Tech Tip: Learn how to fix bad memory

If you receive either of the following messages during Windows 98 startup, you may have bad memory chips: Invalid VxD Dynamic Link Call to Device 3 Service B.

While Initializing Device <filename> Windows Protection Error. You need to restart your computer.

In addition, if you attempt a startup in Safe mode, you may receive this message:

Himem.sys Has Detected Unreliable XMS Memory at <address>.

To successfully start Windows, try swapping out your DIMMs or SIMMs. You can also try limiting the amount of memory that Windows uses to less than 16 MB to see if that cuts out the bad memory. Boot Windows in Safe Mode Command Prompt Only. In the System.ini file, add the following line to the [386enh] section:


However, if you suspect that other errors are the result of unreliable memory, such as drivers not loading, other startup errors, and blue screens, you may want to variably limit the amount of memory that Windows 98 is allowed to use. The easiest way to do this is to use the Windows 98 System Configuration Utility. Here's how:

  1. Type Msconfig.exe in the Run dialog box, and click OK.
  2. On the General tab, click Advanced.
  3. Select the Limit Memory To check box, change the value to 16 MB (or another value), and click OK.
  4. Reboot the system and see if the restricted memory usage improves the occurrences of errors.

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