1. All but a handful of the programming elements in the Shell and common controls documentation are contained in three DLLs: Comctl32.dll, Shell32.dll, and Shlwapi.dll. Because of ongoing enhancements, different versions of these DLLs implement different features. The following outlines the different DLL versions and how they were distributed:
4.0 All Microsoft Windows 95/Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
4.7 All Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x
4.71 All Internet Explorer 4.0. See note 2
4.72 All Internet Explorer 4.01 and Windows 98. See note 2
5.0 Shlwapi.dll Internet Explorer 5. See note 3
6.0 Shlwapi.dll Internet Explorer 6 and Windows XP
5.0 Shell32.dll Windows 2000 and Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me). See note 3
6.0 Shell32.dll Windows XP
5.8 Comctl32.dll Internet Explorer 5. See note 3
5.81 Comctl32.dll Windows 2000 and Windows Me. See note 3
6.0 Comctl32.dll Windows XP. See note 4
Note 1: The 4.00 versions of Shell32.dll and Comctl32.dll are found on the original versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. New versions of Commctl.dll were shipped with all Internet Explorer releases. Shlwapi.dll first shipped with Internet Explorer 4.0, so its first version number is 4.71. The Shell was not updated with the Internet Explorer 3.0 release, so Shell32.dll does not have a version 4.70. While Shell32.dll versions 4.71 and 4.72 were shipped with the corresponding Internet Explorer releases, they were not necessarily installed (see note 2). For subsequent releases, the version numbers for the three DLLs are not identical. In general, you should assume that all three DLLs may have different version numbers, and test each one separately.
Note 2: All systems with Internet Explorer 4.0 or 4.01 will have the associated version of Comctl32.dll and Shlwapi.dll (4.71 or 4.72, respectively). However, for systems prior to Windows 98, Internet Explorer 4.0 and 4.01 can be installed with or without the integrated Shell. If they are installed with the integrated Shell, the associated version of Shell32.dll will be installed. If they are installed without the integrated Shell, Shell32.dll is not updated. No other versions of Internet Explorer update Shell32.dll. In other words, the presence of version 4.71 or 4.72 of Comctl32.dll or Shlwapi.dll on a system does not guarantee that Shell32.dll has the same version number. All Windows 98 systems have version 4.72 of Shell32.dll.
Note 3: Version 5.80 of Comctl32.dll and version 5.0 of Shlwapi.dll are distributed with Internet Explorer 5. They will be found on all systems on which Internet Explorer 5 is installed, except Windows 2000. Internet Explorer 5 does not update the Shell, so version 5.0 of Shell32.dll will not be found on Windows NT, Windows 95, or Windows 98 systems. Version 5.0 of Shell32.dll will be distributed with Windows 2000 and Windows Me, along with version 5.0 of Shlwapi.dll, and version 5.81 of Comctl32.dll.
Note 4: Comctl32.dll version 6 is not redistributable. If you want your application to use Comctl32.dll version 6, you must add an application manifest that indicates that version 6 should be used if it is available.
Note 5: Access the "DLL Help Database", enter a file name -- including extension in the space provided, and then press Enter (correct spelling and punctuation is recommended) to check Microsoft issued ".DLL" files. If a list is rendered, simply determine from what media is shown, and that currently owned, and extract a copy, [How to Extract Original Compressed Windows Files (Q129605)].
2. Microsoft Windows 98 includes a tool called "Microsoft System Information" (Msinfo32.exe) which can be used to gather information about a computer:
a. To diagnose issues with a computer, or to access other tools that are included with Windows 98.
b. To collects system information such as devices that are installed or device drivers loaded and provides a menu for displaying the associated system topics. You can use it to diagnose computer issues, for example, if you are having display issues you can use it to determine what display adapter is installed and view the status of its drivers. It also provides access to other tools you can use for troubleshooting.
c. To maintains a history of device drivers that are installed. If you are unsure of a computer's recent history, use it to better understand what has happened in the past. If a device does not work correctly and its history indicates a recent upgrade to a new driver, replace that driver with the original driver and test to see if the issue is resolved. If you install an update from the Windows Update Web site and it fails to meet your expectations, restore the original files by running the Update Wizard Uninstall from the Tools menu in Microsoft System Information. If your computer worked fine yesterday but is not working properly today, try restoring yesterday's configuration files by running the MS-DOS-based Registry Checker program with the /restore parameter.
d. To launch Microsoft System Information:
(1) Click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click System Information.
(2) Else, click Start, Run, type msinfo32 and press Enter or click the OK button.
Note: The information displayed is divided into three categories: "Hardware Resources", "Components", and "Software Environment", "Using the System Configuration Utility."
(3) When the Microsoft System Information tool opens, click the + before Software Environment, and then click "32-bit Modules Loaded". Simply look in the right pane while using the elevator on the right side to find and note the version of the file interested as well as the path reflected for that file -- unfortunately they are not alphabetized..
(4) Otherwise, use the Windows Find function to locate a file in question on your system. Once found, right-click the file name, select properties, and then note version.
(5) Also, please read the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) article, "Description of Microsoft System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool (Q184075)."
3. When a Compaq computer is started after upgrading Internet Explorer, one of the following error messages may be received, [Q237888]:
? Explorer: This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.
If the Details button is clicked, the following error message is displayed:
? Explorer caused an Invalid Page Fault in module Shell32.dll
? Cpqshell caused an invalid page fault in module Kernel32.dll
4. When opening My Computer, Control Panel, or the Printers folder, the error in question may be received, and can occur if a version of Plug-In for Windows (Plugin.exe) earlier than version 2.5 is used that is not compatible with Windows, [Q148322].
5. In addition, opening a new window in Microsoft Internet Explorer or if a new folder is created on the desktop or in Windows Explorer, and then an attempt is made to open that folder, the error in question is received, [Q259096].
6. When starting a system, the error in question may be received and can occur if there are damaged shortcut (.lnk) files on the Start menu, [Q171665].
Note: Recommend that anything located within folders be moved to a holding zone. Restart the system and then move a percentage of the specific shortcuts back to the appropriate place. Reboot again and see if the anomaly transpires. If not, continue until the error is render, and then sort through what you just did to determine the culprit. Delete the shortcut found and re-create.
7. Supplemental reading:
a. "Error Message: The Comdlg32.dll File Cannot Start (Q137273)."
b. "Err Msg: Explorer Caused an Invalid Page Fault in Shell32.dll at 015f:7fce85c0 (Q222952)", which can occur if Novell IntraNetWare client (Client32 version 3.x) is used to log on and off a Novell NetWare 5 network.
8. The System File Checker tool verifies the integrity of system files. After scanning for altered files, it offers to restore corrupted files. If a file is found to be corrupt, you will be prompted to restore the original file. By clicking Settings, SFC can also be configured to notify you of changed and deleted files. If you choose to restore the file, SFC attempts to extract the file from the original Windows 98 installation source.
Note: The above is what Microsoft states the System File Checker does. Please note however they do not state that it is limited to only files issued and installed by Microsoft media, since this is not true.
a. Maybe we could say that it's lying to us but really, that utility will track other files besides. Take for instance a file which is listed as added in my SFCLOG file by the name of "Adobeweb.dll". That file is not issued with any Microsoft media that I can ascertain but had been on the system at one time and then deleted. Since it was missing on a subsequent run of the SFC tool, SFC wanted to know what I wanted to do about it. After some investigation and determining why, I updated the log to exclude it.
b. Now that we know this we also need to know where files originate in order to extract them, right. Right? So, if a file cannot be extracted from a media for the operating system (OS), then it must come from another source, right. Right? Or else the proper path was not rendered for the media to be used.
c. Also please be advised, the article [Q186157] states that during the installation of a new program (including Win98), files on your hard disk may be detected and replaced with older versions, and describes the use of the Version Conflict Manager. If a newer version of a file is detected by Win98 Setup, a version conflict occurs. Prior to Win98, most installation programs (including Windows 95) prompt you to either keep the existing file or overwrite the file with the older file. When you install Win98, this prompt does not appear and newer files replaced by Win98 Setup are automatically backed up to your hard disk for compatibility purposes.
d. The System File Checker (Sfc.exe) (Click to see an example screenshot) helps you do two things by:
(1) Scaning system files for corrupt, missing, or changed files (Click to see a screenshot of options offered for use) for all major applications which have been installed on the system - not just the Windows OS. Windows-based applications commonly install shared files that may not be compatible with another application in use. You can use System File Checker to track changes to your Windows configuration and identify the affected files.
(2) Restoring original Windows 98 system files and others at the option of the user.
Note: Make note of all files that displays a dialog box requesting your action.
g. When you uninstall a program, System File Checker reports that files necessary for that program (for example, files with .exe, .dll, and .ocx extensions) has been deleted. Select #d below to update the SFC bookkeeping. Look at the dialog menu for four prompts in the section titled, What do you want to do.
Note: After installing any program, run System File Checker to determine what files dates and versions may have changed. Quickly step through the prompts and select the appropriate option to eliminate that response on subsequence runs.
h. Update verification information - Select this option if you have deleted this file or uninstalled an application recently.
i. Restore file - Select this option if you want to restore the file from your installation disk.
Note: If you click Extract One File From Installation Disk, you can specify the file you want to extract simply by typing the correct name and extension. Point the system to where it goes and will be extracted from by using browse.
Ignore - Select this option to ignore the warning. The next time you use System File Checker you will be prompted about this file again.
Update verification information for all deleted files - Select this option if you have deleted many files or an application has been uninstalled recently. Otherwise, you will be prompted to verify each individual file:
Note: Two choice are likely:
(1) #2 The file it replaced is a newer file or an earlier version than the file replacing it - restore file.
(2) #3 The file replaced is older as well as the version than the newer file - ignore.
Note: When #2 is selected, a context menu will prompt you for the Windows media and give you an option to indicate where this media is to be retrieved from. Normally, this is the Windows CD and the drive which designates the CD-ROM drive. Make the appropriate selection and the file will be restored to its correct default location.
j. When certain other tools in the Microsoft System Information utility have been used prior to running the SFC there are virtual device driver (.vxd) files normally updated after their use. SFC will always prompt when one of thee files are found with a newer date: Drwatson.vxd, Hwinfod.vxd, and Msisys.vxd. Simple click the option to Update verification information.
k. Installed IE v5.0 or V5.1 recently: - "Error Message: System File Checker Identified that the Following File may Be Corrupted. File: EXTRAC32.EXE (Q264865)."
WARNING: The article [Q192832] discusses a situation that when using the System File Checker (Sfc.exe) tool to restore a file (for example, the User.exe, Gdi.exe, Setupx.dll or Krnl386.exe file) from a cabinet (.cab), the wrong version of the file may be extracted. This can result in the inability to start Windows (for example, the computer may stop responding/hang) or a Windows Protection Error messages may be rendered. This article explains that after starting the computer, a user should extract the correct file.
Hint: If you have the Windows media resident on your hard disk you may want to rename the Mini.cab in that folder to something else. At least take the b off the end the extension and you'll not forget when running SFC that an incorrect file could be extracted from it.
l. An error may be received when running System File Checker as follows and can occur if the folders, Downloaded Program Files (added by default) and/or the Occache that does not exist unless an upgraded was performed from Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x, are missing from the Windows folder. To resolve this issue, remove the system attribute from appropriate folder and add to the search criteria as instructed by the unclear error message. Then add the folder's system attribute back, [Q189413]:
Error: The currently selected verification data cannot be used. Click setting and then click the advance tab to select another data file or restore the default verification data file.
m. Supplemental reading:
(1) "Prompted for CD-ROM When You Run System File Checker While Correct CD-ROM Is in Drive (Q263499)."
(2) "Error Message: The File Was Not Found. Verify That You Have Selected the Correct 'Restore from' Location and Try Again (Q180465)."
(3) "Unable to Extract the Desk.cpl File from the Windows 98 CD-ROM (Q193312)."
(4) "System File Checker", a TechNet article.
(5) "Using System File Checker", a TechNet article.
9. Perhaps one or more of the twelve files listed in the article [Q281679], may need registering. Other files are: Dispex.dll (IE6SP1v22.214.171.12426); Vbscript.dll; Scrrun.dll; Jscript.dll; Olepro32.dll; Vbscript.dll; Rsabase.dll; Msscript.ocx; Cachevu.dll; and Iepeers.dll. Note: The last two or three are not default Win98 files and may not be on your system. If one is not, you'll simply get an error that the file name is invalid -- don't worry about it.
Note: Otherwise, download and use "IEFix" - a general purpose fix for Internet Explorer (Win 98/ME/2000/XP):
a. Registers Urlmon.dll, Mshtml.dll, Actxprxy.dll, Oleaut32.dll, Shell32.dll, Shdocvw.dll, [Q281679].
b. Refreshes Internet Explorer using IE.INF method. Note:
? "Unable to Install Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP (Q304872)"
? "How to Reinstall or Repair Internet Explorer and Outlook Express in Windows XP (Q318378)"
c. Initiates "SFC /Scannow" (Win2K&XP), [Q310747].