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I accidentally deleted "winlogon.exe" and can't restart

I recently acquired a Gateway PC from a company that was purging old equipment. After getting rid of The Novell program, I began deleting files that were left over from previous users. In doing so, I seem to have deleted one too many, as now, when I attempt to restart (like to apply changes), the two intro windows "applying security settings" and " applying personal settings" repeat over and over, and the logon screen flashes briefly. I can hold the logon screen with the shift key, but when I type userID and P/W the repeating cycle continues, along with the windows music. I fear that I deleted "winlogon.exe". I obtained a copy of that file on a diskette that was formatted to FAT32, in order to attempt to replace the missing prompt, but reboot attempts have failed. All I get now is a DOS screen with the A drive prompt. Is recovery to Windows2000 even possible at this point? Everything had been working just fine until I started to fix what wasn't broken.

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My recommendation at this point is that you refresh the operating system and applications on the computer. If you didn't get the OEM operating-system CD with the computers, then, you might have to purchase a new copy of Windows. I suspect that your configuration is too broken for me to help you fix it through these channels.

This was first published in July 2004

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