Win 98 black screen

  Seadog 23:11 02 Jun 2007

My 80 year old neighbour phoned me earlier tonight to ask about a problem with his old (amd 800 + win 98) computer. He said that a black rectangle appeared in the centre of his screen that said something like "click here for...." so he did.
Now he has a full black screen - (sounds to me like a command/dos prompt) that won't go away even when he reboots the machine.
He said there was also a message that mentioned BIOS when it first happened but that was all he said, I have no other info I'm afraid.
Anyone any ideas or experiences of the same phenomenom? I intend going round tomorrow to have a look but any advice or suggestions would be very helpful.

He does keep saying that he may get a new machine soon - maybe now is the time...........

  johnnyrocker 10:21 03 Jun 2007

try a restore, ie boot into dos prompt and type scan reg /restore ( not quite sure of correct typing ) maybe someone will know better, it should when correctly typed produce the last 5 times pc worked ok, just pick one and all should be well.


  Diemmess 12:10 03 Jun 2007

Emphasising johnnyrocker's advice:

Boot while prodding F8 and at the DOS screen choose "Command Prompt Only"

Then type scanreg /restore (scanreg is one word and must have a space after it.)

Then follow the prompts to select an older version of the registry.

  Seadog 14:56 03 Jun 2007

thanks guys, will try that this afternoon..............

  p;3 15:01 03 Jun 2007

curious as I am on 98se so bookmarking

he COULD try

ctrl/alt/del and see what happens?

  lotvic 23:17 03 Jun 2007

new CMOS battery wouldn't go amiss either.

  Seadog 08:35 04 Jun 2007

Tried the scanreg/restore - no different.
The cmos battery is new.
Got it working late last night, still don't know what the problem is/was though - apart for some reason it is booting to a command prompt (which is easily sorted by typing exit)it seems there is also something like a graphics/agp/motherboard fault???
Couldn't alter the display settings from the basic default pci/vga - windows said that the graphics card was disabled, but it wasn't. Tried a couple of other old cards but no good.
After this, the machine was re-booting itself before windows was fully loaded, sort of going round in circles!! (Got to the blue clouds screen then started again!)
So I re-installed win 98se, and with the original card back the display seemed to sort itself out a bit - some colour now but still basic resolution.
I tried to load the drivers for the graphics card (agp nvidia fx5200 128ram) and half way through the install the computer re-booted itself once more? Tried a couple of times but the same thing happens, although now the settings can be altered to different resolutions.
At the moment the machine still boots to a command prompt (which then minimises itself!) and we get a warning about a missing file for the display drivers but everything else seems to work.
I thought that it may be a virus or something but all he does is muck about with photos and documents and such, he doesn't have an internet connection.
Anyway, he is going to back up all his documents and photos and see about a new tower unit in the near future.
Unless someone knows the answer............

  Diemmess 09:12 04 Jun 2007

Thanks for a lucid description of what you did and what the computer did/didn't do!

Surely it has to be a video setup problem?

I wonder if it is worth (via Device Manager) uninstalling the Graphics card, rebooting, and installing the video drivers yet again?

Beyond that, I'm out of ideas.
It seems like you are doing a favour for your neighbour and heartily wish you hadn't started.
Just think of the glow if you get it right.....

He'll be after you with every future glitch.

  p;3 17:50 04 Jun 2007

from where does he get the photos and documents that he 'mucks about with'?

  Seadog 18:16 04 Jun 2007

In answer to your posts:
The guy has been a family friend for over 40 years, so I don't mind helping him out every now and then and he only asks for advice if he is really stuck, I am as much as fault as I don't like to be beaten by a machine!!! lol!

As for the photos and documents he "mucks about with", he is a keen photographer and has just purchased his second digital camera in four years.
The documents are just presentations, cards and such he designs himself as a hobby!

All his software is legit as well, which is rare these days................

  Diemmess 20:35 04 Jun 2007

"He is very little trouble!"
His worst disaster was a burn-out on the mobo, and he can't be blamed for that.
He too has a lifelong passion for photography and no interest in the 'net'

Have you tried the earlier suggestion of uninstalling the graphic drivers and then rebooting?
The computer ought to behave with just the generic low resolution drivers built into W98.

If it is stable like that, then installing the downloaded drivers should bring things back again

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