Win98se problems - slow startup & system locks up

By Jay Jay ยท 5 replies
Dec 30, 2004
  1. Hi everyone, I'm new to TS and this is my first post.. I've installed Win98se on my new computer and the installation process went smoothly without any hassles, but when I start up the computer and '98 begins the boot up sequence, the problems begin. It takes at least 2 to 3 mins for the boot up to complete and this is on a machine with a P4 3.6 Ghz CPU!

    I don't understand why this is happening seeing as both my PII 350 Mhz with Win95OSR2 and my PII 233 Mhz with Win2000 Pro zip through their bootups within seconds..

    After doing a search through yahoo/google & microsoft and suspecting this slothful performance might be down to bloated config/autoexec files I used EDIT to have a look and both of them had hardly any lines (my Win95 PC has much more). Not one to give up so quickly, I had a look in the startup folder but it's empty. Anyone have an idea as to what's causing the slow booting?

    The second problem is to do with the real dos mode CD-ROM driver (cdrom.sys) supplied by on the NERO kit that came with my DVD/RW's. It's important for me to be able to run the PC in real dos mode from time to time (one of the reasons I'm running Win9x on a new comp), so I installed them and things became even worse..

    Once '98 finally appears I can't access windows explorer or the My Computer desktop shortcut, If I try, the system halts and while the mouse pointer can be moved, there is no response to mouse clicks or the keyboard, apart from a few occasions where the best I can hope for is a very sluggish operation. For example, I can see that the start button has been pressed, but there is still no response (and the start button remains depressed, the start menu remains visible, no further progress is made and they don't return to their normal appearance).

    After this happens, the only way out is to power down manually and restart.

    If I delete the real dos mode drivers (cdrom.sys and mscdex) from the startup sequence, the computer works fine, apart from the slow boot problem which happens regardless of the configuration. I've tried every solution I could think of: from adding a 'dma switch' to the startup sequence to visiting the Soyo site and updating the Award BIOS to the latest version. Sadly it's made no difference.

    Anyone know what's going wrong here?

    Any pointers or help will be appreciated, thanks..
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    My first thought would be that your HD is probably too big for W98 to handle. I think the limit is 137GB

    If you have more than 512MB memory, you need to set a VCACHE limit. Do a Google on it.

    Also found this, and it looks like your PC is overkill for W98: a super pc for windows 98se.php

    Something else:
    You will need the updated fdisk.exe in order to see a hard drive larger than 64GB. It is found near the lower portion of the following MS webpage:;en-us;Q263044 where it says:
    Install it.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Is the machine networked? If it is, it might be trying to get an IP address or scanning for network shares.

    As far as I know, the amount of memory (and vcache setting) doesn't affect startup times and neither does accessing hdd above 137 GB boundary (the latter only corrupts the drive in Win98 unless 48-bit compatible controller is used).
  4. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    Thanks for the feedback.. :)

    The machine isn't networked, though it does have an onboard LAN NIC, which according to system properties is working correctly and poses no problems.

    I eliminated any HDD problems from the start of the installation by ensuring I had the latest version of FDISK to prep my drives and I've made sure the partitions aren't larger than 137gb to avoid grief. '98 is able to read the drive's full size from windows explorer, system properties and even the dos prompt.

    As for the memory, again I kept that to a reasonable size to avoid blue screens after reading about people having trouble with large ram and '98: the PC has 512mb of ram and windows doesn't report any problems and is able to report the full size from system properties or from the mem command at the dos prompt..

    So reckon the slow boot is attributed to '98 having to configure an 'unexpected' amount of hardware? If that's case then if the worst comes to the worst I can live with that.. Any suggestions on how to cure the real dos mode CD-ROM driver problem? The thought has crossed my mind on creating a boot up option in the startup sequence that will enable me to choose between 'real mode dos' or win98se, whaddya think, will that do the trick?

    Let me know what you'd advise..

    Thanks again. :D
  5. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    MSCDEX has parameters where you can exclude drives from being affected. See if that brings anything.
  6. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    Thanks again realbackstuff.. This is a helpful board :)

    I did a google and came up with the MSCDEX parameters,


    MSCDEX [/E/K/S/V] [/D:driver ... ] [/L:letter] [/M:buffers]

    /E Forces the CD-ROM driver to use expanded memory, if available, to store sector buffers.

    /K Forces Dos to recognize CD-ROM discs encoded in Kanji.

    /S Enables sharing of CD-ROM drives on networks

    /V Forces memory statistics to be displayed on start-up

    /D:driver The driver signature of the CD-ROM device driver (assigned when the device is loaded in config.sys).

    /L:letter The drive letter to assign to the first CD-ROM drive. If there is more than one drive, the additional drives are assigned subsequent available drive letters.

    M:buffers The number of sector buffers.

    Which of these switches do I need to add to the MSCDEX in my autoexec in order to exclude the drives from being affected?
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