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clarkcomp asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I have a 200MHZ MMX with a mixture of sdram and simms. The PC runs fine under win95 but when I put on win98 I get an error after copying system files and when it reboots that windows was unable to initialize NTKERN please reboot and same happens again. The PC wont even boot in safe mode. The following devices are installed a pci video card, adaptec 1540 isa scsi controller, smart and friendly ext scsi cdr, parallel backpack cdrom, zoltrix modem. I have fdisk and formatted the 2gb hard drive and started with a fresh install but still have the same problem. Any suggestions?
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Try copying the Win98 directory to the hard drive, and install Win98 from the hard drive.  That will eliminate a device in the transfer chain, and a possible source of data corruption. Also, try installing without the modem and the backpack cdrom attached, and add them in after Win98 successfully installs (being optimistic here).  Also, before you try this, try doing a step-by-step boot to see if you can determine where it craps out...might help to determine the cause.  


I have already tried everything mentioned and am still experiencing problems

A Win32 Driver Model (WDM) driver can run under Windows 98 and future versions of Windows NT. WDM uses a layered architecture in which each layer isolates portions of the services required of a device driver. This design also allows hardware vendors to contain all hardware-specific functionality in a single file. Before WDM, device drivers had to include hooks for a particular operating system in addition to the elements necessary to interact with a specific piece of hardware. This nonlayered approach prevented device drivers from being supported across multiple operating systems.
The WDM layered architecture is shown in Figure 28.3.
Figure 28.3   WDM layered architecture
The components of the WDM layered architecture are defined in the following sections.
Device Class Drivers
Device class drivers provide interfaces between different layers of the WDM architecture. The lower layer of a device class driver communicates with the class-specific interface exposed by a device minidriver. The upper edge of the device class driver is specific to the operating system. Device class drivers have the following attributes:
·      They contain class functions (such as enumeration) not specific to hardware or buses.
·      They are dynamically loaded and unloaded.
·      They expose a single class-specific interface to multiple-client layers.
An example of a device class driver is Hidclass.sys. This is the generic layer for such input devices as keyboards, mouse devices, and joysticks.
For more information about device drivers, see Chapter 30, “Hardware Management.”
Bus Class Drivers
Bus class drivers perform the same function as device class drivers but facilitate the communication between the hardware layer and bus minidrivers. Under Windows 98, WDM supports bus class drivers for the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and the IEEE 1394 bus. An example of a bus class driver is Usbd.sys, for the USB.
For more information about bus drivers, see Chapter 30, “Hardware Management.”
Minidrivers were implemented under Windows 95 in the classes of small computer system interface (SCSI) and network adapters. With Windows 98, the concept of minidrivers has been widened to include support for USB, the IEEE 1394 bus, digital audio, DVD players, still imaging, and video capture. Minidrivers either communicate directly with hardware or form the “glue” between two class drivers.
Hardware minidrivers have the following attributes:
·      They are source-compatible and binary-compatible across platforms, allowing the minidriver to be used in Windows 98 as well as Windows NT.
·      They are dynamically loaded and unloaded.
·      They contain only hardware-specific functionality.
·      They can expose multiple class interfaces. This functionality is very important in respect to multifunction (or composite) cards. Audio and video hardware are typical examples of multifunction devices.
Minidrivers that connect class drivers have the following attributes:
·      They are source-compatible and binary-compatible across platforms, allowing the minidriver to be used in Windows 98 as well as future versions of Windows NT.
·      They are dynamically loaded and unloaded.
·      They indirectly control hardware through a specific bus class driver.
An example of a “bridging” minidriver is Hidusb.sys. This Human Interface Device (HID) class minidriver translates HID I/O into request packets that are understood by the USB class driver (Usbd.sys).
For more information about HID, see “Human Interface Device Drivers” later in this chapter and Chapter 30, “Hardware Management.”
Legacy Virtualization Drivers
Though non-portable, virtualization drivers occasionally have a place in the WDM layer, Windows 98 virtualization drivers can allow legacy hardware interfaces to be used with WDM devices. For example, an MS-DOS-based game running on an MS-DOS virtual machine (VM) under Windows 98 might attempt to read a joystick’s position by directly accessing the I/O ports associated with the legacy game port controller. The virtualization driver for HID joystick support would trap these requests and redirect them into the HID class driver. Another use for a VxD is to act as a “mapper” between the Windows 98 VxD architecture and the WDM architecture. For example, Joyhid.vxd forwards HID class driver information on to Vjoyd.vxd. For a detailed example of VxDs in the WDM stack, see “Human Interface Device Drivers” later in this chapter.
For more information about virtualization drivers, see “The Virtualization Driver” earlier in this chapter.
The Win32 Driver Model is implemented in Windows 98 by adding a new layer to the existing device driver architecture. Kernel Services handles device driver access for Windows NT, whereas Ntkern.vxd handles device driver access for Windows 98. Ntkern.vxd abstracts the Windows 98 architecture to look like the Windows NT architecture. This abstraction allows vendors to develop one driver for both operating systems.
For more information about WDM, see Chapter 30, “Hardware Management.”


I have seen this error several times on 95 & 98. Most of the time is was related to the USB files being corrupted or USB enabled in the Bios when USB was not being used.

Good Luck,


I have found the problem. After taking out the simms and just leaving sdram in the problem went away. Everything is working fine now so the problem was with the mixture of simms and sdram I had.
Just get rid of those simms because they will certainly cause your problem.


as mentioned I found the problem and I will get rid of the other simms thab\nks for the response


This comes from:
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32\filename.VXD On the re-boot following reinstallation of
Windows 95, you get the following message: "Windows could not combine VXDs into a
monolithic before starting. Windows may not run properly. If Windows fails to start, run
setup again. Press any key to continue."
Once you press a key, the following message will appear: "A device that is specified in the
SYSTEM.INI file is damaged.
It may be needed to run Windows. You may need to run the Windows setup program
again. If the file is included in another software package, you may need to reinstall the
software that uses this file.
This message MAY appear for each of the following
VXD files.

After going through the 13 error messages, the following message will appear:
"Configruration manager cannot load because one of the following files is not present or
has an invalid version number: VMM32.VXD, SHELL.VXD, VTD.VXD, VXDLDR.VXD,
WPICD.VXD. Try running setup again. Press any key to continue."
When you press a key, you will get the message "It is now safe to turn off your
On subsequent reboots you will only get the 13 error messages and "Safe to turn off"
message. You will also get these error messages if you attempt to boot in Safe mode.

NOTE! IF you are just getting and error message for NTKERN.VXD, go to the HOW TO
section steps 17-19

The cause of my problem was the version of Win 95 installed on my new computer was
different from the version of Win 95 included on the distribution disks. This problem
occurs because you are installing OSR2 (CD) over OSR2.1 (HDD). OSR2.1 is really OSR2
with the USB Supplement, but because some file versions are different, installing OSR2
over OSR2.1 will cause some problems. The main thing to remember is that when installing
OSR2 over OSR2.1 you will need to overwrite many of the newer files with the older ones.
If you opt to keep the newer version, this problem will occur. The below how-to steps
changes the installed Windows version to 2.0. Currently Microsoft has not released an end
user upgrade to go from OSR2 to OSR 2.1. However, there should be one made available
as a driver as USB products come to the market.

To solve the problem, Re-install Windows 95 and each time the setup program asked if you
wished to replace a newer file with an older one (as shipped on the distribution disks)
answere "yes" and replaced the files. The result was that I now had a completely "new"
version of the "older" Windows 95 installed on the computer. At this time, I still was
receiving the message about NTKERN.VXD. I discovered an update file for Windows 95
called OEMUSB.EXE. When this file was executed, it updated the "older" version of
Windows 95 to the current version as was installed on my computer to start with.
Try this, It should work for you. In case it doesn't . . .

Reinstall Windows 95 using the distribution CD. Then, be sure to overwrite all newer VXD
files with the older ones on the CD. Then remove the USB supplement for OSR2 from
Add/Remove Programs in Device Manager.

Here is the procedure:
1. Boot to command prompt only.
2. At the C:\> prompt, type: CD\windows\options\cabs and press <ENTER>.
3. Type <SETUP>, press <ENTER>.
4. Press <ENTER> to run scandisk.
5. At the software license agreement click YES.
6. At the Windows 95 startup wizard screen click YES.
7. At the choose directory screen click NEXT.
8. At the setup options screen click NEXT (Typical is selected).
9. At the user information screen, verify information and click NEXT.
10. At the analyzing computer screen click NEXT.
11. At the windows components screen click NEXT.
12. At the startup disk screen select NO, and click NEXT.
13. At the start copying files screen, click NEXT.
14. During copying, you will get a VERSION Conflict message about the file
WINOA386.VXD. Click NO to all.
15. At the finishing Setup screen click NEXT. Windows 95 will now reboot to the system.
You will now get only one error message for the NTKERN.VXD. The following steps
should correct the problem.
16. Follow the directions on the screen to finish setting up Windows 95.
17. Go to START; Settings; Control Panel; Add/Remove Programs.
18. In the list, double click on USB Supplement for OSR2.
19. Click YES to restart the system.

Regards, Bud


this question has already been fixed by me. message to smeebud this was a windows 98 problem the pc worked fine in win 95. the problem was a mixture of simms with sdram and that solved the problem. I have written a question to customer service to delete this question.

Ok Clark.
For my records, A mixture of ram caused the NTKERN error.
I didn't see what the exact error message was. Would you post it please.

Regards, Bud


to smeebud
the original indications was that the pc works fine in win95 but when I installed win 98 after it originally copied the system files the pc automatically reboots to install pnp, customer settings ect. I get the error "unable to initialize NTKERN" please reboot and try again. The pc wont even come up in safe mode. Thats when I removed the simms and just left the sdram in place. reloaded win 98 everything worked ok after that. It must be some timing issue with the type of simms I had or just bad simms. Who knows

Ok, clark,

Gene, You can request that his question be deleted in the Customer Service group, enter it as a question with zero points, and list the question number in the message. Linda, or someone else from EE with eventually delete it for you and return the points to your account.
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