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Troubleshooting Win98 freezing. Any techniques?

By Vigilante
Jun 30, 2006
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  1. Hey fellas. Quick question.

    I got a 98 PC here that will just up and freeze solid. No warning, no errors. No log files, no minidumps, no clues whatsoever. You have to restart it, and then you have nothing to help diag.

    So assume hardware is fine, it may have issues, but work with me here. Assume we've got a software problem. Does anybody know of any tools that can somehow monitor or track the system to tell me what causes a freezeup? Kinda similar to the old Norton Crashguard. Is there some way to give me a clue what is happening when it freezes, because otherwise I have no clues what is causing the freeze.
    It can freeze any time in any program. From a few minutes to 20 minutes or more.

    I am currently trying to rule out overheat, and hardware issues. But I'm trying to find something to help me from the software side. A freeze detection program? I don't know.

    Any ideas?
  2. Sjbrand99

    Sjbrand99 Banned Posts: 267

    Firstly, no wonder it freezes! WINDOWS '98!!! HA!. The computer cannot cope with many modern computong functions and internet uses. Secondly, seldom will you find a program for 98... let alone one with matching your description.
    Either buy a new pc, or get used to crashes!
  3. Peddant

    Peddant TS Rookie Posts: 1,644

    The problem is one,several or none of these -

    Windows 98 files have become corrupted. Hint! Running Windows Scan Disk can correct some of these problems.

    Windows 98 Registry files become corrupted. Hint! If you backup the Registry shortly after a good Windows 98 installation, you can install the Registry backup files. This will correct the corrupted files.

    Windows 98 ActiveX controls become corrupted.

    Software drivers for you computer hardware ( modem, sound card, or video card) become corrupted.
    A new installation of the Windows 98 operating system did not properly install, causing corrupted files.

    The installation of a new software application did not properly install, causing corrupted files.

    Improperly uninstalling a software application.

    Computer games can corrupt Windows files. Make sure the games are for the correct version of Windows.

    Installing a new software application with the Anti-Virus program enabled. Always disable the Anti-Virus application prior to a new software application installation. You can enable it after the installation.

    A virus will corrupt Windows operating systems.

    CLEAN BOOT TROUBLESHOOTING
  4. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    Ha, well it's not my PC, I wouldn't have a 98 PC. I much prefer Windows ME for my critical applications and data security :)

    Yes there is a lot of troubleshooting steps I can take, but unfortunetly, I don't have liberty to do so.
    I'm looking for some kind of software program or tshooting tool that can help point to the right cause BEFORE having to actually DO the fixes first.

    If there were a program that could say xxx.dll caused it. Or xxx driver messed up. Or whatever.

    If I had liberty to do so, I'd reload this particular PC, and it looks like their RAM may have issues, which is very likely the freezing of course. I just wish I could verify with more then a 60% certainty.
    You know, people are spending money on these junkers. If I say it's RAM, it must be RAM. And if they plunk down the money to replace it, it better work. You know what I mean?

    Just need to see if there is a prog to monitor the system and tell me what is going on when it freezes.
  5. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646

    Vig.. You feeling a little nostagic Ehh!!!! 98...
    Anyway remember 98 uses the old Dos 1 meg memory structure and cannot isolate hardware memory errors from Software memory errors.So for Software conflicts.
    System Information can help with IRQ conflicts. then
    I always used Task Manager to shutdown running Apps 1 at a time.
    Secondly if you know the installation history of this Machine it would help if you know the manner in which software was installed.
    98 was very touchy and I always had the best success by installing programs after shutting down all running tasks you can.
    Also msconfig , Dr watson and System file checker.
    I do not know a software program that did this automatically, but I will search in my mags, for a great 98 web free support site that was highly regarded.
    In the meantime ,hve fun!

    Edit: We must have been posting at the same time so forget the half my post you don't need.
    however I will see if I can find that site.
  6. confused001

    confused001 TS Rookie Posts: 142

    Try doing safe mode, and seeing if the computer would work.
    If it still does not work, try doing doctor watson.

    (People shouldn't criticize 98, its more stable than you think. More powerful than you think. Almost like XP :))
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,344   +49

    Win 98 not so bad

    Indeed Win98 is not as bad as some think, but it is OLD, so really, the PC might be OLD too !

    Some simple things to check - run chkdsk, defragment, run a memory tester for a long time, run a hard drive tester for a long time. Do all of these in safe mode to eliminate possible software problems as much as possible. Remove and replace all connections inside the case, clean all the fuzz out, take out every card and carefully clean it (avoid static !!). Unclip the processor heat sink and clip it down again if that can be done easily.

    Look for and if necessary, update the bios to the latest available version for the motherboard

    If you manage to eliminate all possible hardware problems like this, then you must start looking at very recent softeware installs which are less than 100% compatible with Win98. At least run system file checker to replace any suspect recent changes to system files.

    In my heavy experience of Win98se (still ongoing at work), most sudden lockups can be related to hardware, and the rest to excessive memory demand caused by the merry mess of stuff people tend to load onto their PC's and have running without (most usually) being aware of it. Cut down all the umpteen font files you dont use, but which gobble up memory in win98.

    Eventually you might find something by disconnecting peices of hardware for a few hours - I have even known frequent lockups to be caused by a faulty CD rom drive, even though that was never used.

    OOps ! sorry Vigilente - I just re-read your post, and realised you know all this already, but dont have the PC in front of you to test. Suppose all you can do is send the owner some detailed hardware testing instructions, and dont take 'cant' for an answer....
  8. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    To have some closure on this.

    The RAM proved to be a problem. Swapping with our good stick, kept it from freezing for a much longer time. But sometimes still would, especially after any power save mode such as even screen saver or monitor-off.

    I believe a reload and new RAM would set it strait. But, thankfully, finding the RAM fault gave me leverage to just recommend a new system, as this wouldn't be worth fixing. So there you go.
    Now, I'm glad I didn't spend all that time going through two dozen troubleshooting steps and reloading drivers etc.... Finding cool programs to track these errors saves time, every minute helps when you're trying to get a lot of jobs done.

    Thanks for the tips!
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