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E-911 call:  How do I force an ipl from cd drive when I must bypass the mscdex or similar ?

ccbon
ccbon asked
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
The computer is in such a state of horror that when it's booted, it goes directly to win safe mode, and even then nothing works (all blue screens, each different, likely none of any useful info).  Therefore the only way I can DO anything is by going straight to the dos prompt.  When I do that, I have failed to run mscdex or whatever this computer uses to allocate cd-rom drive / assign drive letter to it.
BUT I need to reinstall windows 98 (se) and I only have our original CD (the source, not a copy) from which to do the reinstall.  
That puts me between a rock and a hard place.  I have, from the dos prompt, searched in vain for anything that even RESEMBLES mscdex, so I cannot find a way to make it initialize the cd drive.  What can I do ?  If I boot it by simply putting the cd in the drive, obviously it still will start up windows from the hard disk.  
WHAT DO I DO ?  This is a critical computer (work not home)

p.s.  I did try going to the Windows directory, and there happen to be the set of .cab files there, but it turned out they were all for Windows 98 (NOT 98SE) so that is no good.  I want it to use 98SE).

many points of gratitude to be had for a quick and useful solution.  
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