Err Msg: Error Loading PROGMAN.EXE

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Article ID: 85862 - View products that this article applies to.
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WINDOWS              | MS-DOS
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SYMPTOMS

You may receive the following error message when you try to start Microsoft Windows or run Microsoft Windows Setup:
Error Loading PROGMAN.EXE

CAUSE

The following can cause of this error message:

  • An incorrect or missing SHELL= line in the [boot] section of the SYSTEM.INI file
  • An incorrect version of the SHELL.DLL file
  • VSafe program
  • A CHKLIST.MS file in the Windows directory
  • The [boot] section heading is missing in your SYSTEM.INI file.
  • The PROGMAN.INI file is corrupt.

MORE INFORMATION

The following sections cover the different causes of the above error message.

Incorrect or Missing SHELL= Line

You receive the error message if the SHELL= line in the [boot] section of your SYSTEM.INI file is missing or is set to a file that does not exist. Under Windows version 3.0, you receive an unrecoverable application error (UAE) if the SHELL= line is missing or set incorrectly.

The SHELL= line in the [boot] section of the SYSTEM.INI file should read as follows:
     SHELL=PROGMAN.EXE
If this error continues, or if an undefined dynalink error occurs, check the [boot] section in the SYSTEM.INI file for the line referring to SYSTEM.DRV=. This line must be present and should read as follows (unless it is modified by a third-party application, such as Adobe Type Manager):
     SYSTEM.DRV=SYSTEM.DRV

Incorrect Version of SHELL.DLL

Earlier releases of the SHELL.DLL file may prevent Program Manager from starting. Use the EXPAND utility (EXPAND.EXE) to expand the correct version of SHELL.DLL to the Windows SYSTEM directory. The following is an example of the command to be used with the EXPAND utility from Windows 3.1:
expand <a>:shell.dl_ <c>:\windows\system\shell.dll
The drive letters (<a> and <c> in this example) vary depending on the location of the source and destination of your files. SHELL.DL_ can be found on Disk 5 (5.25-inch) or on Disk 4 (3.5-inch) of the Windows 3.1 operating system disks.

Earlier versions of PROGMAN.EXE do not work with the new SHELL.DLL file. Use the EXPAND command to expand the correct version of PROGMAN.EXE to the Windows directory. For example, if you are expanding PROGMAN.EX from a disk in drive a to C:\WINDOWS, type the following command:
expand a:progman.ex_ c:\windows\progman.exe
The drive letters (<a> and <c> in this example) vary depending on the location of the source and destination of your files. PROGMAN.EX_ can be found on Disk 4 (5.25-inch) or on Disk 4 (3.5-inch) of the Windows 3.1 operating system disks.

VSafe Virus-Scanning Software

The VSAFE.SYS and/or VSAFE.COM virus-protection programs can cause the above error message. To correct this problem, remove VSAFE.SYS from the CONFIG.SYS file, and remove VSAFE.COM from the LOAD= line in the WIN.INI file and your Startup group.

CHKLIST.MS File in the Windows Directory

Microsoft Anti-Virus creates CHKLIST.MS files and places them in almost every directory that it checks. If a CHKLIST.MS file is placed in the Windows directory, the error message above is generated. To correct this problem, delete the CHKLIST.MS file from your Windows directory.

NOTE: The file may be reinserted in the directory the next time you use Anti-Virus; you must delete the file again if the error message reappears.

The [boot] Section Heading is Missing in Your SYSTEM.INI File

To correct this problem use a text editor such as Microsoft MS-DOS Editor to edit the SYSTEM.INI file and add the correct heading.

The PROGMAN.INI File is Corrupt

To correct this problem use a text editor such as Microsoft MS-DOS Editor to edit the PROGMAN.INI file and correct entries.

Properties

Article ID: 85862 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.21 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive KB85862

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