1. The article [Q149962] explains that when Windows is started, an error message similar to the following may be displayed and can occur when the computer loads or unloads a certain virtual device driver (VxD). In many cases, the VxD that did not load or unload is mentioned in the error message. In other cases, the VxD causing the behavior cannot be identified or determined:
While initializing device (device name) Windows Protection Error - where device name is a device
Windows Protection Error
Note: When the computer is shutdown, the following error message may be received:
Windows Protection Error
2. Windows Protection Error messages can occur under any of the following conditions:
a. If a real-mode driver and a protected-mode driver are in conflict.
b. If the registry is damaged.
c. If either the Win.com file or the Command.com file are infected with a virus, or if either of the files are damaged.
d. If a protected-mode driver is loaded from the System.ini file and the driver is already initialized.
e. If there is a physical input/output (I/O) address conflict or a random access memory (RAM) address conflict.
f. If there are incorrect complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) settings for a built-in peripheral device (such as cache settings, CPU timing, hard disks, and so on).
g. If the Plug and Play feature of the computer's basic input/output system (BIOS) is not working correctly.
h. If the computer contains a malfunctioning cache or malfunctioning memory.
i. If the computer's motherboard is not working properly.
j. If you installed Microsoft Office 97 and you are using the Novell Client 32 software.
3. When the computer is stated and a Windows Protection Error is received displaying the following options after the Power On Self Test (POST) is completed, the error may identify the device which caused the anomaly and sometimes not. Depending on the manufacturer of the motherboard BIOS/CMOS, the error may be listed on the display indication the applicable item in a section which requires editing. In some instances, the action may require nothing more than opening the BIOS/CMOS, Saving, and then restarting the computer. In some instances, it may require nothing more than the user muddling around in a section and getting things set right. But other times, the action required at the second item next may be necessary:
? Press F1 (or equivalent key) for Setup
? Press F2 (or equivalent key) to load defaults and continue
4. Please note that you may minimize the amount of time to locate the origin of this type error message as well as other error messages by first focusing on any obvious changes that occurred just before the error message is received. If new software or hardware was installed, the installation process itself or the person performing any hardware installation may have performed some action that caused the problem either with the new hardware or accidentally dismantling some other device or the same situation may occur if outdated software or hardware was removed. If changes occurred, revert to the original configuration, be sure everything is tight, seated properly, and observe if the problem is resolved. The article [Q263466] explains how to create a Bootlog.txt file, how to examine it, and to perhaps identify the error. If not, try to locate an "Ios.log" file in the Windows folder that may give certain clues, but it may not exist.
Note: If the "Performance tab" < graphics > of the My Computer Properties sheet indicates that the file system is not using 32-bit drivers, check the ios.log to find the filename of the real-mode driver that may be preventing the use of 32-bit file system drivers.
5. The article [Q192832] warns that when using the System File Checker (Sfc.exe) tool to restore a file (for example, the User.exe, Gdi.exe, Setupx.dll or Krnl386.exe file) from a cabinet (.cab), the wrong version of the file may be extracted. This can result in the inability to start Windows (for example, the computer may stop responding/hang) or a Windows Protection Error messages may be rendered. This article explains that after starting the computer, a user should extract the correct file.
Hint: If you have the Windows Operating System media resident on your hard disk you may want to rename the Mini.cab in that location. At least take the b off the end of the file's extension so you'll not forget that an incorrect file could be extracted.