Computer Keeps Rebooting Over And Over

Microsoft Windows 98 se (full product)
March 17, 2010 at 23:23:45
Specs: Win98, 128mb RAM
I have a friend with a Presario 5441 OS win98 and about 1-2 minutes after it boots up completely...it crashes and reboots. This happens over and over in a neverending cycle. It will stay up in Safe Mode. I can see the cd-rom in "My Computer"(not in safe mode) but cannot get it to work. When I try I get a message telling me it is not ready. I have another cd rom and will install it when I see her again. I also have a win98 boot disk which I used as her machine does NOT crash in ms-dos. I also have a win98 CD. Her machine will support 384mb RAM so I COULD install XP...but since she is not going online with it I think 98 is sufficient. I REALLY don't want to format her harddrive as she has important stuff on there. I really need help with that CD problem too as I really cant install anything without that. Thank you!

See More: Computer Keeps Rebooting Over And Over

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#1
March 18, 2010 at 08:41:39
That a look at the config.sys and autoexec.bat.
There should be loaded a cdrom driver in config.sys and mscdex.exe in autoexec.bat.

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#2
March 18, 2010 at 09:31:48
Thank you for your timely response. Please instruct me on the procedure for this:
" That a look at the config.sys and autoexec.bat.
There should be loaded a cdrom driver in config.sys and mscdex.exe in autoexec.bat."
I am not a tech and I really need a step by step instruction when it comes to ms-dos.


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#3
March 18, 2010 at 09:51:45
When you start window in safe mode, open the windows explorer, navigate to drive c:\ and locate config.sys file.
Rightclick the config.sys file and choose open with...
Chose notepad to open that file.
When it's open for editing, search for an entry like this:
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\cdrom_driver.sys /d:cdrom_name

where:
cdrom_driver is the name of the driver file
cdrom_name is the name, that is handed over to the mscdex.exe. That could be any name except "cdrom".
That name causes sometimes problems.

If the line exists but has a semicolon at the beginning, you have to remove the semicolon, because a semicolon in config.sys file, comments out the whole line.
Save the file when finished.

Now do the same with the autoexec.bat file.
Rightclick to it and choose open with ...
Open it with notepad.
Search for a line like this:
C:\WINDOWS\mscdex.exe /d:cdrom_name

If there is a # at the beginning, delete the # sign.
As mentioned above, cdrom_name must be the same as in config.sys file. mscdex is used to assign a driveletter to the cdrom.
If finished editing the file, save the file and exit.
Then restart the computer in safe mode as you've done before. The cdrom should be accessable.


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Related Solutions

#4
March 18, 2010 at 11:04:39
Win98 doesn't even need autoexec.bat or config.sys...those files are used for DOS.

Try this: Boot into safe mode, go to the C:\ directory & rename autoexec.bat & config.sys to auotexec.OLD & config.OLD. Then check for any other files named autoexec (autoexec.bak, autoexec.***, etc) or config (config.bak, config.***, etc)...delete them all except for the .OLD files, then reboot.


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#5
March 18, 2010 at 11:16:34
@jam
Windows 98 do use Autoexec.bat and config.sys.
It not necessarily needs it, but if available, it use it.
So if cdrom is not available and you load cdrom driver in config.sys, windows 98 can access the cdrom on dos based driver.

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#6
March 18, 2010 at 11:22:13
Thank you. I will be seeing her tomorrow(Friday) and will get back to you. Hope it works!

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#7
March 18, 2010 at 11:23:18
I agree with Jam.

some other bloke...


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#8
March 18, 2010 at 15:23:36
Click & Enjoy!

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#9
March 18, 2010 at 18:34:56
jam

That video link crashes both IE SP2 and Netscape 9.0.0.6 in my 98SE.

......

AliveStillKickin

"It will stay up in Safe Mode"

"I can see the cd-rom in "My Computer"(not in safe mode) but cannot get it to work."

I know from experience that you can get really odd symptoms in 98SE if the cd drive is malfunctioning, or if there's something wrong with it's data cable connection.

I'm assuming the CD drive is an IDE drive.
On an older computer it could also be a proprietary drive that does not use an IDE data connection - e.g. Panasonic (Matsushita-Kotobuki), Mitsumi, Sony, etc.
The CD drive should work fine in My Computer, but of course a disk it can read must be in it.
Safe mode in 98SE does not load CD drive (optical drive) drivers, so you see no CD drives in My Computer, although they're there in Device Manager if they're detected properly.

Disconnect both the data cable and power to the CD drive and see what happens when you boot normally.
If the computer no longer reboots in a loop,

- It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

- try a different CD drive.
.......

If that doesn't help, if it has more than one hard drive, disconnect it too, try the computer again. You may need to change the jumper setting on the drive that's still connected, if it's set to slave, or if it's set to cable select, you may need to connect the end connector on the 3 connector data cable to it (older mboards /bioses may not detect a drive AT ALL if it's on a data cable by itself and it's jumpered to, or seen as, slave). You may need to change boot order settings in the bios, if you do either of those.

If that doesn't help, make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots, try the computer again.

If that doesn't help....

There's not many software related things that will cause a reboot loop in 98SE.
If I've ever had that happen to me, it's been so long ago I don't recall when. I've been using 98SE nearly every day since the beginning of 2000, and I still use it.

Ask her what was the last thing she did before this first started to happen.
E.g.
- did she install some software?
- did she use an anti-malware program to scan the computer and she had it remove what it found ?
- did she delete something rather than un-install it?
........

Check the current voltages in the bios Setup. If +3.3v if that applies, +5v or +12v are not with 10% of nominal, the power supply needs to be replaced. The CD drive cannot work properly if what is supposed to be +5v or +12v is too low, and if either is too high, it doesn't take long until the optical drive's board is damaged; if what is supposed to be +5v is too high, the floppy drive tends to fail before the optical drive.
......

The Win 98SE (and 98, and ME) Startup Disk floppy already has the ability to support IDE optical drives (and some other proprietary optical drives), via a generic CD driver (oakcdrom.sys) (or other drivers) and the proper lines in Autoexec.bat and Config.sys (there are no Panasonic [Matsushita] cd drive drivers on it). If the IDE CD drive does not work with that, either there's something wrong with it's data cable connection, or the drive is toast.

The original OEM and full retail version 98SE CDs usually came with a Startup Disk floppy, the same as made in Setup or in the operating system, with the additional selection of being able select running Setup in the first menu.
You can make a Startup disk while running 98, 98SE or ME Setup from the CD. You can make them in a working Windows installation in Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs - Startup Disk tab, along with the Windows CD.
If you don't have a 98SE Startup Disk floppy, you can download the contents of one from the web.
........

The drive is defective if the power supply is ok and the computer is running and ...
- it won't open when you press the button on the front of it when the computer is running. That only requires the power connector to be connected to it.
- if the led doesn't come on when a disk is in the tray and the tray is inserted. That only requires the power connector to be connected to it.
- if the led does comes when a disk is in the tray and the tray is inserted but it comes on again for a long while or blinks on and off a long while (that probably indicates the motor bearings are worn so bad that the the drive can no longer spin at 1X speed). That only requires the power connector to be connected to it.
- if you place a disk in the tray, note it's position, insert it, let it try to spin, eject it, and find it hasn't moved - the motor's bearings have seized - the motor's not spinning. That only requires the power connector to be connected to it.


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#10
March 18, 2010 at 19:03:44
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR REPLIES!!!
Tubes and Wires...I will try all of this tomorrow when I see her. Her grandkids were on the computer a lot and they loaded it with games galore! I uninstalled most of them in safe mode. Her hard drive was almost maxed out. Now it is about 15% used...so you can see how loaded down it was with junk. I also ran scandisk, deleted her temp files and defragged her HD. The CD thing is the most important thing now. If I can get it up and running...I think I can reinstall an OS....and after I run a check on her system...if it will support 512mb RAM...I will load-up XP. I will get back with you tomorrow or Saturday. Thank you all again.

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#11
March 18, 2010 at 19:54:13
You can load 98SE "overtop" the existing Windows installation but of course the CD drive must work properly.
(You can't do this when you boot from the OEM or full retail version CD ! )

You boot with a 98SE Startup Disk floppy, load CD drive support, and when everything finishes loading you should see lines that say the CD drive support has been loaded.
If you do, insert the 98SE CD (if it's not already there), type: setup (press Enter) .
If you install Windows in the SAME folder it was in - normally that's C:\Windows, the existing contents of and personal settings in Windows will NOT be deleted, all the programs that were installed by the user will be recognized as having been installed, and hopefully running Setup will repair whatever is wrong. You do not need to supply a Product Key if you install Windows in the same folder, unless essential data for that is corrupted or missing. If it's brand name computer, if it has the official Microsoft label on it with the 98SE Product Key, you can use that with an OEM Windows CD, if you need to supply one, or if you choose to run Setup from scratch.
A regular Microsoft OEM CD has "For distribution with a new PC only" or similar printed on it.

NOTE - if you don't know what the Product Key for the existing Windows 98 or 98SE installation is, download Keyfinder by magic jellybean software, and place it on a floppy and/or copy it to the hard drive. It's ready to go as is - just double click on it when you're in Windows. It only finds the Product Key for the Windows installation that was booted from - it also finds keys for other Microsoft software. If you can get Windows to run for even just a few minutes, that's enough time to copy down the key.
Note that brand name installations often have two Product Keys - one that was embedded in the original sotware installation and on the Recovery disks for the model, and if it has an official Microsoft label, a different one on the label.

If you choose to run Setup from scratch, delete the existing partitions by booting with the Startup Disk floppy and running Fdisk, then make at least one partition (at least two is better !! ) .

Fdisk (and Setup for 2000 and up) defaults to making only one partition on a hard drive.
The problem with that is if you ever need to re-load Windows from scratch, you lose everything on the partition Windows was installed on, and when you have only partition on the hard drive, that's everything on the drive - unless you copy the data you don't want to lose to elsewhere BEFORE you install Windows from scratch (most people don't bother, and lose all their data) .
If you're installing Windows from a regular CD, it's recommended you make at least TWO partitions on the drive.

Make the first partition in Fdisk smaller than the default amount - 1,024mb per gb. Make the second partition an extended partition, then install at least one logical partition within the extended partition.
..........

Fdisk in Win 98, 98SE cannot recognize a hard drive larger than ~64 gig without an update, if it hasn't been installed. What Fdisk will see in those cases is e.g. ~80 - 64 = ~16 gb, or ~120 - 64 = ~56 gb, etc.

Get the update you install on a working Windows 98 or 98SE installation here:
http://download.microsoft.com/downl...
If you use a Startup disk to Fdisk the hard drive, you must copy the updated Fdisk from Windows to the floppy. If you boot/install Windows from the Win 98/98SE CD, you cannot Fdisk/Format a hard drive larger than 64 gig - use the Startup disk with the updated Fdisk instead.

The update is supposed to be installed on a working Win 98 or 98SE computer. If you don't have that, you can get the updated Fdisk.exe on the web. In it's Properties it's size is 64,460 bytes, and it's original date is 5/18/00 (depending on where you get it from the date may be something else - the right one is 64,460 bytes).


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#12
March 18, 2010 at 20:49:59
Thank you T&W....This will come in handy. I am not sure which OS i will install. I have the Boot disks and cds for win me and win 98 plus I have an Xp Home edition cd and a Vista oem disk. I have the Keys for all...thanks for the info anyway. I am bound and determined to fix the cd problem and I HOPE all of the info I have gathered here will do just that. Also, I have a cd -rom drive that I KNOW is operable and I am going to install it instead of hers. I will check back in the morning to see if anyone else has thought of anything and then I am off to see her. She is not online so I will have to let y'all know the outcome when I return. Have a great weekend...and try to take a break. (NCAA MARCH MADNESS)....GO TERPS!!!!!

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#13
March 19, 2010 at 08:23:27
Presario 5441 specs
htp://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&lang=en&cc=us&docname=c00031041&dlc=en&product=93344&printable=yes&

L2 Pipeline Burst Cache 512 KB

Three ram slots, max 128mb modules per slot, total max 384mb

* = my note

* a maximum of 128mb of ram can be cached by the onboard L2 cache, which speeds up the overall performance of the ram. If you install more ram than that, NONE of the ram will be cached, resulting in a 25% or so ram performance "hit" , in comparison to having a larger L2 cache that can cache all the ram installed.

* Win 98 and 98SE and probably ME works very well with 128mb of ram.

450 MHz AMD K6-2 (another source says 475 mhz K6-2 )

Processor Upgrade Options K6-2s, K6-3s up to 500 Mhz

* K6-III cpus have a built in L2 cache - the onboard L2 cache is used as L3 cache when you use a K6-III cpu - the L2 cache on the cpu makes the overall cpu performance more efficient than for a K6-2 cpu of the same mhz - there will not be as much of a performance "hit" when you install more than 128mb and have a K6-III cpu installed.

* any K6-2 or K6-III cpu will run at X6 on the cpu itself when the X2 multiplier is used on the mboard, but only K6-2+ 550mhz or K6-III+ 550mhz cpus (they're mobile - laptop - cpus) will run at 600mhz.

* = my note

* a maximum of 128mb of ram can be cached by the onboard L2 cache, which speeds up the overall performance of the ram. If you install more ram than that, NONE of the ram will be cached, resulting in a 25% or so ram performance "hit" , in comparison to having a larger L2 cache that can cache all the ram installed.

450 MHz AMD K6-2 (another source says 475 mhz K6-2 )

* XP will run okay if you have 256mb or more ram installed but will be MUCH slower than ME or 98SE or 98 with 128mb of ram.

Processor Upgrade Options K6-2s, K6-3s up to 500 Mhz

* K6-III cpus have a built in L2 cache - the onboard L2 cache is used as L3 cache when you use a K6-III cpu - the L2 cache on the cpu makes the overall cpu performance more efficient than for a K6-2 cpu of the same mhz - there will not be as much of a performance "hit" when you install more than 128mb and have a K6-III cpu installed.

* any K6-2 or K6-III cpu will run at X6 on the cpu itself on a super socket 7 mboard when the X2 multiplier is used on the mboard, but only K6-2+ 550mhz or K6-III+ 550mhz cpus (they're mobile - laptop - cpus) will run at 600mhz.

System Bus Speed Max 66/75/83/95/100/112/124/133

Video Memory 8 MB Shared
* tiny - too far under XP's minimum requirements

Chipset SIS Sinbad
* SiS chipsets are usually inferior

* None of the K6-2, K6-III, K6-2+ (550) cpus I've tried will boot when the fsb is set to 112mhz, when 133mhz ram was installed, no matter what cpu voltage and multiplier I tried, on a Via MVP3 main chipset mboard. Some mboards have a lower fsb speed available over 100 under 112mhz - they may boot with that.

Hard Drive Capacity (GB) 4.3G

* If it's still got that, you'll use up about half of that or more if you install XP, once the usual updates and things people commonly add have been loaded.

Primary Optical Drive 32X-CD

* If it's still got that, I wouldn't be surprised if it's malfunctioning . I had a Creative 32X that only lasted a couple of years - the worn motor bearings wouldn't allow the drive to get to 1X speed .

Power Supply SFX 110 Watt

* Pitiful capacity.
* oddball case
* replacement example
http://www.power-on.com/matx145.html


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#14
March 19, 2010 at 18:12:37
I got the cd working and tried to do a clean install of 98 and another clean install of WinMe. Both times I was informed that certain cabinet files could not be found and upon finishing the installs by "skipping" those files(2-3 files)...It still went into the reboot cycle...but it DID stay loaded about 5 minutes before crashing again. I wonder what the cause is? Could it be the hard drive is bad? I am all ears! Thanks again. Steve

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#15
March 20, 2010 at 14:52:54
You should get NO ERRORS AT ALL when reading files from the CD during Setup. If clicking on Retry or similar does not help...
If you DO / DID get errors, something was not right !
See Response 7 in in this,
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...
starting at

"Errors reading from the CD can be caused by....."
............

Do this AFTER you have tested the ram, and AFTER you have checked your IDE data cables, or having tried replacing them with other ones - see the above in this post - otherwise the results of testing the hard drive may be false !

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
.....

The hard drive's model, sometimes it's brand, is shown in Device Manager - Disk drives.
If it's brand is not shown, search the web with the model to determine that.

Seagate's SeaTools will test any hard drive brand, but it can only attempt to fix bad sector problems on Seagate and Maxtor hard drives, and if the Seagate or Maxtor drive is under warranty, Seagate will only accept the drive to be RMAed if you run Seatools and the drive fails the long test.
Attempting to fix bad sector problems wipes all the data from the drive.
You must run the long test to have that option. The long test will quit if more than 99 bad sectors are found, because in that case, the drive is definitely dying.

I don't recommend continuing to use the drive if ANY bad sectors are found, because the problem will get worse in a short time.

........................................................

Less likely.....

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
Check your PS.

See response 4 in this:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
.........

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:
http://members.datafast.net.au/~dft...

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...


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