Windows Err Msg: Error Loading SYSTEM.DRV

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Article ID: 85452 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you start Microsoft Windows, the following error message may be displayed:
Error Loading SYSTEM.DRV
you are then returned to the MS-DOS command prompt.

When you try to start Control Panel, the following error message is displayed:
Cannot find the Control Panel Components (files with .CPL extension). Verify that they are installed in your Windows SYSTEM directory.


The KRNL386.EXE and/or KRNL286.EXE files are located in the wrong directory. The first message appears if KRNL386.EXE and KRNL286.EXE files are located in the Windows directory. The second message appears if the Windows SYSTEM subdirectory is in your path and the KRNL386.EXE file is in the Windows directory.


KRNL386.EXE and KRNL286.EXE should be located in the Windows SYSTEM subdirectory. To successfully load Windows, move these files from the Windows directory to the Windows SYSTEM subdirectory.

In Windows 95, the error can also occur if the KRNL386.EXE file is in the Windows\Command subdirectory or in the root directory. This file should be in the Windows\System subdirectory. Note that there is no KRNL286.EXE file in Windows 95.

If you still receive the error message after moving the file(s) to the correct location, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
70467 Windows Err Msg: Cannot Find KRNLxxx.EXE


Article ID: 85452 - Last Review: December 16, 2000 - Revision: 1.0
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.11 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95

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