I am doing a fresh reinstall of Windows 98 SE on a Dell Optiplex GX1 550Mbr+. I previously had this very same version of Windows on this machine. The install works perfectly, but when I get to the login screen, I hit escape (or type in the password and press enter), and it just hangs.

I have tried:

  1. Changing hard drives
  2. Changing CD drives
  3. Changing the RAM
  4. Swapping the hard drive into another machine
  5. Removing the password

The first 3 points result in no improvement, event if I re-install from scratch.

When I swap the hard drive into another computer, I can log in just fine, so it doesn't seem to be the installation at fault.

When I remove the password (using another computer), it just hangs at the green desktop background. The mouse will move, but nothing ever loads.

CTRL + ALT + DEL will bring up the task manager, and I can restart the computer, or kill the only process (Hidserv).

Running the computer in Safe Mode works.

  • Does the computer have a network card and is it connected? The next thing after login is connecting to the network.
    – tofro
    Apr 6 '19 at 21:09
  • It has onboard ethernet, but it is not connected.
    – Jonathan
    Apr 6 '19 at 21:10
  • Can you try connecting it? Or disable the NIC from safe mode?
    – tofro
    Apr 6 '19 at 21:11
  • I connected it to the offline network, to no avail. The online network does not work any better. I'm going to try disabling it from safe mode now
    – Jonathan
    Apr 6 '19 at 21:17
  • Disabling the NIC (I did it right from the BIOS) does not work either - it still hangs right after where the login screen would be (I currently have it removed).
    – Jonathan
    Apr 6 '19 at 21:31

I found the answer! Using Safe Mode, in msconf, I disabled all the options in the startup tab except:

  • Scan registry
  • Task Monitor
  • System Tray

That worked, so then I re-enabled the following:

  • Load power profile
  • Load Power Profile
  • Scheduling Agent C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\mstask.exe

That was still working, so I restarted again after enabling

  • Welcome
  • Hidserv

Since that did work, I finally enabled the last option in msconfig:

  • Scheduling agent mstinit.exe /firstlogon

And it worked!

I tried again on another fresh install on the same computer. This time, I only disabled hidserv, and I got the same success (Windows started normally, and I was able to re-enable hidserv in msconfig). So the problem was hidserv.

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