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Win 98 - No icons or taskbar in either normal or safe mode

Upon start-up, I reach my wallpaper, but have neither icons nor taskbar.  This is the case in safe mode as well, so I could not run Gateway's HelpSpot to load a prior configuration.  I have already tried the following:

--  Right clicking; striking ctrl/esc (no effect).
--  Running scanreg/restore (the system says I successfully restored an undamaged configuration, but this has no effect on the system's operation).
--  Deleting the shelli* file in Windows (this in response to a suggestion on another site to a person with a query just like mine; it had no effect).
--  Deleting Norton Anti-Virus files, as suggested on a Symantec support page (I was getting a message that an NAV file was corrupted; I could not figure out how to access the registry entry in DOS, and I keep getting blocked by a notice that "SYMEVNT.386 is not loaded"; I tried starting up in "step-by-step" mode and typing "N" when asked whether to run the symantec file -- without any change in the situation).

The problem started when my son, while playing LucasArts' "Curse of Monkey Island," forgot how to access the game's "quit" page, and simply turned off the system.  I'm now at wit's end, and would be grateful for assistance.  (I apologize for the length of this question, but I don't know the technical short-hand.)  Thanks!
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CrazyOne
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You might have to reinstall Win98 over the top of itself to replace the system files.


The Crazy One
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I was afraid it might have come to that, although it's a daunting prospect for someone as non-technical as I am.  Do I simply run the installation using the System Restoration and Windows 98 (and subsequent update) discs as if I were starting from scratch?  Or is there some other step I should bear in mind?

Grateful
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Restart the system and press f8 enter into Command Prompt mode.

type c:
cd\windows
edit system.ini

locate the line reading "shell=" and ensure that the value is set to "explorer.exe". (shell=explorer.exe). If not add the entry.

save the file and exit.

restart windows. If this does not help, extract new copies of win.ini and system.ini

3rd solution:

boot into safe mode and run msconfig. ensure taht system.ini and win.ini are enabled.
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If you dont have have real Win98 disk but just a restore disk then boot to the floppy boot disk and see if running one of these commands invoke the setup

c:\windows\options\cabs\setup.exe

or

c:\windows\options\Install\setup.exe
sramesh2k, The "system.ini" file includes the proper line (i.e., "shell=explorer.exe")  I booted into safe mode, but I still have no icons or start button/taskbar even in that mode, so I'm still unable to run msconfig.  How do I "extract" new copies of win.ini and system.ini?  Is that a matter of copying them from the Windows 98 disk over to the c drive?

Crazy One, I just want to verify the steps I would take -- would I copy the boot disk on the laptop I'm currently using, then insert it and the Windows 98 disk into the sick computer, and then go from there?

I'm sorry for bothering you with basic questions, but this is mostly terra incognita for me!

Grateful
First off does your laptop have both a floppy drive and CD drive?

If you don't have a Win98 boot disk then download it it here and run the boot98.exe file and make sure you have a floppy in the drive.

http://www.ontn.net/bootdisk/www.mirrors.org/archived_software/www.bootdisk.com/winfiles/boot98.exe

If so start your machine and go into the BIOS and set it so it boots to the A drive. Now get exit the BIOS and save the changes. Now make sure you have the win98 boot disk in the floppy drive. When you see this A:\> then put in the Win98 CD and type the words setup and then hit the enter key.
Crazy One,  We're getting close -- I installed Win 98 (as you suggested, I downloaded the boot disk onto a floppy in my laptop, put it and the Win 98 disk into the sick computer, and ran setup).  I'm now actually using the sick computer.  However, my icons are all over-sized, my display seems to show only a portion of the normal field of icons, and I only have the limited color scheme of the "safe" mode.  (I verified that I'm in "normal" mode.)  The "my computer" function only gives me a choice of 2-bit or 16-bit color, and indicates that I'm using "normal" sized icons.  I seem to remember seeing previous questions on this problem in this forum, but I can't seem to access them now without having the system freeze up.  Would you have any suggestions to get me back to normal?

Thanks!
Hey Grateful,

Sounds like windows 98 is not recognizing your actual video display and has installed standard video drivers.  If you have a drivers disk that came with the computer I would suggest using that and reinstalling the video driver (mind you, this is not the restoration disk, most computers come with a secondary disk for drivers and/or applications) If you do not have a disk with drivers, you can go to the manufacturers website and try to find the specs on your make and model of your computer to find out what kind of video is installed and download the drivers for windows 98 and install them.  If you can not find the specs, another choice would be to open the case and see what type of card is installed (note if the video is set directly on the motherboard and not a seperate card, this may not be an option you may not be able to tell).  If you can't find it, post your computer make and model and maybe someone can come up with it for you.

Jazz
Your system is running default video drivers. Update/install your correct video drivers, and your screen will return to usable resolution, from there you can raise the color/resolution to whatever you wish.
Yep Jazz is right on the money your video driver are not appropriate or out of date. Could be your son did more than crashed the system.
Your system is running default video drivers. Update/install your correct video drivers, and your screen will return to usable resolution, from there you can raise the color/resolution to whatever you wish.
Thanks to all, and especially to Crazy One.  I've been fiddling with the system, and have gotten it almost to where I want it.  (I wish I had seen the latest comments before now!)  The key was reinstalling Win 98, which I probably would not have done without the assurance that it would (probably!) not affect my files and settings.

All the best,

Grateful