If you are a Windows 98 user

If you are running Windows 98, the task of extracting a file is almost too easy! The System File Checker utility is one of the most powerful and useful utilities that comes with Windows 98. The easiest way to get to it is to click the Start button and go to Run, type SFC in the field and hit Enter. When System File Checker opens, the first thing you should do is click the Settings button and check the two boxes labeled Check for Changed Files and Check for Deleted Files.

There are two ways to use System File Checker. If you select Scan for altered files, it will scan all of your system files (in a comprehensive preset directory search order, you can see where it looks if you go to settings and click the Search Criteria tab). If it finds a file that is corrupted, changed or deleted you will be prompted for action.

The first action is to update verification information. Choose this option if you know a file has been updated, e.g. you have upgraded software or applied a patch, and to accept the file the way it is.

The next option is to Restore the file from the Windows 98 CD. Choose this option if the file in question is corrupted, deleted or changed to an older version – check the date, version number and size. When you restore a file, by default, SFC saves a backup of the file you are replacing.

The last option is to Ignore, which will do nothing and you can make a decision on it later. Each time you run the scan, you will be prompted again until you have made a decision to either update the verification information or to restore it. This option will give you the chance to get back to it later after doing some research.

The other way to use SFC is to Extract One File from the Installation Disk. This is absolutely a breeze. Just type the exact name of the missing or damaged file in the field, and it will find it on the Windows 98 CD and put it where it is supposed to go. It will prompt you to reboot if it is a file that is in use. End of story, the original file is restored after you reboot.

Note: There is one fatal flaw to this that I must make you aware of. When you extract a file with System File Checker, it will look for the very first occurrence of it in the cabinet files. If this happens to be a file that is also in one of the pre-copy cabinet files System File Checker will “restore” the wrong file! For example, lets say you were getting error messages referring to user.exe and you decided you were going to use SFC to restore user.exe from the Windows 98 CD. System File Checker would pull it out of mini.cab and your next reboot will be your last, until you figure out what happened and restore the file from the proper location. If this happens to you, you will have to use extract.exe from DOS and extract the file from Windows 98_42.cab to c:\windows\system with the following command:


That was an example, but remember that if you don’t know which cab file to look in, you can use extract.exe in the following manner to search all of the cabinet files:

EXTRACT /A /D D:\WIN98\WIN98_22.CAB FILENAME.xxx | more

If Microsoft file versions are ever in question, the best place to pin down the exact version number you are supposed to have based on the Microsoft software you have installed is The Microsoft DLL Help Database at http://support.microsoft.com/servicedesks/fileversion/dllinfo.asp

Note that you cannot download the files from this site, but you can search by product and filename to see the version number, and then cross check it with other products you have installed.

Here is an example of how to use this. If we were looking for the version number of shlwapi.dll that ships with Windows 98 Second Edition, it would tell us 5.0.2614.3500. Clicking the more information link would show us the file size and date and a slightly more verbose description. But wait! There’s more. What if you’ve installed Internet Explorer 5.5? Simply select Internet Explorer from the Product drop list, and choose version 5.5 from the version drop list. Now search for the filename and you’ll see that the required version is 5.50.4134.600 and you know not to extract it from the Windows 98 CD or copy it from another PC that doesn’t have the correct version.


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