"Invalid System Disk replace and hit any key to continue"

am trying to fix a pc for someone.
they are "suddenly" getting the message in the title!
When booting, the hd is recognized as ST315323A.
can boot using win98 startup disk.
can do dir on C: drive.
i was told it had win98, but bios says win98/win200.
booted using win98 startup disk.
did a:> sys c:
now it boots to a c: prompt?
pdadddinoAsked:
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LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
Look for a hidden readonly file called msdos.sys in the root directory.  You will need to turn off the hidden and readonly attributes of this  straight ASCII file with a DOS command:

attrib -h -r c:\msdos.sys

Now you can edit it with  the DOS editor edit.com:

c:\windows\command\edit msdos.sys

Make sure there is a line in it that says:

BootGUI=1

That makes sure you boot with the Graphical User Interface (i.e. Windows), rather than into DOS Command Prompt.  Save and exit.
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
dont see the file at all in the c: drive.
tried the command anyway and it did not find the file
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Do you see any files called msdos.bak or something similar?  Or perhaps you can find another Win98 machine to copy the file from to your computer...
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Here's an MS article about the contents of MSDOS.SYS:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;118579
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Also, I forgot that you have to turn off the System attribute in order to see it and read it:

attrib -h -r -s msdos.sys
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
nothing even close!
is it possible that is had win2k?
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Here's another very good page about MSDOS.SYS.  You can even see a screen copy of it:

http://www.mdgx.com/msdos.htm
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Well, with Win2k, you should have some hidden files called ntdetect.com, ntldr, and boot.ini on the root folder...
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
am i supposed to build the file from scratch.
there has to be a better way?
why would the file disappear?
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
if they are hidden, should i see them when i do a dir?
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
No, you have to unhide them in order to see them.  I think you should be able to copy and paste the sample msdos.sys file from the  last link I gave you.  Or, copy it from another Win98 machine.  

Why would it disappear?  One possible reason is that the directory info on the hard disk could have gotten corrupted, and so the location of the file would disappear...  That suggests another thing to try:  run scandisk.
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
it seems as if there is an msods.sys file on c:
when i try:
attrib -h -r msdos.sys

i get

not resetting system file C:\MSDOS.SYS
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
You have to turn off the System attribute too.  Type:

attrib -h -r  -s msdos.sys
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
you are correct. was missing -s param.
the only setting in the file is
;sys

should i cut/paste from the site above?
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
I think you should try it, although the best alternative would be to get another copy from another Win98 system.
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pdadddinoAuthor Commented:
copied file from another win98 machine i am repairing.
getting all kinds of error messages.
they were all related to the path.
 i corrected and now am booting up.

Thanks to EE!
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