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Windows 98 SE partially boots but black screen where desktop should be

Posted on 2003-03-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I have a windows 98SE machine that suddenly stopped booting all the way to desktop and/or it sounds like it is booting all the way but I can't see the desktop or any sort of dos prompt. I tired replacing video card and going into setup and reverting everything to defaults but still no luck. Stumped, please help.
Question by:Jdillon
LVL 97

Accepted Solution

war1 earned 750 total points
ID: 8230965
Greetings, Jdillon!
   Can you boot to Safe Mode. Keep hitting the F8 key when the first logo screen comes on. If you cannot get to Safe Mode, go to DOS. Run the following tests

Check the registry for errors. Select Start > Run and type scanreg /restore. Pick a date before the problem occurred.

Run scandisk in thorough mode. This may take awhile.
Perform a Defrag.

If you can get to Safe Mode, check the files for errors. Select Start > Run and type SFC.

Best wishes, war1
LVL 59

Expert Comment

ID: 8231053
You could have multiple "ghost" entries for your graphics card and/or monitor in Device Manager, as seen only in Safe mode.  Boot to the Windows Startup Menu by continually pressing the F8 function key as your computer starts. Choose the Safe mode option.  Now click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, System, Device Manager tab.  You may see only one entry for the graphics adaptor or monitor, or you may see two or more copies of your graphics card and/or monitor appearing.  Click on each one and then click the Remove button to delete them all. Boot back into normal mode and let the New Hardware wizard reinstall.  Have any floppies or CDs with the drivers available, if you upgraded from what came with Windows.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 8231171
I like Windows to start at all times with the menu of options to:

Boot to DOS
Boot to Safe Mode
Boot to Windows, etc.

When Windows conflicts arise, it can sometimes avoid the necessity of booting to the floppy.

Here's something you might like to try if you can boot to your Windows Boot Floppy and therefore into DOS.

Navigate to the C:\> prompt and use the following command to remove the Read Only and Hidden attributes so that you can edit the MSDOS.SYS and then save the changes:


Now type the command:


and the DOS file editor will open with the textual data from this file.

WARNING:  DO NOT edit anything apart from adding 2 lines to the VERY END of the text (right on the next line after all the "X's" which are all necessary), and backspace back up so there are no spare blank lines left after adding the following 2 lines:


Observe the Uppercase and lowercase in the instructions and DON'T leave any spaces within each line.

Use the "ALT" key in combination with the "F" key to open the "File" menu and use the "Enter" key to select and apply the menu entry after scrolling down to it with the arrow key.

Do a File Save, then a File Exit, and, when back at the C:\> DOS Prompt, type and confirm the following command to reset the attributes to a hidden system file again:


Finally, just shut down at the PC's power switch and restart it normally.

You will get the menu of options fairly early on in the boot sequence and the "BootMenuDelay=15" should show it for 15 seconds before automatically selecting "BootMenu=1" which is to boot normally into Windows.

There is a slight possibility that you may need to add an additional line after "BootMenuDelay=15"


With this addition you will most often be able to get straight into Safe Mode or DOS at will without having to keep stabbing at the F8 key hoping you caught it on time. (Especially true in a very fast system where the boot details zoom past you !!).
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Expert Comment

ID: 8231820
To avoid assuming, exactly where in the boot process does the screen go black? After POST? After verifying DMI POOL DATA? After the AUTOEXEC.BAT runs? Are you getting any beeps? Describe in detail what happens from the time you hit the power-on button, until you give up waiting for Windows to load (you should at least walk away and leave it for 10 min or so, just to see if it eventually loads). Can you boot to an A:\> with a Startup Disk? To give any sort of valid answer, without witnessing it first-hand, one needs specific, minute details of the problem.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 8232488

He can't see any monitor display and therefore has absolutely no knowledge of whether it has "verified dmi pool data" or is displaying any boot text at all.

quote>> "I can't see the desktop or any sort of dos prompt".

Perhaps he has "walked away and left it for 10 min or so, just to see if it eventually loaded".

War1 has aleady attempted to ellicit "specific, minute details of the problem" so that one can suggest a likely solution, however, you will notice that Jdillon hasn't responded to any of the comments so far since 29.03.03 and is perhaps waiting for Windows to finish booting :-)

I suspect, though, that your hard-line interrogative approach may prompt him to respond immediately.

Expert Comment

ID: 8232620

I guess I just came to a different conclusion, from the original post.

"stopped booting all the way to desktop" sounds to me like it might be partially booting, but not booting ALL THE WAY to desktop,

"or any sort of dos prompt" could be that he is not getting TO a C:\> (DOS prompt), as opposed to not seeing the POST (not DOS),
"going into setup" tells me that he may very well be seeing enough of the POST to know when/how to get into CMOS setup.

"hard-line interrogative approach"
Gee, thats kinda harsh isn't it? Any good tech knows that the first step to resolving an issue, is to understand the issue. I was just trying to get information, since I am not there to see it in action. We tend to underestimate the value of the details we pickup from experiencing an issue first-hand, and therefore tend to leave out details when exclaiming the issue (as in completing a work order log, or asking for help in a forum).


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