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System Memory Allocation Failure At Startup

Posted on 2003-02-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Just past the splash screen, I am prompted with:

While initializing device IOS
ERROR: Real mode system memory allocation failed.

I've tried to boot in Safe Mode, by pressing F8, to no avail. (I haven't succeeded in doing this before, when there were no problems with my computer). I've pressed it repeatedly, once a second and held it down, at the first sign of something on the screen, until the splash screen presents itself.

I've tried running safe mode from the boot disk, to no avail. This first loaded a menu with three options and, when choosing Safe Mode, ended up at the A:\ prompt and wouldn't allow changing to the C:\ prompt (I was going to try a suggestion to rename c:\windows\smartdrv.exe to smartdrv.old). This next loaded a menu with five options and, when choosing Safe Mode, prompted me, in turn, with a myriad of questions about whether to perform certain operations, etc. (Someone might know something more about this).

This problem arose after restarting my computer normally; the only thing I'd really done, in terms of installing software, was try to patch Office 2000 with SP3, which ended up not happening anyway (said I needed SP2 then, after that failed, that I needed SP1; I have SP1 and SP2 installed, so not sure what happened there). In any case, nothing has been installed and no settings changed.

I'm running a PIII 733 MHz with 256 MB RAM, Windows 98 original (although fully updated via Windows Update).

I've seen the question at http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Win98/Q_20367214.html but, as Safe Mode fails, cannot make use of it.

Should I be buying new RAM perhaps? (I think, from memory, I have a 128 MB stick of Kingmax and a 128 MB stick of some other (reputable) brand).

Any help would be greatly appreciated! (Thank goodness I have another computer to send this from).
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Question by:lhutton
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8046558
Test the RAM

NOTE if this doesn't find anything wrong with the RAM this DOESN'T mean the RAM is good you would need to swap out the RAM with known good modules for testing. However if it does find something wrong then chances are the RAM is bad.

DocMemory PC RAM
Diagnostic Software
http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8046560
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Accepted Solution

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CrazyOne earned 1200 total points
ID: 8046585
Got this from the following link

http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/win98/t1027576798

at the load menu select logged mode of booting
when it dies reset
at the boot menu select command prompt
view the bootlog.txt file and go to the very end.
the last file loaded is the problem find it and rename or delete it
reset / reboot and you should be fine.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8046591
Also running this command

c: scanreg /restore

after booting to a Win98 boot disk www.bootdisk.com may do the trick.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8046603
Of course intalling Win98 over the top of itself may be what is needed. This will retaing most of your settings and programs but replace system files.
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Author Comment

by:lhutton
ID: 8047330
I tried to use the program that checks the RAM, but each time it writes to the floppy disk, it ends up taking forever and hanging my (other) system.
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Author Comment

by:lhutton
ID: 8047376
When I get to the startup menu with the five options, I can't press any key but a function key.
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by:lhutton
ID: 8047402
When I get to the startup menu with the five options, I can't press any key but a function key.
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by:lhutton
ID: 8047472
OK, I have now just managed to choose bootlog.txt - it seems to do something different at each startup??

I next have the three options menu and choose the one with load with CDROM support, but I end up at the A:\ prompt, without loading windows. (I have the bootdisk in the drive).

When I try the scanreg /restore I get:
CDR101: Not ready reading drive H.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8047871
Did you do this

A:\>c:
hit enter key

A:\>scanreg /restore
hit enter key

If you are trying to reinstall Win98 then do this with the Win98 CD disk in the CD Drive

A:\>setup
hit the enter key
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Author Comment

by:lhutton
ID: 8049470
You mean C:\>scanreg /restore ?
Yes, but I got the drive H message. Am I supposed to have the bootdisk in the drive to be able to bring up the menu?

The only thing possible would appear to be a reinstall of Win98, but I'm not exactly comfortable doing that, not sure of what the effects might be...
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Author Comment

by:lhutton
ID: 8049655
OK, I decided to do a reinstall of Win98 and everything is back to normal! Thanks very much for all your help.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8049684
You are welcome. I just got your earlier email notif 03/01/2003 03:20PM PST a few moments ago or else I would of responded sooner.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 8049694
I am curious about something. You obviously aren't new to asking questions here at EE so I am sure you know how to close out a question. The thing that I am curious about is did you already close and grade this question. The reason I ask earlier today a quesioner said they closed out a question but it was still open an hour later then it finally showed up closed. I am wondering if there is a glitch going on with EE.
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Author Comment

by:lhutton
ID: 8049744
No; am just closing it now :)

I've selected this answer, as I think, had I been able to get it working, it would have been the best answer (it, or the scanreg one).

Thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 8050042
:>)
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