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Help! My hard drive crashed!

My hard drive started to crash, and then I ended up not being able to read opening sectors that supposedly have Windows startup on them. I can still can get computer into safe mode option, but I have been able to start Windows. So, I can not access files to use. I can copy them though and did so to a new hard drive. So, now the new hard drive has the copied old system (that actually has all the Windows and office updates on it and really is quite extensive. I am going to try and get into that partially-crashed hard drive. But it also had to be formatted with its own version of Windows 98 Second Edition. The copied system is also Windows 98 Second Edition and has all updates on it and almost six months of downloaded files on it. My question: Is there anyway to integrate that into the Windows 98 SE that the new hard disk is formatted with? I just dread having to download all the new updates, etc., onto this new hard drive. This is a very frustrating situation, since I had not backed up recently before the old hard drive started to crash.

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Most of the Windows security updates involve over-writing and replacing .dll files, and other files that are almost continually in use by the Windows 98 operating system, which makes doing a normal DOS- or Windows Explorer-based file copy nearly impossible. (This is why you are prompted to reboot after many such updates, as that is the only way the OS can replace an 'in-use' file.) In many cases, you are also dealing with updated Registry entries, which I would certainly NOT recommend performing manually. (And doing so would end up taking longer than re-installing via download ANYWAY.)

If you still have the downloaded .zip or self-extracting executables of the updates you wish to install, I would suggest simply knocking them out all at once, one right after the other...it probably won't take as long as you think.

If you do NOT have the .zip & .exe files, and you are simply trying to bring your machine "up to snuff" with the critical security patches for Windows '98, check out the Windows Update site (www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com). It will present you with the most critical updates for your system in a reasonably easy-to-download-and-install format.


This was first published in July 2002

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