System Halted - Why???

Posted on 1997-11-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I tried installing an OSR2 version of Windows 95 over my friend's old Windows 95
. But failed. The mistake is probably due to a Norton Antivirus utility which pr
ompts for innoculation or repair for the changing boot record. I forgot and chos
e repair for the first 2 prompts. Then I remembered and chose innoculation after
that. The file system is still in FAT16.

This is what happens during a normal boot: Some message came out and told me tha
t the system files it loaded is not compatible with the new version of windows.
Then it told me to press Contrl-Alt-Del for restarting the computer. Tried the S
afe Mode and it works. It can go into windows in the safe mode. And another thin
g I found out: if I go step by step confirmation option, The message only appear
s after the prompt for "WIN.COM" and "LOAD ALL WINDOWS DRIVERS?" So how?

Then I tried reinstalling windows again... 2 times!!! (Imagine speed on Pentium
100 though 24 MB ram) I tried the two options: Both copying only files which are
 corrupted and the option of copying all the files again. None worked. Same prob

I also tried moving the registry file system.dat from c:\windows to c:\ and wind
ows can actually boot into the normal mode!!! Why??? But there is an almost imme
diate error of asking me to restart for windows to restore registry from backup.
 Sigh ... seems that there's no way?
Question by:fievel
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Expert Comment

ID: 1751878
Here is solution. Install Win95 not with setup, but with
setup /d /p f


Author Comment

ID: 1751879
Nope... Tried.. It gave the same results... HEEELLLLPPP!!!

Author Comment

ID: 1751880
Adjusted points to 200
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 1751881

Based upon your posting here, I take it that you tried to load your OSR2 version over your friends existing Windows version. The reason for the error you received is because you tried to load your windows 95 OSR2 version over his retail release of Windows 95. Unfortunately you can't do that, as the two versions are not compatible. The created by the install of OSR2 is not compatible with the retail version and the drivers are different.

Unless your friend has a lot of programs and data that needs to be saved and can't be backed up off the disk, there's only one real way to fix this, and that's by reformatting the drive and reinstalling either your version or your friends.

If you absolutely cannot reformat, we can try some methods to restore the original version, but there are no guarantees that it will work as there's no way of knowing how much damage has been done.

Let me know which way you would like to go and I'll help you!

Best regards,

Author Comment

ID: 1751882
You're correct, I did install over the old Windows 95 version. But I don't think I cannot install over the old release. I think people have tried before and is successful. I tried for my computer before. Installing the release with some new patches, then installing OSR2 over it. No problem at all. Want to clarify anything? help.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1751883
No, this isnt supposed to be doable, and it would be a breach of the EULA in any event.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 1751884
J2, at least be original, try coming up with your own answer instead of my original one.

Fievel: There are three possible approaches to get around this, and Microsoft is aware of all three (and fo J2's sake, they have nothing at all to do with Microsoft's End User License Agreement).

If you would like, I'll post all three ways for you, or give you the actual sites to visit or both. Keep in mind, there are no iron clad guarantees that you won't have to reload some software to re-register it in windows.

The reason you can't arbitrarily load OSR2 over the retail versions is because of two principal issues, the vxd's that OSR2 builds are completely different than the way the retail version handles them as OSR2 builds two separate FAT tables where the reatil builds one. Also the when you load over with OSR2, OSR2 cannot recreate the version tables for the files as it already exists, and even if you delete it, there are dll incompatibilities. You can get around these issues, but it takes time and work!

You choose which way you would like to go and I'll post them as an answer!
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1751885
dew: but, if i am correctly informed, OSR2 is only shipped as a NFR / OEM licence, and it is not allowed to use the OSR2 to update a running system?
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 1751886
J2: Your post is partially true and partially false. OSR2 is available for public consumption and can be purchased at some retailers along with a hard drive, motherboard, CPU etc, and MS has okayed this practice. There are no stipulations one way or another as to being *allowed* or not allowed to be used as the user sees fit. The issue of it being used to *update* a system is not whether MS permits it, but rather can it be easily done or is the practice straight forward like a regular update or patch, and the answer to that is NO! Can it be done, YES! It just takes work and paying attention to the procedure to do it without screwing up big time!

Author Comment

ID: 1751887
j2 and dew: Well, I don't know, but I remembered I tried before, no such error with SYSTEM HALTED, PRess Contrl-Alt-Del to reboot or something like that as in my friends' place.

dew: Can you send me info on the three ways to get around, especially the method which does not need to reformat the harddisk. Though I don't like trouble, I like to meddle around; I can learn quite a lot of things through this. If u want to send me by email, try: Thanks.

Continued: Help?!??!?!?!?!

Expert Comment

ID: 1751888
Give the points to dew_associates, you are not going to have much luck restoring your windows. You really do need to reformat and reload. I have had to try fix this several times on clients systems who loaded osr2 over the retail version, there is no easy fix.

Accepted Solution

c4lv1n earned 200 total points
ID: 1751889
rry Following (read all carefully before you try !!!):

if you´re unsure make a boot-floppy before you begin.
boot DOS in save mode via f8.
enter attrib -h -r -s -a *.* /s (this could last a few minutes)
be shure to have OSR2-install-version on HARDDISK available.
delete io.sys, msdos.sys and *.bin in c:\
delete *.sys, emm386*.* , and setver*.* in win95-dir
DO NOT DELETE in c:\ !!!
goto OSR2-inst-dir.
start xmsmmgr.exe (important)
start smartdrv.exe
start setup
setup Windows in same directory like before and all your adjustments are kept.
The DOS-portion of all this is easier to manage if you use Norton Commander under DOS.

Expert Comment

ID: 1751890
Sorry, I forgot something:
enter fdisk /mbr before starting setup.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 1751891
C4lv, Why not try reading the threads before posting:
Fievel, here's the data you wanted: The existing *answer* causes data corruption.
Often asked question, can I upgrade my extisting installation of Windows95 to OSR2 with the OSR2 disk?

No. If you attempt to merely upgrade from an earlier version of Windows95, it will give an error message and not let you proceed. You can only install OSR2 on top of DOS, and the most you really need are a formatted hard disk, either bootable or with a boot floppy, and your properly configured DOS CDROM drivers.
Is there a way to fool it into upgrading from an earlier version of Windows95 (or Windows 3.x)!!!!

There are two ways (Actually four, but!).

 NOTE: It is impossible to upgrade to OSR2 if Internet Explorer 4.0 is installed. You MUST uninstall IE 4.0 before attempting any of the upgrade methods listed below. Furthermore, once you upgrade to OSR2, it is impossible to undo. That is, you can't uninstall it and get back to your pre-OSR2 OS.

If you have any DUN upgrades installed on your pre-OSR2 Win95 (1.1 or 1.2), you will have to reinstall your DUN upgrade after upgrading to OSR2. Also, depending on your video card, your video card drivers may need to be reinstalled (a must for Matrox cards, recommended for any card that does not have drivers bundled in Windows 95).

You may experience that you are prompted to upgrade to OSR2 when you insert the OSR2 CDROM into an non-OSR2 (Win95) system. However, if you choose to do so, it won't work. You'll receive an error message a few screens into the "upgrade." Use one of the methods described below instead.

Here's the latest and simplest method upgrading an older version of Windows (3.x or 95) to OSR2), but I have actually only tried this one once, but here it is:

Probably the easiest method to upgrade from Win95 to OSR2 is to:

1) Copy the Win95 source files from the Win95 directory on the OSR2 CD to a hard drive.

2) Create and save an MSBATCH.INF file in the same directory where you copied the Win95 files to.  The file must contain the following lines:


Follow the last line by a carriage return otherwise you'll get a
Data Control Corrupt error.

The file MUST be called MSBATCH.INF and MUST exist in the same directory as the Win95 source files.  You will still be able to specify another customized batch file on the SETUP command line or you can add any other custom information to this MSBATCH.INF.

Here are the old, tried & true methods.

Method 1 (easier, but follow the instructions carefully!)

Rename the file "WIN.COM" in the C:\WINDOWS directory. Then run setup on the OSR2 CD from the DOS prompt. This will upgrade your current version of Win95 to OSR2.

Tip: Remove all entries from C:\windows\start menu\programs\startup before you upgrade. Of course, you will need your DOS CDROM drivers properly configured to read from your CDROM under DOS. Do not attempt this unless you are comfortable mucking around with system files. Finally, once you get OSR2 setup running, and you get to the screen where you specify which directory to install to, the default will not be C:\WINDOWS\. Manually change the install directory to C:\WINDOWS\ (or wherever your existing version of Win95 is) to upgrade your existing installation.

Method 2:

This method is more difficult than method 1, but is preferable in that it tells the setup.exe to perform an upgrade installation. This method can only be used if you have your OEM number from you certificate of authenticity on your manual (format: XXXXX-OEM-XXXXXXX-XXXXX): you will be prompted for this during installation.

1) Start up the OSR2 setup as normal, from within Windows95.

2) When you are presented with the License Agreement dialog box, stop.

Don't click anything yet.  Resist the urge to click "Next."  Just stop!

3)Open Start Menu (CNTRL + ESC) and click "Run."  Type "Notepad" and click "OK".

4) Open the file "setuppp.inf" in the directory WININST0.400.  This directory and its associated files were created by the OSR2 setup program.

5) Find the line in the file with the text "[data]".  Add the
following line after it: "OEMUP=1".  The text should look as follows:


6) Save the file and exit Notepad.

7) Switch back to the OSR2 setup (using Alt+Tab) and continue with OSR2

Method 3:

This method is even more difficult and should only be attempted by highly experienced users. Method 3 also changes OSR2 to an upgrade version, and does not require the input of any CD Keys or numbers from the Certificate of Authenticity.

Prerequsite: You must have at least 100MB free. You will be copying the /Win95/ directory from the CDROM to your hard drive and installing from your hard drive.

1) Make a temp directory on a hard drive - call it Win95.

2) Copy the Win95 directory from the CD to the new directory on your hard drive.  From here, we work with the files on your hard drive.

3) Extract from PRECOPY2.CAB the file called SETUPPP.INF.  Use extract.exe, or use the CAB file extraction tool PowerToy.

4) Open LAYOUT.INF in a text editor.  Search for the string "SETUPPP.INF".  (Don't get confused by the many blank lines in this file.)

You should find: setuppp.inf=2,,4550

Change the 2 to a 0 to read:


Save the changes..

This prevents setup from extracting SETUPPP.INF from the CAB file during installation. Setup will instead use the SETUPPP.INF file we manually extracted in step 3 and will modify in step 5.

5) Open SETUPPP.INF in a text editor. Search for "ProductType". (Again, do a search, it's hard to find just by looking.)

You should find: ProductType=9

Change 9 to 1 to read:  ProductType=1

Save the changes...

This tells setup to upgrade the previous installation, and to not
ask for a CD Key or Certificate number.

There is no need to "put SETUPPP.INF back into PRECOPY2.CAB". The change we made to LAYOUT.INF in step 4 forces setup to use our modified version of SETUPPP.INF.  Just leave SETUPPP.INF out in the directory with all the other setup files & cab files.

6) Run SETUP from Windows95 off your hard drive.  Installation will proceed as an upgrade.


on ProductType=X in SETUPPP.INF:

ProductType=1:  Upgrades without asking for CD KEY (serial number)

ProductType=2:  Asks for 10-digit CD KEY
ProductType=3:  Wants a floppy install - doesn't work.
ProductType=4:  Fails - Error - previous ops system installed.
ProductType=5:  Works - asks for CD KEY, but won't take valid keys- can "ignore"
ProductType=6:  Works OK (?) (?)
ProductType=7:  Fails - Error - previous op system
ProductType=8:  Fails - Error - previous op system
ProductType=9:  OEM non upgrade version:  Asks for OEM certificate number.

on conserving disk space:

To use a little less disk space, do as in Method 2 except:  

Copy everything from the \WIN95 directory *except* the WIN95*.CAB files, and the online service setup files:  CS3KIT.EXE, SETUP25I.EXE, SETUP32.EXE, and WOWKIT.EXE -- the only CABs you need are MINI.CAB, PRECOPY1.CAB and PRECOPY2.CAB.  With this technique Windows95 Setup will ask for a file at some point during the file copy stage -- at that time you type in X:\WIN95 (where X=CDROM drive letter) and installation will continue, taking the rest of the files from the CD.  Unfortunately, this creates the problem of Windows95 looking for the Win95 install files on the hard disk rather than the CDROM.

However, this can be fixed by editing the SOURCEPATH value in the following registry entry:


on installing without "Online Services":

On installing OSR2, a folder is placed on the desktop called "Online Services," which contains install and signup software for AOL, Compuserve, ATT Worldnet, and the now-defunct WOW!, as well as create a shortcut in the Start Menu and copy all the Online Services Kits into C:\Program Files\Online Services.  If you would rather that none of this occurred whilst installing your OSR2, then do as in method 3 above, but also add these steps:

1. Edit layout.inf (after you have copied the OSR2 install files to your hard disk).

2. Find msinfo.inf

3. Change 2,,6559 to 0,,6559

4. Extract msinfo.inf from

5. Edit the msinfo.inf file.  Delete EVERYTHING EXCEPT the following:



; Base options only happen during Windows Setup
; Setting up the registry settings and INF file locations


CopyFiles       =msinfo.copyfiles.inf, citCopy.sys, logo.copy.sys
AddReg          =Online.reg

CitCopy.sys                     =11   ; windows\system
Msinfo.copyfiles.inf            =17   ; windows\inf
logo.copy.sys                   =30





This version of MSINFO.INF will still copy drwatson.exe to c:\windows\system and copy logo2_0.sys to c:\ and rename it to logo.sys  (the OSR2 logo with Internet Explorer on the bottom), but does not copy SWINST4.EXE, the Shockwave
plug in for IE 3.

And if you want to install your own startup screen, you need to edit the layout.inf and do the edit the section where it says
logo2_0.sys=5,,129078 to logo2_0.sys=0,,129078 and place the customized logo2_0.sys in the directory where the cab files are... (this can be done after install by renaming any .bmp file to C:\LOGO.SYS).

MOS.INF creates link on desktop to MSN (someting I always do is drag that into the recycle bin everytime I install 95..)

Welcome (that tip screen) ran everytime you install Win95 first also..  To remove it basically do the same to layout.inf for shell.inf, extract and edit it.

Find the section that says [] under it you will see welcome.exe, rem it out by putting a semicolon infront of it.. it will prevent it from running the first time you launch w95.

WARNING: If you currently have set Windows 95 (release version) up to dual boot with Windows 3.1. or DOS, and you force OSR2 to "upgrade" in the manner described above, you will lose the ability to dual boot. That is, you will no longer be able to choose to boot to DOS or Windows3.x. Microsoft has removed this ability from OSR2.

After the installation is complete, you can convert the file system from FAT16 to FAT32 using Partition Magic 3.0, if desired.

This is the last method I know about, but this method is no better than Method 2/3 nor easier than Method 1.

Typical question, "Let's say I do all of this. Will I have to reinstall all my applications? Will my registry settings be retained? Will my Desktop be the way it was before I upgraded?

Your applications will be left intact, no reinstallations will be necessary. Your desktop will be as it was. As far as the registry goes, some changes will be made, but these changes will mainly reflect changes in the operating system. As far as drivers go, generally upon installation OSR2 will detect newer 3rd party drivers than the default OSR2 drivers, and prompt you to keep the newer ones. However, this process depends on how well the particular driver identifies itself as "newer" than the default OSR2 driver, either by .dll date or version. If the driver does not self-document itself well to OSR2, it may be replaced, and you may need to reinstall the newer 3rd party driver.

Finally, you must install all Windows 95 components that you previously had installed. Example: If you have Microsoft Exchange/Windows Messaging installed, and you upgrade to OSR2, but do not install Microsoft Exchange/Windows Messaging in OSR2, Microsoft Exchange will be uninstalled during the upgrade process. On the whole, your system should look and act much like it did before the upgrade. I am not aware of any differences in the final result of Method 1 vs Method 2 in terms of the registry, but I would not be surprised if there are differences.

Another question, "I've tried Method 1 and it still won't upgrade!"

For Method 1, you must rename all instances of WIN.COM present on any hard drive/partition in your system before this will work. This includes any WIN.COM from a Windows3.x installation. If this applies to you, and you currently dual boot by using F4 on Windows95 startup, be warned that you will no longer be able to do this after you "upgrade" to OSR2.

Last but not least, "Does Microsoft have any comment on these upgrade methods?"

"According to a Microsoft representative, performing the upgrade does not violate any of Microsoft's license agreements as long as the Windows 95 CD you use to perform the upgrade was obtained in purchasing new hardware, such as a hard disk."

Good luck!


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