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September 7, 1998

When Win98's power management doesn't agree with your PC

I've been receiving reports on the new power-management features in Windows 98. Usually, the new features work fine, but on some systems they can interfere with laptop standby modes and other capabilities.

Microsoft and a variety of PC manufacturers have put together fixes for many of these problems. Here are some problems to look for and where to go for help.

Win98 power management may prevent a PC from going into standby mode because some driver or application is not ready. Another problem is that some PCs will enter standby mode normally, but then they can't get out of standby.

Microsoft has a page on its Web site to help you troubleshoot such problems at

The tool that is most commonly recommended on this page to determine the source of driver conflicts with power management is called Pmtshoot.exe. You download this 161KB file from Microsoft into a temporary folder, then run it once to install a background monitor. This monitor analyzes your next attempt to suspend or resume your PC. It can detect a driver or other program that is interfering with standby.

Windows 98 ships with Version 1.0 of this file on its CD-ROM. You can run the file D:\Tools\Mtsutil\Pmtshoot\Pmtshoot.exe to install the monitor (where D: is the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive).

If you have Internet access, however, I recommend that you use the Pmtshoot version that is downloadable from the Web. The current version available there is Version 1.3, which can fix some problems by itself. It can be found at Everyone with questions about power management under Win98 should read this Web page.

The following PC manufacturers have posted information on the Web about Win98 power management.

  • Toshiba. Newer Toshiba notebook computers should get a BIOS upgrade before Win98 is installed. Although Win98 will work, installing it before these laptops have a BIOS that explicitly supports Win98's power-management scheme makes it problematic to update the BIOS later. If Win98 sees the newer Toshiba BIOS when installing, it records a variety of Registry settings that are not written if the BIOS is updated at a later time. See for details.

  • Gateway. SoundBlaster audio may cause Gateway computers to lock up after resuming from standby. Go to, then click Tech Support, Windows 98 Upgrade Information for a fix to this and other problems.

  • Dell. A variety of Dell computers should have a BIOS upgrade before installing Win98. Go to, and click on the name of the Dell product you have.

  • Packard Bell. A modem may not hang up, even during a reboot, or it may not be detected by Win98. See, then click the Sound 4 Winmodem link.

  • Compaq. A document that describes a number of quirks with Compaq hardware can be found at

I'd like to thank my Windows 98 Secrets co-author, Davis Straub, for suggesting this topic.

Brian Livingston's latest book is Windows 98 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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