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Article ID: 178947 - Last Review: January 22, 2007 - Revision: 1.2

This article was previously published under Q178947

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SYMPTOMS

When you attempt to start Windows 98, you may receive the following error message:
Registry File was not found. Registry services may be inoperative for this session. XMS cache problem. Registry services may be inoperative this session.

You then receive the following 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 behavior can occur if you start your computer using the Windows 98 Startup disk, and then attempt to start Windows 98.

RESOLUTION

To start Windows 98, use either of the following methods:

Method 1

Start the computer from the hard disk instead of the Windows 98 Startup disk.

Method 2

Copy the Msdos.sys file from the hard disk to the Startup disk to start Windows 98 using the Windows 98 Startup disk. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Restart your computer using the Windows 98 Startup disk.
  2. Remove the system, hidden, and read-only attributes from the Msdos.sys file in the root folder of the Windows 98 Startup disk and the hard disk. To do so, type the following lines at the command prompt, pressing ENTER after each line:

    attrib -s -h -r a:\msdos.sys
    attrib -s -h -r c:\msdos.sys
  3. Rename the Msdos.sys file on the Windows 98 Startup disk. To do so, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

    ren a:\msdos.sys msdos.xxx
  4. Copy the Msdos.sys file from the hard disk to the Windows 98 Startup disk. To do so, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

    copy c:\msdos.sys a:\msdos.sys
  5. Replace the system, hidden, and read-only attributes on the Msdos.sys file in the root folder of the Windows 98 Startup disk and the hard disk. To do so, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each line:

    attrib +s +h +r a:\msdos.sys
    attrib +s +h +r c:\msdos.sys
  6. Restart your computer using the Windows 98 Startup disk.

MORE INFORMATION

The Msdos.sys file is a text file located in the root folder. It contains a [Paths] section that lists the locations of other Windows 98 files (such as the registry). When you create a Windows 98 Startup disk, the Msdos.sys file on the Startup disk contains only the following line:
;W98ebd

Because the Startup disk contains only this line, you can use the Startup disk to start most computers and access a command prompt, but you cannot start Windows 98 because Windows cannot locate the Ifshlp.sys file or the registry. If you copy the Msdos.sys file from your hard disk to the Windows 98 Startup disk, you may not be able to use the Startup disk to start Windows 98 on another computer. This can occur if Windows is installed in a different folder or on a different logical drive than the computer from which the Msdos.sys file is copied. However, you can still use the Startup disk to start another computer and access the command prompt by pressing and holding down the CTRL key when your computer starts, and then choosing Safe Mode Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu.

NOTE: The Windows 98 Startup disk is designed for you to use to troubleshoot problems starting Windows 98. You should not start Windows 98 from the Startup disk unless you are having problems starting Windows.

For more information about the Msdos.sys file, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 118579  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118579/EN-US/ )
TITLE : Contents of the Windows Msdos.sys File

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
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