Computer Newbies forum


Replacing missing setup files

by DanceGypsy / November 2, 2012 8:51 AM PDT

I have a list of 35 files that would not copy during a recent re-installation of WindowsXP Home. (I was using a copy of the installation software as there are no discs from Dell.)

Where can I look these up to see if they're essential?

What are CAB files/folders?

If that's where the missing files go, how do I open them and insert the proper files?

Would it help if I posted a list of those files?

Thank you for whatever help you can give.

Dell Dimension 3000

Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Replacing missing setup files
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Replacing missing setup files
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Name a few please.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2012 12:09 PM PDT

A few will happen due to aging CD drives or bad ram. After awhile I might recognize them. However what's chilling is that when you look on the CD, the files are indeed there. Your seasoned tech knows the symptom and the cure.

Collapse -
Listing of files missing/skipped
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 2:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Name a few please.

Hi, Bob. Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I have no seasoned tech... just my own ability to read books and tech sites and hopefully figure it out on my own. The CD I used to reinstall XP was a copy and it was faulty. I wasn't even sure it was going to work at all, but it managed to limp along to the end.

The really unusual thing about these files is that when I started to look them up individually through Google, a Google entry appeared of someone else's list with many of my same files. That took me to a site where a lot of other people were missing the same ones and it turned out to be a slipstreaming issue. (???)

(Hearing Buffalo Springfield in my mind as I type)
For What It's Worth:

...numerous usr (USRobotics?) files, such as:

The "files unable to be copied" began at about 35% of the setup files being copied during installation and just when I was about to stop writing down all the file names and quit setup (around 55%), the installation picked up again without stopping and went the rest of the way.

Collapse -
Seems you found the cause.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 3, 2012 2:39 AM PDT

That looks like a faulty XP CD. Your better techs will toss it and make a fresh copy from the original.

Collapse -
Can I locate and extract files from an original disc, if...
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 2:50 AM PDT

... if the original disc is XP Home Upgrade, SP1 and the faulty installation is XP Home SP2?

I also have a copy of XP Pro from my brother now (which I'll use only for repair purposes.) How would I go about locating the missing files on a CD in the CD-ROM drive and then, how would I insert them into the faulty installation? Do I need to copy them into proper CAB files?

Collapse -
I should have added this breakdown
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 2:41 AM PDT

22 were .dll files
8 were .sys files
3 were .exe files
2 were .icm files

Collapse -
Nice to know but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 3, 2012 2:43 AM PDT

Your well worn tech knows to stop when that many turn up to get another copy plus consider a new optical drive.

Your first timers will try finding the files and repeat a lesson the seasoned tech did long ago.

Collapse -
Some of us have to learn somewhere
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 3:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Nice to know but

Hey, again. Just a little background, as it's relevant to my current position: I'm female and 64 years old. I've been out of work for 3 years and am trying to find ways to bolster my SS retirement, which does not support me. I have been teaching basic... BASIC computer lessons to friends, but more and more I find myself troubleshooting and smoothing out speedbumps in their machines. Simple things... getting rid of conflicting software, for example.

I have never undertaken anything like I am doing now, but I'm confident I'll eventually get it done. Also, this is the first time I've enlisted the help of tech board volunteers... usually just studying PC repair books or online information. I know the things I'm asking can be exasperating, but I am posting in the Newbies forum for a reason. I WANT to learn this and taking any of the machines I'm dealing with to a certified tech is not an option.<div>
1. Years ago, I was a mechanic's assistant, working on Volkswagens. (Lived in my van at the time, figured I should learn how to take care of it.) Let's say an alternator went out on a vehicle. Of course it was optimal to install a new alternator. Not everyone could afford a new alternator, though. Some could only afford a rebuilt alternator and then, there were some, who did the rebuilding.

No matter that a seasoned, well worn tech knows it's best to just get another copy, get a new optical drive, or even make a fresh copy from the original, if I do not have those things or the means to get them, does that mean I should give up? What I'm hoping to learn is that it's possible... if it is, to repair these things, even if it's time-consuming and the odds are against me.

2. Here is what I was hoping to find out, and my best guess, since I do not know these things, except marginally. Let's say that the usr*.* files might actually BE to support USRobotics. I'm thinking that most OS installation discs contain software/files to support all sorts of things.

Like, printers. My OS disc probably has all the drivers and everything for 200 - 400 (?) different printers, but I might only ever need one packet of those files or two, during the life of that OS for me. It's great that I can buy and just plug a new printer into my computer and then Windows will fly through its x number of files and find exactly what I need. But, it has hundreds if not thousands more on the disc that I will never need.
If 16 of my missing and now skipped files are for USRobotics modems (actual count) and I'll never have need of those, it seems logical to me that it would not matter that I skipped those files during installation or that I would need to replace them. I have no clue, but it also seems that my Windows installation might work perfectly fine without them, if I never placed a call on the system to retrieve them. Is that correct?

Or, even if they are USRobotics files, maybe USR makes a certain program not necessarily for a specific device, but that the system uses to work with all modems. Where would I look up those files to find out? If they are simply to plug n play a modem by that company and I don't even need them, are almost half my missing files now irrelevant?

3. Using the best case scenario, let's say that the above is true. I don't need to use the usr*.* files, and don't need to replace them, and the system will work fine without them. Further, maybe that turns out to be the case for another set of missing/skipped files, however 10 turn out to be very important to the OS. Is it really a totally bad idea to try to locate certain files on a bona fide, original OS installation disc and then insert them in the proper place in the installed version?

I'm still hoping to get an answer to my question about what CAB files are. I can read all about them in books and online, but there is a difference when a human being, talking to a newbie, describes them. I know when I'm teaching, I often give illustrations to present technical things in a practical (especially visual) way. ("Okay, think of the desktop as an actual desk top. If you add a background, it's like putting on a tablecloth. Same things are still sitting on the desk. RAM is like pulling up a card table alongside the desk

Collapse -
sorry... truncated
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 4:07 AM PDT

For the sake of completion... "like pulling up a card table to temporarily have more room to put things, but then you put it away when you turn off the machine.") Whenever a techie explains something to me, it pulls everything I've read into focus.

So, again, is it a ridiculous idea to think of inserting missing files into the proper CABinet where they belong, and just see if it works? (The visual is of a cabinet, right?)

I can try and track down the reasons something messed up later, via running chkdsk and other diagnostics. Right now, I need to get the OS viable on the "new" (refurbished) HDD I put in this machine, so I can copy all the data files from the original drive. My main focus right now is making sure those files are secure (if possible), but I keep running into roadblocks.

Thanks for your help, Bob. Sorry if I, myself, sound exasperated. I've been at this for a really long time now.

Collapse -
It's where a lot of folk start.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 3, 2012 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: sorry... truncated

Just like that person who went to go change the flat tire and found out they didn't have an inflated space they are more than a little exasperated.

I don't see anything wrong yet with the method but after seeing some folk fight a bum OS CD the lesson is clear. Get a good one.

Collapse -
Nothing but flats! LOL
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 7:59 AM PDT
Just like that person who went to go change the flat tire and found out they didn't have an inflated spare they are more than a little exasperated.

I don't see anything wrong yet with the method but after seeing some folk fight a bum OS CD the lesson is clear. Get a good one.

I've run into so many obstacles in this respect, it's not even funny. As stated, the machine I'm working on is WinXP Home SP2. I also have WinXP Home SP2 and NO clue as to where my discs are. Pretty sure I packed them up to take with me on a vacation trip home, planning to tweak my PC while there and can no longer find that packet of stuff.

Machine's owner: Dell won't send re-installment CD's because it's out of warranty.

My brother sent me a copy to help, just for file extraction, and it's Pro.

Owner's friend burned a copy for us to use and that's the one that failed (new HDD).

Another tech friend sent a copy, it's XP Home Upgrade, SP1.

We all have valid product codes, but nowhere can I get exactly what I need and neither the owner nor I can afford to buy the software... again. That is extremely embarrassing to admit, in public, but these particular hard times are harder than normal.

I can't count, at this point, how many threads I've read where problems hinge on folks not having their original software, most of whom never received a copy from their OEM and didn't know enough at the time to request it, or an installation disc.

Thanks again for all your help. I know it takes a lot of patience to deal with people like me. I seriously know just enough to hurt myself.
Collapse -
Hunting And Pecking Is Pretty Hard...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 3, 2012 4:14 AM PDT

A CAB file, (in relation to an XP installation CD), is a storage file/folder of sorts, which contains setup files. Setup files are extracted from the various CAB file/folders and used for the installation of the operating system or program.. They include all the important files for making the computer operational after the operating system/program is installed.

Although you can find such files by searching for them on a different computer with a similar operating system, the correct "version" of the system file is important for making things rights.. For example, a .dll file from the original XP version may not work with the XP Service Pack 3 version of that same file.,

As such, the advice given by Bob previously is always the best way to go when installing a complicated program, or operating system. Obtain a good, legal, and functioning installation disc and use it to install the operating system. If it still doesn't install correctly, please be aware that a bad DVD/CD drive can frequently cause the problem you're seeing.. Since a bad drive doesn't "read" the disc correctly, you'll frequently get errors about missing or unreadable files.. Replacing the drive with working drive would then be necessary, but ONLY after making sure you have a good installation CD first.

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
YES! Thank you!
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 8:11 AM PDT

Hi, Grif ~ Thanks for your explanation of CAB files. Combined with what I've read, I now understand what they are and how they work. You also confirmed what just seemed logical, that I can't import files from one OS version to another and expect it to work, let alone seamlessly.

Do you know of a site where I can look up the usr*.* files, that would tell me if they are to support a device or for support of the actual OS? And if they are simply to load and support a modem, for example, can I choose to not worry about those?

Since my operating system (including SP) is the same as my friend's, can I search for the necessary files on my computer and copy them to disc, then go downstairs and install them on his machine? Would I simply find the right CAB file and put them in the same folder, or do they have to go in a specific order in the list of files I'll find there?

And I totally concur... hunting and pecking is REALLY hard! Especially when you don't know what you're doing.

Collapse -
Quick note regarding a site for looking up those files
by DanceGypsy / November 3, 2012 1:36 PM PDT
In reply to: YES! Thank you!

I found a great file database at As I suspected, most of those usr*.* files are U.S. Robotics Corporation modem drivers. Half of my dilemma, solved. (Provided it's okay to just ignore them if I'm never going to need 'em.) I'm still in the process of researching the rest, but have to quit for the night. My synapses are no longer firing, but shorting out, I think.

Thanks again for your help, Grif and Bob.

Collapse -
Finding The Files Is Just Half Of It..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 5, 2012 1:31 AM PST
In reply to: YES! Thank you!

Although you can frequently find the needed file in the I386 or I386\CAB file/folders, it may have a slightly different/shortened name, such as "WINLOGON.EX_" instead of the full "winlogon.exe" file.....or "WINSOCK.DL_" instead of the full "winsock.dll". During the extraction/installation process, the file is renamed and placed in the appropriate operating system folder for use when needed.. Find ALL the right files and describing where they all go is a lot more complex than can be discussed on this forum.. You'll need to know what those file extensions really are and exactly which folder the file needs to be copied to. In addition, although the you received notice of 35 files that wouldn't copy during the installation process, please note that you may also missing a lot more that you weren't notified of.

Also, with files such as .dll's, they probably need to be registered in order for the operating system to find them and allow them to work correctly.

Good luck.. But, because of the many problems with performing an installation using the hunt and peck method, we advise not doing so.

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
Took your advice
by DanceGypsy / November 10, 2012 3:11 AM PST

Thanks, Grif. I went so far as to gather information on most of those files, but not knowing how to extract them, from where, and then where to put them was just way beyond me and like you said, it's too complex to go into in this forum. In addition, the fact that there could be more missing that I don't even know about was the deciding factor. I decided to wipe the drive and try a new installation. Now I have a new problem and if I should start a new thread for that, I will. If not, here goes:

A new tech friend suggested I use Darik's Boot And Nuke to thoroughly remove all traces of data from the drive, that if Windows is attempting another installation and sees a portion of a file it's trying to copy, it will consider the file there and go on to the next one. Is this accurate?

I downloaded the DBAN iso, burned the disc, booted the machine and ran the program. It finished, but with "non-fatal errors". Knowing the Windows installation would also format the drive, I began the new installation. It ran fine but at 83% of the format, it hung up and would go no further. After an hour sitting at 83%, I shut off the power.

1. Are the programs needed to run chkdsk loaded at this point in Setup? If so, should that be my next step?
2. Should I try to run DBAN again, then try to install the OS a third time?
3. I haven't turned the machine back on since shutting it down last night, so I don't know what I'll see when I turn it back on. I have a bootable disc that goes straight into the Recovery Console. Should I boot from that?

By the way, not only did I find my original software (same ver and SP), but I now have a direct copy of the Dell OEM installation for this model machine. I'm using the Dell OEM software.

Thank you so much for your help and I apologize for the delay in getting back to your post. I didn't receive notification, so I'll have to set that up again.

Collapse -
Sounds Like Your Hard Drive Is Bad
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 11:54 AM PST
In reply to: Took your advice

Dban will generally throw the error you've seen when the drive has died and it can't correctly wipe the drive.. Remember that wiping the drive involves actually writing X's and O's to the drive and if it can't get it done, it indicates a problem... As such, you might try using Dban again, but if it once again comes up with errors, then it is probably time to purchase a new drive.

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
The Dell Dimension 3000 ...
by Edward ODaniel / November 5, 2012 11:25 AM PST

came with a restore partition from which you could restore the machine to factory specs without any media.

unless someone, somewhere along the line, deleted that partition try the following:

Boot the computer and when you see the Dell screen (I beleive it mentions near the top of the screen) IMMEDIATELY press CTRL and tap F11. This will bring you into the Dell specific restore utility.

Collapse -
Thanks, Edward. I'll do this
by DanceGypsy / November 10, 2012 3:18 AM PST

I copied your post to a folder I'm keeping on this repair and will definitely use it. At present, I'm working with a newly installed, refurbished drive in this machine and have taken the original drive out. Once I have it set up and working properly, I'll try to save the data off the original drive before I attempt to repair it. I'm really glad to know how to access that Dell feature now, though, as I've been reading a lot about it... just not HOW to access it. This is really valuable information. Thank you.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Big screens for the big game

Still looking for the best TV deals ahead of Sunday's game? Here are our top three big screen picks.