This article describes how to access your CD-ROM drive when you cannot
start Windows. If your computer stops responding (hangs), you may not be
able to access your CD-ROM drive to extract files or reinstall Windows or
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0.
This same behavior may occur if you receive an error message stating that
you need to reinstall Windows. For example, when you start Windows 95, you
may receive the following error message:
Error loading Explorer.exe. You must reinstall Windows.
When you click OK, you may receive the following error message:
The Explorer.exe file is linked to missing export:
You cannot get past this error message.
To access your CD-ROM drive when you cannot start Windows, change the
"shell=" line in the System.ini file. To do so, use one of the following
Windows 98 Only
Start your computer using your Windows 98 Startup disk. This disk is
created during Windows 98 Setup. You can also create this disk by clicking
Start, pointing to Settings, clicking Control Panel, double-clicking
Add/Remove Programs, clicking the Startup Disk tab, and then clicking
Create Disk. When you use the Startup disk, choose the appropriate startup
method from the Startup menu.
Windows 95 and Windows 98
- Restart your computer. For Windows 95, when you see the "Starting
Windows 95" message, press the F8 key, and then choose Command Prompt
Only from the Startup menu. For Windows 98, press and hold down the
CTRL key after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST),
and then choose Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu.
- Type each of the following lines, pressing ENTER after each line
where <windows> is the name of your Windows folder.
- Press ALT+S, press F, type the following line in the Find What box, and
then press ENTER:
- Change the line to read as follows:
This step temporarily changes the shell to File Manager, available in
Windows 95 and Windows 98 for compatibility purposes.
Note that we do not recommend File Manager for normal use because it
does not recognize and can damage long file names if you change files
- Press ALT+F, press S (to save), press ALT+F, and then press X (to
- Restart your computer.
Note that you may not be able to use your CD-ROM drive if other core
files are damaged (such as the Vmm32.vxd or Win.com file).
- Use your CD-ROM to extract files, if necessary, or reinstall Windows
or Internet Explorer 4.0.
- On the File menu, click Run, type "sysedit" (without quotation marks),
and then click OK.
- On the Window menu, click System.ini.
- Change the "shell=" line to read as follows:
- On the File menu, click Save, and then click Exit on the File menu.
This step restores the Windows Explorer shell.
- Restart your computer.
Article ID: 182090 - Last Review: January 22, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
- Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
- Microsoft Windows 95