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Article ID: 192926 - Last Review: June 22, 2014 - Revision: 3.0

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Summary

This article describes how to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 98.

For additional information about how to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows Millennium Edition (Me), click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
267288  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/267288/EN-US/ ) How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows Millennium Edition

More information

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

Clean-boot troubleshooting refers to methods of reducing behaviors that may occur because of your computer's environment. Many behaviors that occur when you run Windows or programs occur because there are conflicting drivers, terminate-and-stay-resident programs (TSRs), and other settings that are loaded when your computer starts. Your computer's environment includes settings from the following files:
  • Msdos.sys
  • Config.sys
  • Autoexec.bat
  • Winboot.ini
  • Windows\Winstart.bat
  • Windows\System.ini
  • Windows\Win.ini
  • Windows\Wininit.ini
  • Windows\System.dat
  • Windows\User.dat
These files are loaded as part of the boot process when Windows starts, and the files help create the environment that is used by the operating system and programs.

For information about the files, view the "Notes" section in this article.

How to Use System Configuration Utility

Windows 98 includes a System Configuration Utility tool (Msconfig.exe) to make performing a clean boot much easier.

For additional information about how to troubleshoot using the msconfig utility with Windows 98, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281965  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281965/EN-US/ ) How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility with Windows 98
Use one of the following methods to run System Configuration Utility:
  • Start the System Information tool, and then start System Configuration Utility:
    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
    2. On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility.
  • Start System Configuration Utility at the Run command. To do this, click Start, click Run, type msconfig.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
To use System Configuration Utility to perform a clean boot, use one of the methods that are mentioned earlier in this section to start System Configuration Utility, and then follow these steps:
  1. On the General tab, click Selective Startup, and then click to clear the following check boxes:
    • Process Config.sys File
    • Process Autoexec.bat File
    • Process Winstart.bat File (if available)
    • Process System.ini File
    • Process Win.ini File
    • Load Startup Group Items

  2. Click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
Each check box (except the Load Startup Group Items check box) represents files that are renamed with a troubleshoot (.tsh) file extension when you click to clear the check box. The Load Startup Group Items check box represents icons in the Startup folder or entries in the following registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

-and-

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
When you click to clear the Load Startup Group Items check box, the registry entries are written in the following keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run-

-and-

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices- -and-

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run-
The icons in the Startup folder are moved to the Disabled Startup Items folder in the Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.

When you click to clear check box for a file, a "remark" statement is placed at the beginning of each line in the file. For both the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, a "rem tshoot" statement followed by a space is placed at the beginning of the lines in the file for the check box that you click to clear. For both the System.ini and Win.ini files, a "; tshoot" statement followed by a space is placed at the beginning of the lines in the file for the check box that you click to clear. These remarks are removed when you click to select a check box that you previously clicked to clear. When you click to select a check box for an item on the Startup tab, the registry entry is restored to its original location.

You must restart your computer each time that you make a change to any of the startup files because they are read-only when your computer starts.

If System Configuration Utility is unavailable, manually clean-boot your computer. For additional information about how to manually clean-boot your computer, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
243039  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/243039/EN-US/ ) How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows 95

How to Narrow the Focus of the Behavior

If your computer no longer exhibits the behavior, you can narrow the focus of the behavior. To do this, you must use System Configuration Utility to restore files or file entries until you determine the specific entry that is causing the behavior. This process is commonly referred to as "restoring by halves" because you restore half of the entries that you previously removed, restart your computer, and then you test to see if the behavior continues to occur:
  1. Click to clear all of the check boxes in the Selective Startup section on the General tab in System Configuration Utility, click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
  2. If the behavior continues to occur, use the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings tab in System Configuration Utility. See the "Advanced Clean-Boot Troubleshooting" section in this article for more information.
  3. If the behavior continues to occur, restart your computer in Safe mode and test. If the behavior continues to occur when you restart your computer in Safe mode, contact Technical Support. To start your computer in Safe mode, restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until you see the Startup menu, and then choose the Safe Mode menu option.For additional information about how to start your computer in Safe mode, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    180902  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/180902/EN-US/ ) How to Start a Windows 98-Based Computer in Safe Mode
  4. If the behavior does not occur when you click to clear all of the check boxes, click to select both the Process System.ini File and Process Win.ini File check boxes, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior still occurs.
  5. If the behavior does occur when both the System.ini and Win.ini files are processed, the behavior is related to one of the files. If one of the files is causing the behavior, click to clear the check box for only one of the files. If the behavior occurs, an entry in the file that is selected is causing the behavior. If this is true, go to step 9.
  6. If the behavior does not occur after you click to select both the both the Process System.ini File and Process Win.ini File check boxes, click to select the Process Autoexec.bat File check box, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior still occurs. If the behavior occurs, an entry in the Autoexec.bat file is causing the behavior. If this is true, go to step 9.
  7. If the behavior does not occur after you click to select the Process Autoexec.bat File check box, click to select the Process Config.sys File check box, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior still occurs. If the behavior occurs, an entry in the Config.sys file is causing the behavior. If the behavior does not occur, an item in the Startup group or in the Winstart.bat file is causing the behavior.
  8. Click to select the Process Winstart.bat File check box, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior still occurs. If the behavior does not occur, an item in the Load Startup Items section is causing the behavior.
  9. Click to select the check box on the General tab for the file that you determine is causing the behavior, click the tab that represents that file, click to clear the bottom half of check boxes in the list, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior still occurs.

    For example, if an entry in the Config.sys file is causing the behavior, click to select the Process Config.sys File check box on the General tab, click the Config.sys tab, click to clear the bottom four of the eight check boxes is the list, click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
  10. If the behavior continues to occur, one of the check boxes that you clicked to select is causing the behavior. If the behavior does not occur, one of the check boxes that you clicked to clear is causing the behavior.

    If one of the check boxes that you clicked to select is causing the behavior, click to clear half of the remaining check boxes that are selected, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior occurs. If one of the check boxes that you clicked to clear is causing the behavior, click to select half of the check boxes that you clicked to clear, restart your computer, and then test to see if the behavior occurs.
When you follow these steps, you can isolate the specific file entry that is causing the behavior after you restart your computer several times. After you determine the specific file entry that is causing the behavior, it is recommended that you edit the appropriate file or registry key to remove this entry, and then return System Configuration Utility to the Normal Startup option.

To return System Configuration Utility to the Normal Startup option:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the General tab, click Normal Startup, and then click OK.
  3. When you are prompted to restart your computer, click No.
If the entry that is causing the behavior is in the Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, Win.ini, or System.ini file, use the System Configuration Editor tool (Sysedit.exe) to edit the file and disable the appropriate line or lines:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type sysedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the Window menu, click the appropriate file name (for example, click C:\Windows\System.ini).
  3. Type rem followed by a space at the beginning of the appropriate line that is causing the behavior.
  4. On the File menu, click Save.
  5. On the File menu, click Exit.
  6. Restart your computer.
If the entry that is causing the behavior is a program that is on the Startup tab, remove the program from the Startup folder or delete the program from the registry. To remove the program from the Startup folder:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Taskbar And Start Menu.
  2. Click the Start Menu Programs tab, and then click Remove.
  3. Double-click Startup, click the appropriate entry, and then click Remove.
  4. Click Close, click OK, and then restart your computer.
If the entry that is causing the behavior is not in the Startup folder, the program may be loading from the registry. To remove the entry from the registry:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then press ENTER.
  2. In Registry Editor, locate and click the following registry keys, one at a time, and then click Export Registry Key on the Registry menu for backup purposes:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    -and-

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
  3. Delete the file_name.exe value in the right pane for the appropriate registry key, where file_name is the name of the file that is causing the behavior:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    -and-

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices

    -and-

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx

    -and-

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  4. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart your computer.

Troubleshooting Example

This example illustrates how to determine a specific startup setting that causes an undesired behavior in one of your programs:
  1. Clean boot the computer:

    1. On the General tab in the System Configuration Utility, click Selective Startup.
    2. Click to clear all of the check boxes in the Selective Startup section, and then click OK.
    3. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior no longer occurs.

    NOTE: If the behavior still occurs, you may not be able to resolve the behavior by clean booting your computer. View the "Advanced Clean-Boot Troubleshooting" section in this article, use the Microsoft Knowledge Base to query for information about the behavior that you are experiencing, or contact Microsoft Technical Support.
  2. To determine if a line in either the Win.ini file or the System.ini file causes the behavior:

    1. On the General tab in the System Configuration utility, click Selective Startup.
    2. Click to select the both the Process Win.ini file check box and the Process System.ini file check box, and then click OK.
    3. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior does not occur. Nothing in the Win.ini file or the System.ini file causes the behavior.
  3. To determine if a line in the Autoexec.bat file causes the behavior:

    1. On the General tab in the System Configuration utility, click to select the Process Autoexec.bat file check box, and then click OK.
    2. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior does not occur. Nothing in the Autoexec.bat file causes the behavior. Since the Winstart.bat file does not exist in this example, something in the Config.sys file must cause the behavior.
  4. In this example, the Config.sys file contains eight lines. To determine which half of the file contains the line that causes the behavior:

    1. On the General tab in the System Configuration utility, click to select the Process Config.sys file check box, and then click the Config.sys tab.
    2. On the Config.sys tab, click to clear the check boxes for the first half of the lines in the list. In this example, you click to clear the first four check boxes.
    3. Click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior does not occur. The line that causes the behavior must be one of the first four lines in the Config.sys file.
  5. Re-select half of the check boxes that you cleared in step 5:

    1. In the System Configuration utility, click the Config.sys tab.
    2. On the Config.sys tab, click to select the first half of the check boxes that you cleared in step 5. In this example, you click to select the first two check boxes in the list.
    3. Click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior does not occur. The line that causes the behavior must be the third or fourth line in the Config.sys file.
  6. To determine which line causes the behavior:

    1. In the System Configuration utility, click the Config.sys tab.
    2. On the Config.sys tab, click to select the first half of the remaining cleared check boxes that you cleared in step 5. In this example, you click to select the third check box in the list.
    3. Click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.
    When you test your program, the behavior does not occur. The line that causes the behavior is the fourth line in the Config.sys file.

    NOTE: This line may be required to run another program or to access hardware on your computer. If this is true, check the documentation for the software or hardware manufacturer that added the line to the file, or contact the manufacturer for an updated driver.
To restore your normal startup settings, click Normal startup - load all device drivers and software on the General tab in the System Configuration Utility, and then click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, click Yes.

Tips for Clean-Boot Troubleshooting

If you click to clear the following check box entries, you can often reduce the number of steps that are necessary to remove all of the startup files that are listed in the Selective Startup section on the General tab in System Configuration Utility and then restore the check boxes by halves:
  • Click to clear any third-party drivers that are listed in the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files.
  • Click to clear any lines that end in a .386 file extension in the [386Enh] section of the System.ini file.
  • Click to clear Load= or Run= entries (if any are present) in the [Windows] section of the Win.ini file.
View the "How to Use System Configuration Utility" section in this article for information about how file entries are disabled for different boot files.

Advanced Clean-Boot Troubleshooting

If you use the Selective Startup option on the General tab in System Configuration Utility to clear all of the boot entry check boxes and the behavior still occurs, use the following troubleshooting steps:
  • Click to select every check box on the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings tab in System Configuration Utility. To verify the items that are on the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings tab:
    1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. On the General tab, click Advanced, click to select each check box, click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
    3. Use the restoring by halves process to isolate the behavior. View the "How to Narrow the Focus" section in this article to learn more about the restoring by halves process. Many of the behaviors that you can isolate through this process are related to hardware or driver-compatibility issues. When you isolate the behavior, contact the hardware or software manufacturer to inquire about an updated driver or about compatibility issues with Windows 98. For additional information about the "Advanced Troubleshooting Settings" tab in System Configuration Utility, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      181966  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/181966/EN-US/ ) System Configuration Utility Advanced Troubleshooting Settings
  • Change your video adapter to the Standard Video Graphics Adapter (VGA) video adapter:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Display.
    2. Click the Settings tab, click Advanced, click the Adapter tab, and then click Change.
    3. Click Next, click Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location, so you can select the driver you want, and then click Next.
    4. Click Show All Hardware, click Standard Display Types in the Manufacturer's box, click Standard Display Adapter (VGA) in the Models box, and then click Next.
    5. Click Yes, click Next, and then click Finish.
    6. Click Close, click Close, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.

      If the behavior does not occur when you change your video adapter to the Standard VGA video adapter, contact your video adapter manufacturer to enquire about an updated Windows 98 video adapter driver. For additional information about how to troubleshoot display behaviors, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      127139  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/127139/EN-US/ ) Troubleshooting Video Problems in Windows
  • Click Diagnostic Startup on the General tab in System Configuration Utility, and then do not load static .vxd files. To select Diagnostic Startup to avoid loading static .vxd files:
    1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. On the General tab, click Diagnostic startup - interactively load device drivers and software, and then click OK.
    3. Restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
    4. On the Startup menu, choose the Step-By-Step Confirmation menu option, and then press ENTER.
    5. View the following table for the choices and how it is recommended that you respond to the prompts that you receive:
      Prompt                                            Your response
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      Load DoubleSpace Driver?                          Yes
      Process the system registry                       Yes
      Create a startup log file (BOOTLOG.TXT)           Yes
      Process your startup device drivers (CONFIG.SYS)  No
      DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS                       Yes
      DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\DBLBUFF.SYS                     Yes
      DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\IFSHLP.SYS                  Yes
      Process your startup command file (AUTOEXEC.BAT)  No
      Load the Windows graphical user interface         Yes
      Load all Windows drivers?                         Yes
      								
      Note that the location of the Windows folder on your computer may vary. You may not receive all of these prompts, depending on the startup files that are on your computer. Press ENTER to respond with Yes, and press ESC to respond with No.
    6. Note each static .vxd file and respond with No to avoid loading each file. View the following partial list of Microsoft static .vxd files:
      Static .vxd file          Provides support for
      ----------------------------------------------
      Vnetsup.vxd               Microsoft Networking
      Ndis.vxd                  Microsoft Networking
      Ndis2sup.vxd              Microsoft Networking
      Javasup.vxd               Microsoft Java
      Vrtwd.386                 Clock
      Vfixd.vxd                 Video Phone helper
      Vnetbios.vxd              Microsoft Networking
      Vserver.vxd               Microsoft Networking
      Vredir.vxd                Microsoft Networking
      Dfs.vxd                   Microsoft Networking
      Ndiswan.vxd               Microsoft Networking
      Msmouse.vxd               Microsoft Mouse
      							
    7. If the behavior no longer occurs, repeat steps 1 through 6, but press ENTER to respond with Yes to each of the files in the previous list. If the behavior no longer occurs, the behavior is not related to any of the static .vxd files in the list.
    8. Use the restoring by halves process to isolate the static .vxd file that is causing the behavior.
    9. Delete the incompatible static .vxd folder under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD registry key.

Notes

Msdos.sys

The Msdos.sys file contains basic information about the location of the Windows folder, startup files, and other options. You can edit some of these options on the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings tab in System Configuration Utility.

For additional information about the Msdos.sys file, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
118579  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118579/EN-US/ ) Contents of the Windows Msdos.sys File

Config.sys

The Config.sys file is provided for backwards compatibility with MS-DOS- based and earlier Windows-based programs. The Config.sys file may not be present on your computer. The Config.sys file loads low-level MS-DOS-based drivers, and many of the files have a .sys file extension.

Autoexec.bat

The Autoexec.bat file is also provided for backwards compatibility with MS-DOS-based and older Windows-based programs. The Autoexec.bat file may not be present on your computer. The Autoexec.bat file loads MS-DOS-based programs, and many of the files have either a .com or .exe file extension.

Winboot.ini

The Winboot.ini file is a temporary version of the Msdos.sys file that may be present on your computer if a program is making changes to your computer that may affect the boot process. Typically, the Winboot.ini file is deleted after the program is complete, resides in the root folder, and overrides settings in the Msdos.sys file.

Winstart.bat

The Winstart.bat file may not be available as a check box on the General tab in System Configuration Utility. The Winstart.bat file is created for programs that need to run an MS-DOS-based program to enable functionality of a Windows-based program. Most users do not have this program.

System.ini

The System.ini file contains information about your computer's settings for specific hardware. This file must be present in the Windows folder for Windows to start. The System.ini file is used to load various drivers including sound and video adapter drivers. The System.ini file may also contain additional 16-bit drivers for hardware does not use 32-bit drivers.

When you click to clear the Process System.ini File check box in System Configuration Utility and restart your computer, the following changes occur:
  • Your display is set to a resolution of 640 X 480 pixels with 16 colors. If you had the display set to a higher resolution, program shortcuts on your desktop may overlap.
  • Your sound card no longer works correctly.

Win.ini

The Win.ini file contains information that is specific to the overall appearance of Windows. The Win.ini file must be present in the Windows folder or it is re-created by Windows, is read at startup for backwards-compatibility with Windows 3.x, and many of the settings are duplicated in the registry. When you click to clear the Process Win.ini File check box in System Configuration Utility, a generic version of the Win.ini file is created.

Wininit.ini

The Wininit.ini file is used to complete the installation of various components for Windows and third-party products. Each time that a program needs to copy or remove a file that is in use, instructions are written to the Wininit.ini file. Windows checks for the presence of the Wininit.ini file during the boot process and, if found, performs the instructions. Rename the Wininit.ini file with a .old file extension to troubleshoot behaviors, if the Wininit.ini file is present.

System.dat

The System.dat file is one of two registry files that are required to start Windows. The System.dat file is similar to the System.ini file, and contains computer and software settings. The Load Startup Group option contains the entries that are loaded from the System.dat portion of the registry.

User.dat

The User.dat file is the second of two registry files that are required to start Windows. The User.dat file is similar to the Win.ini file because it contains information about how to run specific programs and information about the overall appearance of Windows.

How to Create a Backup Copy of Startup Files

You can use System Configuration Utility to create a backup copy of the startup files that are described in this article. To do this, click Create Backup on the General tab in System Configuration Utility. You can choose to save the files in a folder on one of your hard disks, or you can save the files to a floppy disk, which is recommended.

Static .vxd files are used to load virtual hardware and software drivers. Many third-party manufacturers add their own static .vxd files.
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