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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Windows Me and 98 Troubleshooting Modes

When troubleshooting a system that is having problems, the Startup menu can be very helpful. This menu can open a DOS prompt, enabling you to edit, move, delete, or rename files. The Startup menu also enables you to reboot your system in several different modes. These involve such procedures as bootup display and recording, and limiting bootup programs to eliminate system, application, and driver conflicts.

You can access the Windows Me Startup menu, depicted in Figure 3.25, by using the Windows Me Startup Disk, or by holding down the F8 key (or Ctrl key) after the RAM memory test is complete. This menu offers Normal mode, Logged mode, Safe mode and Step-by-Step confirmation options. Using the Startup disk, you have these options and the option to boot to a command prompt. In Normal mode, the system simply tries to restart as it normally would, loading all its normal Startup and Registry files. The Logged mode option also attempts to start the system in Normal mode, but keeps an error log file that contains the steps performed and the outcome. The text file C:\BOOTLOG.TXT can be read with any text editor such as Notepad, or can be printed out on a working system.

Figure 3.25Figure 3.25 Windows Me Startup menu troubleshooting.

If Windows Millennium or 98 determines that a problem has occurred that prevents the system from starting, it will attempt to enter Safe mode at the next startup. Safe mode bypasses several startup files including CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, and the Registry, as well as the [Boot] and [386eb\nh] sections of the SYSTEM.INI file. In this mode, the keyboard, mouse, and standard VGA drivers are active. Safe mode can also be accessed by pressing the Shift+F8 key during startup.

The Step-by-Step Confirmation mode displays each startup command, line by line, and waits for a confirmation or skip order from the keyboard before moving ahead. This can help you to isolate and avoid an offending startup command so that it can be replaced or removed.

The Command Prompt mode opens a DOS command-line prompt. This mode enables you to use DOS commands in order to make, delete, move, copy, rename, and edit files.


  • PC-compatible desktop/tower computer system with CD-ROM drive and printer installed

  • Windows Millennium installed


In this lab, you will examine the boot log and various boot options when starting the computer. These tools can aid in troubleshooting, and are a key part of the process. They enable you to gather information and rule out possible causes of problems.


This lab requires the Windows Millennium Edition operating system. For dual boot systems select Windows Millennium when prompted in each of the following procedures.

  1. Boot to the Startup menu.

    1. Turn on the power to the system.

    2. After the RAM memory test finishes counting up, press and hold the Ctrl key until the Startup Menu appears.

  2. Boot the system to Logged mode.

    1. Type 2 to choose the second option, and then press the Enter key.

  3. Read the boot log.

    1. Choose Start, Programs, Accessories, and then click the Windows Explorer icon from the Accessories menu.

    2. In the Folders pane on the left, click the icon for C:.

    3. In the menu bar, click the Tools menu, the Folder Options menu, and then select the View tab.

    4. Select Show Hidden Files and Folders, and click the OK button.

    5. Back in Explorer, under the Contents pane on the right, locate and double-click the Bootlog.txt file.

    6. Examine the contents of this file.

    7. Close all open windows.

  4. Boot the system to Step-by-Step mode.

    1. Click the Start button and then click Shut Down.

    2. Select Restart, and then click the OK button.

    3. After selecting the Windows Me operating system Bootup, press and hold the Ctrl key.

    4. Select the Step-by-Step mode from the screen by pressing the down arrow key until the Step-by-Step Confirmation is highlighted.

    5. Press the Enter key.

    6. Press the Enter key or the Y key to confirm the use of the startup steps and say Yes to all the steps.


    To skip a command line, press the ESC key or the N key.

  5. Boot the system to Safe mode.

    1. Click the Start button and then click Shut Down.

    2. Select Restart, and then click the OK button.

    3. Select the Windows Millennium operating system, and then press the Enter key.

    4. Immediately press the F5 key.

    5. Close the Help and Support window once Windows finishes rebooting.

  6. Attempt to access the CD-ROM drive and the printer.

    1. Double-click the My Computer icon.

    2. Attempt to locate the CD-ROM drive. Your window will look similar to Figure 3.26.

    3. Figure 3.26Figure 3.26 My Computer window.

    4. Double-click the C: hard drive icon.

    5. Locate and double-click the BOOTLOG.TXT file.

    6. In the menu bar, click the File menu and then select Print, as shown in Figure 3.27.

    7. Figure 3.27Figure 3.27 BOOTLOG.TXT Notepad window.

    8. In Table 3.36, list what happens when you click on Print.

    9. table 3.36Table 3.36

    10. In the menu bar click the File menu and then Exit to close the BOOTLOG.TXT window.

    11. Close all windows.

    12. Double-click the My Computer icon.

    13. Double-click the Control Panel folder icon.

    14. Double-click the System icon.

    15. Click the Device Manager tab.

    16. Click the plus (+) sign to the left of the CD-ROM icon, and then select the CD-ROM driver to highlight it.

    17. Click the Properties button.

    18. Record the device status, as shown in Figure 3.38, in Table 3.37, and then click the Cancel button.

    19. Figure 3.28Figure 3.28 CD-ROM Properties page feedback.

      table 3.37Table 3.37

    20. Click the plus (+) sign to the left of the Ports icon, and then select the Printer Port (LPT1) to highlight it.

    21. Click the Properties button.

    22. Record the device status of the Printer Port (LPT1) in Table 3.38, and then click the Cancel button.

    23. table 3.38Table 3.38

    24. Close all open windows and shut down Windows and the computer.

What Did I Just Learn?

When troubleshooting, there are several options available to investigate problems. Some issues may be associated with drivers or other items starting up when the operating system loads. In this section, you examined some of the ways that things start up and additionally looked at ways to resolve issues associated with them, such as:

  • Examine the features of the Startup menu

  • Boot to Windows Millennium with troubleshooting

  • Boot to Safe mode in Windows Me

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