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VMM32.VXD missing/unable to load

Posted on 2004-03-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I formatted my hardrive and put Windows 98 SE on.  It loaded fine and I put in the product key and everything.  Then when it rebooted after initial installation setup it sais,

 "Windows protection error.  You need to restart your computer.
C:\WINDOWS\system\vmm32.vxd:  Missing/unable to load."

I did my research and found a suggestion, however it didn't work because it didnt apply to me because I don't have a Umax scanner.  It is known that the Umaxis11.386 file causes this.  I went ahead and tried the steps for this problem outlined here, but it didnt help because I dont have that file:;EN-US;q191874

I have formatted the hardrive and installed Windows 98 SE twice and can't shake this problem.  I am able to boot to Safe Mode and made a startup disk from there.
Question by:ballinbuck
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 10655535
Can you see Java and JavaVM versions in this page?
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 1400 total points
ID: 10655597
The file vmm32.vxd is a compund file that actually contains other .vxd files.  The file is compiled at installation, and is then updated with any extra .vxd files as and when new hardware or software is added that requires the use of .vxd files.  This type of compund file is referred to as a "monolithic" file.

A .vxd file is a "virtual device driver".  The word "device" doesn't always apply to actual physical hardware devices, but also to "software" devices.

Often what happens when Windows needs to add a new .vxd file to vmm32.vxd, it places it into the folder C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32 where it is seen by Windows and picked up.  Even if the file isn't actually added to vmm32.vxd, its presence in the VMM32 folder is sometimes enough to allow it to be used.

Can you get into Safe Mode by pressing F8 as Windows starts, and then selecting "Safe Mode"?  Try it.

If not, select the "Logged" boot option and this will create the file c:\bootlog.txt.  Shut down after it gets to the error message again, and then boot to a Win98 boot floppy.  Remove it when it gets to the A:\> prompt, and replace it with a blank floppy.

Type the following commands, each followed by the Enter key:

ATTRIB  -h   c:\bootlog.txt
COPY   c:\bootlog.txt   a:\bootlog.txt
ATTRIB  +h   c:\bootlog.txt

Now take the floppy to a functional computer, insert it, and download the following file to any folder:

Unzip to to the floppy disk, and then double-click the file BLA.EXE created on the floppy.
Use the File menu and select "Open".
Make sure that you Browse to a:\bootlog.txt rather than that computer's c:\bootlog.txt
Click "OK" and just ignore the message about how to create a new bootlog.txt file.

It will load the contents of the file in the main window.  Click in the box "Show Failures".  This will filter out the results, and then allow you to do a FIle > Save As, and copy the file by any name to your floppy.

Open the .txt file in NotePad and copy the contents.  Paste them here for us to inspect.

I suggest that you format your drive and then remove all unnecessary hardware components from it ready for a reinstall.  You obviously need some type of graphics device, but remove sound card, network card, all peripherals like printers, scanners, usb devices, zip drives, etc.

Now try and reinstall Windows and see if you can get it to boot without the error.

If successful, you can power down, and add one of the hardware devices back in.  When you boot up, it should identify it and you can then allow it to install or install any drivers from CD that it may need.  Reboot.

Add each device in turn and see if this resolves it.

If a particular .vxd file is ever named in an error message, you can check to see if vmm32.vxd contains this file by running the following command from DOS, from a DOS box within Windows, or from the Start Menu's > "Run" option

REGEDIT.EXE     /e     c:\vmmfil.txt      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\VMM32Files

That's all on one line, but observe the spaces where I have deliberately double-spaced them here for clarity.

This will create a list as c:\vmmfil.txt that will open in NotePad or Wordpad.

If the named .vxd file does not appear in the list, then you might be able to add this file to your system by using the System File Checker in Windows Safe Mode:

Start > Run > type SFC > "OK"
Select "Extract one file from the installation disk" and enter the file name in the field.
You may have to browse to the "win98" folder of your Windows CD in the CD Drive, and you may be asked where you want to extract the file to.  If asked, specify the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32 folder as the destination.

Now reboot and see what happens.

To extract a file from your CD in DOS, first boot to your Win98 boot floppy with CD Rom Support and take note of the drive letter for your CD Rom.  It will be one letter up from normal.

Type the following command:

EXTRACT    /A     x:\win98\BASE4.CAB     whatever.vxd    /L    c:\windows\system\vmm32

where x is the drive letter of your CD,  "whatever.vxd" is the file you need, and the last part is the folder you want to extract the named file to.

Let us know how you get on.

Author Comment

ID: 10660621

OK I am having trouble following your steps.  I got to the point where I  used a functional computer downloaded the and extracted the files to my floppy.  After that you have written:

"Unzip to to the floppy disk, and then double-click the file BLA.EXE created on the floppy.
Use the File menu and select "Open".
Make sure that you Browse to a:\bootlog.txt rather than that computer's c:\bootlog.txt
Click "OK" and just ignore the message about how to create a new bootlog.txt file.

It will load the contents of the file in the main window.  Click in the box "Show Failures".  This will filter out the results, and then allow you to do a FIle > Save As, and copy the file by any name to your floppy.

Open the .txt file in NotePad and copy the contents.  Paste them here for us to inspect."

Am I supposed to do all of this on the functional computer that?  Or am I supposed to take the floppy out of the functional computer and insert into the computer with the problems and do those steps in safe mode?
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Expert Comment

ID: 10662353
Is the VMM32.VXD file missing, or not loading?  Is there anything in the CONFIG.SYS file that might prevent it from loading?  You can try disabling the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files from the System Configuration Utility (msconfig).  They aren't needed to start Windows.

To see a list of all the files included in your vmm32.vxd file use regedit.exe and go to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ VMM32Files. All files listed in the right side of the display are within your system's personalized copy of vmm32.vxd.

For more information about the VMM32.VXD file use the following link:

Author Comment

ID: 10663254
I unplugged my ZIP driver and took out the ethernet card and the computer booted right up and finished the installation.  I then plugged the zip back in after that and it works fine.  However I need to find some drivers.  I'm having trouble finding the driver for my Riptide Sound Card Modem Combo.  The model on it is 90079.  I found a few that claim to be it, but they arent working.  It is an HP Pavilion 6470z.  If anyone knows where a working driver for the sound/modem card it would be great.  I will award the points to the person that helped the most with my original problem unless someone can get me the working driver. Also, when I go to Add New hardware, it lists that I dont have the drivers for these three things:
PCI Communication Device
PCI Input Controller
PCI Multimedia Audio Device
I'm guessing the last one is the sound/modem card.  Is the first one also pointing to the sound/modem card?  What is the middle one?

Author Comment

ID: 10663714
Thanks for all the help... I think i found the right driver because my audio is playing.  However nothing is coming out of the speakers yet.  I dont know, oh well.  Thanks
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 10664122
>>However nothing is coming out of the speakers yet.<<

Sometimes you can plug the wire in the wrong hole. I still do that to this day, I can never see
those tiny images and going with the color "green" sometimes can fool you cause the "green"
isn't actually green.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 10674714

Sorry for the delay.  The BLA.EXE program is just what it says, ie. A Bootlog.Txt Analyzer.  So, it doesn't matter what computer you use, because you are reading a bootlog.txt saved from the affected computer.  That was the reason for keeping everything on the floppy and directing the program to open only the .txt file on the floppy.

I see that caza13's linked page could have saved me from typing such a full explanation about the file vmm32.vxd.  Oh well, at least it was in my own words.

I see also that unplugging peripherals and cards as I suggested has now allowed you to complete your installation.

Here's some suggestions for audio problems:

If your Bass and Treble controls don't work, then the patch on this page may help:;jsessionid=BWRJDVDESNSADQFIOGBEOSQ?reg=na&cc=us&docName=bph05562&lc=en

Here's HP's instructions for restoring original drivers:

Restoring software and drivers in Windows 98 and Me  
Performing the following steps will restore a single program or device driver:

Start Windows and place the last recovery disc into the top CD/DVD drive.
A Driver and Application Recovery window appears.
Click either the Applications or Device Drivers tab depending on what is to be recovered.
Select a program or driver from the list.
Click OK and the driver or program is automatically be restored.
An Application Recovery screen appears after the software is fully recovered.
Click Continue to recover another application, click Restart to restart the computer, or click Quit to end.

Here's the Pavilion Riptide Audio/Modem Update for North American Countries (date: 2000-06-08  Version  4.17  3.06 MB):

Riptide Audio/Modem ComboCard Update
Why do you need it?
This Patch fixes quite a few issues with the Riptide Modem / Audio Card and contains the Riptide Audio Driver and the Modem Driver - North America Only.
For more information (


Hopefully this will work now.


Expert Comment

ID: 11691043
Turning off intergrated devices is also helpful in resolving this problem.
run the bear minimum for cmos configuration. Then once the problem is gone turn on the devices 1 at a time until you find the offender.

Expert Comment

ID: 11742436
I was having similar problems with an old Compaq Presario laptop. It turned out the floopy drive was bad - first clue was when it would not make a startup disk. Then I kept getting the C:\WINDOWS\system\vmm32.vxd:  Missing/unable to load." message.

By disabling all peripheral devices I was able to get the computer to finish the installation and boot properly. Now all are re-enabled except for the floopy drive, and things seem ok.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 11744987
Without a floopy drive you will be a bit screwed if you ever need to boot to a boot floopy.

If the file c:\windows\system\iosubsys\HSFLOP.PDR is missing, then that could be your problem with the floopy drive, LeeJolly.  Extract the file from your Windows 98 CD to that folder from a DOS box using the command:

EXTRACT  /A   x:\win98\BASE4.CAB   HSFLOP.PDR   /L   c:\windows\system\iosubsys

Or use Start > Run > and type SFC > click "OK"
Extract a single file.
It's in the .cab file WIN98_51.CAB in the "win98" folder on a Windows 98 SE CD.

By the way, this question is now closed, and has been for a while.


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