krnl386.exe bootup failure message

omb
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We have an old Windows 98 PC which has some very important programs installed. Unfortunately, the PCs hard disk began to experience sector problems and after rebooting this PC a message came up saying that the "krnl386.exe" file cannot be found. I've check via the command prompt/console and this file is nowhere to be found! I've tried to recopy this file having extracted from a win98 CAB, but no luck - PC just freezes.

Is it possible to repair Windows 98 so that just the system files are restored and my installed programs are not affected. Any ideas much appreciated.

Thanks

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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Greetings, omb!
   Install Windows over itself. You will not lose data, even though you should always back up your data.

Boot up with the Windows CD. If the CD is not bootable, boot up with a startup disk. If you don't have one, download one from www.bootdisk.com . Type setup or E:\setup , where E is your CD-ROM drive.

If you don't have the Windows CD, the system files may be in the CABS folder. From a:> type "c:\windows\options\cabs\setup" without the quotes and hit ENTER.

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Sectors failures could be a sign that your hard disk is failing. Backup your data now. Consider getting a new hard disk.

Best wishes, war1
omb

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the feedback. I have backed up our data and also taken an image of the old HD and put it on a new HD. However, Win98 still does not boot. What I don't want to lose are my programs - they are old and we don't have the original CDs/disks! Will re-installing Win98 screw up the installed programs?

Thanks for your helpl war1
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Reinstall Windows on top of itself will not lose data. One or two programs may get corrupted as system files as Windows are written over by the installation.  You may have to reload those programs.
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Commented:
On the new imaged drive, try reinstalling w98se on top of itself in the same c:\wnidows directory.

Commented:
Aww, War1 you beat me again.  If it works on the new drive, then you're ok, if not try installing w98se on a clean drive, then slave the old one, & copy your data to the new one.
omb

Author

Commented:
I'm not worried about my data - just the old programs. I have noticed that the image of the old HD does not contain a "krnl386.exe" anywhere on the drive (obviously got corrupted - others possibly too). Is it possible to just re-copy this file back. Will not a reinstall of Win98 screw all of my old progs up - please note, I don't have the program disks any more so I can't reinstall them.

Another thought. Would the following work. Rename the old c:\windows dir to c:\windows.old, then install a new copy of windows to c:\windows and then copy the contents of c:\windows.old back into the new c:\windows dir (overwriting any files)?

Thanks for your comments.

Commented:
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=185836      "SFC"
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=188186      "SFC baseline"
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=192832      "SFC extracts wrong ver of sys files"

Commented:
The above links regard extracting files & the last refers to system files such as krnl386.exe.  Reinstalling on top of itself will keep all existing data & configurations.  If the file was missing on the old drive then the image will be missing it too.

Commented:
If you install w98 into a new dir all system info, pgm info, user info - will not be retained!  Copying the files from the old dir into the new dir won't make a lick of difference to the entries in the windows registry.
omb

Author

Commented:
I'm now checking out the SFC articles... how do I find out which version of Windows 98 (1st or 2nd edition) this system ran (from the command prompt)?

Commented:
Not sure, except to compare the one you have with the one in the cab file.
also see
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;197685
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Reinstall Windows over instelf will not lose your programs.  I'm am just being careful.

Test your memory with this program:

http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docmemsignin.asp 
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
omb,
   We have not heard from you in awhile? Did any comment help you solve your problem? Do you have any more questions? If an Expert help you, please accept his/her answer with an excellent or good grade.

Thanks, war1
omb

Author

Commented:
Thanks for your comments. In the end I used a Windows 98 boot CD and specified the original c:\windows dirs to install to. Windows setup then prompted me if I wanted to do a "safe recovery". This I did and it worked. Just had to install a couple new drivers for the video, network and ISDN cards. All fine - data and progs

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