Blank screen with blinking cuursor

Microsoft Windows 98
January 18, 2010 at 08:33:53
Specs: Windows 98
I am trying to put windows 98 on a computer and I get past were it asks if I want to use extended memory i say yes and then it goes all blank except for a blinking cursor I have checked my memory and its all good and I can still get into my CMOS but it all looks fine.

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January 18, 2010 at 14:03:24
How much memory do you have, what speed cpu and how big of a hard drive?

A question about using extended memory is not part of normal 98 installation. (Sounds like you're running MEMMAKER). So you should probably explain what steps you're taking in the attempted installation.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.

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January 18, 2010 at 15:35:56
You sholud be either booting from the CD, or be using an appropriate bootable floppy such as a Win 98 or 98SE Startup disk (whichever applies) to boot the computer, then typing Setup when it has finished loading.

"A question about using extended memory is not part of normal 98 installation."

I agree, unless your computer is really old and has an extended menory card in a slot.

Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.
The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site.
The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.

You should have absolutely no problems reading files from the Windows CD during Setup - if you suspect you are having problems with that ....

Windows Setup is very sensitive as to whether you are experiencing even small amounts of ram errors. Sometimes you get part way through despite that then Setup screws up.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

If you DO get errors, it's almost always NOT because the ram is "bad" - it's almost always because the ram has a connection problem in it's slot, or the ram is not 100% comptible with using it in your particular mboard.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

For a laptop, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.

If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.

Ram that works in another mboard , or any ram you buy or have lying around, may not work properly, or sometimes, not at all - even if it physically fits and is the right overall type (e.g. SDram, DDR, DDR2, etc.; PCxxxx, xxx mhz) for your mboard. In the worst cases of incompatibilty your mboard WILL NOT BOOT all the way with it installed, and the mboard may not even beep - the ram has to be compatible with the mboard's main chipset, or in the case of recent mboards, compatible with the memory controller built into the cpu.

If you still have the ram that was installed when the system worked fine, try installing just that ram.

See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
Correction to that:

Once you know which module ID strings work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings.

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.

Windows Setup is very sensitive as to whether you are experiencing ANY errors reading the CD. Make sure the CD is clean. Try a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive - if you don't have one, most places that sell CDs and DVDs have them, or even some "dollar" stores have them for a buck or two. OR - If this is a laptop, you can usually easily clean the laser lens when the drive tray is ejected when there's no disk in it.
If it's a burned CD, a CD-R should read fine, but other types of burned disks may not read properly in a drive they were not made it.

If you're having problem in the second stage of 98 or 98SE's Setup, after Setup has booted the computer automatically once, that's probably a hardware probem. Unplug the computer, remove any cards you have installed that are not essential for Setup and start Setup from the beginning again.

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