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WIndows XP Control Panel Useless

by buddybeserko / November 11, 2008 4:39 AM PST

When I attempt to make any selection in my Control Panel such as Add/Remove programs etc, a DOS screen pops up along with a dialogue box that reads like this: 16 Bit MS-DOS Subsystem
C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe
The NTVDM CPU has encountered an illegal instruction.
CS: 0000 IP: 0077 OP:fo 37 05 0c 02
Choose 'close' to terminate the application
Trying to reinstall WindowsXP from the original CD fails and just gives me an error message telling me it can't install because I have a newer version of Windows. Can someone help me with the best course of action to take? I need my computer for a job search and it is getting more unstable all the time. Also, I get two of these same DOS screens with the same error message at startup. I would really appreciate some help. Thanks

Now, here is what someone at another forum told me to do that didn't work, unfortunately:
"I found this on another forum, I'm not allowed to tell you where, so I have copied and pasted it. Hope it helps. Good luck!
:SveNor

What did you do before this happened? What were your last deeds on the machine before the pop-up appeared?

I think what you're referring to is NTVDM CPU, not NTDVM CPU. Am I correct?

What do you know about 16-bit and 32-bit applications? Well, 16-bit applications are those that must work within the DOS (Disk Operating System) environment, a real-mode arena. NTVDM stands for NT Virtual Dos Machine.

In Windows XP, as in Windows 2000, or Windows 98, there are 16-bit and 32-bit environments (real mode and protected mode respectively).

Windows XP can only operate in 32-bit mode. All 16-bit applications must work within its own theatre of operation, typically, the first MB of physical memory (ram). Conversely, 32-bit applications must function above the first MB memory line. If either of these applications happens to slip into "alien" territory, you get an error message like "something" has encounter an illegal instruction. In other words, the wayward application is trying to slip by the immigration checkpoint.

In your case, updatemgr.exe (I suspect updatemgr.exe is a 32-bit application) has in all likelihood wondered into the 16-bit arena. Hence, NTVDM CPU issues that warning.

Why do you continue to get the message. It's because updatemgr.exe incessantly misbehaves itself on start-up, always trying to load itself into a particular memory address where it is not welcome. Why the persistence? Updatemgr.exe has gone bonkers. It is either corrupted or damaged.

On the other hand, one cannot discount the possibility that NTVDM (NTVDM.EXE) is corrupted or damaged. So your problem lies with either updatemgr.exe or NTVDM.EXE, or both.

There are 2 things you could do.
First, establish who owns updatemgr.exe, Microsoft or some third-party owner. Second, rename updatemgr.exe and see whether the message goes away.To establish ownership (and the function of updatemgr.exe), do a search for the file.

Click START, select FIND. In the FIND dialog box, type: updatemgr.exe. See the directory in which the file has lodged. In Windows Explorer, get to the file, right-click on it, select PROPERTIES. Who owns it? Is there an indication of its function.

Next, rename the file. Right-click it, select RENAME and rename it to, say, updatemgr.old. RESTART your computer. Do you still get the error message. Not likely.

To clean things up a bit, perhaps it is a good idea for you to replace the current NTVDM.EXE with a new copy. Find out where NTVDM.EXE is. Then, click START, select RUN. Type in the RUN dialog box SFC to run the System File Checker. Insert your OS CD, follow the prompts, extract a copy of NTVDM.EXE and send it to its place of residence. Of course, you should also replace a copy of updatemgr.exe.

That should eliminate your problem for good."

It didn't. So this is where I'm at now:

OK. What I did so far was locate two instances of updatemgr.exe both located in C:\Program Files\MUSIC MATCH UPDATE and renamed both files to updatemgr.old. Then I restarted my computer and got the same result - the 16 BIT DOS screen and error message.
Next I went to find and located these five instances of NTVDM.exe
NTVDM C:\I386
NTVDM.EXE -0A81AB7B.pf C:\Windows\Prefetch
ntvdm C:\Windows\System32
ntvdm C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i...
ntvdm C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribut...

Can you please elaborate on the meaning of the following instructions:
"To clean things up a bit, perhaps it is a good idea for you to replace the current NTVDM.EXE with a new copy. Find out where NTVDM.EXE is. Then, click START, select RUN. Type in the RUN dialog box SFC to run the System File Checker. Insert your OS CD, follow the prompts, extract a copy of NTVDM.EXE and send it to its place of residence. Of course, you should also replace a copy of updatemgr.exe"
I understand typing "SFC" in the Run box and inserting my WindowsXP disk but I was wondering if you could tell me what you mean by extract a copy (which copy?) of NTVDM and send it to it's place of residence? Ditto for updatemgr.exe Hey, thanks for all your help! I appreciate it!
One more thing - typing SFC in the Run box doesn't do anything except causing another DOS screen to flash quickly then disappear.

So, that's where I'm at. Pardon me for such a lengthy post but I wanted to post the same info that I got. Does anyone else have any ideas about the best course of action to take? Is my computer salvageable? I am afraid of registry cleaners - I haven't read a good review yet. I would sincerely appreciate any help!

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Just a quick reply
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2008 9:11 AM PST

Read http://windowsxp.mvps.org/16bit.htm

But something may eventually force you to resolve the XP version issue. You may have had the machine serviced and they installed their "shop" copy. The result of that has never ended well.
Bob

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No, I don't think so...
by buddybeserko / November 13, 2008 11:39 PM PST
In reply to: Just a quick reply

I have never had my computer serviced. It's a Dell Dimension 8200 with Windows XP as original equipment. It's just that most of the Windows XP features are rendered useless and I can't reload Windows XP from the original disk that came with the computer. I downloaded a couple free trial versions of some registry cleaners and they tell me (of course) how many thousand registry errors I have but I'm afraid to buy a full version because it might make it worse. Some techs say that registry cleaners won't correct fundamental Windows errors and I haven't read a decent review of one yet. What does make me wonder is the fact that I downloaded the new version of Spy Bot Search & Destroy and it asks the user constantly about allowing or denying some new change it detected in the registry. I really don't think 99.9% of users are qualified to answer these prompts. Just a thought.

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Thanks for sharing this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 13, 2008 11:42 PM PST

"couple free trial versions of some registry cleaners"

Such can corrupt the machine and you end up where you are. Let's be brutal here and note that such cleaners will fault even a clean install of Windows. For now, unless you can unroll the changes the damage is usually much too deep to undo.

Just sharing I don't use registry cleaners.
Bob

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Another quick question...
by buddybeserko / November 13, 2008 11:59 PM PST

Would trying to install a new copy of Vista do any good? Or am I looking at doing a complete wipe and reinstall of programs here? Even a more stupider question might me can one access the corrupted files and repair them in DOS mode?

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That's your choice but...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 14, 2008 12:08 AM PST

A move to Vista has some hurdles as with the registry cleaning we're unsure if the old OS is intact enough to allow a Vista upgrade to occur.

What I would do is clone my hard disk and on the clone try the old XP REPAIR INSTALL (see google.)

Sorry but this is far outside the usual issues with XP. The damage is there but Microsoft doesn't offer much to repair the registry once it's cleaned.
Bob

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