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Windows 98 Insufficient Memory startup error

Last response: in Windows 95/98/ME
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December 4, 2012 11:42:17 PM

So I just installed Windows 98 (Compact Installation) on my 4 GB flash drive. First boot it gave me this error. Modified SYSTEM.INI following this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/184447 and it fixed it. Windows 98 booted and things seemed fine. Shut it down and rebooted it some time later and it gave me the same error. I then tried setting maximum vcache, but it didn't fix it. My laptop is an A6-3420M Quad Core, 4 GB (x2 2 GB DDR3) g7-1365dx HP Pavilion.

I'm confused how that fixed it for first boot (as in first boot after install), but didn't for future boots. Here's the system.ini:

[boot]
oemfonts.fon=vgaoem.fon
shell=Explorer.exe
system.drv=system.drv
drivers=mmsystem.dll power.drv
user.exe=user.exe
gdi.exe=gdi.exe
sound.drv=mmsound.drv
dibeng.drv=dibeng.dll
comm.drv=comm.drv
mouse.drv=mouse.drv
keyboard.drv=keyboard.drv
*DisplayFallback=0
fonts.fon=vgasys.fon
fixedfon.fon=vgafix.fon
386Grabber=vgafull.3gr
display.drv=pnpdrvr.drv

[keyboard]
keyboard.dll=
oemansi.bin=
subtype=
type=4

[boot.description]
system.drv=Standard PC
keyboard.typ=Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural Keyboard
mouse.drv=Standard mouse
aspect=100,96,96
display.drv=Standard PCI Graphics Adapter (VGA)

[386Enh]
MaxPhysPage=200000
ebios=*ebios
woafont=dosapp.fon
mouse=*vmouse, msmouse.vxd
device=*dynapage
device=*vcd
device=*vpd
device=*int13
device=*enable
keyboard=*vkd
display=*vdd,*vflatd

[drivers32]
msacm.lhacm=lhacm.acm
VIDC.VDOM=vdowave.drv
MSACM.imaadpcm=imaadp32.acm
MSACM.msadpcm=msadp32.acm
MSACM.msgsm610=msgsm32.acm
MSACM.msg711=msg711.acm
MSACM.trspch=tssoft32.acm
VIDC.IV50=ir50_32.dll
msacm.iac2=C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\IAC25_32.AX

[NonWindowsApp]
TTInitialSizes=4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 22

[power.drv]

[drivers]
wavemapper=*.drv
MSACM.imaadpcm=*.acm
MSACM.msadpcm=*.acm

[iccvid.drv]

[mciseq.drv]

[mci]
cdaudio=mcicda.drv
sequencer=mciseq.drv
waveaudio=mciwave.drv
avivideo=mciavi.drv
videodisc=mcipionr.drv
vcr=mcivisca.drv
MPEGVideo=mciqtz.drv

[vcache]
MaxFileCache=500000

[Password Lists]
TYLER=C:\WINDOWS\TYLER.PWL

There was no autoexec.bat file installed by default. I created one (obviously it's empty). Put it in the Windows folder. There also doesn't seem to be config.sys either. I honestly know very little about how Windows 98 is supposed to work.
December 5, 2012 1:13:05 AM

If setting MaxFileCache doesn't work then you must reduce the amount of installed RAM to 512MB or less.
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December 5, 2012 1:58:43 AM

ex_bubblehead said:
If setting MaxFileCache doesn't work then you must reduce the amount of installed RAM to 512MB or less.


How would I do that? There's no BIOS/CMOS setting, and both sticks are 2 GB.

When setting MaxFileCache, what is it being measured in? KB? Mb? MB?
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December 5, 2012 2:59:03 AM

tmontney said:
How would I do that? There's no BIOS/CMOS setting, and both sticks are 2 GB.


By physically installing 512MB or less RAM.


tmontney said:
When setting MaxFileCache, what is it being measured in? KB? Mb? MB?


It's in kilobytes.




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December 5, 2012 3:45:14 AM

ex_bubblehead said:
By physically installing 512MB or less RAM.




It's in kilobytes.



Since I'm running it off a flash drive (won't detect my SSD) and it was just a fun project, running with only 1/8 of my RAM is not an option. I don't believe I even have a 512 stick.

Neither MaxFileCache nor MaxPhysPage fixes my issue. Looks like I'm out of luck.
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December 5, 2012 1:59:02 PM

Windows 98 cannot work with 512MB or more of RAM without an unofficial update to raise it to 1GB, which is the physical limit for Windows 9x systems.
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December 5, 2012 3:13:51 PM

Northwestern said:
Windows 98 cannot work with 512MB or more of RAM without an unofficial update to raise it to 1GB, which is the physical limit for Windows 9x systems.


Actually, officially it's 2GB max for 95, 98, & ME, however, there's a bug in 95/98/ME that triggers at 512MB. On some systems a simple change to the [vcache] section of system.ini will get it to boot, but on the rest it requires that RAM be physically reduced to 512MB or less (WAY more than plenty for 95/98/ME).


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December 5, 2012 8:38:32 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
Actually, officially it's 2GB max for 95, 98, & ME, however, there's a bug in 95/98/ME that triggers at 512MB. On some systems a simple change to the [vcache] section of system.ini will get it to boot, but on the rest it requires that RAM be physically reduced to 512MB or less (WAY more than plenty for 95/98/ME).


If it clears things up, I meant to say that I will not be running 98 primarily. I realize that even 512 MB would be plenty for 98. I run Windows 8 and capture/edit 1080p video and such. So running that low or RAM would not work (and would be a hassle to keep swapping memory).

I'm confused by the bold.
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December 5, 2012 8:48:51 PM

tmontney said:
If it clears things up, I meant to say that I will not be running 98 primarily. I realize that even 512 MB would be plenty for 98. I run Windows 8 and capture/edit 1080p video and such. So running that low or RAM would not work (and would be a hassle to keep swapping memory).

I'm confused by the bold.


What's to be confused about? If setting MaxFileCache=524288 doesn't work then physically removing RAM is the only alternative.

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December 5, 2012 9:26:23 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
What's to be confused about? If setting MaxFileCache=524288 doesn't work then physically removing RAM is the only alternative.


Ah, you were saying that some systems it will work and others it will not (depending on the RAM configuration).

Say I were able to successfully get into Windows, is there anything else I can do? Like I said earlier, I can boot one time into Windows (right after install). The next reboot doesn't work. And of course that poses another question (what does it change to make Windows not work)?
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December 5, 2012 9:28:37 PM

Give it up. Install a modern OS then run 98 in a VM.
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December 5, 2012 9:46:09 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
Give it up. Install a modern OS then run 98 in a VM.


Thanks for the offer. I already have Windows 8 Pro as my main OS. This was just for fun. Again, is there anything else I can change from inside Windows 98 (since I can do it successfully one time)?
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December 5, 2012 9:54:00 PM

Nothing you can change inside 98 is going to force it to work on that hardware. It's even possible that reducing the installed RAM may not work. New hardware simply doesn't support decade+ old OS's.
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December 5, 2012 10:49:41 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
Nothing you can change inside 98 is going to force it to work on that hardware. It's even possible that reducing the installed RAM may not work. New hardware simply doesn't support decade+ old OS's.


But again I say it successfully booted. I feel that if Windows 98 didn't support this hardware it wouldn't even install, let alone boot.
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December 5, 2012 11:01:27 PM

It's not going to work but it's your time and energy to waste. I'm done here.
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December 5, 2012 11:16:59 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
It's not going to work but it's your time and energy to waste. I'm done here.


And that's your opinion (about it being a waste). I too have high doubts about this working. However, it just doesn't make sense why the first boot works and all future boots do not. Logically if it didn't support my hardware, it shouldn't install and it shouldn't boot to Windows ever. I tried giving Windows 98 in a VM more than 512 MB and it did the exact same thing (not enough memory error).
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December 6, 2012 3:08:03 PM

A change between the initial boot and second boot could have triggered a failure in the second and future boots. I doubt there is something you can actually do without continually doing a trial-and-error process to fix it. Even then, you can't guarantee the system will boot properly the next time you try it.

I do have to admire your ambition to solve this.
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!