All the Win98 system files were deleted accidently & can't boot up. What can I do without losing my files?

Posted on 2003-12-02
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Hello everyone at EE!

First off.... great site! Koodles to all the experts. You guys are doing a great job.

Now.... here's my problemo.

I used "Windows Washer" and somehow the Windows system files got deleted. All of them. The windows directory seems to be empty. Anyway I'm stuck in DOS and I've been trying to figure out how I can fix this mess.

My main concern are the files I saved. I know they are there. How can I get to them? Can I simply just reinstall Win 98 and expect the files to be there? (doubt it) Or can I back them up in DOS somehow and reformat and reinstall everything?

I would like to just reinstall Win. 98 but I am afraid to lose my files.

Any thoughts?

Question by:Dolo
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Accepted Solution

proziath earned 50 total points
ID: 9862924
You should be able to re-install win98 and leave any data file intact. Of course any program that was previously installed will almost certainly not work anymore.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9864532
I don't suppose you can really complain about the program you used.  After all, it did "Wash Windows" - well, actually "Scrubbed Windows"  :-)

Just to elaborate on what proziath has correctly said, the reason you will probably have to reinstall many of your programs is due to what are referred to as "shared .dll's" (plus other shared files(, and "versions" of these.

Windows installs "library files".  These are system files that contain frequently-accessed routines such as the print dialogue box, the file browser you see when you save a file, etc.

Independent software, therefore does not have to include these files, as it can call on what windows has installed - hence the "compatible with Windows 95, 98, but not XP", etc).  Often, however, an update or more recent program than the version of Windows you have, decides that it wants to install an updated version of a certain Windows file.  In that event, the original SHOULD be backed up and restored again should the program ever be uninstalled, and a note is kept of the new version number.

By restoring your original system files during a reinstallation, any newer programs that relied upon the newer version that they installed, may not now be able to use the older system file and find the resources in the right location in the file.  Result: Error messages.

As proziath says, your registry is normally checked when you reinstall Windows over itself, and most program and personal settings are retained.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9864564
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9864569
Damn, IGNORE THAT last post.  I used the "back button" and went beyond the question I intended to post this in  :-)

Expert Comment

ID: 9872438
Wow this Dolo blokey is amazing, how did you manage to post here from a DOS prompt! hehe
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9873808
Telnet or Hyperterminal ??  :-)
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9873819
Oh, no, they won't work as telnet.dll and htpe63.dll.  Hmmm, yes, good question  ;-)
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 9873832
Ooops, sorry, I thought this was the question from the user whose .exe files had all been replaced with correspondingly-named .dll's.

Author Comment

ID: 9878831
Originally posted by: rjdown
"Wow this Dolo blokey is amazing, how did you manage to post here from a DOS prompt! hehe"

Heh heh. When in dire straits use the Mac.

Thanks 4 your help proziath (for the answer) and BillDL for expanding. I got another question but to be fair I'm gonna post it elsewhere.

I re-installed windows and all my applications + preferences are literally wiped out. I am happy that I have MOST of my data. I am gonna have to reformat.

I don't know why all the programs got deleted!? And the weird thing is that when setting up Windows again, it used a different computer name. Also, my drives are not D: and E: they are F; and G: now. Weird.

Anyway I have my data and it's backup time.

Cheers 2 all.

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