PDA

View Full Version : Windows 3.11 does not start



PARKE
July 31st, 2015, 02:16 AM
Hi all,

I have a pentium P75 with Dos 6 & Windows for Workgroups 3.11.
Windows does not start up anymore after the first time installation.
The Windows logo page appears for a couple of seconds and then the pc reverts to black screen with C: prompt
plus the following report:

[error loading comm.drv]

Is there a fix for this problem ?
Thanks in advance.

kyodai
July 31st, 2015, 12:43 PM
Check bootlog.txt in the windows dir. Might be an erroneous entry in your system.ini. make sure comm.drv is in the windows system dir and that no "blank" entries are in system.ini like "comm.drv=" (If there's nothing after the equals sign the entry is called "blank"). Could also be from a wrong video driver(or incompatible video card!) or such.

Agent Orange
July 31st, 2015, 01:04 PM
Hi all,

I have a pentium P75 with Dos 6 & Windows for Workgroups 3.11.
Windows does not start up anymore after the first time installation.
The Windows logo page appears for a couple of seconds and then the pc reverts to black screen with C: prompt
plus the following report:

[error loading comm.drv]

Is there a fix for this problem ?
Thanks in advance.

Try typing WIN at the C:> prompt and see what happens. If you get the C:> prompt again, there may be a problem in the initial installation.

PeterNC
July 31st, 2015, 01:50 PM
That driver may be corrupt. Look for it online and replace it. Good luck!

SomeGuy
July 31st, 2015, 02:44 PM
Error loading comm.drv? Thats very strange. Any odd serial com port equipment in that machine? I'd fully check out the machine with various diagnostics first, including COM port, resource, disk, and RAM diagnostics. Perhaps some other piece of hardware conflicting with a com port IRQ or port address? (usually it just crashes and burns when that happens :P )

PARKE
August 1st, 2015, 07:12 AM
Error loading comm.drv? Thats very strange. Any odd serial com port equipment in that machine? I'd fully check out the machine with various diagnostics first, including COM port, resource, disk, and RAM diagnostics. Perhaps some other piece of hardware conflicting with a com port IRQ or port address? (usually it just crashes and burns when that happens :P )
>>
>>
There was indeed an extra (redundant) serial i/o card installed which is now removed. I will re-install WIN3.11 again and see what happens. The IRQ's (for as far as I understand IRQ's) for LPT and COM seem to be ok in the bios start screen and also seem ok according to Norton Utilities.

Thank you All for the input. I will work my way through the various suggestions step by step and will answer individually when I am done.

PARKE
August 1st, 2015, 08:43 AM
Check bootlog.txt in the windows dir. Might be an erroneous entry in your system.ini. make sure comm.drv is in the windows system dir and that no "blank" entries are in system.ini like "comm.drv=" (If there's nothing after the equals sign the entry is called "blank"). Could also be from a wrong video driver(or incompatible video card!) or such.
>>
>>
Checked bootlog.txt
it reports failure with code 00 (zerozero)

I guess the comm.drv on my floppy is corrupt or that there is a problem with the motherboard ?

The system.ini is ok.

I do not think(?) it is a video driver problem because WIN 3.11 started up with its own onboard video driver as far as I remember and subsequently the user had to install the card specific drivers from a diskette (or later from CD). I am not a super bright computer user but I did run and re-install Win 3.11 from a 486 board in the 1990s.
The video card on this pc is, however, a Diamond Fire GL 1000 that was focused on the 95/98 ?

Caluser2000
August 1st, 2015, 09:34 AM
I should just default to vga.drv for display. Usually if a file is corrupted on floppy the install routine should give you some idea though. It either has a couple of goes at reading the file or just gives up. That's not to say the hdd write was perfect though.

If you need to there's a number of places that has Wfw 3.11 disk images you can create a new disk from. You can extract the file off disk easy enough, then expand it, and just copy it over you existing one on the hdd.

PARKE
August 2nd, 2015, 03:56 AM
I should just default to vga.drv for display. Usually if a file is corrupted on floppy the install routine should give you some idea though. It either has a couple of goes at reading the file or just gives up. That's not to say the hdd write was perfect though.

If you need to there's a number of places that has Wfw 3.11 disk images you can create a new disk from. You can extract the file off disk easy enough, then expand it, and just copy it over you existing one on the hdd.
>>
>>
Thank you. In the meantime I have tried to re-install my own WfW3.11 but it does not come further than diskette #2 and the problem is again comm.drv but now it can thus not even be installed anymore.
I downloaded:
Microsoft Windows For Workgroups 3.11 (Upgrade) (3.5)
from
https://winworldpc.com/product/windows-3/wfw-311
Then I copied the images to diskettes and the exact same problem as with my own WfW3.11 version occurs with diskette #2.

In the manual of the motherboard it reads that there was an installation utility disk in the original pakage. On that disk there were two Windows device drivers included. Could it be that the absence of these drivers causes this problem ?

PARKE
August 4th, 2015, 08:25 AM
Following up on earlier suggestions made by forum members I have (as mentioned earlier) installed a copy of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 from another source.
The install broke off halfway disk #2 reverting to a black screen with C: prompt + the report: [Error loading comm.drv]

Furthermore I have tried to test various hardware parts but was unable to test memory.

The P75 CPU in the system was overclocked from 133 to 160 when I got it. I re-set it to factory 133 Mhz.
----
Went back to the earliest install which mentions in the bootlog.txt: [loadsuccess=comm.drv]
But it does -not- work when I start Windows.
----
Checkit 1988-1990 reports that both Keyboard and Smartdrive use IRQ1 - but I have no clue if that is good or bad - or what to do about it if it is bad.

Checkit reports
Parallel Port LPT1 = 378H
Serial Port Com1 = 3F8H

Checkit was unable to check the 64 MB memory and so was MEMTEST86.
Both copped out with a black screen without prompt.
----
Then I pulled out the 2 x 32 Mb memory sticks and replaced them with a single 8 Mb stick.
Then I installed DOS and WfW3.11 (from different sources than the original install) again on a formatted C: partition.
Same comm.drv error.
----
Because Maxtor Power Diagnostics did not work on my setup I plugged in another harddisk - an 8 gig Seagate.
Then I installed DOS and WfW3.11 (from different sources than the original install) again on a formatted C: partition.
Same comm.drv error.
----
Then I plugged in an Intel 486-66 Dx2 cpu to replace the AMD P75.
Re-installed the whole DOS & WfW lot again on a formatted C: partition and got the same comm.drv error.
----

As you may see from the above I really try to get this thing on the road again but I am running out of options. What is left ? A corrupt disk controller ?, or an otherwise toasted motherboard ?

kyodai
August 6th, 2015, 12:21 AM
I'd try to disable smartdrv, if you use 32-bit file access in windows you won't need it anyways.

Caluser2000
August 6th, 2015, 12:44 AM
I'm curious as to know whether plain Windows 3.1 will have the same issue. If you need TCP/IP connectivety that's easy enough to do.

PARKE
August 6th, 2015, 04:36 AM
I'm curious as to know whether plain Windows 3.1 will have the same issue. If you need TCP/IP connectivety that's easy enough to do.
>>
>>
I have tried both W3.1 and W3.11 and with DOS 6.0 and 6.22 in different combinations. In certain instances I got the error report [Cannot load user.exe] instead of [comm.drv] when (I think) I installed without mouse. I tried installing with two different VGA cards, one older and one from the right 1995 time frame. No difference.
I found this reference on the web:

http://tech-insider.org/windows/research/acrobat/920221/6TRBL.pdf

Troubleshooting Windows Mode Setup
The second point where Setup might fail occurs when MS-DOS Mode Setup is finished and Windows Mode Setup is starting.
During MS-DOS Mode Setup, modifications are made to WIN.INI, identifying Setup as the shell. The last thing that MS-DOS Mode Setup does is to start Windows. Then Windows begins loading the Windows files, in this order:
1: WIN.COM
2: KRNL286.EXE or KRNL386.EXE
3: SYSTEM.DRV
4: MOUSE.DRV
5: DISPLAY.DRV
6: SOUND.DRV
7: COMM.DRV
8: GDI.EXE
9: USER.EXE
10: NETWORK.DRV
11: SETUP.EXE
If you are not running any TSRs and your machine hangs when Windows Mode Setup is starting to run for the first time, a file was probably unable to load. Most problems with Setup failing at this point are due to an incorrect display driver selection. Either the auto-detection scheme incorrectly detected the system configuration or your custom choices were incorrect.
oooooooooooooooooooo
The difference in this case is that here it does not 'hang'. It just aborts setup and goes to black screen with active A: prompt plus the error report.
It is quite an interesting puzzle, or ? :-)

PARKE
August 6th, 2015, 05:17 AM
I'd try to disable smartdrv, if you use 32-bit file access in windows you won't need it anyways.
>>
>>
Thank you - I just did that but it does not make any difference.

kyodai
August 10th, 2015, 02:38 AM
Just guessing here, but after you tried so much it sounds like it might be a hardware problem. At least i got no other explanation which seems to be likely.

PARKE
August 11th, 2015, 03:28 AM
Just guessing here, but after you tried so much it sounds like it might be a hardware problem. At least i got no other explanation which seems to be likely.
>>
>>
Yes, I think it is time to throw the towel into the ring. Thank you for the input - it is appreciated.

PARKE
September 20th, 2015, 04:47 AM
Aftermath.... The problem is solved. It turned out that the motherboard I use has a bios that does not support EDO ram by default. It never occured to me to change the 'install EDO' setting manually and I had actually not even a clue what type of memory I have onboard or even that there were different types of 72 pins memory.
Once more, thanks for last month's input.