Q

Getting 'Windows can not access the registry' error message

On a Windows 98 SE computer with a clean install and new drivers, I get the error "Windows can not access the registry, Windows will now shutdown and attempt to repair the registry on startup." This error happens randomly and sporadically. I have changed the hard drive and installed new RAM and cleaned installed Windows twice and the error persists. Have you encountered this before and what is the solution?
There are two elements left I can think of that might cause random and sporadic problems like this. The first is the power supply -- yes, the power supply! An overtaxed power supply (or a poor-quality one) that can't consistently provide power to the system can be a source of extremely difficult-to-trace problems like this. If you are using a 350-watt power supply or less, I'd recommend having it upgraded to 400 or better. Most systems built today start with a 450-watt power supply, actually.

The other remaining element in this equation is the motherboard. Problems with a defective motherboard are just as random and sporadic, and can come from aged components or buggy BIOS. If a newer system BIOS is available, try downloading it from the motherboard maker's Web site and flashing the system with it.

This was first published in May 2005

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