Loader 3 error on laptop when booting

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Nov 19, 2003, 12:09:15 PM11/19/03
HELP! First, what is it? Second, how do I fix it? HELP!


Dave Patrick

Nov 19, 2003, 12:33:51 PM11/19/03
Some details may help.


Dave Patrick ....Please no email replies - reply in newsgroup.
Microsoft MVP [Windows NT/2000 Operating Systems]

Bill Curtis [MSFT]

Nov 19, 2003, 6:22:06 PM11/19/03
Your Loader 3 error is being caused by too many Kernel-Mode driver/devices
loading at startup. Fixing this can be a bear due to the fact that there
are so many causes to this issue. Most of the time, I find this to be a
problem with a 3rd party application/driver that decides to use the
registry as a database or a misconfiguration on the server end that results
in the registry hive growing in size over time.

I am going to list the troubleshooting steps that I take to troubleshoot
this issue. However, due to the complexity of this error, my notes should
be followed in a general way. I HIGHLY recommend that you contact our PSS
Support Group for help in troubleshooting this issue.

I. Get the Computer into a bootable state so you can edit the registry

Be very careful while doing this. Do NOT delete any files! This is not a
fix right here. This is only to get your system into a booted state. Once
you do this step, you will be able to boot into Windows 2000, but your
system will be in a lobotomized state and none of your settings will still
exist. The only reason that you would want to do this would be to edit the
registry of the old installation.

a. Boot into recovery console

b. In recovery console change directories to C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG

c. Type the following commands:

ren system system.old <enter>
ren software software.old <enter>
copy C:\Winnt\Repair\System <enter>
copy C:\Winnt\Repair\Software <enter>
exit <enter>

d. When the system reboots, let the system boot up normally. Log on as
Administrator with the password that you used to get into the recovery
console. Do not try to log onto the domain unless you like waiting
10minutes for the system to throw an error message at you.

II. Repair the Registry

This is a bit tricky due to the fact that we don't know where the enteries
in the registry that are creating this error are located at. But, we do
know that the problem is in System.old. So now, we need to load in
System.old and start investigating as to what the cause of this issue is.

a. Go to START the RUN and run REGEDT32 (use Regedit if this is a Windows
2003/XP System)

b. Once in the registry editor, you will then want to expand
"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on Local Machine" so it fills the entire window of the
registry editor.

c. Now, highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

d. Click on REGISTRY in the menu bar and select "Load Hive"

e. In the "Load Hive" file browser, type C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM.OLD

f. Under "Key Name" type "OLDREG"

g. Go to and expand HKLM\OLDREG

h. Now comes the hard part. Go down the list and save each key. Find the
largest key (in MB) and go into that key. Keep drilling down.

1. I save off HKLM\OLDREG\ControlSet001 - It turns out to be 6megs
2. Since I know that a vast majority of System hives on average less than
4 megs, I drill down and start saving the keys under
HKLM\OLDREG\ControlSet001 (Control, Enum, Hardware Profiles, Services).
3. I find that the ENUM key is 5megs - I then drill down into that key.
4. I then finally find a key under ENUM/ROOT that contains tons of data
related to a communications application. I can tell that this is third
party and the data consists of 100s of keys repeating the same
value....over and over and over and over.
5. I then delete the contents of that key. (Don't ever delete the contents
of a registry without first making a backup)
6. I do the same for HKLM\OLDREG\ControlSet002
7. After you are done, highlight OLDREG and select from the menu - UNLOAD

III. Now we've deleted all of the data - what next?

1. You've deleted all of the data but the registry is still huge! This is
due to the fact that when you delete something from the registry, you get
"whitespace", that is not compressed.

2. Use CHKREG to reduce the whitespace on the file. You can get CHKREG

3. Run CHKREG with the following command line: CHKREG /F
C:\Winnt\System32\Config\System.old /C

4. This will compress the whitespace.

IV. Back to recovery console:

1. Go back into recovery console.
3. Type in:

del system
del software
ren software.old software
ren system.old system

4. Now, reboot your system.
5. Uninstall the application that caused all those registry entries.

As you can see from all of the steps listed above, it would probably be
better if you went ahead and called into PSS for a resoultion to this
issue. There is quite a bit that can go wrong.

Hope this helps.

- Bill Curtis [MSFT]
“This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no

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