Solving Windows boot problems

Windows can be very sensitive (most would say oversensitive) to change. You're minding your own business, and the BSOD (blue screen of death) appears. What happened? During this Guild Meeting Ron Nutter shared Windows boot troubleshooting techniques.

Windows can be very sensitive (most would say oversensitive) to change. You're minding your own business, and the BSOD (blue screen of death) appears. Suddenly, you can no longer boot. What happened? How do you fix it? On March 21st Ron Nutter shared Windows boot troubleshooting techniques. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Windows can be very sensitive (most would say oversensitive) to change. You're minding your own business, and the BSOD (blue screen of death) appears. Suddenly, you can no longer boot. What happened? How do you fix it? On March 21st Ron Nutter shared Windows boot troubleshooting techniques. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

MODERATOR: Greetings, everyone, and welcome to the Guild Meeting for 3/21/2000. Tonight's topic will be Windows Boot Problems. How do you solve those tricky problems of getting Windows to start properly? How do you boot multiple OSes without going nuts? Our guest speaker tonight will be Ron Nutter, contributing editor for TPG. Ron will also be making a special presentation at BrainShare 2000 next week. Oh...and don't forget that at the end of tonight's Guild Meeting, stay tuned. If you're one of the lucky participants in tonight's meeting, you may walk away with a cool TechRepublic polo shirt!

RON NUTTER: Thanks to everyone for coming in tonight. Are there any questions?

EMOORE: I have a computer that will only boot to a blank desktop and then hangs. I have tried Scandisk, Defrag, renaming autoexec.bat and config.sys, and booting to Safe Mode. Still hangs. What next? This same computer also refuses to shut down.

MIKILUSA: Is it a compact, Emoore?

RON NUTTER: Emoore, have you been able to get it to boot up using the VGA mode?

EMOORE: Desktop.

MIKILUSA: Compaq brand?

EMOORE: Haven't tried that yet. Just change settings in Display? No, Dell.

MIKILUSA: Hmm Dell's the best there is,…weird.

RON NUTTER: Emoore, When you get the initial text-like menu that should show to entries, one will say VGA (usually the second entry).

Up and running
RDCROSSEN: I think he is running 95/98, not WinNT.

EMOORE: OK. Got it. This computer has also been having a lot of SPOOL32 errors while printing to a local printer. You think there's any connection?

RON NUTTER: Rdcrossen—thanks.

MIKILUSA: Does this discussion include Drive image?

RON NUTTER: Emoore, try bringing it up in safe mode (press F8 when loading Windows 98 appears) and select safe mode. If it comes up OK here, then you have a problem in enhanced mode, video driver is a possibility.

HUEVOS: Imaging is a lifesaver!

RON NUTTER: Mikilusa, yes it can include drive image.

EMOORE: Thanks rnutter. I will try that.

RON NUTTER: Next question?

RDCROSSEN: Huevos—Amen, it has saved me a few times.

MIKILUSA: Cool, what is a 2001 error that says partions do not match?

EMOORE: Another question...why would my desktop icons be scattered all around the desktop when I boot to Safe Mode? Then when I go back to Normal mode, they are out of original order?

RON NUTTER: Mikilusa, what are you using for a ghosting program?

MIKILUSA: Trying to image w2k.

HUEVOS: What is the best boot manager in your opinion?

MIKILUSA: Drive image.

RON NUTTER: Emoore, when going into safe mode, you are using a default VGA driver which has a lower screen resolution and can cause the symptoms you mentioned.

HUEVOS: Drive Image 3.0 Pro.

It’s all about image
RON NUTTER: Huevos, I am partial to partition magic. It has always worked when I've needed it to.

HREGAN: I am getting stop 0000007b inaccessible boot device on a Compaq 4000 with ide, they have no device drivers to load during setup and this happens on first reboot....Any advice?

MIKILUSA: Me and Huevos use both a lot.

WELL: Off topic, but this is the way I try to find the person who can help me, because it has been a few months, and the problem still is not solved.

HUEVOS: It sure has some goofy errors, like what Mikkilusa got.

HREGAN: I have had problems with partition magic in the past; try to avoid it.

RON NUTTER: Huevos, sounds like an error that is unique to drive image. You might want to try an EVAL version of Ghost from Symantec and see if you have similar problems. If not, it may be a problem with Drive Image that their tech support may need to address. Hregan, have you tried booting with the VGA mode option?

MIKILUSA: But I created a logical partition with partition magic drive D then when went to Drive image to copy my Win2k to it, it said error 2001 which is not on their page but works on 98 fine.

HREGAN: Symantec works great. I love it, personally. I will try that now, it’s right here.

EMOORE: Ron, this same computer is refusing to shut down, so I can try your suggestion. Would you suggest turning it off and on again, or something else not quite so radical?

HUEVOS: Are ghost and Drive Image images compatible/similar format?

WELL: I'm looking to something like this discussion in order to find the solution, or any idea.

It won’t shut down
RON NUTTER: Emoore, if it won't shut down normally, I don’t think you have another option but to power off.

HREGAN: Same error in VGA mode...anything else?

WELL: About the memory problem, how to check?

RON NUTTER: Huevos, I don’t believe the images are compatible.

HUEVOS: Darn, but thanks for the answer.

HREGAN: No Huevos, I would say there aren't.

MIKILUSA: OK, the next barn burning question: I have 2 gig scsi and Ide in same computer. The scsi will not boot with the ide enabled in bios, even with a boot manager….Any ideas?

WELL: After the screen saver, the pc will hang.

HUEVOS: Does Ghost work better for imaging NT with its SID?

LBORLAND: I think if you mix scsi and ide, the computer will always try to boot to ide first.

HREGAN: IF you run ghostwalker, huevos.

HUEVOS: Thanks.

EMOORE: Ron, my Windows 98 Startup Menu doesn't have a VGA option. Am I looking in the wrong place?

HUEVOS: What is the best boot manager?

JCARLISLE: What's the best way to boot multiple operating systems like OS/2, Linux, NT, and 9x all at the same time? Linux, NT and OS/2 all come with their own boot managers, but they seem to conflict.

RDCROSSEN: Huevos, It will not work on NT Server though.

It just won’t work
RON NUTTER: Huevos, I did a 200 pc rollout with ghost, didn’t use sidewalker. Found that by changing the machine name and rebooting, that seemed to be fine.

HREGAN: f8 at boot, Emoore.

HUEVOS: Emoore, safe mode is like VGA mode.


HUEVOS: Ron, was that on NT?

WELL: Whenever I type in 'f' come 'illegal operation using Netscape messenger.' About the boot process, can we check to see if there is a memory problem?

RON NUTTER: Huevos, yes, NT WS 4.0, SP4.

HREGAN: Won't the sids still be the same though? That’s something that has to be avoided, esp on the same intranet.

HUEVOS: Ron, does changing the computer name assign a new SID?

WELL: I'm thinking there is memory problem because of the illegal operation.

RON NUTTER: Well, You will want to get a program like Microscope to look at something like that. Need to boot the machine in such a way as to not block memory errors. The OEM who made the machine may also be able to recommend an option for testing this.

RON NUTTER: Huevos, Seemed to do the trick for me. Never had a problem (about a hundred of the machines were spread over 16 offices in Indiana).


MIKILUSA: OK, I once knew this but needed and was unable to do it. How do you use a previous registry in 98?


HUEVOS: What is the best boot manager?

HREGAN: About the scsi/ide boot problem, do a search at, search the knowledge base for 2000 boot errors. I just saw an article an hour ago there, was good but too complicated to type out.

WELL: Is it acer pc will cause many problems?

JCARLISLE: Acers are, IMHO, junk. One small notch above Packard Bell.

HREGAN: Anymore input on the inaccessible boot device rnutter?

RON NUTTER: Hregan, let me scroll back a bit, been getting quite a few messages.

HUEVOS: Jcarlisle, that is not saying a whole lot since Packard Bell went under.

WELL: Because the vendors say that that particular pc cannot use win98SE, unreasonable? It will cause win98 to not be able to shutdown.

HUEVOS: Win98 SE really bad for not shutting down.

JCARLISLE: True Huevos... Darwin rules!

TLSNC: SCSI/ide boot, check your bios configuration. You may have to change ide detection. I have had problems with internal Zip due to leaving drive detection set at auto.

HREGAN: OK it’s the stop: 000007b on first reboot in setup

WELL: Ron, can you let us know where can find the Microscope?

RON NUTTER: Hregan, Thanks, can you get it to go into VGA mode? This is a Compaq, correct?

PCAMPANARO: Should you install DOS on an NT Machine?

MIKILUSA: Any body use partition manager by Ranish?

What’s a Ranish?
HREGAN: Try well might be there.

WELL: Any files like bootlog.txt, can determine memory problems?

HREGAN: Yes I tried VGA mode with the same error.

HUEVOS: I can't stand Ranish.

HREGAN: Compaq DP 4000 ide.

TLSNC: Hregan, try checking technet. Enter your 000007b in the search. I have had very good luck doing this with many errors.

MIKILUSA: Hregan have contacted dell?

RON NUTTER: Pcampanaro, you shouldn’t need to install DOS in order to install NT.

Hregan, have you downloaded the latest ROMPAQ to flash update the system ROM? I had very good luck installing NT on DP 4000's. Any other hardware in this system besides what shipped from Compaq?

MIKILUSA: Huevos don’t make me whack you with a fish.

RDCROSSEN: What model Dell?

PCAMPANARO: What if you have a problem booting into Windows?

MIKILUSA: Tlsnc, you must be real lucky then.

HUEVOS: Has anyone been tried/succeeded at creating a DOS boot floppy to connect to a MS Peer-Peer network? I dare you!

HREGAN: Thanks TL, I was there and tried a few things with no luck. Downloaded latest rompaqs and setup files for that system, no luck there either, sorry rnutter, this is Win2k. NT ran fine on this system, I just formatted it with Win 2k setup.

RON NUTTER: Pcampanaro, you can't boot the system into VGA mode for NT? This might indicate a problem with hardware.

What’s the problem
TLSNC: Sometimes less is better in the search criteria.

MIKILUSA: OK that last questions negates your fish whacking.

HUEVOS: Oh, good.

RON NUTTER: Hregan, you might want to take a look at MS tech document Q12296 for information on troubleshooting 0x0000007b errors. A call to Compaq support might also yield some options. Hregan, that’s Q122926, sorry.

RDCROSSEN: Huevos—I have done it with tcp/ip.

MIKILUSA: Cool, tell us how, rdcrossen.

HREGAN: Thanks, I’ll check out that doc after this. I jotted it down.

RDCROSSEN: Long time ago, I can send you a disk image if you want to break it apart.

WELL: Please help.

RON NUTTER: Huevos, Did it once with dos and a wfw 3.11 network, had a problem with getting all the needed support files. Finally found a MS document that told me what to download and how to set it up.

MIKILUSA: Please do.

HUEVOS: Do you remember where MS doc is?

WELL: How to solve the boot problem from the beginning? It's hanging after the box that shows pc specification.

JCARLISLE: Sounds like a BIOS problem Well. Or an error during the POST, indicating a hardware failure.

You got a problem?
RON NUTTER: Huevos, been a couple of years since I used it, try keyword search wfw and DOS. I think that is what I used.

RDCROSSEN: Send me an e-mail , and I will send it to you. I have them for 3c589, 3c905, and xircom nics.

HREGAN: SOS shows all drivers at bootup well, you have to put it in boot.ini (VGA mode defaults to this setting) that may help you.

RON NUTTER: Well, could be several things—bad memory, a hardware conflict of some type.

HUEVOS: Great, thanks.

RON NUTTER: Huevos, No problem.

HREGAN: Does the vendor provide hardware diags for that pc well?

RDCROSSEN: Glad to help.

WELL: That why I need to find out how to check the memory problems. After, it can enter the windows, show illegal operation, even change another memory chips.

JCARLISLE: Sounds like a system board problem to me.

HUEVOS: Well, are you overclocking it?

TLSNC: Well, have you checked the DETAILS button after the illegal op? This could give you another error or mem location to check on technet.


HREGAN: Do you get Dr. Watson errors or anything like that?

WELL: Dr. Watson said that illegal memory access.

HREGAN: Did you run drwtsn32 from the system32 directory? That could have some useful info in the very beginning.

Start at the beginning
JCARLISLE: If you've changed out the memory chips and are still getting memory errors, it's the system board. Dump the Acer.

WELL: Run drwatson from c:\windows?

RON NUTTER: Well, I have been looking for the website for the Microscope product, haven’t been able to find it yet. I agree with the others, the Acer might be your problem.

HREGAN: What OS? If Win9x, I had to dump an acer because it couldn't support the system board before, and they are right, it had to be replaced(the system itself).

RON NUTTER: Well, if I have been following your questions correctly, you are running NT, in that case there won't be a C:\windows directory but \WINNT.

HREGAN: I assumed you were running NT, sorry. Yes, still try to run that for info, though, before trashing it.

RON NUTTER: Well, Drwatson.exe is in the win98_45 cab file, you should to find it in the Windows, system or system32 directory.

HREGAN: Like I said, if its NT, its \winnt\system32\drwtsn32.exe.

Thanks, everyone
RON NUTTER: Thanks for everyone showing up tonight. For those that will be attending Novell's Brainshare 2000 technical conference in Salt Lake City Next week, come by for a free dinner. Just kidding. I am presenting a session on Client to Site VPN twice during the week and would like to put some names with faces.

HUEVOS: What is the best boot manager?

RON NUTTER: Huevos, I have had good luck with Partition Magic 4.0.

MODERATOR: Thank you to Ron for speaking tonight. Good luck at BrainShare. Yours truly will also be attendance to be in awe.

RON NUTTER: Thanks to everyone for participating tonight!
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

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