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WIN98 Freezes at Splash Screen

slmcgill asked
I have a WIN98 200MMX box with new 20GB HD.
On boot-up Windows freezes at the splash screen (clouds)
on average 1 out of 9 times I boot-up.

When the PC freezes at the splash screen the hard drive indicator light remains steady.

This requires a hard reset and then Win boots up correctly after showing boot menu.

This is a AT motherboard, I thought it may be the power supply and changed out the entire case. I have reloaded the operating system without any success. With the exception of WIN98 I have only loaded Netscape 4.7 as my WEB Browser.

I have run Norton 2001 disk doctor and the MAXTOR utilities with no errors found.

This is a basic WEB machine for my Mom, any suggestions?


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Go to the CMOS/BIOS during bootup by pressing <DEL> or <F2> or <F10> depending on the settings of your motherboard, before the Windows logo.

Go to the Harddisk, written down the current settings of your hard disk in your computer notebook for this computer box. Compare the settings of Maxtor provided data. Then change the setting of the harddisk from "AUTO" to "USER" mode and make certain LBA and other data are matched.

Save the changes and exit the CMOS/BIOS.

Restart the computer.

See if it helps.

Patricia / pslh
You say this is a new HD and not much on it so you can do all kinds of things.  It sounds to me like you have a device driver hangup.  I assume you had no problems installing Win.  If your drive seems right, and memory is OK,  I would look at the individual cards installed.

1. First, as pslh suggests, insure that your BIOS is properly recognizing your HD.  Is it showing all 20 gigs?  Did you have to put the On-track overlay (or other HD utility) onto it?

2. Check, if possible, your memory.  Swap it out with known good memory or remove one set (in pairs, if it is 72 pin) OR use DOCMEMORY tester (Free).


3. Try re-arranging your cards, ie. move the modem, video, etc. to other slots.

4. Remove the non-essential cards, sound, modem etc. and see if it works consistently.  Then add them back in one at a time.

5. Do you have a NIC?  like for roadrunner or DSL? This would be my A1 suspected culprit.

6. If the above doesn't do it, try re-format, re-install of Win with the minimum (video card only).  Don't install Netscape and see if your issue goes away.  Then start adding back your cards, then install netscape.  Somewhere along the line, you should be able to identify when the problem starts.


I appreciate the suggestions to this point.

In the Bios under the standard CMOS setup I have the hard drive type set to "AUTO" and the MODE set to "AUTO". During the normal boot the drive is identified correctly as LBA and 20492 GB.

No overlay program is utilized.

For cards I have a PCI video (Maxtor), PCI NIC (Netgear) for broadband and a ISA Soundblaster 16.

I have re arranged the two PCI cards amoung my 4 PCI slots
and moved the ISA card amound the 3 ISA slots.

The memory 64mg (2 sticks 72pin) have been in this PC working for two years.

Again, the PC freezes at the spash screen and the hard drive light stays on, cannot tell if HD is doing anything.

This will happen 1 out of 9 times or if I were to turn on at this moment it may freeze.



Disable the splash screen and see if you can get any clues from the startup messages. You can do this by adding the line
in the [options] section of msdos.sys.
You could also benefit from adding
to get boot menu at every startup
for 5 sec delay before default option is loaded
BootMenuDefault=[a number] to set default option, which could perhaps be "logged" (Bootlog.txt), to get a log of the bootup process. If you're lucky you may see at which point the trouble appears.
Well, it could be a number of things, however you have confirmed my initial suspicions re: network card and pretty much eliminated the HD setup as the possible offender.

Are you sure that your machine freezes or does it just take a LONGGGGG time to boot .. say 5 minutes.

I would concentrate on the NIC.... change the drivers or swap the card with another.  New ones cost about $20 US.

Try to set the AUTO mode to USER mode as I suggested in my last comment.
It will facilitate your computer do not search for your primary HDD every time during startup especially if the HDD is larger than 8Gb. Maxtor has its own BIOS in the HDD to overcome the CMOS/BIOS of your motherboard to read over 8Gb drive.  However, if your CMOS/BIOS is set to use AUTO mode, it will search every time for your hard disk till it recognise it. Sometimes, it will fail.

Another possibility, the fan of the computer is not working properly. Overheating of the CPU may cause it hang after loading the keyboard driver etc. Open the computer box, observe the activity of the Fan in normal case and in case it cannot boot successfully.

You can select step-by-step confirmation loading.
Record down each driver loaded.

When hang, press CTRL-ALT-DEL to see if any message appears.

Inspect if you've the PC-chips motherboard that have a sound chip of soundpro using CMMPU, please advise us.

Since the problem is happened in random order, you may need to do step by step of trial and errors.

steve, I saw a lot of problems coming from the loading of Norton disk doctor. Try to uninstall it. Till you have found it is stable for over a week. Try to reinstall again later and inspect its influence.

I had a similar thing happen to me after I installed some dos cd & sound drivers.  Try and rem out everything in config.sys and autoexec.bat, and see if you can startup after that.  Or if you can ever get into windows, use msconfig.
Top Expert 2007

In addition to all the above, I would look at getting the newest BIOS you can.

or check the motherboard manufacturers website.
To ID it go to http://www.sysopt.com/mboard.html

It may be having some timing problems with the 20 GB drive.

Also try resetting the CMOS NVRAM by totally erasing it using the jumper on the motherboard.

I hope this helps !

Could be a registry-related problem as well. When you can finally boot into Win98, see if you can run a registry scanner and see if there are bad links and other stuff. I usually use RegClean 4.1 from Microsoft coz M$ wrote Windows and they should know what's in Registry and what should be in Registry. I also used Norton WinDoctor. In my opinion, both programs are pretty good.

After running registry cleaner and weeding out bad entries, make sure you compact the registry to reduce file size. I usually have the following line included in autoexec.bat:

@scanreg /opt

Oh...and if you're running these registry cleaners, run it a few times, to weed out most of the problems. Sometimes, removing one entry produces another bad entry in another related place. I'm sure you know the basics of how the registry works.



Working on suggestions, status below.

I removed NIC and Sound card (no sound on MB)
PC froze at splash screen after 10 reboots in a 12
hour time frame.

When machine freezes I cannot do a Ctrl-Alt-Del, only
a reset works.

Norton util  was not used on this present format and latest
WIN98 install.

On each boot up the BIOS recognizes the HD on first screen and on the next screen the bios reports the correct size.

I have replaced the HD ribbon cable and moved from primary
master to secondary master will no help.

Will try to update BIOS and disable splash screen to view
possible test .

Please keep up with suggestions




You got me going in the right direction. The MB I put the dirive in is a VX98, AT form. the Award Bios identified the hard drive and corectly reported the size. I exchanged the 20 GB HD for a WD 6.8 GB HD and put the 20GB HD in the ASUS P5A-B that the 6.8 came out of. All machines seem to be happy. I did not use the Maxtor Bios overlay program.



Glad that you figured it out and run smoothly now!   ; )