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vmm32.vxd problem on windows reinstallation

Posted on 2004-10-02
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hey Yall,
I'm having some trouble.  Just recently tried to format/partition a guy's HDD and reload Win98 (after the recovery disks did not work) and when I go to start the OS, in DOS, it says "Windows Protection Error.  You May Need To Restart Your Computer.  c:windows\system\vmm32.vxd : missing/unable to load."  The knowledge base article was no help, as neither piece of hardware is on this system.  There were no errors in the OS install.  The computer is a HP Pavillion 8380.  Anyone got a clue?  Thanks.
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Question by:smashmouthftball
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by:gonzal13
ID: 12210447
Since you cannot get into windows, why not copy the offending file onto a floppy from another machine and in dos paste it into windows\system\vmm32 ?



gonzal13(joe)
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Expert Comment

by:moorhouselondon
ID: 12210613
There was one head-scratching error like this I have encountered with Win98.  I can't remember whether this was the particular error, but while waiting for any other suggestions, try this:-

Boot into DOS/Command Prompt mode and edit your C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT with PATH=C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.  Save this, shut down and restart.
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by:smashmouthftball
ID: 12211558
There is no autoexec.bat file in c:, or in c:\windows\system either.  I tried copying it, no luck.
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by:moorhouselondon
ID: 12212527
Create a new AUTOEXEC.BAT in the C:\ directory.  You can do this by typing:-

EDIT    C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT

in the blue screen that appears, type in

PATH=C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM

Do Alt F then press X.  It will say the file is not saved, do you wish to save your changes, to which you reply Y for yes.

Shut down your pc, then start it up again.
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by:gonzal13
ID: 12213307
Since you cannot get into windows, why not copy the offending file onto a floppy from another machine and in dos paste it into windows\system\vmm32 ?

vmm32.vxd is located in two places. Windows\system and windows\system\wmm32

Yo can insert the win98 cd rom
Use a boot disk to allow you access to the cd rom
go to dos:
make a directory md c:\temp
go to the directory where the cdrom is located
change directory cd win98
extract the driver   extract /a /L C:\TEMP base4.cab vmm32.vxd
      /a reviews all cab files
     /L c:\Temp where to locate the file
Next go to the C:\  cd.. brings it back to the drive for the cdrom device
Say it is  F:\
type c:\  then enter
change to temp folder  cd temp
Type   Copy vmm32.vdx c:\windows\system
Type Copy vmm32.vdx  C:\windows\system\vmm32

Reboot to see if message disappears

gonzal13(joe)
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Expert Comment

by:ITTStudyDude
ID: 12214557
vmm32.vxd is your 32 bit virtual memory manager, even though you reinstalled the OS, you should reinstall windows again, this time rename the vmm32.vxd  to vmm32.old and then reinstall windows 98, hopefully you have luck, if it doesn't work you can rename vmm32.old back to vmm32.vxd and try other troubleshooting techniques, it should work though because it is putting a whole new fresh vmm32.vxd driver back into the system folder
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Expert Comment

by:ITTStudyDude
ID: 12214568
as a side note, don't delete files of that nature, it will cause terrible failures. if you think you have to get rid of that file, always rename the extension on the file and remember what you changed it to, (or back it up to a reliable medium).
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BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 12214816
vmm32.vxd is referred to as a monolithic file.  I plain language, it is not a single file, but a container that has packaged within it a large number of other .vxd files.  In windows 98, vmm32.vxd should reside in the c:\windows\system folder.

The files contained in vmm32.vxd are listed in the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\VMM32Files

A .vxd is a windows "virtual device driver", and this file is compiled during the installation of windows dependent on what devices are present at that time requiring .vxd files.  Subsequent updates and alterations in hardware, etc, SHOULD pack extra files into vmm32.vxd.  Indeed, any of those files needing updated to a more recent version should be relaced, and the previous versions backed up.

The windows "version conflict manager" vcmui.exe keeps a track of the file versions that were updated, and of those that replaced them.  The files are listed, under sub-keys named after each file, in the registry at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\VersionConflictManager\Files\

The version conflict manager can be accessed to show a list of files that it has tracked by using the start menu > run option, and typing VCMUI.  This gives the option of restoring previous file versions.

The folder c:\windows\system\vmm32 can be used to force windows to pack additional files into vmm32.vxd when windows starts up, by placing a copy of other .vxd files into that folder.  If this doesn't work, and the .vxd files are left there without being added to vmm32.vxd, then windows SHOULD look in that folder while it is booting and be able to load the files even if they haven't been packed into vmm32.vxd.

If you can boot to a win98 boot floppy, then you should be able to get a list of the files currently packed into vmm32.vxd onto a floppy disk by:

1. Exchanging the boot floppy for a blank one after it gets to the A:\> prompt
2. Changing to the C: drive
3. Changing directory into the windows folder
4. And typing the following command:

regedit  /e  a:\vmm.txt   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\VMM32Files

That's all one line with 3 spaces.  One after the t of regedit, one after the /e, and the last one after .txt.

If the file vmm32.vxd truly does NOT exist on your system, then reinstalling windows over itself SHOULD recreate vmm32.vxd.  You cannot simply extract this file from your windows CD and expect it to work.  The file is in the file \win98\WIN98_54.CAB on your CD, but if you extracted it, you would find that it would be about half the file size of a vmm32.vxd file that had been created by a full windows 98 installation.

You MAY be able to extract it to your c:\windows\system folder as a starter, and then try and then try extracting as many .vxd files from your windows CD into the c:\windows\system\vmm32 as you can, in the hope that windows will start and try to package fresh files into it, but this is a bit hit-and-miss.

Feel welcome to try issuing the following commands in sequence after booting to your win98 boot floppy, but no guarantees are offered (or expected):

md c:\windows\system\vmmbak
copy  c:\windows\system\vmm32\*.vxd   c:\windows\system\vmmbak
extract  /A   x:\win98\BASE4.CAB   *.vxd   /L   c:\windows\system\vmm32

Remove floppy and power off.  Restart the system again.

Type the words "rebuild vmm32.vxd windows 98" into http://www.google.com and you will get a lot of hits that go to great lengths instructing you how to rebuild the file, but from experience it is more bother than it is worth.

Here's one page found at random:
http://www.infinisource.com/techfiles/vmm32.html

My suggestion?

Format your hard drive and reinstall windows again.
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by:BillDL
ID: 12214913
Can you get into SAFE MODE?

Incidentally, vmm32.vxd is NOT the windows "virtual memory manager" as stataed earlier.  The file vcache.vxd IS the virtual memory manager, and this should be one of the files packaged into vmm32.vxd on a properly installed windows system.  Many of the error messages that might be shown from vmm32.vxd do, however, relate to memory management.

The advice in that same comment about renaming vmm32.vxd and then reinstalling windows, however, MIGHT be a way of forcing windows to rebuild the file IF it is corrupt and hasn't allowed other vxd files to be packed into it.

Here's a list of the most common vxd files to be packed into vmm32.vxd, just to give you some idea:

vdd.vxd
vflatd.vxd
vshare.vxd
vwin32.vxd
vfbackup.vxd
vcomm.vxd
combuff.vxd
vcd.vxd
vpd.vxd
spooler.vxd
udf.vxd
vfat.vxd
vcache.vxd
vcond.vxd
vcdfsd.vxd
int13.vxd
vxdldr.vxd
vdef.vxd
dynapage.vxd
configmg.vxd
ntkern.vxd
ebios.vxd
vmd.vxd
dosnet.vxd
vpicd.vxd
vtd.vxd
reboot.vxd
vdmad.vxd
vsd.vxd
v86mmgr.vxd
pageswap.vxd
dosmgr.vxd
vmpoll.vxd
shell.vxd
parity.vxd
biosxlat.vxd
vmcpd.vxd
vtdapi.vxd
perf.vxd
vkd.vxd
vmouse.vxd
mtrr.vxd
enable.vxd

So, if windows is looking to load virtual device drivers to manage memory, power, mouse, disk formats, etc, etc, and the files aren't available, then your system won't start.

Don't hold me to this, but I'm sure the vmm32.vxd file extracted straight from a Win98SE CD already has the following files packed into it, and this is usually enough to run the system immediately windows starts, but would not enable the use of other processes and hardware that requires other virtual device drivers.  As I said, this file is "built" DURING a windows installation depending on what is found.  Every computer is different (unless of course they are identical :-)

I'm not sure exactly what error messages you have seen, but here's a few that are issued from vmm32.vxd if something isn't quite right:

Cannot start Windows because VMM32.VXD was not found or is damaged.
You need to run the Setup program again to install VMM32.VXD

You may need to install Windows again.
A sharing violation occurred when opening VMM32.VXD

Run Windows Setup again to install a complete SYSTEM.INI file.
Cannot find a device file that may be needed to run Windows or a
Windows application.

The windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file refers to this device file, but
the device file no longer exists.

A device has been specified more than once in the SYSTEM.INI file, or
a device specified in SYSTEM.INI conflicts with a device which is being
loaded by an MS-DOS device driver or application or a device loaded
from the registry file.
Remove the duplicate entry from the SYSTEM.INI file, and then restart Windows.

You will notice that most error messages relate to entries in the file c:\windows\system.ini.

After booting to a win98 boot floppy, you will be able to see this file using the command:

EDIT  c:\windows\system.ini

If you copy this file to a floppy, and then open it on a functional computer to paste here, it MIGHT reveal if there is a problem entry, especially if you compared it to the files listed in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\VMM32Files registry key and purpording to be in vmm32.vxd.


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by:BillDL
ID: 12214932
I forgot to list the files that I believe to be in vmm32.vxd when extracted straight from the CD:

vmouse.vxd
configmg.vxd
vwin32.vxd
vfbackup.vxd
vcomm.vxd
ifsmgr.vxd
ios.vxd
vfat.vxd
vcache.vxd
vcond.vxd
int13.vxd
vxdldr.vxd
vdef.vxd
dynapage.vxd
reboot.vxd
vsd.vxd
parity.vxd
biosxlat.vxd
vmcpd.vxd
keyboard.vxd
vkd.vxd
display.vxd
vdd.vxd
ebios.vxd
ebios.vxd
vtdapi.vxd
vmpoll.vxd
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by:gonzal13
ID: 12218693
BillDll

I have in the Win98 folder the following:
ifsmgr.vxd
los.vxd
Mrici2.vxd
vmm32.vxd


gonzal13(joe)
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12219746
Joe.  Not sure if you meant the "win98" folder of the Win98 CD or the vmm32 folder of your windows 98 system folders.  I reckon you are referring to the vmm32 folder.

These files seem to be the most common ones left in there by updates and subsequent installations.  In mine, I have:

IFSMGR.VXD **
IOS.VXD       **
MRCI2.VXD
NTKERN.VXD ##
QEMMFIX.VXD

From the lists above, it is apparent to me that the ones I have marked with ** above were present in the original vmm32.vxd file straight from the Windows 98 CD, whereas the one marked as ## has been added to my vmm32.vxd file at some time.  The unmarked ones are NOT in vmm32.vxd.

It is highly probable, if you were to extract copies of these files from the CD and compare the versions, that one or more of the ones in your vmm32 folder are more recent than what would have been originally installed from scratch.

The ones that ARE more recent, are also likely to have their original versions of the files in the version conflict manager backup folder c:\windows\vcm.

My assumption here is that MRCI2.VXD and QEMMFIX.VXD have not/cannot/do not need to be packed into vmm32.vxd, but will be picked up by windows as it starts.  The ones in the vmm32 folder have probably been placed there in anticipation that they may need to be updated in the vmm32.vxd file, but this proved unnecessary because the same version was already in there.  The older versions of the files that WERE updated in vmm32.vxd were backed up first, and then the new versions from the vmm folder were packed into the file.  It would seem that these .vxd files just remain in the vmm folder, and I suspect that they could be deleted, but I'm not going to even try this.

A quick look at the VCMUI utility launched from the Start Menu > RUN option will support my theory about this, because the ones I have marked as ** above are the only ones from that list of files in the vmm32 folder that have had their older file versions backed up.

A file search should ONLY find these files in c:\windows\system\vmm32 OR (if they were added to vmm32.vxd and old copies from there backed up first) in c:\windows\vcm.

I believe that duplicate copies of these files floating around in other folders MAY cause problems, especially if they are different versions.

One other important note here is that the registry stores details of the files updated by Windows updates in the key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Updates\W98.SE  (or "W98" for the first edition).

The sub-keys are named after the Q number of the update applied, and the values indicate the files updated, plus their version numbers.  For instance, I can see that Q242975 updated my IOS.VXD to version 4.10.0.2223.  The original file version straight from the Win98SE CD is 4.10.2222.  Similarly, Update Q267304 updated NTKERN.VXD to 4.10.2223 whereas the originally installed version would have been 4.10.2222.

Still, all this info does not help smashmouthftball's problem.

smashmouthftball:

Are you able to intercept the boot process before it gets to the error message, and load the boot menu by repeatedly jabbing the F8 key until it appears?

If so, choose the "step-by-step" option and see exactly where in the boot process the error is being found.

Alternatively, try getting it to boot into Safe Mode.  I doubt this will work, but it is worth a try.

One thing that MIGHT shed more light on where the process is breaking down, is to choose the boot option "Logged" (to c:\bootlog.txt).

If you can then boot into DOS from the boot menu of from the Win98 boot floppy, then you could copy the file c:\bootlog.txt out to a blank floppy and then analyse it in a functional PC.  It is a hidden file, so you would first have to change the file attributes to allow copying:

attrib  -h  c:\bootlog.txt
copy c:\bootlog.txt  a;\bootlog.txt
attrib  +h  c;\bootlog.txt

Download the following and unzip it on a functional PC.  It comprises a standalone utility named BLA.EXE (Bootlog Text Analyzer) that allows you to browse to the bootlog.txt file on the floppy instead of the one on the functional computer, and load it.  You can then filter the results to show load Failures only.

http://www.easydesksoftware.com/zips/Bla.zip
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by:BillDL
ID: 12219752
Please change the c;\ to c:\ if using those commands :-)
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by:BillDL
ID: 12272372
Thank you, smashmouthftball (one hell of a mouthfull of a name that :-)

Have you managed to resolve the problem?
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