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Windows 98 Constantly Crashes

Posted on 1999-07-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I have installed Windows 98, on a Dell Dimension XPS D300.
I have a scanner, zip drive & printer connected via the parallel port, an IDE CD-R, CD-Rom, (both share the same IDE cable), internal modem,network card, 2 HDD's,(both share the same IDE cable), onboard Yamaha soundcard, AGP 4mb graphics adapter. According to the diagnostics disk supplied by Dell, there are no problems or conflicts in any areas.
Windows explorer frequently comes up with an explorer error upon boot-up. This requires rebooting to gain back any icons on the taskbar, even though they are still running inn the background. Also, whenever operations that are intensive to the processor are undertaken, this explorer error comes up frequently, such as running several different applications at the same time.
The BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH also come up frequently, requiring a reboot to force the computer to operate correctly.
I have installed the Win98 operating system from different CD's, to see if it was a problem with the original I recieved on purchase of the computer.
No matter what I have tried to fix the problem, including removal of all periphrals & testing the system, total reformat of the HDD's & re-installing windows, the problem seems to be getting worse & increasing in frequency. I have asked many people, & they all seem to say they have no idea what it could be... Could someone please help me with this, because the amount of time & data I have wasted & lost is affecting my work. Even Dell seem to have no idea
Question by:dj_clark
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Author Comment

ID: 1673813

Expert Comment

ID: 1673814
 This is just a suggestion but some bios settings have mass effects on hardware and on Windows.  Try going into your bios and setting up Default Settings instead of Turbo or something of the rather.  R U overclocking your system?

Expert Comment

ID: 1673815
 Another comment, check for Viruses use a DOs virus scanner and scan your master boot record.  That's the only other things i can think of.
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Author Comment

ID: 1673816
TO: infiniteloop
Thanks for the advice. I think DELL have preprogrammed the EPROM in the motherboard, therefore it is not possible to overclock the system. The only other change I have made to the BIOS is changing the parallel port mode from EPP to ECP. Other than that, upon purchase, DELL had already configured the system to its maximum capability
Thanks for the advice anyway
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Patricia Siu-Lai Ho
ID: 1673817
clark, please tell us the details of your computer-CPU and RAM. When error message appear, any details please specify.
For the time being suggesting try the following tune-up of the system:-

(1) Do registry repair/fixing:-
    Restart the computer, press <CTRL> or <F8> key before win98 logo appears,

    At the boot menu, go to the command mode,

    At C:\ prompt, type "SCANDISK /ALL" (without quotation), <ENTER> , it will scan the disk and repair, if any.

    At C:\ prompt, type "SCANREG /FIX" (without quotation), <ENTER> , it will update and fix the registry of system.dat and user.dat.

    Following the instruction.

    Restart Pc and go into safe mode, if run OK.
    Then restart and go into the normal desktop. Check any conflict.

(2) Go to the control panel, display icon, settings ,
    Set the display resolution using 16bit high color.
    Don't select to use 24bit or 32bit true color.

(3) Go to the Start-settings-Active desktop- untick "view as web page"
    Further check if you have previously setup any active channel and
    these will synchronise at the background while on-line.
    Disable active desktop will help the appearance of Blue Death screen.

(4) Go to the Start- Programs-Accessories-system tools- system information - At the Tools Tab, click to run "Automatic Skip Driver" , see any critical operation failures on the machine is reported.

    Click to select the Dr.Watson, an icon of Dr.Watson will appear at the  systray (just next to the clock at the right bottom of the screen). Click the Dr.Watson icon. It will diagnosis your system - the graphic card and other dll. See any specific error reported.

(5) Use <CTRL-ALT-DEL> to open the close program box , see the listed tasks, post them here to see any conflicting program is running.
    Moreover, please specify what other third parties software in your computer that you have installed and running which programs will cause the  crashes of the explorer.

(6) When you received the computer, Dell has installed win98 for you and problem got from that time onwards. Or you installed the win98 by yourself?
let me know your testing status.       pslh

Expert Comment

ID: 1673818
Did the system operate normally with the previous OS? What OS was it?

Have you searched DELL's site for possible BIOS upgrades or system patches required for Win98?

Expert Comment

ID: 1673819
Bad memory could be a cause.  If you have several, try removing one at a time and see if that improves stuff.  Or "borrow" the memory from a friend's computer that doesn't crash and try it.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 1673820
DJ, how about recreating the error and writing down the error message(s) and post them here. Accuracy counts!

Expert Comment

ID: 1673821
i agree with bad memory.
or the processor is not running on the right bus clock.
try reseating the processor also.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 1673822
ditto kayton and kjanx


Accepted Solution

mauzey earned 570 total points
ID: 1673823
Take each hard drive and arrange them both as Master drives and connect them to the Motherboard in the IDE0 and IDE1 connectors respectively, Then Make the CD player the Slave to the drive on IDE0 and your CDR the Slave to the Drive on IDE1, I have found this flakey behavior on some motherboards
that seem to have a problem with a CD or CDR as A Master drive.

Good Luck,



Expert Comment

ID: 1673824
I am also running a Dell XPS D300. Yours probably shipped with a BIOS version A03 or A04. I have flashed mine to version A09 (or A10, I forget - but the latest version) and have no problems running Windows 98 (and also Win98 SE).

You should try this too and see if it helps. I think it might be the key.

Expert Comment

ID: 1673825
dj_clark - if the proposed answer worked give him the points.If not,reject it.In any case please get back to us.

Author Comment

ID: 1673826
Thanks for the help mauzey, much appreciated. Sorry ive taken my time ive been fdisking etc and watching dawsons creek. Ta.

Expert Comment

ID: 1673827
No problem dj_clark, I know that one is a real pain.
Good Luck,


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