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reinstall Windows 98

by Disneyfan / March 2, 2006 10:51 PM PST

I have an old system running Windows 98 that seems to have a lot of corrupted files. Can I reinstall Windows 98 over itself without effecting the applications and data files that are already on the system?

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(NT) (NT) Sometimes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 3, 2006 12:41 AM PST
In reply to: reinstall Windows 98
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I would say: yes.
by Kees Bakker / March 3, 2006 3:20 AM PST
In reply to: reinstall Windows 98

I just installed Windows 98 SE over Windows 98 FE and everything still worked.

But it's not sure it will help to cure the problems, of course. If it does don't forget to visit Windows update for some 40 security patches.


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''seems to have a lot of corrupted files'' == ??
by Cursorcowboy / March 3, 2006 8:59 PM PST
In reply to: reinstall Windows 98

Your decision.


1. Running the Windows 98 Setup disk over the existing version caveats I've run across and I consider this practice to generally cause more problems than it cures, which depends great deal to do with what other software is also installed. The following is probably only a drop in the bucket of what could happen. The only time I would recommend its use is as a very last resort -- even then the results may very, since 90% of the time the problem lies outside what Setup can accomplish:

a. Before reinstalling Windows when either or both IE6.0 and OE6.0 has been installed, it/they must be removed first. If they cannot be removed through the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel, the related migration dynamic link library (DLL) files must be removed along with their associated registry keys before the reinstall takes place, [Q312474].

b. ''Unable to Uninstall Internet Explorer After Windows 98 Setup (Q222564).''

c. If it is possible a computer is infected with a ''boot-sector virus'' or for that matter any virus, an antiviral program containing the latest virus signatures should be run to check a system before any attempt at reinstalling is attempted IMHO.

d. The Windows file ''System.1st'' located in the root folder contains a copy of the original valid system registry created by Windows setup. Although this file is not necessary for the proper operation of Windows and may be deleted if a user desires, it is overwritten when a subsequent setup session is run. If the currently used system registry is corrupt and a user runs Windows setup, regression becomes unavailable since this file is replaced. Even though a user could simply rename this file before running setup as a means of retaining a valid registry information, many users are not aware of it. If this is not done and the system is rendered inoperable or still operates poorly, this valid file could no longer be used because it is overwritten, ''How to Install Windows 98 to a New Folder (Q290121)'', and ''Description of Windows Files Located in the Root Folder (Q151667).

Note: However, there is some relief for users of Windows 9x and Windows ME since a ''restore feature'' does hopefully exist and may be of use.

e. When Win9x is reinstalled over itself (for example, if you do not use the format or parallel installation methods), ''OE may append new configurations and mail to the end of existing x.dbx files (Q283205)'' and when run next, it displays only the mail received afterwards and it appears as if all of the older mail is lost.

2. For users who simply believes that running a Windows setup session as a means of ''cure all'' may be sadly mistaken. Please read the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, ''How to Reinstall Windows 98 (Q250928)'', and take some precautions before hand.

3. When viewing the Startup tab you may see duplicate check box entries which occurred because the operating system was reinstalled or upgraded while those items were listed previously and disabled at the time. To preclude this anomaly from happening again, always enter a check mark in each box to select it (activate) before performing an upgrade or reinstall Windows, [Q177285]. When Windows starts, it automatically launches a number of programs which can normally be disabled by using the Windows System Configuration utility ''(MsConfig)''. Some loaded programs come from the Startup folder, but Windows also looks in six other locations for files. Written by Mike Lin, the utility ''Startup Control Panel'' helps handle problems with programs that are automatically launched by listing them by name and letting you disable, enable, or delete them. The program also allows saving a list of programs as a profile which is currently enabled or disabled that can be restored at a later time. Using it is the only way I know to actually remove a duplicated item, except by editing the Registry directly.

4. The article [Q186157] describes the Version Conflict Manager tool(Vcmui.exe) included in Windows 98. During the installation of a new program (including Windows 98), files on a hard disk may be detected and replaced with older versions. If a newer version of a file is detected by Windows 98 Setup, a version conflict occurs. When Windows 98 is installed, newer files replaced by Windows 98 Setup are automatically backed up for compatibility purposes only if there are any -- the way I would want mine. The Version Conflict Manager tool lists all the backup files, the dates they were backed up, the version number of the backed up files, and the version number of the file currently in use.

a. Sometimes, when installing software, you may have a newer version of a file on your system than the one being installed. Windows 98 Setup automatically installs the Windows 98 file over the newer file and stores the newer version of the file in the \Windows\VCM folder. Those files can be viewed with Version Conflict Manager (VCM).

Note: The determining factor in identifying an older file is the file version, not the file date.

b. You can use Version Conflict Manager (Vcmui.exe) to restore an application's version of a file. Reinstalling the entire application is no longer necessary.

c. To launch Version Conflict Manager, click Start, point to Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click System Information. Select the Tools menu and click Version Conflict Manager.

d. Version Conflict Manager displays the file name, the backup date, and the backed-up version of every newer file that was replaced. It also lists the current version being used of that file.

e. When Version Conflict Manager restores an older file, the older file is moved in the \Windows\VCM folder with the extension changed to .000. You can then use Version Conflict Manager to determine the original configuration.

5. The article [Q184585] discuss that when Windows Setup detects that a file already exists on a system newer than the one being installed, Setup replaces and automatically moves it to the Windows\VCM folder. If the Version Conflict Manager tool is used later to restore a file which was newer than the file installed by Windows Setup, the older default file is then moved to the Windows\VCM folder with a .000 file extension.

Warning: However, if multiple (more than one) files are restored at once to the system, the newest versions are properly restored, but the files which Setup actually installed (the default file) are not moved (switched) to the Windows\VCM folder -- something we probably don't care about anyway. To prevent this from occurring, restore files one at a time.

6. You may wonder why I feel so adamant about this process. Let me just say that ''Microsoft has for the first time in may years furnished many system tools which a member can rely on to troubleshoot problems encountered without reverting to a Windows Setup session. Microsoft cannot know every program installed on a computer, what programs are active - either by a user activation or running in the background on boot, the intelligence of a user to follow procedure or the hardware type(s) installed. I don't think these tools would be there unless they were to be used instead''. Just to name a few: (Clicking a links opens it in a separate window for your convenience. Clicking a second link also opens it in that same one)

a. ''System Configuration Tool''.

b. ''System Information Tool''.

c. ''System File Checker'' -- See PART II below

d. ''Hardware Information Utility''.

e. ''Maintenance Wizard''.

f. ''Monitor Type Not Retained When Upgrading or Reinstalling Windows (Q195044).''

g. ''ICS Does Not Work If You Reinstall Windows 98 Second Edition (Q230361) .''

h. ''Invalid Vxd Dynamic Call From Vsdata95'' Error Message (Q297725).''

7. One tool I do not advocate the use of is the ''Dr. Watson Diagnostic Tool'' simply because the type messages it renders are not readily covered and written about in the Microsoft Knowledge Base library nor is every user running it in the background (a resource hog anyway), or are they familiar with the type error messages rendered when there are problems. Therefore, since its diagnostic reports are basically unfamiliar to most everyone, getting reliable information concerning them is practically nil. Note: ''Click to see an example screenshot.''


1. Understand fully the section titled ''Using System File Checker'' in the TechNet article ''Chapter 27 - General Troubleshooting'' concerning the use and troubleshooting strategy with this utility.

2. The article ''SFC'' at the TechAdvice site is recommended reading.

3. Please be advised that 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.

Note: 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 these files are found with a newer date: Drwatson.vxd, Hwinfod.vxd, and Msisys.vxd. Simple click the option ''Update verification information'', [Q188133].

4. The article [Q192832] warns 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 in that folder to something else. At least take the b off the end of the extension so you'll not forget that an incorrect file could be extracted.

5. Supplemental reading:

a. ''Prompted for CD-ROM When You Run System File Checker While Correct CD-ROM Is in Drive - Q263499.''

b. ''Error Message: The File Was Not Found. Verify That You Have Selected the Correct 'Restore from' Location and Try Again - Q180465.''

c. ''Unable to Extract the Desk.cpl File from the Windows 98 CD-ROM - Q193312.''

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by LuckySoul / March 10, 2006 3:34 AM PST
In reply to: reinstall Windows 98

Before you run the 98CD, Put the disc in computer and stop auto start from running. Now go to Run and type SFC = System File Checker this looks for corrupt files and is quicker to run than setup

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