First and foremost, I have an immense respect for the people who answer these questions. I know it takes a lot of time and often headache to tackle this configuration problems; usually I'm the one doing such for family and friends. Now I'm the one that's been confounded for months.
In despair, I did an Internet search on "initializing device IOS" and found the recent question posted here at EE. I printed out the entire thread and tried everything there, even if I've already tried it before. I'll try to be as complete and descriptive to aid your efforts.
Problem: About 2 out of 3 system boots, I'll get an error message before Win95 completes startup. It'll be on a DOS-like screen, written at the top.
"While initializing device IOS:
Windows protection error. You must restart your computer."
"Windows protection error. You must restart your computer."
After reboot, the system prompts me with the startup method menu (normal, safe mode, etc.). If I choose Safe Mode, nothing really happens. If I choose normal, whether or not I chose Safe Mode just prior, I may or may not get the error message. In order to get 'normal' system operation, I just continue hitting the reset button and choosing 'Normal' until I get into Win95. Then, when it finally will give me a full, normal boot, it will take an unusually long time with HD activity all the while.
Things I've tried to do:
-rename/delete "rmm.pdr". It appeared to regenerate.
-download and run "iosfix.exe".
-remove "autoexec.bat" and "config.sys".
-enter lame files for "autoexec.bat" and "config.sys" per <magigraf>'s prescription.
-removed all system devices and allowed a redetect by Windows
Other items of note:
-this all started after a board/CPU upgrade
-system devices were (will be?) double and sometimes up to quadruple entered in the my list of devices as seen at My Computer-Properties. This seems indiscriminate in it's choice of devices. Everything from display adapters to the system clock has fell to this phenomenon.
-after the error, windows will forget my preferences for the taskbar and file viewing (like, in list form with a toolbar and view in one reused window).
-after a recent video card replacement, I've been unable to remove the previous video's entry in the "Add/Remove Programs" list. It says I need to do this while in safe mode, but still will not let me remove it. This item does not appear in my list of system devices.
-I have two items in "Other Devices" with no driver installed. A "PCI Universal Bus" and a "PCI Bridge". I have no idea where to begin there...
Info for you:
-running Windows 95 4.00.950 B
-AMD-K6/2 350MHz, 64 MB RAM
-CD-ROM is unavailable in DOS mode, and is slaved to the HD. This may be unrelated, but I didn't want to leave anything unusual out.
Other than multiple recent crashes running my new "Starcraft" game <g>, nothing else seems out of the ordinary. This is my first post to EE and I've looked on with respect to the answers to many other questions. I hope that the resident experts continue that trend with this problem. Sorry if it's a rehash. :)