VOGONS


First post, by Standard Def Steve

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Today when I fired up my Win98SE machine, it actually powered off at the splash screen, which I thought was extremely weird. When I turned it back on, it beeped a few times and displayed this funky looking error screen.

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Now, I can't get Win98 to start for the life of me. Safe mode doesn't work. When I try the step-by-step confirmation mode, it crashes as soon as it gets to the "Load Windows GUI" stage. I tested the RAM (memtest86 for 3+ hours) and hard drive (Seatools); both are fine.

Specs of the system in question:
Dell XPS T550
1.4GHz Celeron
512MB RAM
Dell/Intel 440BX motherboard
Voodoo3 3000 AGP
Aureal SQ2500 Vortex 2 PCI
AWE64 ISA

The last thing I did to it was install a few DOS games from my ancient ATANAK shareware disks. I have a hunch that's what broke it, as I can sort of recall these shareware games breaking my old Windows 95 machine in a very similar way, 20 years ago.

Any idea how I can fix this?

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628 MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2720 MHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-544 | GTX-280 | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 42,148

Reply 1 of 14, by mr_bigmouth_502

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Reinstall Windows, I guess. I think your shareware disks might be infected with some type of a virus. It happened back in the day. :<

My NEW(ish) desktop:
p8cqsw-2.png

Reply 2 of 14, by collector

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Ask old hardware and driver/configuration questions in Marvin. This forum is for old Windows games on modern systems.

The Sierra Help Pages -- New Sierra Game Installers -- Sierra Game Patches -- New Non-Sierra Game Installers

Reply 4 of 14, by Standard Def Steve

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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

Reinstall Windows, I guess. I think your shareware disks might be infected with some type of a virus. It happened back in the day. :<

Crap. I really hope it doesn't come down to this. It took me forever and a day to get 98 running exactly the way I wanted it to, and there are at least 100 games installed. A reinstall would suck on so many levels.

If it is a virus (and it kind of looks that way, with the strange characters), I wonder why it only seems to affect Windows. I ran these shareware disks on a 286-16 with DOS 6 long before even Win95 was released. That system was fine.

Also wondering what caused that initial shutdown. I didn't think it was possible for software to turn off the PSU outside of Windows.

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628 MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2720 MHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-544 | GTX-280 | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 42,148

Reply 6 of 14, by mr_bigmouth_502

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Standard Def Steve wrote:
Crap. I really hope it doesn't come down to this. It took me forever and a day to get 98 running exactly the way I wanted it to, […]
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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

Reinstall Windows, I guess. I think your shareware disks might be infected with some type of a virus. It happened back in the day. :<

Crap. I really hope it doesn't come down to this. It took me forever and a day to get 98 running exactly the way I wanted it to, and there are at least 100 games installed. A reinstall would suck on so many levels.

If it is a virus (and it kind of looks that way, with the strange characters), I wonder why it only seems to affect Windows. I ran these shareware disks on a 286-16 with DOS 6 long before even Win95 was released. That system was fine.

Also wondering what caused that initial shutdown. I didn't think it was possible for software to turn off the PSU outside of Windows.

Maybe your 286 never met the conditions to activate the virus payload, or something in the way the software was written just doesn't play nicely with Win9x. What particular programs were you trying to run?

My NEW(ish) desktop:
p8cqsw-2.png

Reply 7 of 14, by Standard Def Steve

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Bio Menace, Gateworld, and Skyglobe. The shareware versions all use the ATANAK installer. They installed and ran just fine from within Windows. No signs of damage until I tried to boot the PC last night.

Thinking I might install Win98 on a spare drive and copy over the boot files.

derSammler wrote:

Tried running SCANDISK in DOS? Probably the FAT was damaged.

Scandisk found nothing wrong.

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628 MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2720 MHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-544 | GTX-280 | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 42,148

Reply 9 of 14, by Standard Def Steve

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No virus. I'm going to have to reinstall Windows, aren't I... 😢

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628 MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2720 MHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-544 | GTX-280 | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 42,148

Reply 10 of 14, by darry

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I would run some hardware diags (Memtest and possible a disk SMART diag) just to be sure the shareware isn't a coincidence and the problem doesn't have a hardware origin .

Reply 11 of 14, by Zup

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Also, there was a switch (win /b?) that generated a boot log, so you can check where does windows fail.

Then, you can check the files/devices involved and remove them from win.in I.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 12 of 14, by chinny22

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Most games wont require re installing after a fresh install of windows, just double click game.exe and It'll fire up as if nothings ever changed.

So for now if you add a second HDD, boot from a floppy/CD copy your games, over.
You can then wipe the disk, reintall windows, then simply copy everything back.

A lot of people here keep games, drivers, even the windows cab files on a second partition for exactly when this happens.
Personally I have:
C:\ Windows, Programs
D:\ Games
E:\ Rebuild (drivers, windows cabs)

Reply 13 of 14, by .legaCy

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if you has less than 50% of space used in your hard disk you can use bootit ng on a floppy(not the bootit bm) , resize your partition to the minimun size , create a new partition, do a fresh install, copy your files and games to the new partition, boot again with bootit ng floppy, delete the old partition, slide the new one to the beginning of the disk and resize it to the full capacity of the disk or your desired capacity.
I dont know if the official website still offer the download of the older version but even it say its trial if you only use the partition manager and not the boot manager it will be fine.

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 14 of 14, by Standard Def Steve

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Thanks for all of the help guys. I finally reinstalled Win98 over itself as suggested and it actually boots back to my old desktop! Didn't even need to reinstall any drivers. Most of my programs still work, too. Some aren't launching; they'll obviously need a reinstall. But no matter, it's working a lot better than I thought it would. 😁

P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
Tualatin: PIII-S @ 1628 MHz | QDI Advance 12T | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT | X-Fi | 500GB HDD | 3DMark01: 14,059
Dothan: PM @ 2720 MHz | MSI Speedster FA4 | 2GB DDR2-544 | GTX-280 | X-Fi | 500GB SSD | 3DMark01: 42,148