No, MSGSRV32 isn't 32 servings of Monosodium Glutamate. It's a file in Windows 95 and 98 that handles many important background functions, and is usually something you never see unless there's a problem.

And when there is a problem, it is shoved in your face at every possible moment.

MSGSRV32.EXE is used by Windows to handle several system-level operations:

As you can see, this little file has some big responsibility. Obviously, if there's a problem, there's a high probability of you knowing about it, due to its heavy reliance by the OS. In many cases, this file can cause a GPF severe enough to bring the entire system to its knees.

I was prompted to write this node, because I reinstalled Windows today. Upon attempting to install the drivers for my RealMagic Hollywood+ DVD decoder, the system crashed and burned. (This was on startup, so the shell didn't get a chance to run.)

A quick tip if you're left with nothing but a mouse pointer. Hit CTRL+ESC. That will bring up the Task Manager. Go to FILE, and RUN APPLICATION. In the run box, type 'explorer' and hit OK.

That will at least bring up your UI so you can do some troubleshooting.

Anyway, I managed to stumble into the shell, and attempt to remove the partially-installed device. Upon clicking REMOVE in Device Manager, I was presented with a Blue Screen.


Windows was crashing every time the drivers were attempting an install. So I did a little research on the web regarding the file causing the faults (MSGSRV32). According to Microsoft's Knowledge Base, MSGSRV32.EXE can cause problems with some audio cards. (Specifically those with CMI8330 chipsets.)

So I uninstalled the drivers for my sound card, rebooted, installed the drivers for my Hollywood+ (which installed flawlessly THAT time), rebooted, installed the drivers for my sound card, and voila! Everything works wonderfully.

One of the (many) Knowledge Base entries regarding this file can be found at this URL:

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