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Printers Disappear from Windows 98 Until Rebooted

Posted on 2005-05-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
When this Win98 PC is turned on and logged into the network, it seems to start out fine, and all printers are there and working.  However, after a while different programs start having problems printing, and when I go to Control Panel - Printers, it is empty and only displays Add a Printer icon.  I reboot, and it is okay again, but it is impossible to have to reboot ten times a day.

Question by:MashaCPA
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

gonzal13 earned 1000 total points
ID: 13948787
Sometimes unusual problems can be solved with a sledgehammer instead of looking for an obscure cause and then solution.

What I would suggest is to reinstall win98 over itself which does not change any settings.

Boot win98
Insert the cd rom
When the Win screen shows click on the 'X'
Open Windows Explorer
Go to the device holding the cd rom
Go to the win98 folder
Click on setup
If offered to install windows in another directory like windows000o say NO!
Continue until the reinstallaton is finished.

LVL 93

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 1000 total points
ID: 13949932
if it is possible you have malware on this system, i suggest running all these :

     Spybot :        http://www.download.com/3000-8022-10122137.html
     adaware :      http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/                                                                      online scan for trojans
http://www.ravantivirus.com/scan/                                                                        virus scan
http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html                                            download
http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english                                         check the log

Author Comment

ID: 14065010
Thanks guys, I did not want to spend much time reinstalling Windows and running too many spyware checks (Ad-Aware did show a few minor things, cookies and such) - so I just bought another PC.
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Author Comment

ID: 14065013
Obviously, I do not always solve problems in such radical way :) - but this PC was real old anyway.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 14071662
I have a few comments about how to set up yournew PC to minimize problems and frustrations.

The XP backup will not restore yor hard drive as you had it:

Thus install the old HD as a 'slave' I leave my jumper as Master since for some reason it will not work if the jumper is set for slaveon my pc.

 copy all the files you need to the new HD.
go to Outlook express
click on Tools, Address book
Click on Files
Go to export
Select Addresss book (Wab) and save your e-mail adrsses to a floppy to import into xp later.

Now xp saves the favorites under Documents & Settings\ All users or under your file folder

Use the old HD to back up in image form your new HD
Purchase Norton Ghost ver 9 for 69 dollars. Back up your new HD to the old HD.
Reboot the PC with the Norton CsD to see if you have access to it in case of a failure. You can change the boot configuration in the bios.
This program will do an image of your new HD and then you can do incremental back ups. The incremental backups can be done in the background.
The XP backup does not save your complete HD. Do a basic backup to the slave drive.

Once everything is saved including your documents, format the slave drive.

Next download the Free firewall which is better than the XP version www.zonealarm.com

You will need a virus program such as Norton AIntivirus 2005 or MCAffee. Now McAffe's program seems to be just by reading questions not ver problematic. I always have used Norton products thus I have a certain comfort with them.

Next you need to download  the 'Malware programs which you should use once a month.
Here is the data on the 'Malware' programs. I borrowed the description from BillDLl and he gets credit for it in the folowing text. I also sent him a not to ask his permission to use it since I think it is a wonderful description.


There can sometimes be a very fine line between a Virus and "spyware", generally Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. (and most other Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.) will not detect normal "spyware" unless it comes in the form of what is referred to as a "Trojan". This name is taken from the historical "Error! Hyperlink reference not valid." where invaders sneaked into the walled city hidden in a wooden horse. Similarly, a computer Trojan comes packaged and disguised as something else, and sneaks into your system where it can hide unseen doing a variety of things such as stealing passwords and sending them out to some other remote computer, monitoring activity, etc.

AntiVirus applications are often able to detect known Trojans, but not always. It is very important for this reason to always allow your AntiVirus program to check regularly for updated "definition" files. These are the "libraries" (for want of a better word) that the program uses to detect known threats, and new definition files will find new viruses.

Spyware is generally less nasty than a Trojan, but can certainly be a Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. leak. In normal cases, they are huge annoyances rather than actual "spies". I suppose that, if there were sub-categories, they could be divided into "Internet Home Page HiJackers" that redirect your internet pages constantly to specific search pages, "Ad Ware" which monitors your internet browsing habits and transmits them to central repositories for marketing purposes, and "Scumware" that sneakily installs programs that masquerade as legitimate programs and do similar things as "Adware", and "Scumware" which just messes up your system for no particular reason.

For the most part, all of these rely on changing or adding registry settings. For instance, some will install and register files that have very similar names to genuine Windows system files so that a user checking what program files are currently being used won't immediately suspect a rogue process at work. Some replace a windows system file with a rogue version of their own, and change a registry setting so that their rogue file does something else entirely different.

There is something known as a "Browser Helper Object" or BHO. Most are legitimate and helpful, such as the integration of Adobe Acrobat Reader which will open up within Internet Explorer if you click on a link to a .PDF file. Other BHO's are Norton AntiVirus Helper, which adds a "Scan with NAV" to various places and also runs behind the scenes ready to scan incoming email. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous programs add unwanted BHO's into your system.

To somebody who is neither well acquainted with the names of files and folders in the "system" areas, and who has never had to know what lies in their windows registry, it can be difficult for that person to identify results thrown up by spyware removal tools.

Microsoft is often maligned and accused of creating unwanted, annoying, or "big brother-like" processes in Windows, and for that reason anti-spyware programs will often identify normal Windows registry settings, files, and processes as undesireable. In most cases, these found items can be safely removed using the anti-spyware tool without suffering any adverse effects because they are not crucial to functionality. In odd cases, however, allowing an anti-spyware utility to remove something could adversely affect your system.

There is also the risk that, by removing a rogue file that has deliberately replaced a legitimate system file, your system will look for that file and throw up errors when it can't find it.
The above was plagerized from BilDll

Anti spyware tutorial

Spyware, also known as adware or malware, are programs that can cause problems. These include: pop up advertisements on your computer, browser hijacks, search engine hijacks, website redirections, website restrictions, computer problems (like slowdowns, lockdowns, etc.), personal information being logged in without your permission, preventing you access to certain sites or the whole internet, etc. Some spyware are worst than viruses, in my opinion. This section was created to help you detect and remove any suspicious activity that may be going on your computer. Also included is a section on how to prevent future spyware installations. Please read and follow the steps below to help make this process much faster and easier.

Before running any spyware programs, please run an online antivirus scan at one of the below sites to make sure that you don't have a virus. It is recommended to run a scan online because there are some viruses that can disable or make themselves invisible to the antivirus programs you have on your computer. If any viruses are found, write them down and remove them. Before running any of them, first disable System Restore if you have Windows ME/XP. You may use more than one:



Spybot Search and Destroy

Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove a multitude of adware files and modules from your computer. Spybot also can clean program and Web-usage tracks from your system, which is especially useful if you share your computer with other users. Modules chosen for removal can be sent directly to the included file shredder, ensuring complete elimination from your system. For advanced users, it allows you to fix registry inconsistencies related to adware and to malicious program installations. The handy online-update feature ensures that Spybot always has the most current and complete listings of adware, dialers, and other uninvited system residents



Malware can track your surfing habits, abuse your Internet connection by sending this data to a third party, profile your shopping preferences, hijack your browser start page or pages, alter important system files, and can do this without your knowledge or permission





Note: Run "CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller removal tool" BEFORE running CWShredder.

CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller (v1 and v2) is a new, real ugly variant of CoolWWWSearch. When running, it will close every browser window you use to visit a large list of anti-spyware-sites, and even will close Spybot-S&D and some other anti-spyware applications as well.


HiJack This!

HijackThis : A general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with almost a dozen other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites. As a result, false positives are imminent and unless you are sure what you're doing, you should always consult with knowledgable folks (e.g. the forums) before deleting anything. Do not post this on the Experts website. There is another site for posting the results.


Hyjack Tutorial


Paste logfile created into the text box here:


Remove all noted as "Nasty".

A small utility for removing CoolWebSearch (aka CoolWwwSearch, YouFindAll, White-Pages.ws and a dozen other names). Spybot S&D and Ad-aware tend to forget essential parts of the hijack, so until they update, you can use this to completely remove the hijack. This program is updated to remove the new variants once they come out

Installing is CWShredder. Unzip the program to your Desktop. Double click on it to open up the program. Click on Fix and let it remove any traces found. When you click Fix, it will ask you to close all browser windows, so make sure you don't have Internet Explorer, Netscape or any other browser running. Click OK. It will scan and remove any files found. If a window pops up asking you if you want to delete a certain file, choose NO.
Next run Ad-aware


Spybot Search and destroy

Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove a multitude of adware files and modules from your computer. Spybot also can clean program and Web-usage tracks from your system, which is especially useful if you share your computer with other users.



I hope the above helps. I bought XP Pro several months ago and found to my surprise that I had to reinstall it three times. It is very finiky how you close it.

Also go to the XP website, read the comments and save the referenced URLs for use in the future. I spent about three months on the site and collected about two hundred URLs prior to purchasing the program. It is a wonderful place to learn about xp, just by reading the questions and comments.



Author Comment

ID: 14074692
Thanks so much for a comprehensive solution, Joe, I appreciate it.  Are you, by any chance, of Russian heritage?  Your last name sounds Russian.

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 14074977
I am glad you liked my comments. I just wanted you to avoid obvious problems once you start using XP

Yes I am first generation Russian.


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