I’ve had this problem since getting the computer a year or two ago, and no one’s been able to explain this yet… but reading other posts clued me in to the fact that there are some very computer literate straight dopers out there. So here goes:
Most of the time, but not every single time, whenever rebooting or restarting the computer, it will get past the initial BIOS but when it starts loading Windows (Win 98) the screen will go blank, with the text based message:
Hitting any key will then shut off the computer completely, as will hitting nothing and waiting half a minute.
Hitting the power button to start the computer up again, it begins with the same BIOS startup (of course), then goes to a screen offering to start up in Safe Mode (I tell it not to open in safe mode, as I’ve learned from experience that opening in Safe Mode doesn’t help with this problem and I then have to rearange my desktop icons after they’ve been shifted from opening in 640X480 resolution), and then it might start up fine and it mght not.
If not, it’s exactly the same as before; I press the power button again and try once more. I sometimes have to do this three or four or five times before windows starts up normally. Or maybe just once or twice.
Occaisionally after rebooting or restarting (even after the machine has been shut down normally, which I rarely do anymore because of this problem) it will start up fine, but most of the time it will have this problem.
It will always (eventually) start properly, I don’t think I’ve ever had to repeat this more than five times, and usually only once or twice, so it’s not a big enough problem to get a new computer, but I would like to figure out what’s going on.
One thing I have checked is when it hasn’t started properly, I’ve started up the computer in DOS mode (no problem doing that) and looked in the /windows/system directory for the vmm32.vxd file. It is always there. That tells me that the problem is that this file is “unable to load” for some reason (if you can believe Window’s error messages), but I have no idea why it would sometimes be able to load and sometimes not be able to.