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Thread: Taskbar BLANK

  1. #1
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    Hello and Help!

    I volunteer at a thrift shop and brought home a donated system to see if I could get it working so it could be sold. It is an old Compaq Presario (FAT32) that ran Win98 and was upgraded to XP Pro. It has a 12G hard drive, 94 mg ram, and was pretty slammed full, but was working OK until I deleted something important. Now it boots up with any user to an empty taskbar and no start button. Pressing the Windows key brings up an empty Start Menu. So there is no "Run". Also lost some of the menu headings in Explore, like what Display Properties calls the "Active Title Bar".

    It was working under the signin Default. I've signed in as Administrator which looks the same. I created a new user, but it looks the same. I've gotten these messages:

    #1
    Registry corrupted, make sure mmcndmgr.dll is [whatever] by running this:
    regsvr32%SystemRoot%\system\mmcndmgr.dll

    I found this file on my system in Windows\System32, and it is also on the Compaq in the same place. Without Run, I don't know what to do with #1 above.

    #2
    Advanced INF install
    %remove_nodir_error%

    This "message" came up in a box. It had a red circle with an X to the left of the %, and an OK button to close the box.

    The last thing I was doing was deleting the residue of files that had been removed with Control Panel Add/Remove. Using Explore, most of them threw an "Access Denied" message. So I went at them with ZTree. They are gone. Not in Recycle. I doubt if there is a usable System Restore since I didn't set one before beginning hours of game and junk deletion. Most of the deletion was done in \Program Files. I was not working in any of the \Documents and Settings folders. But I was in Common Files.

    So there it sits, in Safe Mode at the DOS Prompt.

    Total Help.
    Kris

  2. #2
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    An interesting alternative to Windows98 could be to install a light version of Linux, like Puppy Linux. You can burn a CD and run it live to see if your hardware is supported. If OK, you can then decide to permanently install it. I have done it on an old laptop and it is perfect for browsing, e-mailing, simple spreadsheet and text documents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcl View Post
    .....I volunteer at a thrift shop and brought home a donated system to see if I could get it working so it could be sold.....
    If you're looking to repair the Operating System without doing a fresh install, it seems very unlikely - from what you have described - that you could make much headway.

    In "normal" circumstances, the advice would be to do a reinstall, but AFAICS you have no means with which to install either WinXP or Win98?

    Is this correct?
    Gre

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    It is looking more and more like you are correct. Some of the systems that are donated come with a box or bag full of disks and paperwork. Others, like this one, just the hardware. This is the third system I've worked on. One of the others is running fine and up for sale, the other likewise and went to another one of our volunteers.

    I've tried ctrl/esc. With ctrl/alt/del, I can't access New Task to try to run Explorer. I accessed DOS through Program Files and tried to run SFC /scannow, but could not find an I386 mirror folder. Windows Protection ran, but only asked for the CD. It did not give me the option of pointing it elsewhere, even if there were an I386 folder. I considered copying I386 from my system onto CD and loading it into the broken system, but if SFC won't ask for an alternative location, no point.

    Sooooooooo, I guess I'll have to move on to the second tower I brought home and learn a lesson. Absolutely no ZTree.
    Kris

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    Just a thought... no one has mentioned trying a System Restore. Given the small size of the HD and depending on how many programs are installed, it may not be possible as there may not be any useful restore points. But it might be worth a try.
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    In your original post you say the system has 94MB of RAM. If this is correct then XP is not a practical option, it may boot but would be unusably slow. Win 98 or Linux are really your only options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mulga View Post
    In your original post you say the system has 94MB of RAM. If this is correct then XP is not a practical option, it may boot but would be unusably slow. Win 98 or Linux are really your only options.
    "Some of the systems that are donated come with a box or bag full of disks and paperwork. Others, like this one, just the hardware. "
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    Yes, I did look at System Restore, but the last one was too long ago and I had not set one. Guess I will from now on!

    And yes, XP was a poor choice for a system this old and small. When I analyzed the drive (defrag), I could see that most of the space was taken up by Windows! There were constant error messages about file conflicts and a ton of old 16 and 32 bit programs (games) that I deleted.

    A friend has offered her Win98 program disk so perhaps we will try to format the drive and do a clean install. That will be a first for me, and it doesn't matter if we trash it. What they had been doing with these donated systems was heaving them in the dumpster. A real shame when some of them can be made to function.

    Any pointers on doing a clean install of Win98? The drive is partitioned. If I say format c:, d: will still be left. How do I get rid of the partition? Is there a switch to the format command? Or perhaps starting up the Win98 CD will format for me?
    Kris

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcl View Post
    .....The drive is partitioned. If I say format c:, d: will still be left. How do I get rid of the partition? Is there a switch to the format command? Or perhaps starting up the Win98 CD will format for me?
    Partition Resizer is AFAICS still freeware. It works just fine on resizing Win98 partitions.

    If you want to get rid of both the other partitions, search Google for "fdisk delete partition" and choose the explanation that is simplest for you to read. Then resize the c:\ drive. Alternatively, you can shrink either or both the other two to suit.

    The Win98 setup CD almost certainly has no instructions whatsoever on managing existing partitions.
    Gre

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcl View Post
    Yes, I did look at System Restore, but the last one was too long ago and I had not set one. Guess I will from now on!

    And yes, XP was a poor choice for a system this old and small. When I analyzed the drive (defrag), I could see that most of the space was taken up by Windows! There were constant error messages about file conflicts and a ton of old 16 and 32 bit programs (games) that I deleted.

    A friend has offered her Win98 program disk so perhaps we will try to format the drive and do a clean install. That will be a first for me, and it doesn't matter if we trash it. What they had been doing with these donated systems was heaving them in the dumpster. A real shame when some of them can be made to function.

    Any pointers on doing a clean install of Win98? The drive is partitioned. If I say format c:, d: will still be left. How do I get rid of the partition? Is there a switch to the format command? Or perhaps starting up the Win98 CD will format for me?
    You should be able to format the entire disk into 1 FAT32 partition using the setup proceedure for Windows 98. These instructions from here are for Win 95, but they are virtually identical.


    Procedure Steps:
    1. Check Version Number: At the DOS prompt, enter the following command: "ver". The system will respond with the version of DOS/Windows you have booted. Make sure that this matches whatever you want to install on the hard disk. For Windows 95 OEM SR2 the version number will be "4.00.1111".
    2. Plan Partitions: Decide how you want to partition your hard disk. In particular, for large hard disks under Windows 95 OSR2, decide if you want to set up your hard disk with a single large FAT32 partition, or several smaller FAT16 partitions. (You can of course mix these). I provide instructions for doing either of these, but cannot tell you how to set up your system. You must decide based on what makes sense for you. For assistance in making this decision, and more general information on partitioning, cluster sizes and related issues, refer to this section. Most people today prefer to set up a new system using a single FAT32 partition.
    3. Run FDISK.EXE:From the command prompt, enter the command "fdisk". If you have a disk large enough to warrant the use of FAT32, you will be asked if you want to enable "large disk support". Enter "Y" if you want to enable FAT32, or "N" if you do not want to enable FAT32. If you do enable this, any partitions over 500 MB that you create will be FAT32. Note that if you do not enable FAT32, you will not be able to put your entire hard disk into one partition if it is greater than 2 GB in size.


    If you decided to place your entire hard disk into a single partition, then follow this step:
    1. Partition Hard Disk (Single Partition): Follow these steps to set up your hard disk:
      1. Select from the FDISK menu "1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive".
      2. Select "1. Create Primary DOS Partition". FDISK will verify drive integrity. Then it will ask if you want to use the maximum available size of the disk for the primary partition and set it active. Enter "Y". The system will allocate the whole disk to the partition, and that's that.
      3. Press {Esc} to exit FDISK.
    There are also instructions for someone's personal Win 98 install proceedures here. HTH
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    I agree with an earlier post. Puppy Linux is the thing to go for. Puppy basically runs in RAM - so can be startlingly fast even on old systems - and the apps are all modern versions.

    We have a recycling project here, and Poppy is the choice for all older and "less well endowed" systems. Linux Mint for decent spec ones.

    Keeps you away from any and all licensing issues, and they do a great job with little to no chance of viruses etc, and a full set of free applications. This just suits the type of users who'll get our systems.

  12. #12
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    Many thanks, Doc Watson, for the DOS instructions and explanations. I know these commands but not well enough, and the combination of the old FAT32 Win98 and the "new" XP made me wary. Since I was at the point where I didn't care what happened to the drive, I was willing to try.

    To get independant of Windows, I loaded a DOS boot disk which gave me the choice of running with CD support. When the Win98 CD loaded, it said that the version on the system was newer than the disk, so it would not offer the setup choice. What I had wanted to do was wipe the disk, install one FAT32 partition, and reinstall Win98 which was appropriate for that age machine. Without the setup choice I was stuck, but with your guidance I could proceed, and I still might have to. The clean install instructions on showshown.com are particularly good and easy to understand.

    What I did was use the only restore point available on the system which sent it back to October 2008. At least everything in XP Pro is functioning although undoubtedly badly in need of updating. I can Add/Remove as many games and junk as possible, do a disk cleanup and defrag, then pronounce it working and put it up for sale. I understand the comments about Linux, but hesitate because I wonder if buyers in my small rural area could use it. They are not that computer savvy here but recognize anything Windows.

    Whew, what a learning experience. But what fun, bringing home these donated systems. Each one is like opening a big unknown present. Some are stuck tight with junk and will hardly move, some buzz right along. I get to stretch what ability I have and add to it without worrying about wasting something important. Thanks for everyone's help and comments in this project. I'm going to keep it up, so I'll probably be back.
    Kris

  13. #13
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    I'm pleased you found the information useful. I really felt that if there were any restore points that using one would get the system files back, which seemed to be the problem. The larger issue is XP on this under powered box. Simply put, it is NOT the OS for the hardware available. I agree that in NC the possibility of selling a Linux box in a thrift store would be akin to selling snowcones at the North Pole.

    Following the links I posted will eventually lead you to this page about using the FDISK command to delete partitions and setup a new, single, large, FAT32, logical partiton to install a clean copy of Windows 98 on. The subsequent pages are worth a read before you begin and you might want to print out the steps for reference while you go throught the process.

    Good luck and please post back to let us know what you did and how it worked out.
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    Well, after the restore point, I carefully removed what I could to gain as much space as possible, let the system do a cleanup and defrag, then installed Avast. I've never seen so many trojans, worms, and viruses. No wonder the poor thing quit. My systems have always been squeaky clean so I've never seen what Avast does with a bad guy. Avast and MalwareBytes deleted upwards of 40 infections or sent them to the chest. It was still booting and running so I put on a few cosmetics and backed off.

    I printed up a nice list of hardware and software, put $40 on it, and put it on display at the front of the shop. Two days later I went back in to work and it was sold. The cashier said the buyer had no questions, just that he has wanted to do some work on his own system and if this one doesn't work out the money is for a good cause. I figured if he does nothing but remove the DVD drive, CD-RW drive, and Iomega Zip drive, he's got his money back.

    Now that my brain is oozing out my ears, I'm waiting for more old towers to be dropped off. I've bookmarked this post so I can get at all the links quickly. Hopefully I'll get to FDISK one day. Always wanted to, but never had a system that didn't matter. Thanks again!
    Kris

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    Well, after the restore point, I carefully removed what I could to gain as much space as possible, let the system do a cleanup and defrag, then installed Avast. I've never seen so many trojans, worms, and viruses. No wonder the poor thing quit. My systems have always been squeaky clean so I've never seen what Avast does with a bad guy. Avast and MalwareBytes deleted upwards of 40 infections or sent them to the chest. It was still booting and running so I put on a few cosmetics and backed off.

    I printed up a nice list of hardware and software, put $40 on it, and put it on display at the front of the shop. Two days later I went back in to work and it was sold. The cashier said the buyer had no questions, just that he has wanted to do some work on his own system and if this one doesn't work out the money is for a good cause. I figured if he does nothing but remove the DVD drive, CD-RW drive, and Iomega Zip drive, he's got his money back.

    Now that my brain is oozing out my ears, I'm waiting for more old towers to be dropped off. I've bookmarked this post so I can get at all the links quickly. Hopefully I'll get to FDISK one day. Always wanted to, but never had a system that didn't matter. Thanks again!
    Kris

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