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8 Error messages appear on start up

Posted on 2004-10-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
This problem has been occurring for the last few months.  Every time I start up or re-boot my Win98SE machine, error messages & dialogue boxes pop up on the desktop.  
I've been "X"ing them or clicking "OK" just to get them off the screen.  Most of them don't get in the way of opening programs, but Error Starting Program stays on top if I don't manually click it off.
Here's the list:
*Error Starting Program - A required .DLL file, HPOTAP03.DLL was not found
(I can't X out, clicking OK is the only option)
*Setup Initialization Error - Setup is unable to find installation languages in C:\Windows\setup.LID file.  Error 105
(I can't X out, clicking OK is the only option)
*Confirm File Deletion - Are you sure you want to completely remove the selected application and all of its components?
(I can't X out, so I've been clicking No as I have no clue what file it's referring to!)
*Microsoft Word Art 3.2 - Word Art may only be used to embed objects.  It must be started within another application
(I can't X out, clicking OK is the only option)
*Unexpected Error - AN unexpected error has occurred with an invalid attachment.  Please make a note of this error and contact the store if you are unable to resolve this issue. Error 301,0
(I can't X out, clicking OK is the only option)
*Version Conflict Manager - Below is alist of all the files that had a more recent version number or were in a different language before Win98 was installed, etc.  (no files listed)
(This one I can X out of)
*Windows 98 Second Edition Q239887 Update - This program installs the Windows 98 Second Edition Q239887 Update.  Do you want to continue? Yes or No
(I can't X out, I've been clicking No)
*Windows Report Tool - To report a problem, etc.
(I X out of this one)



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Question by:bluerocket
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by:
Asta Cu earned 150 total points
ID: 12262240
Have you updated using WindowsUpdate?

Tried start-run-sfc?

What about start-run-sfc- tools and ASD as well as checking for problem devices in Device manager in safe mode?

I'd also definitely have a good viruscan program with updated virus definition files scan all drives and check for Spyware.

Links about that here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Browser_Issues/Q_20975384.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Browser_Issues/Q_21149514.html
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12262269
HPOTAP03.DLL is not a standard Windows system file.

What are you running at startup?  

start-run-msconfig and check the start up tab; also check the boot options in the INI file tabs and run commands.

Let us know what's there.  Could also be something you load from the other startup files.

Any idea what you did when the problems first showed themselves?  new install of HW or SW?
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12262308
Start, click Run, type scanregw.exe in the Open box and OK.... helps scan the registry for problems/errors and has multiple switches to resolve.  More about that here:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=http://support.microsoft.com:80/support/kb/articles/Q183/8/87.ASP&NoWebContent=1
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12262333
start - run - Scanregw.exe ... or scanreg with switch below directly.  Helps fix registry problems, restore prior backup copies and so on.

Switch              Description
   ----------------------------------------------------------------------
   /backup             Backs up the registry and related files without
                       displaying any prompts.

   /restore            Displays a list of available backup files, sorted
                       by the date and time the backup was created.

   "/comment=<text>"   Enables you to add a descriptive comment to the
                       registry backup.

   /fix                Repairs any damaged portions of the registry, and
                       optimizes it by rebuilding it without unused space.

   /autoscan           Automatically scans the registry and backs it up
                       without displaying any prompts if there is no
                       backup for that date.

   /scanonly           Scans the registry and displays a message if any
                       errors are found. This switch does not back up the
                       registry.

   filename            Scans the registry file specified and displays a
                       message indicating whether or not any errors were
                       found. This switch does not back up the registry.

   /opt                The /opt command-line switch causes the
                       Registry Checker tool to optimize the
                       registry by removing unused space.

More here.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;184023&Product=w98
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12262339
Which language, please?
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Assisted Solution

by:blue_zee
blue_zee earned 100 total points
ID: 12263469

You should start thinking of backing up the data you really need.

After that format and reinstall Windows.

I do insist in formatting to clean the HDD.

I believe you have or had severe problems with unwelcome visitors, and you probably were  running your system without or with very little protection.

A cleanup will take too long, lots of work and unsure it will be worth all the trouble.

Do correct me if I'm wrong.

If you need help with format and reinstall (after copying or backing up the data you need, and carefully scanning for virus):

Put a startup floppy in the drive (if you don't have one, download it from www.bootdisk.com).

Reboot the PC and when prompted select with CD-ROM support.

At the A:\ prompt type:

FORMAT C: (press enter)

When the process ends, put the Win98 CD in the drive and type:

E: (press enter)

At the E:\ prompt type:

SETUP (press enter)

This will launch the Windows installation process that will take you 40-60 minutes.

>>You MUST visit Windows Update after the install.<<

Good luck,

Zee
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Assisted Solution

by:BillDL
BillDL earned 150 total points
ID: 12264221
It sounds like you have inadvertantly dragged and dropped a selection of shortcuts into your Start Menu's "Startup" folder judging by the number of things that are trying to run at startup.

Do these messages show AFTER the desktop and taskbar show, or do they appear just as the background colour of your desktop show, but before everything else shows?  Knowing this might help us to identify whether they are being loaded from the registry or from the Startup folder.

In either case, astaec's MSCONFIG suggestion would identify if this IS the case.

Also running MSINFO32 from the Start menu's "run" option would reveal exactly where they are being loaded from if you go to "Software Environment > Startup Programs".

The column "Loaded From" tells you if it is:
Startup Group = your Start menu's Startup folder
or
Registry
Per User = runs only when you are logged in
Machine Run or Machine Service = runs when anyone is logged on

You can copy and paste this list from MSINFO32 using the "Edit" menu:
Edit > select all > edit > copy > paste here
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by:gonzal13
gonzal13 earned 100 total points
ID: 12264443
We have gone throught the standard scanrg /restore that cannt work since the roblem is ver a long period of time
SFC should have helped if it was capable of handling the larg number of problems

I would try a simple operation that ends up with the initial win98 configuration.

From Windows load the cd rom
From Windows Exploer go to the device letter for the cd rom drive
Type setup
If you are presented with the option to install the 'wind98' into another directory, such as windows000. say NO!
The reinstallation whch takes about a half an hour sets windows back to where it should with out changing your configurations.

I would not considerad aware programs etc atthis time per definition below

DEFINITIONS

++ BHO -- Browser Helper objects. These are programs used by the browser to extend functionality. For example Adobe Acrobat is a BHO that allows a browser to work with PDF files. The problem with BHOs is that many of the Free BHOs and toolbars are actually malicious code that can take over the computer where they are installed.

++ SPYWARE -- is software that tracks user activity, usually for the purpose of build a preferences profile for targeted advertising, most often it gets installed as part of "free" toolbars.

++ Browser Hijacking -- refers to the action of some malicious BHOs that re-direct to target sites, change home pages, or prevent access to some sites. Such software may also alter registry settings and attempt to damage security and privacy software.

++ Trojan -- a program that get loaded on a computer and lies dormant until a triggering mechanism (frequently from a external source) launches it to carryout instructions from the owner of the trojan. A more active form BOTS, frequently find unsecured ports to communicate with their master

++ MALWARE -- a general term for any software that is unwanted and frequently malicious that is put on a computer either without the users permission, or by misleading the user about its purpose.


gonzal13(joe)

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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12264614
Have you by any chance been experimenting with the creation of a bootable CD that enables Win98 to be run directly from a CD-Rom?

Let me discuss each of the errors individually.

HPOTAP03.DLL - Have no idea what this file relates to, but it isn't native to Windows 98.  HP might refer to a Hewlett Packard hardware device, or some program that does background monitoring on scanner or printer status.  Disconnect all peripherals like printers, scanners and backup tape devices.

SETUP.LID - These files normally contain lines such as:

[Languages]
key0=0009
Default=0009
count=1

which accounts for the "unable to find installation languages" message, but this could relate to ANY installation procedure being initialised. Locate c:\windows\setup.lid and right-click on it.  Select "Properties" and look at the "Created" and "Modified" dates.  Modified usually tells you when the file was written, while Created would normally reveal when this file was placed in c:\windows by some installation routine.  This might give you a clue about what installed it, or what installation routine is trying to access it. Open it in NotePad and see what language it specifies.  Of course, this could well be referring to an UNINSTALL routine, as the next error suggests.

To my knowledge, setup.lid files should not remain in the c:\windows folder.

"Confirm File Deletion - Are you sure you want to completely remove the selected application and all of its components?"

No doubt there, an uninstall routine has been started, but by what we don't know.  Could be related to the file HPOTAP03.DLL which might be needed for this process to continue.  Locate HPOTAP03.DLL and right-click on it.  Select "Properties" and look under the "version" tab to see if it gives any clues as to the origin of the file.  Might help to figure what is trying to uninstall IF this is the case.

Microsoft Word Art 3.2 - Word Art may only be used to embed objects.  It must be started within another application. ????

Strange one this.  Does the file HPOTAP03.DLL appear in the Program Folder for your Word Art program, if this is still present on your system?  Did you try and uninstall the program just before this happened?

Unexpected Error - AN unexpected error has occurred with an invalid attachment.

"Attachment"??  Might relate to the cryptic "Word Art may only be used to embed objects" error and could spell something sinister here.  Could  a virus or some type of script be trying to run a malicious "shell scrap" or something??  Does Outlook Express, Outlook, Messenger, or Internet Explorer normally launch when your computer starts up?

Version Conflict Manager - This is run from the file c:\windows\vcmui.exe.  Why is this running??

During the installation of a new program, versions of files are checked so that they should not be replaced by older versions. In Win98 older versions are automatically backed and vcmui.exe can allow you to restore the older files later if something goes wrong.  Again, this points to an install or uninstall process being run at startup.

Windows 98 Second Edition Q239887... Do you want to continue? Yes or No?

Clearly, something has started the installation of the Windows 98 SE Shutdown Supplement Update.  Did you try to install or uninstall this just before the problem occurred?

An aborted install or uninstall could easily be causing vcmui.exe to detect version differences in files, and could also be showing the "confirm file deletion" message.

From what I can determine, the Q239887 update does not contain a "setup.lid" file.  It DOES, however, contain an updated version of the Microsoft Systems Information Tool (MSINFO32.EXE) which is heavily reliant on (and vice versa) The Windows Reporting Tool (WINREP.EXE) mentioned below.

Windows Report Tool - this will open if problems occur and the reporting tool is enabled on your system.

If this is popping up because of the relationship between it and MSINFO32.EXE that is updated by the Q239887 update, then this again could be pointing to an aborted installation or something trying to run it.

Could this be the result of a Virus?  Certainly this page mentions removing winrep.exe from the registry's "Run" key(s):

http://it.trendmicro-europe.com/enterprise/security_info/ve_detail.php?VName=WORM_BLUEWORM.C

Have you noticed a bunch of new folder names appearing recently?

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/bat.install.trojan.html

As you can see from my above musings, these error messages might all relate to one single process being launched from one single registry entry, line in a system file, or shortcut in the startup folder.

Here's what I suggest:

Start > Run > and type REGEDIT > click "OK"
Navigate down the LEFT-hand pane to the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce

Does it contain any values in the RIGHT-Hand pane?  If so, delete it or them.  This key is ONLY used to run things when your system is forced to reboot during an installation, and should only "run once".  There could be an entry that is not being removed because the boot isn't a total success due to error messages.

Do the same for the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce

Delete ALL files and sub-folders from the following folders:

C:\Windows\Temp
C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files

Also, if you use Microsoft messenger, ascertain what folder it uses for its downloads and delete all files from there.

Control Panel > Internet Options
Delete all files in the Temporary Internet Files Folder
Delete Internet Explorer's History

Start > Settings > Taskbar and Start Menu > Start menu Programs > "Clear".

Run MSCONFIG as suggested in an earlier comment and disable everything except SystemTray and both instances of LoadPowerProfile.  Click "Apply" and reboot.

Use Ctrl + Alt + Del and end any other running tasks except for Explorer, SysTray, and your AntiVirus program.

Scan your hard drive for viruses (assuming that your virus definition file is up-to-date).

If this reveals no infection, then I suggest that you run HiJack This! and / or Adaware to see what it shows.

Let us know what happens and we can guide you further.
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by:BillDL
ID: 12264690
Just a strange off-beat thought here while I am wondering about uninstallation processes, and began to think about file associations.

The command line:
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL appwiz.cpl,,1
opens The Add/Remove Programs dialog, and
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL appwiz.cpl,,2
Opens it on the Windows Setup tab.

The file type *.cpl is also used by other applications, most notably Corel Imaging Applications.  Corel Color Palette = .cpl

My curiosity about this stems from that out-of-place "Microsoft Word Art" error that I just can't figure out.

On the other hand, if by some weird event (such as registry tinkering and a sneaky typographic error in a .reg file) has renamed a .cpl file to .clp, then this file extension refers to a Windows Clipboard File.  recall the "embed objects" and "invalid attachments" phrases in the earlier error messages?

Just some thoughts that might be pursued later if obvious resolutions fail  :-)
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by:BillDL
ID: 12264693
OK, so yes I have a fertile imagination.
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Author Comment

by:bluerocket
ID: 12269068
Thank you all for the feedback --  I will check into this further and get back to you with answers to your questions. Bluerocket
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12465601
Personally, LeeTutor, I agree with your recommendation.... and unfortunately, the Asker chose not to "rocket back" here with response.... but can only speak for myself....  Last Asker input was:

Comment from bluerocket
Date: 10/09/2004 09:04PM PDT
Thank you all for the feedback --  I will check into this further and get back to you with answers to your questions. Bluerocket

Just so you know, I sure appreciate everyone's time here volunteering their time to help others and your hard work on the cleanup effort when Askers "choose" to abandon their question.  A sad thing.

Best wishes all,
Asta
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Author Comment

by:bluerocket
ID: 12468093
Thanks all, and sorry for the mistake -- the computer in question is a very old one that I have, and it has since become even more unstable.  So I was unable to check on the suggestions.  In fairness, I split the points among all answerers.  If you check my question-asking record, I am sure you will see that this one was just a fluke.  Thanks again -
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12468168
Thanks, bluerocket.... if there is anything further you'd like me (us) to explore on your behalf in this regard, comment and I'll return when time permits.
Asta
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by:BillDL
ID: 12469410
Thank you, bluerocket.  Yes, I agree, your record is as unblemished as any of those big sellers on eBay  ;-)
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 12469437
":0)
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