What the hell happened to my PC and how do I get it back?

I was playing Sim City 4 when my Athlon 1800 stopped responding. So I shut down the power but when I tried to reboot, my Win 98SE won’t come up completely! All I get is the wallpaper, no icons. The taskbar pops up then disappears. I shouldn’t have a virus becuase I haven’t downloaded anything. What gives? Any suggestions what to do about this?

BTW: I’m on my P3 at the moment.

PS: I tried safe mode a few times with the same results, except one time when Kernel reported an error.

Sounds like a fan failure is resulting in system overheating.

Turned on system after being off all night and still has the same problem.

Your system registry might have been screwed up.
Can you boot to the DOS prompt?

If you can, type “SCANREG /RESTORE”
You’ll see a list of the last 5 registries backed up after a successful boot. Pick a registry that pre-dates your problem and restore it. Then re-boot normally.

Did you try unplugging it from wall for a few minutes?

Booting to DOS is no problem.

Thanks, I was going to try that last night but forgot what the command was. I’ll try resoring a registry when I get home.

Tried scanreg /restore twice, still nothing.

Looks like you are toast to me. Sorry. Ah well, Win98 needs reinstalling every now and then anyway.

BTW with those specs you could go to Win2000, any chance of doing that? It’s the least awful OS MS ever released.

It’s possible to re-install Windows without reformatting.
Go to your Windows/Options/Cabs directory and run the Setup program there. This will just reinstall Windows. (It works in DOS, as well)

Yes, I didn’t mean to imply you had to reformat! Thanks for the pickup.

Windows/Options/Cabs? OK, I’ll try that.

I was going to reinstall from the CD but we can’t find the damn thing.

Nope, no setup program in that location. No executable of any kind in that location that can be run from DOS.

Do I need to save any files before I do this? Because I DESPERATELY need to reinstall Windows, but I’ve been putting it off.

You should backup the contents of your desktop, “My Documents”, and Favorites to a location outside the Windows folders (move them to a new folder like “C:\Backup” or something like that). I’ve had problems in the past where Windows just cleared out the contents of some of those folders, leaving me in the lurch; I’m not sure if newer versions do this, but better safe than sorry. My conservative advice, in a nutshell, is to backup all your personal files that are under C:\Windows or C:\Winnt or C:\Documents and Settings.

Also, if you use AOL Instant Messenger, you might want to back up your away messages from the Registry if, like me, you have a collection of novelty away messages… heh heh.

I’ve restored Windows several times from the CAB files in Windows/Options/Cabs without losing anything. You might want to make a backup copy of My Documents, just in case Windows decides to create a new, empty folder. (It’s never wiped any of my previous settings though, and I use Windows 98SE). Setup will run in Windows and in DOS (good planning, there).

Check your version of DirectX after you reinstall Windows. Sometimes it reverts to whatever version was on your Windows CD when it shipped and you’ll need to upgrade it.

Odd, I can’t find any setup program that runs in DOS. I even tried copying the one from the one I’m on now, which is also 98SE!

And you’re in the Windows/Options/Cabs directory?

It’s a real small program, only 6k. On my computer, it’s followed by Setup.txt (52k) and 3 sound files, Setup0,1 & 2.wav

I’m afraid I have no advice to offer you, but I would recommend OpenTechSupport.net, an excellent forum for computer questions.

None of those are present. They’re not even on the P3.

I’ve been trying to avoid doing so but I’ve decided to upgrade the Athlon to XP Home.