problem  erm

Posted on 2006-11-10
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
My mum's friend is having computer problems...
She's written down the following and asked me to help solve it...
(I currently do not have access to the computer myself, but I can pass on any advice...)

This is what she has written down on paper:

Microsoft Windows 98 setup menu.

1.  Normal
2.  Logged (bootleg.txt)
3.  Safe mode
4.  Step by step confirmation
5.  Command prompt only
6.  Sage mode command prompt only

Enter a choice.

Warning windows has detected a registry / configuration error.

Choose command prompt only and run scanreg

The folloing file is missing or corrupted

  . . . . .
  . . . . .

C:\> Mode con codepage prepare = ((85) c:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\EGA.CPI)
        Bad Command or File Name.
C:\> Mode con codepage select = 850
        Bad Command or File Name.
        Bad Command or File Name.

That's all I've been given.
I know nothing else; and my knowledge of '98 is limited.

So, I'm very much hoping that you lot can make more sense of it than I can..

Thanks very much in advance.
Question by:InteractiveMind
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Assisted Solution

TheACTDude earned 25 total points
ID: 17917009
Try restoring a previous version of the registry.

From the command prompt type scanreg /restore
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

Jonvee earned 50 total points
ID: 17917628
If she has trouble reaching the Command prompt, try rebooting and tapping key F8 during startup.
Then at the C:\ prompt she can type:
scanreg /restore   (note the space between g and / )     <--- as described by TheACTDude above.                
Press enter, & select a date prior to the problem starting.   Now reboot.
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

Jonvee earned 50 total points
ID: 17917677
Or if not successful, try booting with a Win98 boot disk.
Then at the A:\> prompt, type C:      Press 'enter'.
Type CD \windows\command     Press 'enter'     (note the space)
Type scanreg /restore      Press 'enter'   (space between g and / ).
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

For-Soft earned 25 total points
ID: 17920204
It looks like the the WINDOWS folder is damaged.

The HIMEM.SYS file is located in the WINDOWS folder. If it is missing with other SYS drivers, it means the WINDOWS folder is missing or contents of the WINDOWS folder was lost somehow.

Reinstallation is necesary, I'm afraid.
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 400 total points
ID: 17922093
I agree with For-Soft.

That's similar to the problem I just had, except that mine was worse in that the hard drive suffered corruption whereby the drive partitions were not seen.
I would NOT suggest that you run Scandisk, as all this will usually do is create backup folders containing all the lost content from the C:\Windows folder and all the sub-folders.

By all means boot to a Win98 boot floppy and run the scandisk command to just do a run through without actually modifying anything, and you will get some idea about the extent of the problem, but I would NOT run the scandisk command on its own or allow it to fix anything:

scandisk c: /checkonly

You can also have scandisk run the extended test to check the actual surface of the hard drive for damage, but it would be better to use the hard drive diagnostics boot floppy created from files available from the hard drive manufacturer's website.  This scandisk option runs after the initial check, and takes a long time.

scandisk c: /checkonly /surface

You will soon enough be able to confirm damage to the Windows folder if you try the advice given by TheACTDude and Jonvee.  My guess is that it will tell you that it cannot find the file Scanreg.exe which is in the C:\Windows\Command sub-folder.

Boot to a Windows 98 boot floppy WITH CD-Rom support
When it stops at the A:\> Prompt, insert the Windows 98 CD
If using a standard Win98 boot floppy, the CD-Rom Drive will be one letter higher than it would have been previously in Windows.
If the CD-Rom drive was formerly D:  then you should type the following commands in sequence, pressing the <enter> key after each line. (use the correct CD-Rom drive letter if it is something other than E:)

cd \
cd win98

That will begin reinstalling Windows.  IF it detects the existence of the current installation of Windows, then it will normally assume that you do not want to install it back to the C:\WINDOWS folder, and will suggest another folder to install to such as "C:\WINDOWS.000" or similar.  The idea here is that you are trying to do a "repair" installation, so you want to reinstall to the C:\WINDOWS folder again.  Change any alternative folder it suggests back to C:\WINDOWS.

Because it is the C:\Windows folder and sub-folder that is apparently damaged, there are a whole lot of program settings stored in there as *.ini files, in the two registry files user.dat and system.dat, and programs will also have installed their own system files to the Windows folder and sub-folders.  This means that a great deal of the installed programs may not run, or will cause errors.  That being the case, all affected programs would need to be reinstalled also, as well as all Windows updates.

Personally I would do the following:

1. Remove the hard drive while it is powered off
2. Connect it as a Slave drive on another functional computer (preferably one running Windows 98)
3. Copy all essential data such as user-created documents, Favorites, email files, Address Book, etc across onto the host computer for safekeeping
4. Return the drive to the original computer and boot to a Win98 boot floppy
5. Format the drive and reinstall Windows
6. Return the drive to the other computer and copy the backed-up files from it back into the new installation.

If you need assistance in knowing where to locate the address book, email files, etc, just ask.

I know this sounds pessimistic, but I think it's just realistic.  Try the "repair install" first, but perhaps play it safe BEFORE doing that and back up the files to another computer.

LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17922165
The alternative to slaving the drive into another computer to make backups of data that could be lost is to go ahead and install to ANOTHER folder other than C:\WINDOWS to create a parallel installation that should at least allow the system to boot, but that would mean reinstalling all the drivers, etc.

If the C:\Windows folder is accessible, then some of the files like address book, email files, favorites, etc may still be available to retrieve from the folders:
c:\windows\application data\address book\<username.wab>
c:\windows\application data\identities\{long-number}\microsoft\outlook express\<*.dbx files>
c:\windows\application data\proof\custom.dic  (the common dictionary)
c:\windows\application data\internet explorer\<*.bmp files> (custom wallpapers)
c:\windows\application data\templates\  (ms office and other custom templates)
c:\windows\desktop\<user files and folders saved there>
c:\windows\<*.ini files> (if named after programs these can hold user settings)

Usually the C:\My Documents folder and contents will remain intact, even after a repair installation BUT IF the computer was set up for more than one user profile, then the "My Documents" folder plus Favorites, Desktop, etc will be stored separately for each user profile under:

LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 17922178
I really appreciate the responses so far;

one rather major problem however (which I stupidly forgot to mention), is that she does not have a Win98 CD.. :-\

(But I would be able to shove her HDD into my computer as a slave if necessary..)

In this case, what would you recommend?

Thanks very much
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17922681
In that case, you obviously want to try your best to fix the problem in place as you don't have the means to reinstall without buying a Win98 retail CD from eBay.

You can always try and assess the extent of the damage by slaving the drive to another system and seeing if (a) the Windows folder is still there and apparently accessible from Windows Explorer and (b) if the sub-folders are there and accessible.  The problem is, as you say, that your knowledge of Win98 is limited and you won't necessarily recognise if any of the standard Windows sub-folders are missing.

IF the C:\Windows\SYSBCKUP folder is accessible, then there should be 5 backup *.CAB files named to (I think I've got the names right - not at Win98 right now).  These are created once a day when SCANREG creates a backup of the two registry files and a couple of configuration files.  You can unpack them with WinZip and place it in the root of the affected drive, and then run the FIND command to locate the CD-Key that would be required to reinstall Windows.  The DOS Command in Win98 that should find the value containing the CD-Key is:


The DOS Program FIND.EXE is in C:\Windows\Command, but if you are doing this in WinXP you could copy find.exe to a Win98 boot floppy, boot the system to the floppy, and then run the following command from the A:\> Prompt, assuming you placed SYSTEM.DAT in the root of the affected drive and removed the Hidden attribute from it:

find /i "ductKey" c:\system.dat

optionally send the output to a new text file on floppy:

find /i "ductKey" c:\system.dat > a:\CDKEY.TXT

The affected hard drive is FAT32 and will be seen by the Win98 Boot Floppy, whereas an NTFS Drive (as you would probably have on a WinXP machine) would not be seen by the floppy, so the affected drive should still be seen by the floppy as C:

There is always a possibility that the affected hard drive still has a folder:

If this exists, then that may well contain all the CAB files and other necessary files that could be used to reinstall Windows.  If the folder exists and is accessible, then you could burn the entire contents of C:\Windows\Options\CABS to a CD and you could have a reinstall CD.  It all depends on whether the contents are a full copy of the "win98" folder of a standard Win98 CD.  In general, it will contain :

base4, 5, and
catalog3 and
driver11 to
mini, precopy1, and
net7, 8, 9, and
win98_21 to
It MUST also contain SETUP.EXE or it will not be usable.

In addition, the standard files in a Win98se "win98" folder is:

If you have this all, then you're laughing.  If not, then the next stop may be eBay.

One thing you COULD look for as well, and I've seen this previously, is if the Windows folder has been accidentally moved into another folder.  Normally Windows will strongly object to and refuse to allow this, but as I said I have seen this more than once and can't explain how the system allowed it to happen.  I could only assume that it happened during what seemed to be a partial screen freeze with Windows Explorer open, where the users kept clicking around the place and dragging the mouse without realising that they were actually grabbing and dropping folders/files.  If this IS the case (very unlikely), then it could be fixed by moving the WINDOWS folder back to the C: Drive again.

One other thing you may have to consider is whether this was an upgrade over Win95.  That would add additional complications.

Good luck, you'll need it.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17922715
Just be careful if slaving the drive into Windows XP as it can add some exotic files to the affected hard drive.  You don't want it trying to enable system restore on the drive or Indexing anything on it using the Indexing Service.  I can't be more specific about this, but I've always been very careful not to open or save any files when doing this with a Win98 FAT32 drive slaved to an XP machine.  Always best to try and access another Win98 computer if possible.
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 17923544
lol Thanks very much BillDL; your responses are most informative :)

Out of luck, my brother recently got a new computer--leaving me to do what I want with his old one (an XP). But I also happen to have an old HDD from a very old computer of mine, with Win 98 SE installed :-D

So I'll shove that into the XP machine, slave the busted Win 98 HDD, and see how far I get :-)

No doubt I'll be back before the problem is resolved ;-)

Thanks again
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 17924081
Check to see if the Window .CAB files are in the WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS or INSTALL folder.
If they are, you can boot to a command prompt either with a boot disk or the boot menu, and run Setup from there.
You will still need the Install key from the registery.
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 400 total points
ID: 17924586
Yes, it may be useful to slave the OLD Win98 drive to the XP machine and see if THAT one has a fully populated C:\Windows\Options\CABS folder IF the other one doesn't.  If the files are there, then copy them out to the XP hard drive, power off, swap the slave for the other Win98 drive, boot the system again, and copy the folder to that drive.  That would give you a setup source to reinstall windows from.

I would NOT recommend, however, that you insert the old hard drive with Windows 98 on it into the Windows XP computer and try and boot to it though.  It will already contain all the drivers and registry configurations for the hardware that old computer of yours, and will either freeze up as it boots, or start asking for Win98-compatible hardware drivers for that computer that you most likely don't have to install.

If you really wanted to go down this route, then you could (using the functionality of Windows XP for now):

1. Create the following content in Notepad, and Save As a suitably short-named *.REG file eg.  NOENUM.REG:



Leave two blank lines after the final (only) line before saving.
This is the registry key that holds most of the hardware related info for the computer the drive was in when Windows 98 was last configuted on it, and is explained in part here:

The minus sign inside the first square bracket will be used by regedit.exe to delete the last sub-key, ie. the "Enum" key when it is imported to the registry.

Save the file to a floppy, because you will either have to have it imported to the registry FROM the floppy, or copy it TO the Win98 hard drive.

2. Run a program like:
- Belarc Advisor (
- Everest Home Edition - last freeware version from independent site here (
- System Information for Windows (
and gather up hardware information.

3. Visit the hardware vendors' support web pages and see if you can download Windows 98 drivers for the devices and burn them to CD.

4. Replace the existing XP Hard drive with the Old one and boot the system to a Win98 boot floppy, but stop off by booting into the CMOS (BIOS) Setup Screen to ensure that the hard drive was identified properly.  Booting "With CD-Rom Support" to the Win98 boot floppy is optional at this stage, but it does no harm.

5. When the boot floppy stops at the A:\> Prompt, change to the C: Drive by typing   C:   and pressing <enter> , then remove the floppy and insert the one containing the *.REG file.

6. Run the following lines of commands  from the C:\> Prompt (this assumes you named the *.reg file  NOENUM.REG as suggested):

cd \
cd windows
regedit a:\noenum.reg

This will delete the "Enum" sub-key from the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE] Registry key, so that the registry now contains no settings that reflect the previous hardware on the computer on which it was run.

7. Restart the system without the floppy Disk and it will be forced to re-detect hardware and prompt for drivers.  You can then insert the CD Containing the drivers and tell it to look in the various folders.

I do not guarantee that this will work properly as proposed, and if it requires further resources from the Win98 CD as part of the driver installations, then you will be snookered because you don't have such a CD.  You may also get numerous error messages the first time the system tries to boot to that hard drive, depending on what other programs are set to start up from the registry or be configured from the configuration files like System.INI and such.

Success with installing drivers very much depends on whether you CAN download Win98 versions for that Windows XP computer, and also whether you can unpack the downloaded files.

It is always best to try and extract the contents of a driver setup package to its own folder alongside the original setup package.  I use WinRAR for the self-extracting *.exe files that WinZip cannot unpack.  The main reason for this is that the "Found New hardware Wizard" is looking for a setup information file to guide it through the setup.  If you only have the original "Setup.exe" on CD, then it can't load the *.INF file that it needs from inside it and the driver installation has to be aborted.  This is usually OK IF you can then run the installer afterwards, but it is an unnecessary complication you don't want.

That's all I can really suggest if you C:\Windows\Options\CABS folder does not exist or isn't fully populated on the problem drive.

I really don't think that you would be able to copy the C:\WINDOWS folder from the old Win98 hard drive you may have managed to get bootable into the other Win98 hard drive that has a damaged Windows folder.

I think the best you can do is just slave the old Win98 drive and see if it does have the C:\Windows\Options\CABS folder in a fully populated and usable state, and then try and either burn them to CD to create an install CD, or copy them to an \Options\CABS folder on the problem drive.  remember, you would need the CD-Key from the SYSTEM.DAT registry file on that Win98se drive.

Bear in mind also that you would be trying to install Win98SE over the top of Win98 First Edition.  that in itself can cause some complications and usually requires the deleton of the existing WIN.COM and sometimes the License.txt file.

LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 18012361
Hey everyone; sorry about the delay.
My mum's friend has only just been able to bring the computer round..

It turns out that both my old HDD and my mum's friends drive are both 98 SE's.

So I shoved my old drive into her machine as the primary, and slaved her existing one.

I booted up, and tried to access the My Documents folder (there's one both in the C:\ and C:\WINDOWS); both are giving an error and not allowing me in.
So it would seem that there's some sort of corruption.

(I can get into all the other folders so far without any error mind you; but all the important SYS files are missing).

The problem now becomes recovering as many files from her My Docs folder as possible.
She's not bothered if the computer doesn't work again, so long as she can get her holiday pics off the computer (which are all in the My Docs folder).

When I try to run the scandisk on the slaved drive, it doesn't seem to do anything; it just hangs (but it doesn't crash).

Is it possible to recover the files still? Any suggestions how?

Thanks very much
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 400 total points
ID: 18013069
At least you know that the DRIVE is accessible, which is good news.

Strange that there is a C:\My Documents AND a C:\Windows\My Documents.

The default for a single-user profile computer is:
C:\My Documents
C:\Windows\Start menu

and additional user folders are created when new user profiles are created eg.

C:\Windows\PROFILES\<username1>\My Documents
C:\Windows\PROFILES\<username1>\Start Menu

C:\Windows\PROFILES\<username2>\My Documents
C:\Windows\PROFILES\<username2>\Start Menu

I would suggest using a Data Recovery program that you can install on the Master drive and try and recover data from the Slave drive without writing to it and risking further file corruption.

I have just had excellent success with a program named "GetDataBack" when this program was recommended by burrcm in my question here:

in that case, my Win98se hard drive became inaccessible rather than one or more folders.  Despite this, the program was able to recover practically all of the data from it.

The Demo version of GetDataBack for FAT installed on the old Master drive and run with the affected drive as slave will find the drive and allow you to select the most appropriate recovery options.  Unfortunately the Demo version WILL NOT allow you to perform that final step of copying the recovered data elsewhere.  You have to buy it to do that, but at least you will know if the data IS recoverable. (Demo installation package)

There are other freeware data recovery programs.  FriarTuck suggested the programs "Restoration version 2.5.14" and "PC INspector File Recovery version 4.0" from this page:

Perhaps one of them would work for you, but DON'T try and install any data recovery program on the affected hard drive.

LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 18013144
Thanks Bill; I'll give that a try tomorrow :)
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 18155002
Thank you all (especially Bill)! :D
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 18155867
Thank you, InteractiveMind and you are most welcome.
Did you manage to retrieve the data you needed, or did you manage to do a reinstall from CAB files on the hard drive(s)?
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 18156026
@ InteractiveMind .. you're very welcome.
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 18157526
I managed to recover the needed files :)
My mum's friend is going to get a new computer soon though, so she said not to bother trying to fix it :D

Thanks again
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 18157542
  >I managed to recover the needed files<       <--- Excellent!
Thanks for reporting back  :)
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 18158892
Yes, that's good news, and a relief.

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