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Thread: Repairing old versions of Windows?

  1. #1
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    Default Repairing old versions of Windows?

    I know modern versions of Windows have methods of repairing an install that's gone wrong, but can you do anything similar with, say, Windows 98? I have a HP Vectra with a messed up W98 install that won't boot to the desktop and I have W98 install disks, and I'd rather avoid the long process of wiping the hard disk and reinstalling from scratch if I can.

  2. #2

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    Try System File Checker, SFC.EXE, maybe from Safe Mode.
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    Going to Safe Mode requires the use of the F8 key and may require booting off a DOS disk to edit MSDOS.SYS to BootSafe= 1 if the system does not leave enough time to catch the F8 key.

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    It depends on what is wrong. If it is a driver issue, you might be able to boot in safe mode and remove drivers using device manager. If it is some DOS or Win3x software install, you might be able to edit win.ini/system.ini to remove .386 files.

    The only provided way to "repair" Windows 9x is to re-run the Windows setup program and install on top of the messed up copy. However, in practice this can leave the system in a worse mess, although it might get to the desktop. Often drivers will revert to Microsoft defaults, shared application DLLs will revert to earlier versions, and thanks to "integration" it will revert Internet Explorer to the bundled version. So you will be left re-installing drivers and applications while hoping you don't miss anything.

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    I'd probably start by creating a MSDOS 7.1 boot diskette and edit the MSDOS.SYS on the hard drive to set BootGUI to 0. Reboot from hard drive.

    See here for details.

    That would get you to a DOS boot on the hard drive and you could tinker from there. Just type "win" to start the GUI.

    It's a lot easier to repair an Win9x installation than a Win2K, XP, Vista... one.

  6. #6
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    LOL... just reinstall. I have never ever had the windows repair disk actually work on any version of Windows with even the simplest problem.

  7. #7
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    Have you changed any hardware? Did the machine work when you got it?

    I would boot into safe mode and see if there are multiple drivers for the same hardware. If the video is the problem just uninstall the driver and reinstall after a reboot. If a program was installed and it screwed up windows you can try uninstalling it but are probably better off just wiping and installing again.
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    I'm with Unknown_K on this one. It's been my experience that a 'hardware' change can cause major unintentional system problems if you don't treat the drivers with some TLC. You might try pulling all cards and attempt to boot with just the video, then proceed up the line (minimum configuration) .

  9. #9
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    If it's a problem with the registry you can try scanreg

    scanreg /restore will restore an old copy of the registry

    See these Microsoft pages:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...ol-scanreg-exe

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...98-me-registry

    NOTE: This tool was introduced with Windows 98 and it's not available on previous versions

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    Have you changed any hardware? Did the machine work when you got it?

    I would boot into safe mode and see if there are multiple drivers for the same hardware. If the video is the problem just uninstall the driver and reinstall after a reboot. If a program was installed and it screwed up windows you can try uninstalling it but are probably better off just wiping and installing again.
    I haven't done anything to this machine except blow 15 pounds of dust out of it, it's been like this since I got it.

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