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  • #2317282

    Need help with a real WinME crash puzzler


    by dcmh ·

    There are a lot of details to this story, but I’ll try to keep it short and to the point.

    System: PC compatible, AMD-Duron-800MhZ processor w/Award BIOS ver 6.00PG, 128MB RAM, 30GB IDE HDD, 56KB modem, OS: Windows ME

    This system was bought used, and I attempted to clean it up for use by my son. There was no software on media included with the sale, (no WinME installation/recovery CD) and no documentation…. I’m flying bare bones on this…. Also as a matter of record, the system booted normally and seemed to run without any problems prior to the problem discussed below.

    Things done:
    * Deleted all unneccessary software (using Windows uninstall software utility on Control Panel).
    * Installed Symantec’s Norton System Works 2003
    * Created NSW 2003 Rescue Disk set (10 floppies worth) for recovery from system crashes
    * Created a WinME Startup Boot Disk for the system
    * Ran all NSW utilities, deleting unneccessary files, cleaning up registry, fixing any discrepencies found on system.
    * Downloaded from Symantec latest antivirus updates for Norton Antivirus utility (LiveUpdate).
    * Ran Norton Antivirus utiliy after updating, no viruses found.

    As an added updating task (much to my dismay), decided to go to MS Windows Web site to search for latest updates and patches for WinME. There were seventeen found and the system downloaded all of them seemingly successfully. It then began installing all the downloaded updates, asking to reboot after each install, but I let all of the updates install first, then (and this is the start of the problem) rebooted the system after the last install in order to complete the installations.

    After the reboot was initiated, the system came down normally, then started to come back up…. it got to the WinME splash screen, then to the blank blue screen where it looked like the Desktop was going to come up. At this point there was a error message displayed that said:

    “Error Loading Explorer.exe – You must reinstall Windows” (Sigh!!!)

    When clicking “OK” on this error message, the system shuts down and powers down the machine.

    Attempted to use the NSW Rescue Disk set to recover from the crash. In going through the user manual, tried to do a “Recover Operating System Files” procedure from the Rescue Disk Set (ref. p. 225 of users manual). The procedure is:
    * Insert Rescue Boot floppy into A: drive
    * Turn on computer, wait for Rescur Disk Screen to appear.
    * Press ESC to go to DOS prompt.
    * Insert NU Emergency Utiliy Disk #1, containing SYS.COM file into A: drive
    * At command prompt type: SYS.COM, press Enter.
    * Message appears saying SYS program has copied system files from Recuse disk to the hard drive.
    * Insert disk labeled Rescue Boot Floppy Disk which contains the MSDOS.SAV file into A: drive.
    * At command prompt type:
    (Note: When this command is typed in it responds with: “Invalid Command” – any variation of typing in this command results in the same message.)

    The next step after the one above is:
    * At command prompt type:
    COPY A:\MSDOS.SAV C:\MSDOS.SYS, press Enter

    This is supposed to restore the MSDOS.SYS file, but since the previous command does not work, the restore of the MSDOS.SAV file cannot be done.

    As alternate attempts to recover from this crash, the following was done:

    * Norton Antivirus Utility was again run by using the installation CD for Norton SYSTEM Works 2003 as a bootable CD and the utility run via DOS – no viruses were found.

    * Ran hard drive diagnostic utility via DOS from the NSW installation CD – no errors found.

    * Used the WinME Startup Boot Disk to run ScanDisk via DOS – no errors found

    *Used WinME Startup Boot Disk to run the “Registery Checker” – tried to restore four previous registery backups in an attempt to recover – all four backups failed to restore the system to boot normally.

    In looking at Windows on-line Knowledge Base info, found a article (306599) for just such a failure (ERROR MESSAGE: ERROR LOADING EXPLORER.exe, YOU MUST REINSTALL WINDOWS – Tried it’s suggestion which follows:

    * Insert WinMe Startup Disk in A: drive
    * At command prompt type: C:, then Enter
    * Type: CD\Windows
    * Type: Edit SYSTEM.ini, SYSTEM.ini file opens
    * Use arrow keys to place cursor at end of line that starts with shell=Explorer.exe
    * Type a semicolon at the beginning of that line, the line should look like this:
    * Use arrow keys to move cursor to the end of the line, press Enter to insert a new blank line
    *On the new blank line type:
    Shell=Explorer.exe (note the caps on “S” for Shell)
    This portion of the System.ini file should look like the following:

    * Press Alt+f, File menu appears
    * Press “S”, file is saved
    * Press ALT+F, then press “X”, command prompt appears.
    *Remove WinME Startup Disk, reboot computer

    This procedure not only did not solve the problem, but when I attempted the same procedure above to return the SYSTEM.ini file back to it’s original state, I could not even view the System.ini file – ????? Don’t know what happened there????

    I’m at the end of my rope with this and don’t really want to reinstall WinME (Especaily since I don’t have the installation CD from the system – and don’t want to go purchase WinME in order to do the reinstall of the OS.

    Any sugestions on either using the NSW Rescue Disk set as mentioned above, or any other methods to recovery from this crash would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance anyone for your help….


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    • #3542540

      The Regestery is corrupted

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Need help with a real WinME crash puzzler

      And your only alternative is to reinstall ME all from scratch. Or you could always try a form of Linux and treat it as an educational thing now, at least that way it won’t cost you too much.

      Your mistake was to install all those patches together as there obviously was at least one that had to be installed seperatly if not more. Generally it is a good idea to believe what the System tells you rather than think you know better particuarly when you can’t recover from a disater.

      Now for the questions

      1 Is there a Sticker on the case that says something about ME and has a Product Key?

      2 Did you buy this privatly or from some type of shop?

      3 What does your son want thsi for?

      The attempt to use Nortons has done more damage than what you originally had ifs that’s posible. When you get any form of error message in Norton’s in the DOS mode never proceed further ever. I know easy to say now but at least it was a good lesson.

      ME was never the most stable platform anyway that’s probably why 98 SE continued to be sold long after ME disapeared off the scene.

      Now if there is a sticker on the chassis there was an OEM version of ME installed which means that the software was licenced to that hardware and not to the user, if you bought it through some kind of shop and they haven’t supplied you with the Install CD and other OEM Software they have breached Microsoft’s EULA and are lible for fines from MS the same applies if you bought it privately as well and if you can prove to MS that you are the victim here they just might replace the software {this however nowdays generally depends on some form of action against the seller.} Or you can go down the Pirate route and try secondhand shops for an OS and Software even Flea Markets or whatever will generally sell this stuff. But it is illegial as if you actually read the End User Licence Agreement from MS all you are buying is the right to use that software on one computer only and both the OS and software are licenced to the original hardware not the user and MS can request back the original disks at any time although I’ve never actually heard of this happening.

      Without any install/recovery disks you really don’t have any place to go legally anyway as even if you where to buy a copy of XP it in all likely hood wouldn’t work on this hardware as there would probably be some compatibility issues and the CPU is too slow as well. But if you where to purchase a copy of XP Pro you could then insall any previous copy of any MS OS that you can lay your hands on. An expensive fix but at least it’s legal.

    • #3545049

      I Have To Agree

      by nobby57 ·

      In reply to Need help with a real WinME crash puzzler

      ME is a puzzler to begin with — I have a relative
      who has reinstalled it 4 times on two years or
      so on a HP he bought new. Still crashes. It
      seems to me that the cheapest and best
      solution would be to acquire a legal copy of
      98SE on eBay — it will run on your hardware
      just fine and it is a lot more stable than ME. I
      did just that on an IBM laptop and although
      you do have to keep up with maintenance to
      keep it running like new, all the techniques
      and third party software are well developed
      and work well — stuff like Norton, which you
      have (I agree about not using it for recovery
      beyond a certain point, but it is good for
      maintenance) X-Tech, SpyBot, and a lot of
      others — like I say, the field is well developed.
      Linux is certainly an option, too, and I run
      RedHat on an old desktop very successfully,
      but it is going to take a little more involvement
      than 98SE and maybe from your son’s point of
      view it would be better to stick with Windoze.

      Personally, I think Bill should issue an
      apology to every ME victim out there — it just
      fundamentally sucks.

      Good luck!

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