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Computer locks up during bootup.

I have windows 98 SE operating system and when I boot up the desktop appears and all the icons on the desktop appear. The cursor will move around on the desktop with the mouse but clicking on an icon has no effect. None of the programs in the startup tray load (on right side of Start bar) nor does outlook load. Ctrl/alt/del combination does not work, the only solution is to turn machine off and reboot. USUALLY on the 3rd or 4th reboot it will boot normal and load all programs including Outlook.
2 Solutions

Restore a backup copy of the Windows 98

-Start your computer, press and hold CTRL, and then choose Safe Mode Command Prompt Only from the Windows 98 Startup menu. If you are running Windows Me, start your computer with the startup disk.
At the MS-DOS prompt, type cd\windows\command, and then press ENTER. Where windows is the name of the folder in which Windows is installed.

-At the C: prompt, type scanreg /restore, and then press ENTER.
Select the previous registry you want to restore, and then press ENTER.NOTE: A properly working registry has the word "Started" next to the date.

-When you receive notification that you restored a properly working registry, press ENTER to restart your coto boot into Win98/Me.

When you say that it loads "all the programs including Outlook", does this imply that Outlook actually starts up with Windows?  If so, then I suggest that you prevent this.  It might seem convenient, but isn't for the best.

qfren has suggested the best methods of trying to restore your system to a functional state.  Hopefully this will get you there.

One of the first things you should look at is what programs are set to start up when windows starts.  To do this, use your Start menu and then click on the RUN option.  Type  MSCONFIG, and then click "OK".

In the "startup" tab, you will see checkboxes against the items that may load at startup.  If checked, then they will load, and if unchecked then they will not load.

All your system really needs to boot safely and retain functionality is:

SystemTray - show the clock and other icons like speaker
ScanRegistry - to make sure that the registry is OK and back it up if it is
Task Monitor - for your Ctrl + Alt + Del list
LoadPowerProfile (2 instances) - allows power saving modes
Your AntiVirus Program

Most (if not all) of the other items listed will probably be loading unnecessarily and can be unchecked.

To help you determine what certain entries relate to, here's a handy list of the common ones:

I meant to say that, after unchecking the unnecessary items in MSCONFIG's Startup tab, click "Apply" and then allow it to reboot when prompted.

Make a note somewhere of the enabled startup items.  This will be handy in future because, before running any systems processes like a Virus scan, Hard Drive Defragmentation, Scandisk, new large installations or any large uninstallations, it is always better to disable all except ScanRegistry and SystemTray and then reboot.  Obviously keep the anti virus program enabled if you are running a scan.

Ending running tasks (excluding Explorer and System Tray) using the Ctrl + Alt + Del, and then disabling the screensaver is an optional extra that is recommended before running a Virsus scan, defrag, or scandisk.

This is just for your additional info.  We will provide some additional steps such as scanning for Spyware once you get your system to boot fully again.
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Adding to what all the techs said here so far, if your pc lock up after restarting after going back to the last working windows setup, and AFTER scanning pc for virus and -or spyware and after making sure nothin that can be eating memory, not loaded at startup of windows, may i add to check for any hardware failure. IF you've done all the above and still lock, try another memory chip...if it locks up even after that extent, remove one hardware device one by one to see which can cause the lock up.

You can do it, we know you can  :)
That's a good point made by bacvain.  One thing that you MIGHT be able to do is boot into SAFE MODE where it bypasses many of the drivers loaded in a normal windows boot.  It won't normally be able to access a CD-Rom from Safe Mode, and it is using the absolute basic screen display, but it COULD then allow you to disable items in MSCONFIG as I described above.

To get into safe mode, start jabbing the F8 key shortly after the computer starts up, and a boot menu should appear.  Arrow down to Safe Mode and then hit Enter.

Note, don't be concerned or switch off if this seems to be taking a while.  You will know if it is in Safe Mode from the screen appearance and a message will advise you of this.

because this is actually getting to your Desktop, whatever is causing the freeze up is happening quite late on in the Boot Process.  One of the areas that loads items at this late stage is the "Startup Folder".  You will see this on your Start menu under Programs > "Startup".  If any of the items that you disable in MSCONFIG are shortcuts in the "Startup" folder, then this will create a new folder named "Disabled Startup Items" so that they can be restored if they are later found not to be part of the problem.

Of course, you can delete any of these icons from the "Startup" folder right off your Start menu, because they are SHORTCUTS to files, not the actual files themselves.  Right-Click > Delete to delete them.  To check what they are first, Right-Click and select "Properties".  The details will show under the "Shortcut" tab, and you can take note of the details before deleting if you wish.

I am just wondering if this is where you might have a shortcut to Outlook, going by your description earlier.
marlinbuttonAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all, I am making headway. I have cleaned out the "startup" section and it has booted fully although it took longer than it used to.

 I have not restored a previous registry yet but that is next. I eliminated Outlook from my startup. I do not use screensavers.

I recently (a month ago) purchased a visioneer scanner and hooked it up with all the software, if i restore a previous registry will my scanner still work?
marlinbuttonAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all who answered my problem. At present everything seems to work properly.
As you now have the system booted, you would have to be careful about the date of the backup that you chose to restore.  Remember that those backups created as .cab files (rb001.cab to rb005.cab) in the C:\windows\sysbckup folder are created automatically and the most recently created ones push out the oldest ones.

Your comment "at present everything seems to work properly" makes me think that perhaps you shouldn't try restoring a previous registry or it will restore some of those startup programs again.  Of course, it could well restore some GOOD settings, but while it's not broken I reckon that it shouldn't be fixed.

I believe that your best option right now is as follows:

Locate the following hidden files in Windows Explorer (if you don't see them, use the "Tools > Folder Options > View" menu option, and tell it to "Show all files" and NOT to hide extensions).

c:\windows\user.dat and

COPY them to a backup folder somewhere else on your hard drive.  Keep the folder name to 8 characters or less.

Now COPY the following files into that folder also:


The .dat files are the 2 files that make up your registry, while the other files contain important settings.

After you have done that, use your Start Menu's "Run" option, and type  SCANREGW.
Click "OK" and you will be told that your registry is error-free and has already been backed up today.  It will ask if you want to back it up again.  Say YES to this, and you now have a backup from a functional system that could be restored using the SCANREG /RESTORE option from DOS as described earlier.  Take a note of the date, because this will be handy in knowing which was the good backup .cab file.

Now, as an extra backup, Use the Start > Run option > and type REGEDIT.
Click on the topmost icon in the left pane (My Computer) and use the following menu options to output a .REG file to that backup folder you created:

Registry > Export Registry File > Browse to your backup folder and double click on it.
Type in a suitable filename such as todays date 13102004.
Make sure that the "Save as Type" filed says "Reg File (*.reg) and that the "Export Range" is set to "All".
Click "Save" and wait until activity is complete before shutting the REGEDIT Window.

You now have a file containing most of the needed settings to restore registry settings if any are altered for the worse.  In Windows, you could simply double-click on a .REG file to blend the settings into the current registry and overwrite values that had been changed since the file was created.

It would probably also be a good idea to locate your Outlook settings file (*.pst) and copy it to that folder also.  If Outlook shares the Windows Address Book, then find the .WAB file that is named after your user profile name, eg. MARLIN.WAB or whatever your profile name is.  Copy it to that backup folder.

I suggest that you burn the contents of your backup folder to a CD-R.  Depending on the size of your "My Documents" folder, you could also burn the contents to THAT CD or others.  The documents that YOU have created (including your address book) are irreplaceable.  Everything else can be reinstalled if that ever became necessary.

Now I reckon that you should run the utility named REGCLEAN.EXE and allow it to FIX any glaring errors in the registry that it finds.  It won't fix everything, but is able to fix some areas that could cause problems at some point.

Download Regclean Version 4.1a build 7364.1 from the links on this page:


(RIGHT-Click on the link of choice on that page and select "Save TARGET As" to download it).

The file is a self-extracting zip file that, if double-clicked, would extract the following files to your C:\Windows\TEMP folder:


All you need is the file REGCLEAN.EXE, so you can delete the others.  Copy it to the backup folder you created earlier.  RIGHT-Click on it and select "Properties".  Make sure that it shows 4.1a build 7364.1 under the "Version" tab.  If NOT, then download from one of those other links.

Double-Click on Regclean.exe and you will see the blue progress bar as it gathers info.  When it stops and tells you that it is "Finished - Waiting to Fix Errors", click the "Fix Errors" button.  Wait until it finishes, and then reboot.

Shut down again, but this time press the F8 key repeatedly almost as soon as the system begins to boot.  It should arrive at the boot menu from which you should choose "Command Prompt".

When it gets to the C:\> Prompt, type:

then type

Now type the following command:


Wait until all activity has ceased, and Power Off the computer.
Power it on again, and allow it to boot normally.

What you should hopefully have now is a registry with some of the errors removed, and now "optimized" to remove wasted space.

Finally, connect your Scanner and see if it functions OK.  If it doesn't, then follow the instructions in the manual for installing the driver and interface software from the CD that came with it.

Hopefully it will be easy enough to setup and reconfigure.  You MAY receive the odd error message here and there, if some settings or files are missing after your problems, but hopefully they can be resolved easily if they arise.

Oh yes, sorry - I forgot to thank you  :-)
I also forgot to say why I suggested moving REGCLEAN.EXE to that backup folder.

If it makes changes while "Fixing" the registry, then it automatically creates a .REG file in the same folder from where it was run.  The name of the file follows the naming convention:

Undo <computername> <4-digit year><2 digit month><2 digit day in month> <6-digit time>.Reg


Undo D845WN 20041013 081510.Reg

This file would reinstate the settings that regclean altered or removed if double-clicked while in Windows.  The file name is too long to be meaningfull if you needed to import it into the registry in DOS, so I suggest that you make a copy of it in that same folder, and rename the copy something like Undo1310.REG.  Just as an extra precaution.  Call me paranoid if you will ;-)
marlinbuttonAuthor Commented:
BillDL - Thank you! I am printing out your instructions and will complete them ASAP. I will undoubtedly have problems in the future, can I request you specifically in the future if I have a question? - Marlin
Thanks for that comment Marlin.

I use a slightly different interface to view Experts-Exchange, so I don't see some of the content on the respective "Topic Area" pages like

From recollection, it will show the expert who is currently ranking as the top "points earner" in that topic area.  Undoubtedly, this will still be the highly knowledgeable "blue_zee".  Who knows, maybe it will even show his mug-shot :-)

I can't be certain of this, because I've never clicked on it, but there is also a link that says something like "Ask An Expert Now".  I DON'T think that this will address the question to a particular expert, though.

I would have to say that it wouldn't really be good protocol, or be ethical, for somebody to direct a question at a specific expert for a few reasons:

1. None of us know EVERYTHING, and there is always the chance that the question might be one that the expert has never come across before

2. The "expert points" and resultant ranking of experts should really mean that all registered experts have a crack at resolving the question.

Although you may not be fully aware of it, you will find that many experts will have a look at your question, but may not add any comments of their own.  Perhaps they aren't absolutely sure of whether their initial hunch is completely accurate, or maybe they feel that enough suggestions have been made.  Others may just add a brief comment so that they can monitor the question's progress from the email notifications that they will thereafter receive when new comments are posted to that question.

Because of the wide geographic area in which experts (and members asking questions) are located, the suggestions will come in at all times of the day, and this works well to get fairly rapid feedback where perhaps other experts would have been at work or sleeping.  Many experts here monitor all topic areas for new questions being posted, and are on the case pretty sharpish.

You can SOMETIMES get an idea of how qualified an experts answer is by clicking on their user name.  This does NOT mean that highest ranking experts will ALWAYS get it spot on.  A new expert, or one like "CrazyOne" who hasn't been here for a while, may not have answered a lot of questions that month or even that year, and so this is only a rough guide.  Experts usually only register as such if they have sufficient relevant experience to feel confident in suggesting answers to solutions, so you are in fairly safe hands.

So, although I am humbled that you would like to ask for me again, I would have to say that it wouldn't really be appropriate.  Be assusred though, that I only really stray away from the Windows 98 area when questions are sparse, or I see one in another area that catches my eye.  I normally work a strange shift where I am not online from UK time 5pm to 3am, but thereafter it depends whether I need to sleep!!  Set your clock to Greenwich Meantime, and ask any further questions at the times I may be close by, and I will certainly see them.

Here's the current top 10 ranking for THIS YEAR in the Win98 area:

1 blue_zee 235670
2 BillDL 135424
3 SheharyaarSaahil 109934
4 CrazyOne 74933
5 sunray_2003 70275
6 LucF 65701
7 LeeTutor 57323
8 rayt333 56924
9 caza13 51469
10 sirbounty 50938

Maybe some day I'll catch up with that blue_zee fella :-)


1 BillDL 15862
2 blue_zee 9139
3 gonzal13 4098
4 moorhouselondon 4000
5 caza13 2500
6 SheharyaarSaahil 2500
7 Anthony_E 2000
8 coral47 1844
9 nelsonjr71 1500
10 nihlcat 1500

The difference is that I have had quite a few days off work this month, whereas blue_zee has probably been busy and allowed me to catch him!!

Top 10 experts OVERALL

1 dew_associates 665987
2 stevenlewis 477052
3 CrazyOne 436142
4 LeeTutor 296317
5 pslh 295937
6 hewittg 254048
7 war1 251025
8 blue_zee 235670
9 rayt333 233657
10 BillDL 216753

Best regards

marlinbuttonAuthor Commented:
I am impressed! Hopefully if i submit another Win 98 question you are close by! Thanks again and good luck in catching that blue_zee fellow! - Marlin
Hell, that sounded like I was blowing my own trumpet.  That wasn't intended, rather just to show that ranking fluctuates and that it doesn't necessarily always indicate skill levels.  Nope, that sounds just as bad, doesn't it.  I hope anyone else reading this will catch the drift of what I was saying.
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