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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Monday, December 11, 2006

Geekgirl,

Because I am having the same W98 problem with the oleaut32.dll file not starting, I followed your instructions:

Boot the computer into Safe Mode (By tapping the F8 key)
Go into C:\Windows\System directory
Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old
Run VBRun60.exe (VB6 runtime lib)
Re-Boot the machine

A couple of concerns resulted. First, while in my C:\Windows\System directory, I was never able to find the oleaut32.dll file. This was odd because I successfully performed a Start > Find > Files and Folders. This resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files, the most recent update being 08/10/2004. Anyway, I couldn’t delete the oleaut32.dll in C:\Windows\System directory because I was not able to locate it.

I decided to go ahead and run the vbrun60. It appeared to successfully execute. However, after an apparent successful completion, this dialog boxed immediately appeared: Error registering the OCX c:\windows\SYSTEM\OLEAUT32.DLL. I executed vbrun60 again in hope that it would remedy this new concern. It didn’t.

Twice I restarted my PC only to find the same old error messages stating that, “The oleaut32.dll file cannot start.”

I don’t know about you, but in my mind this problem really seems to be going from bad to worse. I’m very much in need of it immediately going from bad to corrected.

Striver
 

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Hello and Welcome to TSF

The OLEAUT32.DLL is a hidden file, make sure you have Show Hidden Files and Folders selected.

Windows 98

To enable the viewing of Hidden files follow these steps:

Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
Double-click on the My Computer icon.
Select the View menu and then click Folder Options.
After the new window appears select the View tab.
Scroll down until you see the Show all files radio button and select it.
Press the Apply button and then the OK button and close the My Computer window.
Now your computer is configured to show all hidden files.

This resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files, the most recent update being 08/10/2004. Anyway, I couldn’t delete the oleaut32.dll in C:\Windows\System directory because I was not able to locate it.
Your contradicting yourself, you stated when you performed a Start > Find > Files and Folders that it resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files. Then your stating you couldnt delete it because you couldnt locate it, I'm alittle confused.
I never stated to delete it but to rename it in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Monday, December 11, 2006

Geekgirl,

I very much appreciate your prompt and helpful reply. I think a couple of points of clarification may be in order. First, when you said, “Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old,” I was using instructions from another URL that had the same instructions as yours. The only difference was to delete oleaut32.dll.

Also, I couldn’t delete it in the C:\Windows\System directory because it is a hidden file. I’m wondering, were you thinking I should have deleted it when I found it via Start > Find > Files and Folders? With your further instructions, I’m sure I’ll find it, rename it accordingly and rerun vbrun60.

Hopefully all will be better again with my PC.

Striver
 

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I am not real keen on you deleting the file but renaming is a better choice at this point reguardless of what you found on another site.

Finding it via Start > Find > Files and Folders means it is there, but make sure the path is correct. It is to be located in the System folder. Have you shown Hidden Files and Folders?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Geekgirl,

Yes, I followed your instructions and now show my hidden files and folders. I also followed your other instructions:

Boot the computer into Safe Mode (By tapping the F8 key)
Go into C:\Windows\System directory
Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old
Run VBRun60.exe (VB6 runtime lib)
Re-Boot the machine

Here’s what ensued:

1. I did successfully rerun VBRun60.exe. The dialog box, “Error registering the OCX c:\windows\SYSTEM\OLEAUT32.DLL” did not appear this time. However, restarting my PC, the Windows 98 splash screen appeared and the hard drive light remained on steadily and continuously for about two minutes before I decided to restart it. Why? I know my PC well enough to understand at that point it was not going to do anything more.

2. I performed a warm restart (Control-Alt-Delete) only to find a black screen appeared with the words: “While initializing device CONFIGMG: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.”

3. A few times I attempted to perform another warm restart. My PC did not respond at all. I finally switched it off with using the power on/off button.

4. Restarting my PC via the power on/off button resulted in the opening of the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu. At the bottom of this menu it stated that: “Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt. Choose Safe mode, to start Windows with a minimal set of drivers.”

5. I selected Normal start that again resulted in number one above.

6. I performed a warm restart that resulted in number 2 above.

7. I again performed number 3 above.

8. I again performed number 4 above.

9. I selected Safe mode, only to have the Windows 98 splash screen appear and the hard drive light remain on steadily and continuously for about two minutes before I decided to restart it.

10. I performed a warm restart that resulted in the opening of the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu. At the bottom of this menu it stated that: “Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt. Choose Safe mode, to start Windows with a minimal set of drivers.”

11. I switched off my PC’s power button.

I’m virtually at a loss as to what to do next.

Striver
 

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Boot to a 98 boot disk, at the command prompt type in scanreg /restore
You'll be given a choice of dates. Select one that is before this happened and click Restore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Monday, December 18, 2006

Geekgirl,

At the command prompt I typed in scanreg /restore. I was given around 5 different dates to restore from. I tried them all to no avail. At the end of each of the restore attempts, I kept getting a message stating that the restore attempt had failed.

The original problem with the oleaut32.dll file not starting happened on November 6th. All the restore dates were sometime in December.

Any further instructions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I Really Need Help Getting Beyond the W98 Splash Screen

Friday, January 05, 2007

Greetings. Below is the recent and rather lengthy troubleshooting process that has led to my PC's no longer booting beyond the W98 splash screen in either Normal or Safe Mode. I would very much appreciate any help in getting W98 working again?



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I decided to use the W98 Start-Up diskette I made soon after receiving my Inspiron 7000 in 1998. Booting to it, I chose the third selection of “View the Help file.” Here is a list of what subsequently displayed on my monitor:
“The following file is missing or corrupted: HIMEM.SYS
There is an error in you CONFIG.SYS file on line 24”

“The following file is missing or corrupted: RAMDRIVE.SYS
There is an error in you CONFIG.SYS file on line 31”

“Warning: the high memory area (HMA) is not available. Additional low memory (below 640K) will be used instead.”

“The following file is missing or corrupted: COMMAND.COM
“Type the name of the Command Interpreter (e.g., C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM)”

I did type C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM only to receive the message:
“General failure reading drive A”
“Abort, Retry, Fail?”

I retried with the same above results. I aborted, and “Current drive is no longer valid>” was displayed. At this point I powered off my notebook.

This is my notebook’s current status.



Monday, December 18, 2006
To: Geekgirl,

At the command prompt I typed in scanreg /restore. I was given around 5 different dates to restore from. I tried them all to no avail. At the end of each of the restore attempts, I kept getting a message stating that the restore attempt had failed.

The original problem with the oleaut32.dll file not starting happened on November 6th. All the restore dates were sometime in December.

Any further instructions would be greatly appreciated.



Wednesday, December 13, 2006
From: Geekgirl

Boot to a 98 boot disk, at the command prompt type in scanreg /restore
You'll be given a choice of dates. Select one that is before this happened and click Restore.



Tuesday, December 12, 2006
To: Geekgirl,

Yes, I followed your instructions and now show my hidden files and folders. I also followed your other instructions:

Boot the computer into Safe Mode (By tapping the F8 key)
Go into C:\Windows\System directory
Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old
Run VBRun60.exe (VB6 runtime lib)
Re-Boot the machine

Here’s what ensued:

1. I did successfully rerun VBRun60.exe. The dialog box, “Error registering the OCX c:\windows\SYSTEM\OLEAUT32.DLL” did not appear this time. However, restarting my PC, the Windows 98 splash screen appeared and the hard drive light remained on steadily and continuously for about two minutes before I decided to restart it. Why? I know my PC well enough to understand at that point it was not going to do anything more.

2. I performed a warm restart (Control-Alt-Delete) only to find a black screen appeared with the words: “While initializing device CONFIGMG: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.”

3. A few times I attempted to perform another warm restart. My PC did not respond at all. I finally switched it off with using the power on/off button.

4. Restarting my PC via the power on/off button resulted in the opening of the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu. At the bottom of this menu it stated that: “Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt. Choose Safe mode, to start Windows with a minimal set of drivers.”

5. I selected Normal start that again resulted in number one above.

6. I performed a warm restart that resulted in number 2 above.

7. I again performed number 3 above.

8. I again performed number 4 above.

9. I selected Safe mode, only to have the Windows 98 splash screen appear and the hard drive light remain on steadily and continuously for about two minutes before I decided to restart it.

10. I performed a warm restart that resulted in the opening of the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu. At the bottom of this menu it stated that: “Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt. Choose Safe mode, to start Windows with a minimal set of drivers.”

11. I switched off my PC’s power button.

I’m virtually at a loss as to what to do next.

Striver



Tuesday, December 12, 2006
From: Geekgirl

I am not real keen on you deleting the file but renaming is a better choice at this point reguardless of what you found on another site.

Finding it via Start > Find > Files and Folders means it is there, but make sure the path is correct. It is to be located in the System folder. Have you shown Hidden Files and Folders?



Monday, December 11, 2006
To: Geekgirl,

I very much appreciate your prompt and helpful reply. I think a couple of points of clarification may be in order. First, when you said, “Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old,” I was using instructions from another URL that had the same instructions as yours. The only difference was to delete oleaut32.dll.

Also, I couldn’t delete it in the C:\Windows\System directory because it is a hidden file. I’m wondering, were you thinking I should have deleted it when I found it via Start > Find > Files and Folders? With your further instructions, I’m sure I’ll find it, rename it accordingly and rerun vbrun60.

Hopefully all will be better again with my PC.

Striver



Monday, December 11, 2006
From: Geekgirl

The OLEAUT32.DLL is a hidden file, make sure you have Show Hidden Files and Folders selected.
Windows 98

To enable the viewing of Hidden files follow these steps:

Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
Double-click on the My Computer icon.
Select the View menu and then click Folder Options.
After the new window appears select the View tab.
Scroll down until you see the Show all files radio button and select it.
Press the Apply button and then the OK button and close the My Computer window.
Now your computer is configured to show all hidden files.

Striver said: “This resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files, the most recent update being 08/10/2004. Anyway, I couldn’t delete the oleaut32.dll in C:\Windows\System directory because I was not able to locate it.”

Your contradicting yourself, you stated when you performed a Start > Find > Files and Folders that it resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files. Then your stating you couldnt delete it because you couldnt locate it, I'm alittle confused.
I never stated to delete it but to rename it in the first place.



Monday, December 11, 2006

Geekgirl,

Because I am having the same W98 problem with the oleaut32.dll file not starting, I followed your instructions:

Boot the computer into Safe Mode (By tapping the F8 key)
Go into C:\Windows\System directory
Rename the file oleaut32.dll to .old
Run VBRun60.exe (VB6 runtime lib)
Re-Boot the machine

A couple of concerns resulted. First, while in my C:\Windows\System directory, I was never able to find the oleaut32.dll file. This was odd because I successfully performed a Start > Find > Files and Folders. This resulted in a list of oleaut32.dll files, the most recent update being 08/10/2004. Anyway, I couldn’t delete the oleaut32.dll in C:\Windows\System directory because I was not able to locate it.

I decided to go ahead and run the vbrun60. It appeared to successfully execute. However, after an apparent successful completion, this dialog boxed immediately appeared: Error registering the OCX c:\windows\SYSTEM\OLEAUT32.DLL. I executed vbrun60 again in hope that it would remedy this new concern. It didn’t.

Twice I restarted my PC only to find the same old error messages stating that, “The oleaut32.dll file cannot start.”

I don’t know about you, but in my mind this problem really seems to be going from bad to worse. I’m very much in need of it immediately going from bad to corrected.

Striver
 

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Hi striver

If you have access to a Windows 98 2nd Edition installation CD --> then you can try an over-the-top reinstallation of Windows 98se, provided that the hardware is sound enough. [License note: it is OK to borrow an installation disk for repair purposes, so long as that disk is a retail disk, as so long as you continue using your original product key/license].

Here are your next steps
1) Make sure your hardware is OK
2) Try an "over-the-top" (also called an "in-place reinstallation")

Make sure your hardware is OK
1) Try the Dell Diagnostics - (these can run from the Resource CD, if you have one, or from floppy diskettes, or from the Restore/repair partition on your hard drive = if your model came with that)
2) An alternative for testing, should you not have access to the Dell Diagnostics at the moment, is to use MemTest86+ to test the memory --- http://www.memtest.org --- and to use the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics to test the hard drive --- http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287
3) Check that your Bios Settings are OK. Enter Bios Setup by pressing the key mentioned in either the banner "Press F1 (or F2, F10, or DEL, etc.) to Enter Setup" or on the Dell Splash screen at startup. Make sure that the date/time are staying put (if not, the CMOS battery on the laptop might need replacing). Check that the timings and devices look OK - Bios guides should be available for your model on the Dell site.

Try an "over-the-top"
If the hardware all checks out OK, try the over-the-top. If all goes well, you won't lose any of your documents or other saved data, and you won't have to reinstall programs.
1) Follow the details from this guide I put together a few years ago. Pay close attention to the details! If you do, it should only take about 40-45 minutes, and then you'll be visiting Windows Update after that ---
Over the top ReInstall of Win9x
http://forum.pcmech.com/showthread.php?t=70846

This should get your system files back in places where they ought to be.

Should you not have any access to a Win98se installation CD, check on the Dell site to see what your Restore/Recovery options are for your model.

Best of luck
. . . Gary


[P.S. --- you might be surprised by my mention of Windows Update for Windows 98se -- It still works, it's just that there aren't any new updates after that time when full support ended -- around mid-summer 2006, I believe = so you can get everything until then: which is still quite useful]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I Really Need Help Getting Beyond the W98 Splash Screen

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gary,

Just prior to your January 5th post, I followed the step-by-step W98 reinstall instructions in my Dell-Installed W98 Setup Guide. To make a long story short, all went well to a point. I selected, “Continue setup and replace your current operating system” and pressed Enter. A window opened stating, “Your computer may have a disk-compression program installed on it. Because this system may contain an existing operating system or data, setup cannot continue.” I’ve never installed a disk-compression program. My notebook came with Nuts and Bolts 98, which I uninstalled before I installed Norton SystemWorks, version 2.0. I’m certain SystemWorks did not install a disk-compression program. What would you suggest I do now?

striver
 

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Hi again

Before going any farther, see if your computer can boot and run the diagnostics diskettes or CD. No sense in killing yourself trying to figure software solutions if there's hardware failure underneath. And most systems still running Windows 98 are heading into end-of-expected-use territory. The Dell Diagnostics for some of their models can run directly from the Resources CD, if you've got it around. You can also download the Dell Diagnostics and run them from a floppy diskette. (check on their website for those)

You also have the choice of trying MemTest86+ and the diagnostics from your hard drive's manufacturer (follow the links in my last reply).
______________

Software questions:
1) Does version 2.0 of SystemWorks have GoBack included on it? If so, did you install it?
2) Can you boot into Safe Mode at all?
3) Did your Dell come with Restore/Recovery Disks? Did it also come with a Windows 98 CD that you can use seperately from the Dell Recovery procedure?
4) Were the step-by-step Win98 reinstall guide instructions centered around using a Restore/Recovery CD?
5) Did the step-by-step Dell Win98 reinstall start from within Windows, from DOS, or from a Dell Recovery environment?
6) Do you have any data on that system that you absolutely need, and don't have backups of anywhere else?

Good luck & keep at it - there are lots of things to try
. . . Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gary,

I’ve actually just recently downloaded the updated Dell diagnostics to floppy using another PC. I’ve just not had time to run it. I have a hunch my floppy may be nearing the end of its useful life, though, because it occasionally tends to have difficulty reading and writing to older disks. Maybe it’s just the disks.

Now to your questions:
1) Does version 2.0 of SystemWorks have GoBack included on it? If so, did you install it?

Version 2.0 of SystemWorks I have doesn’t include GoBack.


2) Can you boot into Safe Mode at all?

I can F8 my way into the menu allowing me to select Safe Mode. However, whether I attempt a normal boot or Safe Mode, the W98 splash screen appears and the hard drive light remains on steadily and continuously. Nothing more happens, even after I’ve waited for about three minutes. So, no, I’m not able to get beyond the splash screen in either mode.


3) Did your Dell come with Restore/Recovery Disks? Did it also come with a Windows 98 CD that you can use seperately from the Dell Recovery procedure?

How I do wish it came with a Restore/Recovery Disk. It did come with its Dell-installed Windows 98 CD, though.


4) Were the step-by-step Win98 reinstall guide instructions centered around using a Restore/Recovery CD?

No.


5) Did the step-by-step Dell Win98 reinstall start from within Windows, from DOS, or from a Dell Recovery environment?

It started from the DOS Boot Disk that came with my notebook. I can F2 my way into Setup and change the boot order to CD-ROM first, it that’s of any help.

6) Do you have any data on that system that you absolutely need, and don't have backups of anywhere else?

Thankfully a programmer I knew some years ago emphasized the importance of backing up all data to external sources, so it’s something I’ve done ever since.


I do appreciate your helpful and prompt replies.

striver
 

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Hi again


When you downloaded the diagnostics for your Inspiron 7000, did you use the diskette version made specifically for that model? If not, here is a link to those made just for the 7000 --- http://support.dell.com/support/dow...=1&vercnt=2&formatcnt=1&libid=13&fileid=19970

It's a little interesting to me that they made a special diagnostic just for that model - quite a few are fairly generic and cover many models. Never a dull moment - always something new to discover.
_____________________

If everything checks out OK on the hardware side (if the diagnostics all look good) - you can try reinstalling Windows 98 again. Only this time, we'll do something a little different. This time, place the Dell Windows 98 Cd in the CD-drive, place the Dell bootable diskette in the floppy drive, and reboot from the floppy (make sure in the Bios beforehand that floppies boot first). After booting to the DOS prompt from the Dell floppy diskette, type the following commands that are in bold:
A:> C:
C:> cd \windows
C:\Windows> rename win.com win.old
C:\Windows> D: --- where D is the drive letter of your CD-drive
D:> Setup --- if Setup does not begin immediately, type the directory command (dir/p) this will list the contents of the CD one screen at a time. If there is a Win98 directory, Setup might be in there. If it is, change to that directory =
D:> cd \Win98
D:\Win98> Setup

You may need to have your Dell Windows 98 product key handy (probably on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop).

If the over-the-top fails, and your backups are extensive enough, you can try a "clean" install, restoring your data as necessary.

If the over-the-top succeeds, you can visit Windows Update as quickly as possible to get up-to-date with the many Critical Updates through mid-2006.

Good luck - hope it goes well -
. . . Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Friday, January 12, 2007

Gary,

I repeatedly tried running the updated Dell diagnostics diskette to no avail. These are the messages I received:
“While initializing device CONFIGMG: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.” C-A-Ding resulted in: “Disk I/O error Replace the disk, and then press any key” Replacing the disk and pressing Enter resulted in the same message.

I’ve sparingly and gently used my Inspiron since buying it such that I’m certain the hardware is otherwise functioning properly.

I went ahead and ran Setup. The Microsoft ScanDisk appeared and successfully progressed through Media descriptor and File allocation tables. However, it only completed 11 percent of Directory structure. At that point the computer froze, there was no keyboard response and the hard drive light remained on steadily and continuously for about two minutes before I decided to power it off.

Frustratingly, this is where I’m currently at.

striver
 

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Hi again


Unfortunately, even well-cared for systems sometimes have hardware that fails. And even during regular wear-and-tear, it's normal for a hard drive to eventually fail after six or seven years (they often go longer, but many don't). But there's no way to be certain until some basic set of diagnostics have managed to run their tests.

Next:
1) Try creating the Dell Diagnostics again, with a different floppy diskette. Make sure to use the one made specifically for your model first (the one in the link in my last reply).
2) If that fails, try things with a MemTest86+ diskette [just to see if the system is stable enough to run some memory tests].
3) If no diagnostics run from the floppy drive, it is a possibility that the drive itself isn't in great shape. To rule that out, try CD-based diagnostics (the links in my original reply point to diagnostics that can be created for both floppies or CDs -- at this point, it'd be time to try the CD-based tests. You boot the computer from the CD with the diagnostics on it, and run the tests from there).

. . . if the hard drive is OK, and your Dell Windows 98 CD is still in good enough shape, we can still get Windows 98 back on there --- even if the floppy drive is history (we can start the computer into DOS with a 98se Cd, "start computer with CD-ROM support", rename win.com from there, and start Setup at that point).

I'll stay tuned. . .
. . . Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Monday, January 15, 2007

Gary,

Here’s the latest development. I did floppy download the most recent Dell Inspiron 7000 diagnostics. I tried booting with it only to receive the message: “Remove disks or other media. Press any key to restart” I pressed Enter only to receive the same above message.

I was fortunately able to CD burn the most recent Dell Inspiron 7000 diagnostics. I booted to it only to receive: “The following file is missing or corrupted: WIN.COM” “Cannot find WIN.COM, unable to continue loading Windows” I then received the C prompt, even though I had booted from my D (CD-ROM) drive.

In that Setup was configured to CD-ROM boot, I thought I’d try something else. I booted to my Dell W98 CD > Started my computer with CD-ROM support > (Real Mode?) CD-ROM driver was installed > D:\> displayed > Typed Dell diagnostics file name (I7K-394B.exe) > Received the message: “This is a Windows self-extracting ZIP file. You can run it from Windows or unzip it with a utility like WinZip or PKUNZIP.”

I have WinZip installed on my hard drive in Program Files. There’s a DOS command to run WinZip to unzip the diagnostics program? I’ll be the first to confess that I’m a real DOS delinquent.

I do appreciate your sticking with me throughout this ordeal.

striver
 

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Hi again

Floppy Stuff
If we could get the floppy drive to co-operate, this is the standard method for running the diagnostics on your model. [It's too bad that your model is somewhat unique in its diagnostics, for many other models have bootable CD versions of the diagnostics available via download -- Alas, not so for the 7000].

When you created the Dell Diagnostic floppy diskette, did you double-click the I7K-394B.exe file, which began a process that self-extracted the files, and wrote them to your diskette, creating a bootable floppy diskette with the diagnostics? If not: create the diskette in exactly this way (use a fairly new floppy if you have one).

If yes: then you booted with the diskette, and received the "remove disks..." message? I'm thinking that what you are seeing is not a message from the Dell diagnostics - I'm thinking you are seeing a message from the Windows 98 Setup (that you started & aborted a few days ago) .. I think it's possible that your system isn't seeing the floppy at all. That message could be coming from Setup files still present on the C: drive from your interrupted Setup.

So let's try:
1) Enter Bios Setup, and double-check that the floppy is still set to be the first device in the Boot Order. Put the floppy first, the CD-ROM second, and the hard drive third. (Another thing: see if the date & time are OK = if not, let me know). Don't "Save Settings & Exit" yet.
2) Put the Dell Diagnostics diskette (already fully extracted) in the floppy drive
3) Put your Windows 98 CD in the CD-ROM drive.
4) Now select "Save Settings & Exit" to exit Bios Setup
5) Your computer will now boot either into the Dell Diagnostics, or from the CD-rom.

If the computer boots into the Dell Diagnostics:
1) Follow the instructions, and run full tests.

If the computer boots from the Windows 98 CD-ROM:
1) Select "Start computer with CD-Rom support" (Yes, this is real DOS).
2) From the resulting command prompt, type A:
3) If you are then able to see an A:> prompt, type dir/p
4) You should see the files on the Dell diskette list, one page at a time. I'm not sure which executable starts the diagnostics, there might be just a few listed: if you'd like, copy the executables down, post the list here, & I'll suggest which is likely to be the one to start the diagnostics. This is an unorthodox method of starting them= I'm not sure if it will work or not. One tip: don't try to start the diagnostics by typing I7K-394B.exe -- that is only the name of the zipped download, & won't start the tests.

If you can't get to an A:> prompt, the drive, or it's controller, has likely failed.
__________________________________

All this is only if we insist on trying the Dell Diagnostics. Actually, since we know the computer can boot from the CD, we could simply use different diagnostic tools. If you have a friend with broadband (or have broadband yourself, and another computer to use), you can try making an "Ultimate Boot CD" --- http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ --- This is a bootable CD that has many diagnostic tools already on it - including MemTest86+ to test the memory, and most major hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics tools -- if you don't know the brand of your Inspiron's hard drive, the UBCD has the DOS version of ASTRA on it, which can try to detect your hard drive (and other system components as well). All the details about making the UBCD and how to use it are on their website.

That will be the way to go if the floppy drive is just dead.

See if this gets the tests going - I'm definitely interested to see what they tell us about the health of the hard drive.
You're hanging in there pretty well, I'd say!
. . . Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gary,

Seems I’ve more or less stumbled onto what may be a couple of Inspiron 7000 diagnostic and reinstallation workarounds. More about them a little later.

You’ve asked if when I, “…created the Dell Diagnostic floppy diskette, did you double-click the I7K-394B.exe file…?” I did right click and Save Target As… I gather there may be a difference? I’ll try it your way. Yes, the diskette is brand new.

Fortunately, I do have access to another computer with broadband such that I can create an "Ultimate Boot CD."

The POST identifies my CD-ROM as a Toshiba. I think it even gives the model number.

About the floppy drive possibly being dead. When trying to access it, I’ve recently noticed its drive light comes on, but it makes an uncharacteristic sound when the read/write head is moving. I say uncharacteristic because it’s not the usual sound it makes when activated. The Dell troubleshooting guide I received with my Inspiron does give step-by-step directions on how to physically reset the floppy in the combination bay (combination meaning with the CD-ROM in the same bay). Also, I have the Inspiron 7000 manual with step-by-step directions for installing drivers. I suppose now I’d use it for reinstalling them. And, yes, I do have the drivers CD that came with my Inspiron. Somehow I knew it would be smart to keep them where I could find them. Perhaps that planning will pay off? I’ve been hesitant to attempt any of the above because my floppy does/did seem to work at times. My thinking has been that attempting to fix my floppy may end up rendering it completely useless.


Now more about the Inspiron 7000 diagnostic and reinstallation workarounds I mentioned above. A search at Dell.com using “windows 98 failure” resulted in a couple of potentially helpful pages. The URLs were rather long, so I’ve posted below the text from those pages. I hope this is OK?


Journal: 07016584WJ

Problems During Operating System Reinstall [ Dell Desktop and Portable Systems, Microsoft® Windows® Operating Systems ]

This is a step-by-step Troubleshooting Wizard. Use the options below to navigate.

STEP: Run the Drive Self Test (90/90).
To run the Drive Self Test on the hard drive perform the following steps:
1. Reboot the system.
2. Press <F12> when the Dell logo is displayed.
3. Use the arrow keys to navigate down to Hard Drive Diagnostics and press Enter.
Note: On some systems the Hard Drive Diagnostics may be listed as IDE Drive Diagnostics.
The Hard Drive Diagnostics begin.
For information about running the BIOS Quick Test or Drive Self Test Dell Knowledge Base Article:
298970 - How do I run the Drive Self Test (Hard Drive Diagnostic) on on my Dell™ Desktop, Portable, and Workstation computers?
Choose an option below:

The hard drive BIOS quick test failed.
The hard drive BIOS quick test passed.


Journal: 070162HCVJ
Why do I get a Windows® Protection Error when I try to reinstall Windows® 98 on my Inspiron™ or Latitude™?
1. Reset the Boot Order in the BIOS.

Refer to Section 1 for Inspiron systems.
Refer to Section 2 for Latitude systems.
Section 1: Inspiron Systems
1. Turn off the system.
2. Restart the system and immediately begin pressing the [F2] key until you see the message Entering Setup. The system will then load the BIOS menu.
3. Press the [F9] key to reset the BIOS defaults. Choose YES when prompted to load setup defaults.
4. Press the [F10] key to save changes and exit the BIOS. Choose YES when prompted.
5. The system should now boot normally into Windows 98.

2. Additional Information regarding Windows® Protection Errors when trying to Reinstall Windows® 98 on an Inspiron™ or Latitude™.

After Windows 98 is reinstalled, the system may report a Windows Protection Error at boot. In this case, the problem occurs if the system was set up to use the CD-ROM as the boot device while installing Windows 98.

Windows Protection Errors can occur when a 16-bit Real Mode (MS-DOS®) driver conflicts with a 32-bit Protected Mode (Windows) driver. If the CD-ROM is used as the boot device when installing Windows 98, this error can occur after the installation is complete and the system tries to reboot for the first time. The CD-ROM drivers loaded by the BIOS conflict with the drivers that are now being loaded by Windows 98.
The normal boot device order is: Floppy (Diskette) Drive, Hard Drive, CD-ROM Drive. Resetting the BIOS defaults will restore the proper settings for the boot device order, and prevent the Windows Protection Error from occurring.

Your thoughts on proceeding with these?

striver
 

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Hi again

Floppy Stuff - our favorite topic

Try creating the Dell Diagnostic floppy again. You need to execute the I7K-394B.exe file (or "Open" the file, which would run it). It is a self-extracting file. When "executed" or "opened" it will likely prompt you to place a freshly formatted, blank floppy diskette in the floppy drive [by the way = do this from a computer with a known-good floppy drive], and should then "extract" or "unzip" the compressed files and write them onto the diskette in the floppy drive.

If you right-click and choose "Save As", you are just saving the file to the floppy in it's compressed form.

You can "execute" or "open" I7K-394B.exe by either double-left-clicking on it, or by right-clicking and selecting "Open". Either method produces the same result.

Then try booting from that floppy & see if the Dell Diagnostics finally do their testing magic.
_______________________

Re: the repair notes from the Dell you quoted ---
1) The first describes running a Quick Check diagnostic on the hard drive, by starting the Dell Diagnostics from the Dell Diagnostics partition on the hard drive. I'm expecting that the partition is no longer there: but it can't hurt to try [it would be a nice surprise if the partition is still there, and the diagnostics can run from it]. If, as I suspect, the diagnostics cannot run via the F12 method, we still can run them from the floppy (if the floppy drive itself is healthy enough). And we still have the option of using the UBCD.
2) The next two articles concern the boot order once Windows 98 original-edition has been installed ( isn't your version of Windows 98 the "2nd Edition"?). I doubt that you'd see this error in a Win98se install/reinstall... If you did, you'd simply enter Bios Setup, change the boot order to A, C, CD-ROM, and you'd be OK.
______________________

If we do end up needing to use the hard-drive manufacturer's diagnostics, from that same Bios screen that showed your CD drive as a Toshiba, look for the brand/model/size of the hard drive. (If you can see just the brand, that'd do OK).

And -- let us know if your Windows 98 is 98-original or 98-2nd Edition (it might be on the CD's label).

Time for this tired tech to sleep for a bit. Maybe I'll wake up to hear that your Inspiron is working great again.
. . . Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Monday, January 22, 2007

Gary,

As is sometimes the case in my life, there just seems to be too little of me to go around. The past few days have been such a time.

Yes, I am/was running Windows 98. One way or another I’m sure my Inspiron will be running it again reasonably soon.

I’ll see if I can try what you’ve suggested, but I have to tell you that since I’ve come to understand how to effectively deal with the Windows protection error message, I’m eager to try a reinstall.

striver
 
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