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Article ID: 157924 - Last Review: November 15, 2006 - Revision: 2.2

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This article was previously published under Q157924


When you restart Windows 95 after installing a program or making a configuration change to your computer, you may receive one of the following error messages:
Windows initializing device IOS: Windows protection error. IOS failed to Initialize, Please restart
While initializing IOS: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.
Windows initializing device IOS: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.
After the error message is displayed, you may not be able to start Windows 95 normally. However, you should be able to start Windows 95 in Safe mode.


It may also be possible to start Windows 95 normally after using the following procedure:
  1. Boot Windows 95 in Safe mode or to a command prompt.
  2. Perform one of the following two steps:
    • Edit the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files and disable any references to Smartdrv.exe. To disable a line, type rem at the beginning of the line.
    • Rename Smartdrv.exe to another name.
  3. Restart your computer normally.
For additional information about IOS error messages, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
225497  ( ) Windows 95 May Fail to Boot Due to I/O Subsystem Failure
164666  ( ) You receive the "While initializing device IOS a Windows protection error occurred" error message when you start Windows 95
192841  ( ) Difficulties Using AMD K6-2 or Athlon Central Processing Unit
168866  ( ) FIX: IOS Failed to Initialize Error During Installation


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Microsoft Windows 95 and OEM Service Releases. This issue is resolved by the following updated file for Windows 95 and OSR2:
RMM.PDR version 4.00.1112 (dated 03/10/97) and later


The problem occurs only on certain system configurations, and does not occur if Internet Explorer 4.0 is installed on your computer. These system configurations have a minimum of 32 MB of RAM and a large number of device drivers. The problem is rare and can occur only at startup. Users whose systems are starting successfully today are not impacted.

  • Microsoft Windows 95
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Retired KB ArticleRetired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
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