How to Access Your CD-ROM Drive When Windows Hangs at Startup

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Article ID: 182090 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q182090
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SUMMARY

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:
SHLWAPI: ShopenRegstreamA

You cannot get past this error message.

MORE INFORMATION

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 methods:

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

  1. 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.
  2. Type each of the following lines, pressing ENTER after each line

    cd\<windows>
    edit system.ini


    where <windows> is the name of your Windows folder.
  3. Press ALT+S, press F, type the following line in the Find What box, and then press ENTER:

    shell=
  4. Change the line to read as follows:

    shell=winfile.exe

    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 or folders.
  5. Press ALT+F, press S (to save), press ALT+F, and then press X (to exit).
  6. 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).
  7. Use your CD-ROM to extract files, if necessary, or reinstall Windows or Internet Explorer 4.0.
  8. On the File menu, click Run, type "sysedit" (without quotation marks), and then click OK.
  9. On the Window menu, click System.ini.
  10. Change the "shell=" line to read as follows:

    shell=explorer.exe
  11. On the File menu, click Save, and then click Exit on the File menu. This step restores the Windows Explorer shell.
  12. Restart your computer.

Properties

Article ID: 182090 - Last Review: January 22, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB182090

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