If I get a protection error or another error in WIN98 the machine may hang. On bootup I see 3, 4, 5 or more copies of the same device in device manager under floppy disk, cdrom, etc.. For example 3 copies of the Floppy disk, 4 copies of the cdrom, two copies of a sound card, 3 copies of a video card, etc. The only way to get rid of them is to reboot in safe mode, go into device manager and delete one at a time. It doen't always work.
I used to work with Compaq and the reason we had them was the image used to restore the computer restored different models ( some with two floppies some with CD-RW some without ).
They include the device drivers anyways incase you did have them.
Other reasons I have seen is when the computer crash it will sometimes redetects hardware as a new device.
What computer is it? is it a brand like compaq or HP?