Windows Err Msg with MS-DOS 6: EMM386: Unable to Start (97016)
The information in this article applies to:
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22
• Microsoft Windows 3.0
• Microsoft Windows 3.0a
• Microsoft Windows 3.1
• Microsoft Windows 3.11
This article was previously published under Q97016
If you start Microsoft Windows in 386 enhanced mode after you upgrade to MS-
DOS, you may receive the following error message:
EMM386: Unable to start enhanced mode Windows due to invalid path
specification for EMM386
This error can be caused by the following:
• A possible incompatibility between Windows, EMM386.EXE version 4.45,
For more information, type help vsafe at
the MS-DOS command prompt, press ENTER, and then choose Note.
• The presence of MS-DOS CHKLIST.MS (or older Central Point CHKLIST.CPS)
check list files in your Windows or MS-DOS directory.
• With MS-DOS 6.2 Upgrade, running Microsoft Anti-Virus (MSAV) before
running MS-DOS 6.2 Step-Up installation, and loading the MS-DOS VSafe
If you are running the MS-DOS version of VSafe (not Central Point VSafe or
PC Tools Vdefend), you should first add the /Y parameter (along with the
path to EMM386.EXE) to the DEVICE command for EMM386.EXE in your CONFIG.SYS
file. For example, add the following:
device=c:\dos\emm386.exe noems /y=c:\dos\emm386.exe
If you are running MS-DOS 6.0, work around this problem as follows:
• Unload VSafe by typing vsafe /u at the
MS-DOS command prompt, or change the command for VSafe in your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file so that it has the path to the DOS directory (for
example, C:\DOS\VSAFE.COM) and then restart your computer.
• Delete the CHKLIST.MS files (and any CHKLIST.CPS files) from the Windows
or \DOS directories.
• Use the Windows version of EMM386.EXE.
If the problem occurred when you upgraded to MS-DOS 6.2, try the
• Run MSAV again after upgrading.
• Delete the CHKLIST.MS file from your Windows or MS-DOS directory.
• Unload Vsafe before running Windows.
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