where is my hardware going?

Recently I ran into insanity again with win98.  With nothing detrimental happening i clicked on the system info the other day and voila got a gen prot fault.  so i rebooted. this continued to happen from that point forward when i clicked on anything. soooo...decided to use sys recovery thru win98cd.  no help whatsoever.
finally reinstalled win98.  first tried to reinstall to windows directory but problem persisted.  then reinstalled to new directory and started from scratch.  worked okay for one day then back with the gpf.  soooo...reinstalled again. now message reads i need to have win95 installed to use upgrade. soooo removed win98 and reinstalled win95 then reinstalled win98.
Now....i have no cdrom, both the c & a drive are running in msdos compatibility mode and am at my wits end with this.
please give me some feedback here.
i have tried everything from using the startup disk to access cdrom (which works) and copying cd info to hard drive so i can access the drivers to going thru win update with no help. 90% of my software is on cds and most of my backup stuff is on my extra drives (d&e) which are no longer available at all.
ljd1965Asked:
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mauheiCommented:
OK First decide do you want o reinstall windows 98 or just fix your current setup.

To reinstall, you boot with boot disk mentioned (startup) and your windows 98 CD in the drive, run setup from there. After it installs you wil be able to see your existing FAT32 drives and it will have your CDROM.  It will prob convert our Primary master (C drive) to FAT32.  If you decide to go the FDISK route be careful!!!

To fix your current setup will be a little more difficult.  Boot with Floppy.  go Start>Programs>Accessories>system tools(Ithink)>system information.  There you will find the place to repair your system files from the win98CD.

2 possible problems:
If your extra drives (d&e) are actually partitions on the same physical drive as your "c" drive then youmay have lost them all if if saw the windows 98 (FAT32) partition as a bad partition and deleted it and set up a fat16 partition when you installed windows95. Then I'll order the violin players for ya.  
Or if you are getting the GPFs becauseyou arerunning windows 98 on a system that doesn't have the hardware to handle it.  System resources might not be sufficient.

I have seen win98 have problems with what it calls VPICD, the Virtual Programable InteruptController Device.  This piece of nifty allows you to do things like have items SHARE IRQs and such (like most things with microsoft, this should work right by next version!) and especially when it has your primary disk controller sharing access with a non-PnP device.  In this case you need to set the IRQ/DMA for the Non-PnP device as ISA or reserved in your BIOS.
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mauheiCommented:
oops, I just realized I forgot a part on choice 2, to fix your curent install.
You can go to Start>Programs>accessories>system tools>fat32 converter, to convert your Drive access to FAT32 vice MSDOS Compatability mode
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ljd1965Author Commented:
First, in response to the setup and reinstalls.
I already have reinstalled w98 twice to no avail both by trying to just fix it with the cd setup and second with complete reinstall.  Neither worked.
Second, I already converted to fat32 when I originally installed win98 back in august.  my d&e drives are seperate entities and i thought i had figured it out only to not access them now.
They are not fat32 because they are too small to convert.
when i try to get the cdrom the choices are sony, mitusmishi, and something i can't remember and none of the options when chosen let my cd work and i end up with the yellow exclamation point.
Are there other routes I could take to accomplish this?
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mauheiCommented:
A general ATAPI driver is what windows 98 uses.  Unfortunately, if the CDROM runs throughthe sound card WIN98 usually won't automatically see it.  Can you see the D and E drives now?  If not fat32 you should be able to see them.  Windows 98 didn't sutomatically change them to fat32?  
If the d and e are fat16, and your CDROM keeps coming and going..gone now, I really think either a hardware problem (bad IDE card) or maybe an issue with interupts re: legacy devices.
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