Can't get into Windows

Suddenly my win98 will go no further than than the opening screen, even in safe mode. Tried rebooting from a floppy in an attempt to reinstall 98 from the cd but wouldn't work. Step by Step Confirmation tells me that himem.sys is missing from C: but when I searched for it it is in place. I tried re-wriing it in config.sys but this didn't help. Friend says sounds like a virus. Any suggestions other than formatting and starting with a clean hard drive ?
Thanks, Dave
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DL, if it is a virus, you'll need to remove it if it is effecting the boot sector of the drive. Here are two things to try in the order given. If #1 works, then stop there.

#1: What you may want to try is to boot to the Windows 98 boot disk and then at the dos prompt type:

rename config.sys config.old<enter>
rename autoexec.bat autoexec.old<enter>

Now reboot and see if windows comes up.

#2: Now what you may want to try then is to again boot to the Windows 98 boot disk and then at the dos prompt type:

Fdisk/MBR <enter>

If something effected the master boot record, such as a virus, this should clear it.

There is a caveat here though. With some of these virus's, you may need to rebuild some files to boot into windows.

If doing the above enables you to boot to the "C" drive, but windows doesn't boot, then change directories to C:\Windows, then type WIN<enter>

This will give us some indication of the damage.

Let me know!
Win98 does not need an autoexec.bat or a config.sys. I have never had them on my system. I think you should get a copy of McAfee anti virus, It sound like Stealth_C virus. If you try to format and reinstall, you will need to go to FDisk and delete the partion on the drive or the virus will remain!
That's not much of an answer, you should try to let Dennis help dlyons and try to fix his problem step by step.
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 tadm            11/19/99

Welcome to this site but you should know what we try to do here is help people who need help, Making wild guesses about the problem does not help and if anything hinders the solution. What you have done is not wanted (ie. locking the question by posting a guess as the answer) You should only post as a comment and if that comment leads to the solution then the questioner can accept your comment as the answer or ask you to repost as the answer.
When in Rome do as the Romans do
dlyons020598Author Commented:
Tried to run virus software(after the fact, of course) and it would not run from dos. As this is all I have access to I need to come up with anti-virus software tHat will run in DOS. Will try the other suggestions as well and will let you guys know. Thanks for the help. Dave
You said you wanted an antivirus that runs in DOS?? You can get a copy from McAfee or even Norton AV...I think for NAV, you can even download the zipped files from their ftp site....can't remember the site....will get back to you on that....mcafee also has ftp site. Maybe you can try

and see if you can dig out the command line scanner. Just log in to as anonymous user. You should have access to the pub directory.

Good Luck
Norton Antivirus makes a rescue that will run the antivirus from the DOS prompt:
To remove a virus found in memory:
A virus in memory means the virus has been activated, is spreading to other files, and in the worst cases, is damaging files on your disk.
1 Shut down your computer.
2 Turn off your computer using the power switch.
3 Next, use your Norton AntiVirus Rescue Disk, labeled Norton AntiVirus Rescue Boot Disk created when you installed Norton AntiVirus or the Norton AntiVirus Emergency Boot Disk that came with the product.
4 Turn on the PC. You should come up to an A prompt. Either follow the prompts for running a scan or type NAVDX from the A prompt.
5 If you do not have a Rescue boot disk set or the Emergency boot disk, you may use a write protected Windows 95/98 Startup disk or a 7.1 or higher Dos system disk to boot your computer.  If this is also not available, get someone to create a boot disk for you with Dos 7.1 or higher. Once you have restarted the computer, you will need to run Navdx.exe from the directory on the hard drive where you installed  Norton AntiVirus.

Note: Don't create a bootable disk on the infected computer at this time because the virus could infect it. Refer to your operating system manual for instructions on how to create a bootable floppy disk. If you don't have access to an uninfected computer, many software vendors will create a bootable disk for you if you supply a blank floppy disk.

  This may be nothing more than a driver or file conflict in windows 98. Reboot your computer, when you see your BIOS count the ram start holding the Left CTRL key, hold it till it comes up to the windows boot menu.  Choose the "Safe Mode" Option.  If you are able to boot to "Safe Mode" then go to start run type in "MSCONFIG" and press enter.  Choose the "Selective Startup" then under it uncheck "config.sys", "autoexec.bat", and "Load startup group items".  This should be the first two options and the last one.  Click ok, it will want to restart your computer say yes.  Boot normally, if still same problem reboot to "Safe Mode" as above then go to Device Manager and disable your NIC, SOUND, MODEM, and any other added devices that you added. Then reboot. If this fixes the problem cool, if not then your best bet is to format and reinstall...
     Hope this is of some help...
Please post info of this type as comments not as the answer, at best this is just a guess and a guess is not an answer. Please post as comment and it your comment was the solution then the questioner can accept that as the answer or ask you to repost as the answer.
By submiting as the answer you have locked the question and move it from the waiting area so it may be bypassed by other experts that may know the correct solution
dlyons020598Author Commented:
No luck yet. Tried Dennis' suggestions but without success. I can set up a virtual cd drive and have tried to re-install win98 but am told that I need to start it in windows. I also have an earlier version of 98 which tells me that I already have an operatin system.I was getting an error message when trying to start windows that it couldn't find KRNL.386.EXE so I copied it from my CD to my hard-drive and now I get a message  that simply says KERNEL error. I am just about ready to throw in the towel and start over but that seems like the easy way out.By the way,the same thing happens in Safe Mode. Will let this go 2 more days and will format.
dlyons020598Author Commented:
P.S. No virus and hdrive scans OK
What happens when you try to reinstall Win98 over top of your current install?
Well I guess first it would help to know what version of Win98 do you have?
Retail Upgrade?
OEM disk?
Full version?
Restore disk with Win98?
Or are you running Win98SE? if so then what version?
dlyons020598Author Commented:
I have full version and upgrade. Can't remember other info as the cd's are at home and I'm at work. The full version won't install because it finds that a previous version is already in place and tells me to use the upgrade. The upgrade won't install because it needs Windows and that is my original problem..I can't get into windows.
You can use the full version (OEM) but you need to delete or rename the file "" but the best way is to format and do a clean install (unless there are files that cannot be replaced still on the HD) is located in your Windoze folder, you can go into DOS and rename or delete it from there

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DL, as Ray suggested, rename the WIN.COM file to WIN.OLD and the OS should reload.
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