Windows will not boot Windows

Microsoft Windows 95
March 27, 2010 at 11:51:26
Specs: Microsoft Windows 95
When i start my computer, I receive a
message that states:

'cannot find a device file that may be need to
run Windows or a windows application.
The Windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file
refers to this device file, but the devece file no
longer exists.
If you deleted this file on purpose, try uninstall
the associated application using its uninstallor
setup program.

If tou still want to use the application
associated with this device file, try reinstalling
that application to replace the missing file.
Press a key to continue.'

I hit enter, and it does not load. Safe Mode will
display my background image, but Windows
Explorer is apparently not working. I cannot
perform their suggestions until I can get the
computer to boot up explorer. Any

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March 27, 2010 at 12:05:07
Moved to Windows 95/98 forum from Hardware.

This is a software problem specific to windows 95/98.


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March 27, 2010 at 19:45:53
Found this using Google:

Fine, but presumably you can't get into the registry. Unfortunately there is no scanreg /restore in W95 and the one registry copy usually gets overwritten. Maybe someone else will have some ideas but at least you now know what the problem is about.

What's the time?

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March 27, 2010 at 23:00:40
Did you try but fail to install some network stuff or maybe uninstall it?

Sometimes manually replacing the file helps. There may be several that are missing. So if you replace it and boot up you'll get a second missing file message. Then you can add that one too. The necessary files are usually on the 95 cd.

Do you know what version of 95 you have? If not, choose 'command prompt only' from the boot menu (the one you used to get to safe mode) and type VER and enter. Post back what it says.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.

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Related Solutions

March 27, 2010 at 23:27:21
I’ve posted a “few” links from a trawl out there in the www…

Many are ancient but still there at least. Sadly the one that really details how to resolve your dilemma is no-longer there. This was Bob Bale’s excellent set of “how to” for most things ‘9x/ME. Derek in the XP forum may still have active links in his files; or know of alternative sources for that info…

Essentially it is possible to do what is in effect a repair installation of ‘9x…

One runs a fresh setup/installation (CD or floppies + CD boot) and when the proffered/default folder “windows0000” is offered… change it to whatever your current windows folder is called…; and continue with installation.

Theoretically it will rebuild ‘9x – but you may have to reinstall a few drivers etc.?

Likely it will prompt you for input re’ files it finds already there; and ask you if you wish to retain/replace accordingly…? Logically I’d retain current files.

Possibly one or two apps/utils will have to be re-installed – but not sure about that aspect…

Been a long while since…

HOWEVER FIRST SAFEGUARD DATA/FILES before proceeding with the above route - or any of those below… (safer than sorrier).

One way or another copy to optical media or another hard-drive; or to another partition on the same drive. Ensure that your data/files is/are NOT in the windows folder - and ideally not on the same partition where windows resides – if possible.

Have a browse of the stuff below too – although I think the above route will do what’s required… Also in the stuff but below there are a couple of suggestions re’ recovering a working registry – even though the current one (and its backup are screwed up).

This one covers ‘9x and XP – ‘9x at start…; XP lower down

This one discusses “repairing” the registry…


These below “might” work:

This one covers all flavours of ‘9x/ME and briefly mentions the problems with registry backups (as created within ’95)… But does seem to suggest that Safe-mode” “may apparently restore a working set of files (Not something I have come across before for ’95.)

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March 28, 2010 at 11:55:27
If required I have a copy of vnetsetup.vxd (W95).

It should be possible to put this in via one of the startup Command Prompt options. Not sure where it goes but if the poster wants to proceed in this direction I am sure we can find out (or have a darned good guess). It's likely
to be c:\windows\system or a sub-folder.

What's the time?

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March 28, 2010 at 16:13:19
Thank you for all of the advice I have received. The equipment is
an old Toshiba laptop with only a floppy drive. My current
desktop has no floppy drive.

I will see if my father-in-law wants me to pursue fixing the
problem, and will follow up.

Thanks again.

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March 28, 2010 at 21:26:50
Do you know how the OS was originally installed; and also are you able to boot to a dos prompt with things as is? If not able to boot to a dos prompt with things... then if you have a dos boot disk - preferably a '98/ME version (and they can be found variously "out there" on the www as a download if you don't have one already) you can boot to dos that way; at least inspect the drive as is and see what's there. Also it may (will) allow a degree of data recovery too (although rather a piece meal approach).

It "may" be that the entire '95 OS cab-file (setup) is also on the drive; and if so then a repair/recovery to a working may also be possible... - without a '95 CD. Equally if the system came with '95 on floppies... repair/recovery again is viable...

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