Win98 Won't Start Up

Question: When I start up my classroom computer, it reaches the initial Windows 98 screen and then goes to a Windows Registry Checker (blue screen) stating it is backing up system files. It never gets off of that screen; I have to reboot. I tried scandisk after pressing CTRL on boot-up, but that doesn't correct it.

The IT Guy says:
The Windows Registry Checker is set up to scan your system for invalid registry settings, and if it finds problems, it will normally restore registry settings to previously saved backup settings that were functional. Since your computer cannot boot past this process, you may have corrupted registry settings and a bad backup version, which the computer cannot restore. By default, Windows 98 will save registry settings from the past 5 days the computer was restarted, so most likely you do have a saved set registry settings you can restore that will work.

If you are in a lab setting, the easiest way to deal with problems like this is often to use imaging software like Symantec Ghost and re-image the hard drive from the server or CD-ROM. (http://enterprisesecurity.symantec.com/products/products.cfm?ProductID=3&EID=0) Re-imaging means replacing all the data on your hard drive with a saved image from a "pristine" / fully functional computer usually identical in its hardware components. For minor problems this may seem like overkill, but if you are short on time and need that computer to be functional again with a minimum of effort it may be the way to go.

If the computer is not in a lab and/or imaging software is not available, you may be able to either restore the registry settings to their default values or else reinstall the operating system. Most likely you can restore the registry settings.

To do this, boot into DOS (the command prompt.) At startup after rebooting, hold down the control key when the startup BIOS information for your computer disappears. When a menu of choices appears, press the spacebar to provide additional time to make your selection. Use the arrow keys or press the appropriate number to select a startup to the command prompt only.

After starting up to the command line, type SCANREG/RESTORE. You should see a menu of choices for the backup versions of the registry (CABs). Select the one you want to restore using the arrow keys, then select EXIT and restart your computer.

Microsoft has an article describing how you can customize the Registry Checker Tool settings for Windows98 on http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;183603. You can set the computer to backup more copies of the registry and also create the backups more frequently. You can also manually create backups. It is a good idea to create a backup before installing new software, just in case the software installs something that causes a conflict. In that case, you can use the steps above to restore your registry settings to the previously functional settings.

Next Tip: Deep Freeze on Windows 2000/XP?

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