Windows 98 Problems

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BobButler1

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:D Hey, I'm back. It has been awhile. My windows 98 is still not working properly. I just got tired of fooling with it and start using my office computer and my laptop. However, since this is a new year, I want a new start.

I am considering updating to Windows Xp Home Edition, but I still cannot get on the internet long enough to get the proper update information to be sure of what I need to check out first and maybe the drivers I might need to download.

Now, everytime I boot up the computer, I get an error message, either from explorer or gmt, or cmesy stating that: THIS PROGRAM HAS PERFORMED AN ILLEGAL OPERATION AND WILL SHUT DOWN. IF THIS PROBLEM PERSISIT, CONTACT THE PROGRAM VENDOR. and then it freezes up.

When I boot it up in safe mode, I get this message: The following system files have been replaced with older versions by a program you recently ran. These files are currently in use and cannot be automatically repaired. Windows may not run correctly until you exit and restart Windows so that these files can be automatically repaired. In the box it shows; C:WINDOWS\SYSTEM\DDEML.DLL;

I have tried everyway, I know to try to get it back working normally. I have reinstalled windows 98 twice, but I believe it must been an earlier version of windows 98. Should I go ahead and try to update or first fix these problems. This computer has too much information on it for me to just get rid of. If there is anyone interested in helping me, please respond!!:mad:
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2005
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OK, let's see if we can get that Win98 system working properly again...

First, I need to know if the Win98 system with these problems can access the Internet; you might need an updated version of a few files, and if you can't download what you need directly onto the Win98 system, then we'll need to approach this another way.

Let me know the situation there, and answer these questions; once I have the information, I'll try to help you fix these problems. We don't know how badly damaged your system files are right now, and if you don't have the proper CD for your version of Windows, repairing that system might get somewhat complicated.

Whatever else you do, do NOT try to install WinXP until you fix the existing problems; if you are worried about losing your data (which means you probably haven't run any backup programs to protect it), the risks of data loss by trying to install XP at this point in time are too great.

From what you've told us, you probably installed an older version of Windows on the existing installation, which wasn't a good idea, but that will just make this more of a challenge to repair, and that's fine with me. :D

I don't know what this means:

"Now, everytime I boot up the computer, I get an error message, either from explorer or gmt, or cmesy..."

What is "gmt"? What is "cmesy"? I understand the Explorer error messages, but what are the other items you're referring to? For some reason, they're not registering with me...

Post the information I've requested about 'net access from the defective system, answer my questions about "gmt" and "cmesy", and let's see if we can straighten things out over there. We'll approach this step-by-step, fixing the problems as we go along, and if all goes according to plan, you'll be able to fix your broken Windows... :)

OK, bad joke; Windows is ALWAYS broken to some degree, so you'll NEVER really be able to "fix" Windows... hell, if MICROSOFT can't do it, what chance do we have? :D
 

BobButler1

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Joined
Nov 11, 2005
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Thanks, sammysosa for your reply!:eek:
I was able for a little while today to access the internet after two months, but after I tried to download a video driver the explorer error message popped up and I haven't had any success. Is there any other way I can access the internet, I do have dsl connection. Now, concerning the error message of Gmt, the only thing I can I saw was a program that I had downloaded at one time called "Get Memturbo and speed up your computer" and the (cmesys) CME System, I don't know what that is. Is it a way to check the hard drive and see about the original Windows 98 cd.:eek:
 

flavallee

Frank
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Bob:

Not to go off on a tangent here, but if you have any thought of installing Windows XP in that computer, you need to determine if its specs can handle that operating system.

How fast is the processor and how much RAM is installed?

What is that computer's brand name, model name, and model number?

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BobButler1

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Flavellee, Thanks for your response!
I have an e-machines etower 500is Genuine Intel Pentium(r) II Processer
IntelMMX(TM) Technology with 128.0MB RAM 84% System Resources
 

flavallee

Frank
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You didn't advise what the processor speed is, but knowing that it's an Intel Pentium II and that there's only 128 MB of RAM installed, that computer will run like a turtle with Windows XP installed because it's processing speed and RAM requirements are much higher than they are for Windows 98SE and Windows ME.

Don't pay any attention to what you read about the minimum requirements for Windows XP because they fall far short of what's really needed.

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BobButler1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
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Thanks, again Flavallee for your response!
What can I do to upgrade the speed or memory for my computer to operate properly with windows XP, or just get it back running properly with windows 98!
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2005
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Sorry about the delay in posting this; I wrote most of it during the night, but got called away for a crisis at work. Everything is under control for the time being, so I came home to post this and sleep for a few hours. If I'm LUCKY, nothing else will go wrong, and I'll be able to stay home and catch up with the people I'm trying to help.

Thanks for the information about your system, Bob; since you can't get that system online right now, we'll try to deal with the most obvious problems first, such as clearing those error messages. Getting those out of the way should make the rest of this process easier. We probably won't be able to fix your system overnight, because odds are good that more error messages will pop us as we fix the ones we know about, but I think this is worth a shot. With any luck, we'll be able to restore your 'net access sooner rather than later.

From what you've told us about that system, there is no way I can recommend that you even TRY to install WinXP on it. It isn't worth the expense of upgrading, and IIRC, that model actually uses a 500MHz Celeron CPU (Central Processing Unit, which is the "brain" chip), which is based on the Pentium II CPU. The fact is, the real Pentium II topped out at 450 MHz, so if you have a 500 MHz CPU, it would have to be a Celeron @ 500 MHz or a Pentium III @ 500 MHz, and my memory tells me that the E-Machines 500is used the Celeron.

Also, you'd have to DOUBLE the amount of RAM in that system just to get WinXP to boot well (though it STILL wouldn't work well with ONLY 256MB of RAM), so you're undoubtedly better off sticking with Win98SE, which was the best of the DOS-based OSes Microsoft released. Win98SE is a known commodity, all of your existing hardware should work well with it, and you might as well squeeze as much use as possible out of the computer you have, rather than try to turn it into something it was never designed to do (wrestle with a bloated OS like WinXP).

I'm not trying to discourage you; I'd just like to see you focus your energies on making the best of what you have, instead of getting trapped in a WinXP Deathmatch... XP is a system resource hog, and I think you'll enjoy keeping your money in your pocket more than you will throwing it into a computer. Once you get stuck on the "upgrade the system to run XP" rollercoaster, it's difficult to get off before you spend a PILE of dough...

You've described yourself as a beginner, so I'll try to explain the steps you need to follow to begin repairing the damage as simply as possible. You'll need to work from the command prompt (AKA the "DOS-prompt") WITHOUT booting into Windows, in order to start this repair, so follow these instructions EXACTLY, step-by-step, and we should be able to get through this unscathed.

You probably know that Win98SE was built on the MS-DOS operating system, all lies by Bill Gates & Co. to the contrary. We'll use DOS to begin these repairs, and if all goes well, we'll repair Windows enough through DOS so that you'll eventually be able to finish this by using Windows to repair Windows. That might seem complicated, but it really isn't; there are things we'll need to do from within DOS, which is the foundation of most of the early versions of Windows, BEFORE we allow Windows to load. Once we get to a certain point in our DOS repairs, we'll try to boot the system into Windows, so you can test it and check for more error messages.

You'll need to pay close attention to ALL error messages you see, and post them here with as much detail as possible as to how and when they happened, so we'll know how best to advise you throughout the rest of this process. For example, if you see an error message flash by as Windows loads, you'll need to mention it, so we can investigate and decide if it requires immediate attention, or whether it is something we can safely ignore for a while.

Working in DOS can seem intimidating; you'll see a black screen with white letters, and be required to type some rather cryptic commands EXACTLY the way you see them here, in order to make this work. DOS doesn't always provide much feedback on the progress you're making, so I've chosen the commands we'll use to do this to maximize the response DOS shows you. That way, you shouldn't have to wonder if the command you just entered at the DOS-prompt actually had an effect. Some commands simply work without seeming to do ANYTHING, but I'll try to use commands that force a response from DOS, and I'll also try to inform you of HOW DOS should respond to anything you type each step of the way. Doing that should help you avoid any surprises; if you see a DIFFERENT reply from DOS, or none at all, you'll know something probably went wrong. You'll have to post that information here with as much detail as possible, so we'll know how to work around the problem.

I will type ALL of the DOS commands you'll need to use in CAPITAL LETTERS, to make them easier to read, although you do NOT need to use capital letters when typing; DOS ignores letter-case (IOW, either CAPS or lower-case letters will work the same way).

1. Boot the system and hold down the CTRL ("CONTROL") key during POST (POST is what happens when you first turn the power on). Many systems (though not ALL of them) show the RAM being counted during POST; regardless of what you see, hold down the CTRL key as soon as the system begins to boot. AFAIK, your E-Machines system will NOT show you anything other than the E-Machines splash screen during POST, so you'll simply have to remember to hold down the CTRL key as soon as the system starts to bootup, and KEEP holding it down until Windows boots (which means holding the CTRL key down DIDN'T work), or until the computer shows you the Startup Menu, which is what we WANT to see happen. If Windows tries to load (instead of having the system display the Startup Menu), simply shut the power off, wait about 30 seconds, then try this step again. When you time it correctly, you should see the Startup Menu on the monitor, and you'll know you're ready to move to the next step.

2. When POST completes, you SHOULD see the Startup Menu; you want to select the "COMMAND PROMPT ONLY" option (which is usually option 5) from the Startup Menu.

3. After choosing "COMMAND PROMPT ONLY", you should be able to see the command prompt, which will probably look like this:

C:\>

4. Be SURE to type the DOS commands EXACTLY; pay close attention to each of the SPACES, SLASHES ("/") and BACKSLASHES ("\"), or this won't work.

5. When you see the command prompt, type this:

CD \WINDOWS\SYSTEM\

and press Enter. You should now see this at the command prompt:

C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM>

6. Now, type this:

MOVE DDEML.DLL DDEML.OLD

and press Enter. You should see this message from DOS:

C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM>ddeml.dll => C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM>ddeml.old [ok]

7. Type this:

CD ..\SYSBCKUP

and press Enter. You should now see this:

C:\WINDOWS\SYSBCKUP>

NOTE: Pay CLOSE attention to the SPELLING in that command; "SYSBCKUP" is NOT the same as "SYSBACKUP". Including the letter "A" will cause a problem; though the correct command LOOKS like a typo, it is what you have to type at the command line to make this work.

8. Next, type this:

XCOPY DDEML.DLL C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM /V

and press Enter. You should see this on the monitor:

ddeml.dll
1 File(s) copied

NOTE: that last command ends with a SLASH, immediately followed by the letter "V", the letter which precedes "W" in the alphabet. DO NOT USE A SPACE between the SLASH and the V, or this command will not work properly, and DOS will tell you something went wrong by showing you a message like this:

Invalid parameter - /
0 Files(s) copied

If DOS doesn't show you the message that 1 file was copied (as I've described previously), you'll have to re-type the command and try it again.

9. Now, if everything worked properly, you should have the correct version of DDEML.DLL right where you need it. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot the system, and Windows should load. If you see ANY error messages, copy them EXACTLY and post them here.

Be aware that this might NOT work; if the version of DDEML.DLL in the Windows\Sysbckup directory is damaged, or the same as the one we renamed to DDEML.OLD, you'll have the same problems. In that case, let me know what happened, and we'll figure out a way to work around this; you might need a floppy disk or two before this is over, so you can copy files onto it from a different computer, then install them onto the damaged system. For now, we'll hope for the best and see what happens as we go along...

Lastly, if NOTHING works properly, post here and let me know what types of problems you encountered, or which error messages you saw, so we'll know how to work around the problems. I've tried to anticipate problems, and tell you what to expect BEFORE you start typing in the DOS commands, but there are no guarantees here; if DOS has been damaged during the repairs you tried earlier, then we'll have a fair amount of work ahead of us to get it working again, BEFORE we can try to repair your Windows installation...

Now that you've read through this entire post, read it again. Take your time, and feel free to post any questions you might have BEFORE we begin. I've tried to cover all the bases, but if anything I've presented here needs clarification, let me know...

Good luck; take your time with this procedure, take GOOD notes during the entire process, and let's see if we can use DOS to kick-start Windows...
 

flavallee

Frank
Trusted Advisor
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Messages
83,286
Regardless of what the processor speed is(which you still haven't said), you should add another 128 MB of RAM. It's one of the most cost-effective performance boost that you can give to any computer.

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Do you have a full version Windows 98 CD and a fully-bootable startup floppy disk? It may come down to you having to format the hard drive and doing a fresh install of Windows 98 to get things going right again. I've done that to all 3 of my computers.

Let's wait though and see if Sammy and some of the others can bail you out.

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flavallee

Frank
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Messages
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I went looking for it myself. These are the specs for your computer:

eTower 500is Support Information

Specifications

Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition
Intel® Celeron™ 500MHz (w/128KB L2 Cache) PPGA CPU
32MB SyncDRAM (up to 256 MB)
ATI Rage Pro Turbo 2X AGP with 4MB SGRAM
Crystal CS4280 3D PCI Audio
40x Max. CD-ROM Drive
4.3GB HDD (Ultra DMA EIDE)
3.5" 1.44MB FDD
56K* ITU V.90 PCI Fax/Modem
PS/2 6 buttons Internet Keyboard/Mouse
Stereo Speakers
2 USB Ports (1 is on Front)
1 Serial / 1 Parallel / 3 Expansion Slot
Audio In & Out / Game Port on Front
Sun® Star Office™ 5.1
AOL 3 month membership included


It lists the processor as an Intel Celeron 500 MHz and not an Intel Pentium II.:confused:

The motherboard supports up to 256 MB of RAM, so you'll be able to add more.(y)

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Joined
Nov 25, 2005
Messages
437
Hi, flavallee,

Thanks for that information; I went by my (erratic) memory. I recall working on several of those E-Machines units over the years. Best Buy was selling them with only 32MB of RAM :eek: to low-ball the price. The last one I remember fixing (warranty expired) had a 10GB HDD, onboard video (same Rage Pro AGP chip) and sound, with a 500MHz Celeron, which the system ID'd as a Pentium II, so it seems like BobButler1 is using a similar system, with more RAM.

I remember that last one because some THIEF had convinced the customer (an elderly widow) to install WinME on the system; they told her Win98SE was "obsolete" (in 2001!), and that she NEEDED a larger harddrive to make Windows "run faster"! So, she was trying to run WinME on a system that had 32MB of RAM installed, with 4MB dedicated to the video! She'd previously had the CD-ROM drive replaced under warranty, but Best Buy wasn't involved in ripping her off for the 10GB HDD and the BOOTLEG copy of WinME; the guy gave her a CD-R which turned out to have "hip-hop / gangsta" .MP3s on it, with all the foul-mouthed four-letter goodness baked right in...

Of course, she had NO idea that she'd been reamed; she honestly though the CD was legal (didn't know what a real one looked like)... The guy who had "fixed" her system was the friend of the son of a friend of a co-worker of a friend who knew her next-door neighbor where she had just relocated from when she retired...

Anyway, I boosted the RAM to 256MB, wiped the drive and did a fresh install of an OEM copy of Win98SE, tuned it up by removing the stuff she didn't need and optimizing some settings, and she was really happy to see how well it worked when she picked it up. She came back a few times for various items (a better mouse and speakers, among other sundries), and last time I saw her, she was scheduled for an operation the following week, which I guess didn't turn out too well...

Again, thanks for posting that; hopefully, the OP will report back within 24 hours or so, and we'll have some word on his progress...

Sam
 

flavallee

Frank
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Joined
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Messages
83,286
That guy would've made a killing as a car salesman with the ethics he had.

I've become a firm believer in wiping out a hard drive and doing a fresh install of Windows. Both of my desktops needed it badly after they were given to me because they had a lot of useless programs and files from being used in offices. I increased the RAM in the 5030 from 64 MB to 256 MB and increased the RAM in the 5900T from 192 MB to 320 MB.

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BobButler1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
28
Sammy, I did what you stated and closed off the Dos command program and booted up the normal windows and I got this explorer warning message: THIS PROGRAM HAS PERFORMED AN ILLEGAL OPERATION AND WILL SHUT DOWN! However, I remember that i had went into the configuration and unchecked the selective startups. So, I went back into the configuration and redone the selective startups. When I booted back up the computer I got this: Cannot find a device file that may be needed to run Windows or a Windows application.
The windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file refers to this device file, but the device file no longer exists.
If you still want to use the application associated with this device file, try reinstalling that application to replace the missing file.
C:\WINDOWS\system\VMM32\enable.VXD
Press a key to continue_
After continuing, I get a warning concerning the Display, saying: Your display adapter is not configured properly. To correct the problem, click OK to start the Hardware Installation wizard. After clicking OK waiting for Windows to search for Plug and play devices. I get another warning saying that the program wasn't install, and then I get another warning from Qttask that this program has performed an illegal operation etc. and then computer freezes up! Where do I go from here!
 

BobButler1

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Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
28
Sammy, I have tried several times to boot up by bypassing the error warnings. I get this other warning again: System File Error:The following system files have been replaced with older versions by a program you recently ran. These files are currently in use and cannot be automatically repaired. Windows may not run correctly until you exit and restart Windows so that these files can be automatically repaired. In the box it shows; C:WINDOWS\SYSTEM\DDEML.DLL;
I close the warning bypass the add new hardware ( to upgrade my video driver to what it is specified) and update my display monitor. Then I get another warning: C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\VersionTracker Pro.Ink: stating The Managed Software Installer failed to install the program associated with this file. Please contact your system administrator. After I close these warning, I try to go online and get another warning saying: Too many other files are currently in use by 16-bit programs. Quit one or more 16-bit programs, or increase the value of the files command in your Config.sys file. There you have it! I will wait for your response! Thanks, again!!
 

BobButler1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
28
Flavallee, Yes I have a windows 98 cd, but I don't know if this is the one that came with the emachine computer I am working on at home. I bought two emachines computer about the same time, one for the home and one for the office. The one at the office, I had to replace twice, so I don't know if this is the right one that came with my home computer. However, as I said earlier, I have reenstalled windows 98 twice on this computer due to the problems I have and all these extra error messages, as well display and video driver problems. Do I need to buy a Windows 98 SE to reenstall on this machine if it comes to this? Thanks, don't leave me hanging, get back with me!
 
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