A lot more goes on when a computer starts up than you think. From the BIOS to the final steps a problem can occur. Troubleshooting can help you find exactly what step in the process fails but it can be time consuming. You can narrow down the possibilities and that can save you a lot of time troubleshooting.
Know that most issues affecting your computer including startup issues can be resolved. While the solution may not be easy it can be done. Whenever you begin to feel you are investing too much time you might be better off just wiping the hard drive and re-installing the operating system.
Both the autoexec.bat and config.sys files play a role in loading up necessary files and drivers for your computer to start up. These files along with the system registry can create real havoc if something is wrong with them. You have the ability to edit these files if you know what you need to do.
There is a utility for configuring your system in Windows 98 that is a very useful tool to use. It will allow you to turn on or off individual items in these files. Editing the files in an earlier version of Windows is far more difficult.
It would be wise for you to back up all these files prior to editing just in case you really mess something up. If you have a backup you will be able to restore and begin again.
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