Repairing Windows System Files

– Grogan –

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If you have a Windows system file that was accidentally deleted or corrupted, you don’t have to start from scratch, usually it can be extracted from your Windows CD.

If you are a Windows 95 user

If you can boot Windows and have WinZip, you can simply put your Windows 95 CD in the drive, go to the directory D:\Win95 (assuming your CD-ROM drive letter is D: ), and double click on the cab files to display the contents. Scroll to find the file you need, highlight it, and go to the Actions menu and choose Extract. Keep trying the cab files until you find your file.

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Alternatively you can boot to DOS and use the utility extract.exe (or do it from the DOS prompt if Windows is running, though you won’t be able to overwrite a file that is in use). Reboot, press F8 during startup when it says “Starting Windows 95”. This will give you the boot menu, with options. Choose “Command Prompt Only” from the list of options. Note that you will need to be able to access your CD-ROM from DOS for this, it requires using MSCDEX.exe in Autoexec.bat and a real mode CD-ROM driver in the config.sys file.

Click Here to learn how to load CD-ROM drivers in DOS

At the C:\ prompt, insert the Windows 95 CD and type D: Be sure to substitute the appropriate drive letter if your CD ROM drive is not D:. Now type CD WIN95 to change to the directory on the CD containing the .cab files. If by chance you know the .cab file that the desired file resides in, use the following syntax:


This would extract the file unidrv.dll from the into the Windows/System directory. The /L switch is used to specify the location, without it the default is the current directory, which in this case would be on the CD and would result in an error.

If you don’t know which .cab file contains the file that you need, use the following command syntax> It searches all the .cab files (starting with the one you specify) and extract the file when found:


The /A switch tells extract to search all the cab files in sequence, starting with the one you specified. If you just want to find which .cab file the file you need lives in, use the following command:


The /D switch prevents the file from being extracted.

Note for DOS People: I’m including a redundant path in the command in case someone happens to type it from the wrong directory; the command will still work with extract.exe in c:\windows\command


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