close it by Alt+F+X

    Use of setup switches can be helpful to some. For example:

    setup /p b

    should prompt before each detection module and may give you a good clue as to what is hanging or offer the option to skip it.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;186111
     
  11. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Rog, I though I'd try yours first to avoid my third install. Detlog.txt is about 22 lines; I'm not sure what to look for, but this line kind of stood out:

    VerifyHWReg: failed verification of *PNP0C00\0000

    Setuplog.txt is about 4000 lines. several of which say:
    Migration: such-and-such file failed to load error=(9-digit number)

    See any clues here? Next step is to try the install with setup /p b switches. (fingers crossed)

    Thanks, Kevin
     
  12. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    When I look at the setuplog.txt on my 98 system, each category (starting with [Reinstall] ends with "Complete". Do you see any there that don't?

    Also as I look at the detlog.txt, it is extremely long, too long for notepad as a matter of fact.

    The detection error you are getting is right from the gitgo and may involve BIOS settings.

    A few lines down I have:

    Detected: *PNP0C000\0000 = [1] Plug and Play BIOS

    Try going into your BIOS setup and try reloading the defaults. Make sure Virus checking is disabled if that is enabled by default.

    You may even need to do a hard reset using the shorting jumper near the cmos battery on the motherboard. If it's an old battery you should replace it.
     
  13. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    OK, I'm the midst of my third reinstall attempt, this time I used the /p b switches. Unfortunately, the system hung after the first re-start--the win98 logo screen came up, then the Blinking Cursor of Nothingness. Just for giggles I took a look at setuplog.txt and there are no sections named [Reinstall], nor does the word "complete" appear anywhere. I'll take a look at the bios now. I had noticed in the bios that the IRQ5 setting had been marked as reserved, which seemed pretty strange so I undid that yesterday. Also, it looked like plug-n-play had been disabled within the bios (again, this is a default value)--I'll try your suggestion of going back to the defaults.

    I don't see a switch for virus-checking in the bios. I renamed autoexec.bat which keeps MacAfee from running before windows loads but it still runs after windows loads but before the desktop appears, at least on thos occasions where I don't go straight to the b.c. of n. Is it important and/or feasible to diable virus-checking during install?

    Kevin
     
  14. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    IRQs are usually reserved like that for either AGP or Sound cards; there is nothing necessarily wrong.

    There is also a BIOS setting for PNP OS Installed and this can be set to yes or no. When set to no, the BIOS is allowed to set IRQs and Windows does not try to override. You might experimenting with toggling that.
     
  15. KevinKe

    KevinKe Thread Starter

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    After about 50 reboots (really) I was able to get back into safe mode. Once there, I went into msconfig and disabled everything in win.ini and system.ini. Re-booting went fine after that, even in normal mode, so I've been slowly adding back functionality by re-enabling lines in each file, and I'm down to five or 10 left that may have caused the problem. Anyway, I'm back on my feet, thanks everyone for your suggestions and help. Kevin.

    "Daddy reboot"--my one-year-old seeing me go into the office.
     
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