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Error Messages In Windows: The Windows Protection Error

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/4/2008

This article will provide details on how to fix the Windows Protection Error. Even if you have never received this error, this information is beneficial to know for when that day arrives.

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    Another error that may arise when using Microsoft Windows is the Windows Protection Error. This error is common for anyone using older versions of Microsoft Windows such as versions 95, 98, and ME, and is usually reported as:

    “Initializing device <device name> Windows Protection Error”. The system will need to be restarted after this message.

    The Windows Protection error is more common when opening Windows, or closing it down. Like most other errors, there are numerous reasons for receiving this error message. Some common causes of Windows Protection Errors are:

    1. A conflict with a virtual driver,

    2. An infection with a Trojan or Virus,

    3. An issue within the computer’s cache system,

    4. An issue within the computer’s memory,

    5. An incompatibility issue in the computer’s BIOS with a plug-in device,

    The Windows Protection Error can appear to be more serious, when a “blue screen” accompanies it. Usually a Windows Protection Errorcan be resolved by reverting back to the computer’s previous configuration, or in layman’s terms – undoing the last task completed.

    If a “Windows Protection Error” is received, after installing new software or hardware, the last task competed can be removed by entering into Safe Mode. The computer is placed in Safe Mode by pressing the F8 or Shift F8 key during initial reboot.

    Once in Safe Mode, can you can undo the last software added to the system. It is also advisable check for viruses while in safe mode by running your anti-virus software. If you choose not to go in Safe Mode, it is also possible to restore the computers last safe profile by using System Restore.

    To undo the last task completed within System Restore,

    1. Reboot the system and press F8 or shift F8 to enter into Safe Mode.
    2. Click Start located on the bottom left of the desktop, and go to All Programs.
    3. Go to Accessories and Click System Tools in the drop down menu.
    4. When the System Tools menu opens, click System Restore to remove software previously installed, and restore the computer to an original state.
    5. Select “Restore computer to an earlier time,” and click Next.
    6. Select the last date closest to when the computer was not showing the Windows Protection Error, and before the new software was installed.
    7. Click OK. The computer will need to be restarted for the settings to take effect.

    However, if the issue might be with the computer’s cache system, this can be emptied by,

    1. Opening Internet explorer, and going to the Tools button at the top of the page.
    2. Clicking Internet Options, and the General tab
    3. On the General page menu, you will see this section called Temporary Internet files,
    4. Click the Delete Files button.
    5. The computer will then ask if you want to delete all files in the temporary Internet folder. Also select the option to delete all offline content.
    6. Then click OK to accept these settings.

    When the error is due to an issue between the Smart Drive utility and the drivers on the computer, an “Initializing device IOS” error is received. On older computers this can be corrected by placing a boot CD within the diskette drive and rebooting. Renaming the Smartdrv.exe file located in the Command folder, and replacing it from the boot floppy should eliminate the error after restarting the computer.

    If you have isolated that a Startup file is responsible for your Windows Protection error, you can also Msconfig to remove that file from loading,

    • Press Start,
    • Then click Run, and
    • Enter in Msconfig in the box.
    • Hit Enter to accept.
    • On the General tab of the System Configuration Utility window,
    • Press Selective Startup.
    • Now select or unselect each option and reboot

    This has been shown to isolate the problem by choosing only the basic files to run at startup.