(WARNING: Not directly security-related; however, I feel that learning more about the configuration of one's box is helpful in securing one's box - besides, it is posted in the newbie section, and may prove helpful to other 'noobs' out there - so, forgive me.)


I've got a very annoying problem: Every now and again (three times within the last month) my computer (Compaq Presario 7478: AMD, 64Megs RAM (56 after Win), Win98SE (fully patched)) decides to crash. This is no major problem in itself - I'm used to Windows crashing for a variety of reasons, and I'm usually able to 'fix' it by disabling one app or another via msconfig, or (occasionally) regedit.

However, in the last month when it crashes, it occasionaly reboots and comes to a screen with a background similar to scandisk or a Win98 install screen that reads to the effect of

"Windows has found errors in your current system regitry, and has replaced it with a recent

After that, my computer loads Win98 as usual, only it is in its original factory condition, aside from the fact that my personal programs are still on the desktop/ start menu. But I have to reconfigure all my default programs (browsers, firewalls, code editors, etc.) along with my network options (which are nilch, since it is my home PC) and my registry, among other things.

I have an idea of what the problem may be: About a month ago (when the problem started), I decided to do a "quick-restore" on my computer, which is basically restoring it back to it's factory condition... However, it ran into problems, since my CD-ROM drive doesn't read very well... So, I tried to reformat the hard-drive and start from scratch, using a Win98SE installation disk... That didn't work, either, since it detcted Windows already installed... So, finally I got the QuickRestore to work, and everything went fine for a while...

And then, after about a week of 'smooth' operation (just a couple of typical Windows crashes) , I tried to install MSOffice2000 from a school-copy CD. About midway through the installation, the damn thing crashed, and 'restored' itself to the condition described above...

Well, that's my story... What I don't understand is, why would it restore itself automatically like that just ever-so often? It's done it twice since the first time, and there is no single program I run that causes the crash.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any ideas and for reading through this very long post...