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, and VSafe.

    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 program.


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. -or-

    Delete the CHKLIST.MS files (and any CHKLIST.CPS files) from the Windows or \DOS directories. -or-

    Use the Windows version of EMM386.EXE.
If the problem occurred when you upgraded to MS-DOS 6.2, try the following:
    Run MSAV again after upgrading. -or-

    Delete the CHKLIST.MS file from your Windows or MS-DOS directory. -or-

    Unload Vsafe before running Windows.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 11/16/1999
Keywords: KB97016