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Reinstalling Windows 98, big problem

by jazzw / August 4, 2006 3:10 PM PDT

Hi! I'm coming here in dire need of assistance!

I have a Dell computer with Windows 98, Standard Edition. Not sure of the model number, but I got it in 1999. It's got an 8gig C drive; 80gig D drive. 256MB RAM...and I think 450HZ as far as speed goes.

The system hasn't been working for some time. Defrag and Scandisk wouldn't complete, programs have been crashing too much, and more lately during Start Up, I'd get a black screen and nothing else. So I finally decided to reinstall Windows.

This is my big problem:

First off, per some instructions I found off a site I got a boot disk ready, put in the Windows 98 CD-ROM, and when it was ready, I deleted the Windows folder. The instructions then said to go to the CD drive and type "setup". I did that.

Big problem was an error: It needed a certain "executable program size" for the setup to work. I didn't and still don't know how to fix that, especially with my Windows folder gone.

Even when I moved the WIN98 folder and contents to another drive, such as C, setup still didn't work. I tried using FDISK, but I can't partition anything for some reason. One being that I can't partition a logical drive without an extended partition. But I can't make an extended partition either.

So I'm stuck in DOS now, and I don't know how to get some more memory for setup to work.

Can anyone help me figure out how to fix this?

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start with basic info..
by reefurbb / August 4, 2006 9:19 PM PDT

1. you used a boot floppy to boot to DOS prompt. Reported was C: (8gb) D: (80gb) E: ram drive (utilities) F: (CD drive).
2. You typed FDISK, "enable large disk support" (Y),
and you got the menu:
1.create primary partition
2.set active partition
3.delete partition or logical drive
4.display partition information
5.change current drive.
3. you need to (4) for C: drive and then (5) to disk2, D: drive and (4) for it; and report your results here, including any partition with "status" A (active).
4. you used some DOS command to delete Windows folder(?)
5. If you only have one partition on disk 1, 8gb, you can delete it and recreate it. The D: partition on disk 2 is not seen as a secondary partition to C: and is not necessary to delete to deal with disk 1.
6. the reported error is probably about not having a proper C: partition.

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Do you have two
by TONI H / August 4, 2006 9:45 PM PDT

separate physical harddrives or do you have one physical harddrive that is already partitioned into two logical drives of C: (8GB) and D: (80GB) ?

If you have two separate harddrives, I would suggest pulling the gray cable off the D: drive temporarily inside the case to make sure you don't delete/format that drive if there is data on it that you want to keep. This way, you take one issue out of the equation and know you are dealing only with the drive you want to install Windows to.

If you have one harddrive with two partitions, make sure you are always only working with Drive #1 when playing around with FDISK. Drive #2 will be your second partition, which has already been created as an Extended Partition with a logical drive created within that Extended Partition, and thus would be the ONLY drive that could have the logical partition deleted before deleting the Extended Partition....leaving you with only the Primary Dos Partition of C: (8GB). When deleting partitions, you have to work in reverse of how they were created.

Once you know exactly what you are dealing with regarding the harddrive(s), you will have to decide if you want to delete ALL partitioning if you are working with only one harddrive, because you will NOT be able to delete the C: drive partition until AFTER you delete the D: logical drive partition, the Extended Partition, and then delete the Primary Dos Partition of C: in order to literally start from scratch. Once you have deleted the logical D: drive partition, you will have removed ALL data from it.

Let us know what you have first, and what you need...instructions with pictures are available here for a couple of different scenarios for you.

One harddrive =

Two harddrives =

NOTE: If you have two harddrives, the second link is strictly for your information about Extended Partitions and Logical Drives and is not to be used to erase the drive if you have data on it that you want to keep....

Something else you need to be aware of....your bootdisk needs to be current with the proper version of FDISK.EXE included on it because of the large disk issue that older versions of W98 had trouble dealing with. If your W98 disk is an upgrade version, it may have been installed over W95 original version and your FAT table may be FAT16 (never converted to FAT32) and you are limited to 2GB of disk space available to you. The first link explains that stuff, too.

You can find out what you have by booting up with your bootdisk and at the A: prompt type

FDISK /STATUS and report to us what the screen shows you.


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Toni, Toni, Toni, (long time no hear)...
by reefurbb / August 5, 2006 2:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Do you have two

Disk #2 is almost always a 2nd hard drive, as well as being D: drive. A 2nd partition (extended) is almost always D: , unless it is chosen to be "active".
But you were right about unplugging the 2nd hard drive.
If there was worry about formatting D: (the 2nd disk), I suspect it wasn't a standard W98SE installation CD but a Quick Restore. I don't know where the idea was implied that C: and/or D: was going to be formatted.
The required scandisk at the beginning of installation does not format.

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It would be interesting to see ...
by Kees Bakker / August 4, 2006 11:45 PM PDT

the full and litteral text of the error message. Both reefurbb and Toni assume it's about hard disk space, but I'd say it's about RAM. Where did you get the boot diskette?


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Didn't Dell
by Blue_Zee / August 4, 2006 11:53 PM PDT

supply a Restore disk rather than a Windows CD?


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Not that I know of
by jazzw / August 5, 2006 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Didn't Dell

Hi, Zee!

I didn't see a Restore disk in the package. I got Windows on CD ROM, a boot disk, a diagnostic and utilities disk, and some other floppy disks, but no restore.

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Something interesting happened
by jazzw / August 5, 2006 2:10 AM PDT

I was about to answer all of you, but right now setup seems to be working! I think it has to do with the option I picked this morning. "Start Windows Setup with CD ROM". When I did that, it went to Setup like I'd been trying to do. I had to cancel setup before it formatted my D drive.

Now, I went back to C:/WIN98 after having restarted my computer again. (I'm sure I didn't have to restart so much, I got nervous), and setup continues working! It's installing Windows files now!

So, I wonder if I had chosen the wrong option to begin with? ("Start Computer with CD ROM Support" was the option I chose, following instructions I mentioned before.)

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Thanks, everyone!!
by jazzw / August 5, 2006 6:30 AM PDT

I appreciate all the replies! I need a little more help! Windows is up! Certain things, however, are not quite working.

My sound isn't working. I'm not exactly sure how to get it back, but Dell added a Dell Dimension Resource CD, with backup media stuff. If that is the CD I should use, how do I get the computer downloading whatever drivers are needed?

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You can try using the cd IF
by TONI H / August 5, 2006 8:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, everyone!!

a couple of things are true....the original sound card is still in place and the cd matches up with it. AND most importantly, IF that cd is only a RESOURCES cd and not a RECOVERY/RESTORE cd because it will almost suredly try to format the drive and start over again.

If you have some type of user manual that gives the specs, look to see if a Mfr and Model number of the sound card is available, then go to DELL's website, enter your computer model number/serial number and download and install all the drivers available for it. They will be the newest drivers for everything then, including motherboard drivers.


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by jazzw / August 5, 2006 8:15 AM PDT

Yes, I'll head over to the Dell site! Thanks, Toni! I'll update on what happened to my computer!

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I seem to be stuck
by jazzw / August 5, 2006 11:04 AM PDT

I found files to use on my computer from Dell. But the audio driver won't work. It won't install. My audio seems lost, even though I used the CD with the audio-related data on it. I haven't even been able to add a device for output/input of audio. All of the options are greyed out.

Another thing greyed out are my drive letters. I want to get rid of one because I don't know what I did, but I mistakenly put it on my computer somehow. Do I need to remove it as a partition? If so, do I need a Start Up disk or even the Windows 98 CD again?

One last thing: There are two communication devices that aren't working. I have no idea what they are. At first I thought they might've been my printer and tablet pen (and I have yet to find the CDs for those, but that's okay for now).

So what would my next step be? A lot of devices are still not working, plus Windows Help is half empty. Anymore help is SO appreciated right now, thank you!!

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Okay, scratch one problem
by jazzw / August 5, 2006 1:08 PM PDT
In reply to: I seem to be stuck

I keep fixing some of the problems after I ask about them! I went to FDisk and got rid of that drive that wasn't supposed to be there, so all is well for the drives! They're back to the letters they should be!

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more problems...
by reefurbb / August 5, 2006 9:00 PM PDT
In reply to: I seem to be stuck

1. audio. Onboard or add-in card? If onboard, the Dell drivers should install, unless they offered two or more different ones and you chose the wrong one. I remember running into AC'97 and ESS. Look at the audio chip on mobo to see chip name. If add-in card, same thing except Dell may have offered more than 1 type of add-in, and offer those drivers; or it's an add-in card you, or someone, installed.
2. Communication devices. 1 will be the modem, onboard or add-in. Same advice about drivers. 1 may be the Ethernet device/card, add-in or onboard. Again, see the correct model Dell for this stuff. Once, I had to indicate I had W95, instead of W98, for an OS, to find all drivers, from the Dell site. W98SE is W95D with more bells and whistles, so it doesn't hurt to use those drivers.

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Something online to check
by TONI H / August 5, 2006 9:46 PM PDT
In reply to: more problems...

is and run the free online scan for all hardware 'installed'. Although some of the hardware, such as the audio, isn't working yet, Belarc normally can identify hardware devices enough to give you correct maker and model numbers in order to hunt down the right drivers.

If it turns up two audio devices, you have two things to think is that you downloaded and installed the wrong uninstall them and hunt down the right ones instead. The second is that you have onboard audio that isn't working or wasn't 'good' enough previously and somebody added a new sound card into a slot on the motherboard, which means you have to disable the onboard sound in the bios and hook your speakers up to the right sound card. (The second possibility is easy to check by looking at the back of the computer and seeing if you actually have two sound card sets of jacks available...if so you can leave the sound card drivers you downloaded and installed long enough to plug the speaker jack into the second sound card jack and see if it works lol)

Communication devices could be the wave device for a modem....if you don't use voice for the modem, you can let windows install the wrong thing or tell you it can't find what it needs and in the OTHER list of Device Mgr, just disable it in the Properties. That way windows won't keep looking for it. Depending on how you connect to the net with the W98 computer, it could also be onboard modem if Dell gave you one and it can be disabled as well if not used, or it could be a LAN device that isn't needed if your dial up modem is working. These possibilities can be disabled in the bios as well so windows stops hunting for drivers at reboot.

The list you will get generated by Belarc if you go there can be saved as an html file on your desktop for reference that can be printed out as soon as you have the printer working.


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I'll check it out, thanks!
by jazzw / August 6, 2006 1:23 AM PDT

reefurbb, the audio is Onboard, yes. I found the right match on Dell (and there were a bunch of them), and when I installed it, in Device Manager the list for Sound, Video and Game Controllers showed up. Within the list, there is a blank item where I'm sure the audio should be.

Toni, thank you for the link! I hadn't paid enough attention to what is on this computer. I changed from dialup to cable a while later, so I haven't used the devices for dialup. I'm not sure if I will have to later though. For now though, I'll disable those devices.

And again, I'll keep updating with what happens next. Thank you so much for the help thus far!

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Some drivers were installed, but...
by jazzw / August 6, 2006 4:10 AM PDT

my audio is being a pain. Still that blank category under the sound, game, etc. controller. I actually had to search again at Dell for the correct driver because the version was ALMOST a match, but I was mistaken. So I found it and installed, but it seems like nothing is happening.

A couple things are bothering me when I look at the Belarc Advisor profile:


Intel 82558-based Integrated Ethernet with Wake on LAN
(I didn't include the addresses)

None Detected

Network Drives
None detected


I can connect to the net and ftp fine. But I can no longer connect to the other computer in my house. Also, any multimedia driver is not around, giving me a hard time right now!

Would it help if I showed the whole page of results? I'm getting worried about the sound especially.

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RE: auido-multimedia-NIC...
by reefurbb / August 6, 2006 5:42 AM PDT

The 82558 driver is either at Dell or you can go to and look for that chipset driver. That's why you can't hook up to the other PC's. No network drive means no other PV detected on the Network connection.
No multimedias means no audio, either not detected or not working. If it used to work and not now, you have a problem, probably still drivers; unless you blew the audio output/I.C. ...
If you can connect to FTP, that's modem/DUN...
As I told you before, look for the audio chip on the mobo, a small one, near the onboard audio outlets, maybe only 6 or 8 legs..

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That's so weird...
by jazzw / August 6, 2006 7:12 AM PDT

I guess my reinstall got rid of all that driver info. Everything--audio, network connections included--worked before I did the reinstall of Windows 98. I'll check Intel and Dell again.

I'm nervous looking for any chip, mainly because it might be hard for me to see it (bad eyesight), and since I never had to do it before because everything was all ready for me when I got the computer. Would you mind, reefurbb, just elaborating on how to get to the chip without breaking anything, please? I can't trust myself at the moment! Thanks for your help on this!

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Audio nd LAN
by TONI H / August 6, 2006 8:44 AM PDT

I hope you have access to a printer for the following as it's pretty lengthy...or I can email you the text file of it that I have and you can print it from another computer if you are using the W98 system without a printer up and running yet.

First...the audio. Since you state that it appears there is an item missing from Sound, etc in Device Mgr, try looking in OTHER or in Multifunction Devices if there is a category for it. You might find the audio controller listed there with an error or yellow question mark. You will have the option to update or remove the driver.

Now...if you have the .exe file you downloaded and it can be unzipped to a separate file, you could choose Update Driver and use the browse button in the next window to locate the folder with the unzipped files and it should correct itself.

If you cannot unzip the .exe or .zip file you downloaded, then opt to REMOVE it and normally on a reboot, windows will redetect the driver and install it correctly, or it will ask you for the path to the drivers. There are a couple of options to choose from at that point.

1. The folder where you unzipped the files OR
2. C:/Windows OR
3. C:/Windows/System OR
4. C:/Windows/INF

You would be amazed at the locations within windows itself where it keeps driver information and is too darn stupid to look in those places on its own.

Looking for the sound card chip on the motherboard is a simple thing and nothing has to be touched or moved most of the time in order to locate it. It will be flat square and it will say Audio -97 or ESS or something similar with a 'model number if ESS printed right on it. If you use a strong flashlight and tip it at just the right angle somewhere near the back edge of the motherboard where everything plugs into it, it should be read fairly easily. But if need be, and you have a magnifying glass, you can use it along with the flashlight and get what you need that way. (Bad eyes = been there, doing that still lol)

Also...Once you can get the sound card running properly, you can go into Control Panel/Multimedia and make sure the volume control shows up on the taskbar by the clock.

It appears as if the LAN device has been installed already or it wouldn't have identified it....however, you may have to be going into your NETWORK NEIGHBORHOOD icon in order to set up the other computers in the network.

Make sure you install the various 'devices' in that window and have your W98 cd handy to do so as it sounds as if only part of them were installed. Here's a list of how and what to do for it.

>>>>>Here's how I got mine working....most people use the NetBui setup but it wouldn't work for me and I stayed with the TCP/IP instead. I also couldn't get the ICS to work for me that comes with W98SE so everything here has been done manually, but it went up real quickly.

How far away from each other are the computers?

I did this and had some absolutely perfect help from some of the members in zdnet because I was dumb as dirt about it.

If there are only going to be the two computers, you don't need a hub and if you decide to do more later on, the hub can be purchased then.

I used two RealTech networking cards (one for each computer) that use either the coax 10base2 connectors or the RJ45 crossover cable 10baseT. I have the RJ45 cable and had one specially made to make sure it was a cross-over cable and it's about 10' long just so I didn't have to go from room to room to see both monitors and computers until I knew it would be set up right. I then ordered a 70' one for when I move my son's computer to his bedroom when the network is up and running.

I had to use the latest drivers that go with the cards because even though W98 installed the correct drivers, they weren't the newest and I had problems getting the computers to see each other so whatever cards you decide to get, make sure you download the newest drivers ahead of time in case what comes with them aren't what you will need. Save yourself the grief I went through.

After the cards and the cable are connected and are set up in the computers, open the Network in Control Panel or right click the Network Neighborhood icon and choose Properties.

On the list that shows up you need to have the following...Client for MS Network, Dial Up Adapter, your Networking Adapter that you installed, TCP/IP > Dial Up Adapter, TCP/IP > your network adapter, and File & Print Sharing. (You actually don't need the Dial Up Adapter and TCP/IP for the CLIENT computer that will connect to the HOST one that makes the ISP connection...and you don't need a modem for that computer anymore either.)

If any of these are missing, click Add and go to the Adapter (choose Microsoft for the Dial Up Adapter) if you need that one...go to the Protocol (choose Microsoft for TCP/IP if you need that one), and go to the Services (choose File and Printer Sharing if you need that one). the Second tab at the top, make sure that you have a COMPUTER NAME that is different for both computers, and a WORKGROUP NAME that is IDENTICAL for both computers, the Description area can be anything.

Click the TCP/IP > Dial Up Adapter, click IP Address and put a dot in "get one automatically", click Bindings and remove the File & Printer Sharing checkmark, and click Advanced to take the check mark out of the bottom left corner box for Default.

Click the TCP/IP > your network adapter, click IP Address and put a dot in "get number" and type in (for the computer that will <B>NOT</B> have to use the ISP connection as this computer will be the <B>CLIENT</B>) and type in the submask number Now click the Advanced, and put a checkmark in the bottom box for "default. In the computer that <B>WILL</B> actually make the ISP connection, use the IP number of and the same submask number as this computer will be the <B>HOST</B>, and also mark it to be "default".

In both computers, after rebooting, do not put in a password unless you want OK to get you back to the desktop and go back into Control Panel\Network or right click the NN icon, choose Properties, and in the Primary LOGON, use the arrow to choose Windows Logon.

In both computers, go into Windows Explorer and for the drive or folders that you want to share, right click the drive or folder and choose Share from the list, and use the default name that shows up. Then go to the Printer folder in My Computer, and right click that printer icon and also choose Share from the menu.

Every time you make a change to one computer and reboot, you will also have to reboot the second computer so that those changes also take place with that computer.

Now you can check the connection...left click the NN icon and see if the computers see each other. If they do, then you have your network configured correctly and the <B>HOST</B> computer will make the connection to the ISP and the <B>CLIENT</B> computer will be able to connect to the internet using that same connection....BUT you need one more small piece of free software to do that. It is called Proxy and it can be found at

Proxy gets installed on the <B>HOST</B> computer, and I keep a shortcut to it in my QuickLaunch because it doesn't write anything to your registry and only gets evoked when the <B>CLIENT</B> computer is going to connect to the internet so the <B>HOST</B> computer user just clicks the icon to "turn it on" for the other computer. The Internet Explorer setting on the <B>CLIENT</B> computer needs a small adjustment in the Connection tab so that it doesn't connect with a modem anymore and connects through the proxy. The instructions are simple and are included with the Proxy program.

That's took ten minutes to do all of the settings once the cards were installed (although I fought with it for over two weeks because of my total ignorance and finally called one of my forum buddies to walk me through it). I would highly recommend that you use the RJ45 crossover cable for just two computers and get a short one to get you going so the computers are nearby...then you can get a longer one later when the computers are moved farther apart.

Since the tcp/ip file and printer sharing should be bound <B>only</B> to the NIC adapters, if it is also showing up in the normal Dial up Adapter, windows will notify you immeditely when you go to connect to the net if you want to disable it so say yes if you are asked...the file sharing between the network will be ok.

NOW.....suppose that you wish to create a secure "tunnel" across the Internet to allow your home and office computers to share their files without any danger of unauthorized intrusion. Firewall technology makes this possible and relatively simple. You would instruct the firewall running on your office computer to permit connections on the NetBIOS file sharing ports 137-139 only from the IP address of your home computer. The firewall running on your home machine would similarly be instructed to permit connections on ports 137-139 only from your office machine's IP address. Thus, either machine can "see" the other's NetBIOS ports, but no one else on the Internet can see that either machine has established such a secure tunnel across the Net.

So make sure you go into the TCP/IP settings and check the NetBIOS Bindings settings as well according to the CLOSE NETBIOS page.



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Plenty of info!
by jazzw / August 6, 2006 12:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Audio nd LAN

Thanks for all the information, Toni! I didn't get through all of it, but I can still use my laptop to look at it. (I can't even find the CD for my printer...I'm a mess!) When I get through it all I'll let you know what happened!

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Yay!! Things are working!
by jazzw / August 6, 2006 1:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Audio nd LAN

I got the sound working!! Thank you SO much, Toni!! That made me feel so good hearing the windows song greeting me over the speakers! Everything related to audio now works!! I couldn't get myself on a good angle to see the sound card info, unfortunately. It would've been nice just to see where it is. The place is cramped! But it's okay for the time being!

As for the network, my computer is already attached to a family computer downstairs, and the cable is so long! Man! But it has to be due to the locations of each computer. I'll have to get to the other computer when no one is home, so I can see if I did everything right with the labels and the connection. I followed instructions for fixing Network Properties up though! So that is okay, at least!

I'll try and get connected soon, then I should be done with those big problems!! Losing CDs, I'll have to grin (with bitter tears) and bear it until I dig them up somehow.

So...again it's coming...thank you SO MUCH!! I'm so grateful for the info!! And it's good to share the bad eyesight!! Ha! I sometimes forget to mention it early on until I actally need to use it!

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Printer drivers
by TONI H / August 6, 2006 10:18 PM PDT

You can download the drivers from the mfr site for that, too....sometimes, but not always, the drivers online will also come with the programs that are on the cd that are extra goodies with tools for the printer. I have a number of programs that I have from years ago that were free downloads on the net that work well with all printers so there is a chance I have one or two that will work for you if you need one....there might also be some that are free on the net now if you check in the cnet site

Glad to know your sound is working now....I originally used a crossover LAN network to my son's computer with a 70' line that snaked up the stairwell to his bedroom. I didn't want to put the line through the wall and ceiling as I knew that remodeling would be coming one day and nothing would be in the same location after that so stepping over the line became an every day occurrance here. (Dog kept thinking it was a snake and didn't belong there though and barked at it constantly lol)

Once you can check the other computer for Network settings, and if you don't spot the problem yet, get back to us. Make sure that you have File and Printer Sharing turned on at both ends and that you have the 'little hand' showing that indicates that they are shared/mapped properly at both ends.


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Oh! One thing about upgrades...
by jazzw / August 7, 2006 6:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Printer drivers

While it's on my mind, I have a question about programs that get upgraded (ones that I have to pay for). For instance, I have Norton AntiVirus 2002, and I'd got it upgraded and renewed online. Because it's online, do I need to buy another upgrade for it? Or do they have some code of sorts that I'd need to find, possibly from a bill or something?

(now heading back to the OTHER stuff! I'll look for printer drivers while I have the chance! Thanks!)

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Once a year...."renew subscription"...unless..
by reefurbb / August 7, 2006 6:20 AM PDT

you go with a good free one like the most popular Grisoft AVG antivirus.

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Oh, it's renewed!
by jazzw / August 7, 2006 11:40 AM PDT

I renew the subscription yearly, most definitely! I just wondered if it would come back after this reinstall, or if I need to find some number or code to reactivate it! (Sorry, I read my question and it looked clear as the dirtiest mud.)

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Oh, nevermind!
by jazzw / August 7, 2006 12:59 PM PDT

I got it figured out! I just looked up how to download the upgrade I'd ordered. So it worked! I so need to sleep after this!

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One (hopefully) Last thing!
by jazzw / August 7, 2006 11:44 AM PDT

Toni, the network is up and running! Yay! I downloaded files from the computer downstairs, so it's all good now!! I'm so happy and grateful for the help!! I love gruelling work once it's a success!

The last thing is bugging me at the moment. Right now, Internet Explorer 6 has been flickering. When anything moves in the browser window, that movement flickers. It's really annoying. What would that be from, does anyone have an idea?

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Internet Options
by TONI H / August 7, 2006 9:13 PM PDT

by either right clicking the big blue E on your desktop, or in IE/Tools/Internet options....go to Advanced and take the check mark out of Animations.

You might also need to download and install the newest DirectX version for Windows and your video card. If your card can't handle the newest version, start with the 8.0a version listed below instead. I couldn't locate a quick link to it so have it on my site temporarily for you.

DirectX Drivers 8.0a :

MORE INFO AND DIRECTX - newest version:


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Also, probably need
by TONI H / August 7, 2006 9:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Internet Options
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by jazzw / August 8, 2006 2:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Also, probably need

I'll get those downloads as well as the ones refurbb mentioned. Maybe they'll get rid of the strange discoloration in some browser windows. I hope so! Or maybe I should keep off "show animations" from Internet Options?

Anyway, everything else is working find now! That's a big sigh of relief! It's a tad slower than I'd like, but I guess that's because of all the programs running, or something else. Doesn't matter though!

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