General Protection Fault (GPFs)
A GPF occurs usually when a piece of code tries to write outside of its allocated area of memory. This is often a DLL (Dynamic Link Library) file, a software driver (for such as video), or a software application.
Windows 95/98 protects itself from system crashes by allocating specific areas of memory to each application launched. This is fine for correctly developed 32-bit programs i.e. those developed for Windows 95/98. GPFs are often caused by 16-bit software or drivers that attempt to use one of these allocated areas, and by some poorly developed 32-bit programs.
It is usually futile trying to continue without a reboot. Don't worry if it happens just occasionally; we have become used to low standards and these things are now accepted! However, if it occurs regularly you need to check into it.
A likely cause is recently installed software or hardware driver. It may be necessary to uninstall some recently installed software, starting with the most recently installed and working backwards until the problem disappears, thereby identifying the source.
When the cause is located you have the option of dumping that item. If it is important to you, then get a newer version, or a fix from the manufacturer's Web site, or appropriate and current DLL files from the manufacturer or perhaps from Microsoft's extensive library.
Illegal functions are serious, but not fatal
These are application-specific, and usually occur when a program's code becomes corrupt while already loaded.
A re-installation of that program will almost always correct the problem. Closing and re-opening the program may possibly let you proceed, but it can not be expected to be a cure.
It is sensible, though not always essential, to uninstall the guilty software prior to re-installation.
All home users install oodles of software from a large variety of sources, some good, some not so good, and some outrageously bad. It is inevitable some will disadvantage our computers for a very large number of possible reasons. The total removal of unwanted, or problematic, items can be difficult.
Older 16-bit Programs
Older (16-bit) programs are the easiest to remove.
They can usually be deleted from within Windows Explorer, but first look for an uninstall (uninstall.exe) in the program's folder.
Newer 32-bit Programs
Newer (32-bit, " designed to run with Windows 95/98 " ) are much more difficult because they put a 'footprint' into the Windows 95/98 program structure (the Registry, .ini files, Windows files, etc).
These SHOULD NOT, at first, be deleted from within Windows Explorer; this would only delete some of its files, and may make tracing the rest more difficult - you may also accidentally delete a Uninstall file! Incomplete uninstallation quickly leads to a massive quantity of useless and unidentifiable files, and a bloated Registry.
Properly constructed programs have uninstallation information in a read file in the program's folder. This should be read and, if necessary, printed before uninstallation is started. Look for .txt .doc .wri file extensions.
A First you need to succeed with one of these:
1. Look for, and run, a Uninstall in the programs group folder in Start • Programs.
or 2. Look for the program in Add/Remove Programs (in Control Panel) - if found then use Remove it.
or 3. Use Windows Explorer to look for, and run, a file called Unwise.exe (or its older version called Uninstall.exe) - be very sure you are in the correct folder.
B Using Windows Explorer look for, and delete (use Right-click), the program's main folder.
C A Shortcut may still appear in Start \ Programs. Select Start • Settings • Taskbar & Start Menu.. • Start Menu Programs • Remove button. Locate, highlight, and Remove the shortcut icon.
D Caution: This could be dangerous. Backup the Registry FIRST. The very adventurous can examine the Registry for that programs entries and remove them. This is not recommended and may not be totally successful with modern demos/programs.
If you encounter a Shared File, then Retain it.
In troublesome cases you can try reinstalling the software, and then start the uninstall process again.
Give serious consideration to re-installing Windows 95/98 at least on a yearly basis. This is the only sure way of avoiding conflicts, slimming down, and guaranteeing a system which is totally free of any remnants of previously installed software.
All but the very user-friendly programs leave a footprint in Windows 98.95. This site formats the Windows drive, and re-installs every six months.
ID & CD KEY CODE
Product ID Code
When you need to access your Windows 95/98 CD-ROM, you may be prompted to enter your Product ID(entity).
Should Product ID go missing, you will find it by selecting (right-click) My Computer • Properties • General tab; it will be under " Registered to: "
You can also locate the Product Id in the Registry (read CD Key Code (next).
CD Key Code
The easiest way to locate a missing CD Key Code is to use the excellent freeware utility Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder (252 KB, Zip file). It works on Windows 95, 98/SE, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Office 97, and Office XP. You can read about, and download, Keyfinder from THPC by clicking here.
Finding your Key Code in the Registry:
Make sure you backup of the Registry first.
• Select Start • Run. Type in regedit in the text box, and press Enter.
• Look in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Current Version.
• In the right pane, look for the ProductKey, or ProductId, or any other information you require.
• Right-click ProductKey, select Rename. Right-click the highlighted code, select Copy.
• Click on a clear area outside ProductKey (we have not changed it!).
• Paste the code into Notepad, and save it somewhere safe.
Prevention is better than cure
Take routine measures to prevent problems from occurring
If possible always allow Windows 95/98 to shut itself down. Failure to do so can cause the creation of a plethora of temporary files. These can slow down the system. They also cause a problem when we wish to clear up the hard disk of unnecessary (!) files.
It is perhaps best not to delete .temp or .tmp files created recently. You can use Find to locate the older temporary files, and delete those only.
When you're having startup trouble, or getting strange error messages (just before a crash), a likely culprit is corrupt or missing Windows 95/98 files. The cover-all-bases fix is to run Windows 95/98 setup, and select the Verify option. Windows 95/98 will check all files it needs, and replace those that are missing or damaged.
Initially you should keep files with a later date. If the problem persists, you may have to replace the newer files one-by-one. You may need to reinstall your updates.
CAB files are files compressed by Microsoft
The Windows 95/98 CD-ROM has most of its files compressed into CAB files (a little like Zip files). It is sometimes necessary to view (and extract) some of these files, but this is not normally possible!
You can use CabView
Fortunately there is a simple answer. Install PowerToys which has a CAB file extractor (among its many other useful functions).
PowerToys, a utility available free from Microsoft, is a very useful addition to Windows 95/98. Installing PowerToys installs a variety of Setup Information (.inf) files including cabview.inf.
Those using IE4.x can use • IE4 PowerToys
• Having installed cabview.inf (as part of the PowerToys installation):
• Open Windows Explorer
• Locate, and right-click, the file cabview.inf ('Setup Information' under " Type " )
• Click Install
You will now be able to view, as well as extract, the individual CAB files from your CD-ROM
In future you can double-click on any cab folder, view individual files, and drag the file you want to the desktop or into any folder in Windows Explorer.
• ALWAYS use Scandisk immediately after an 'event'
• ALWAYS reboot and use Scandisk after a crash.
• Otherwise use Scandisk about once a month, or on need.
Yes. We all know it's a chore. It is also necessary to prevent a problem arising. In honesty, that does not occur too frequently. If it does happen often, then you are into immediate, and substantial troubleshooting, if not a complete reinstallation of Windows 95/98 plus all your updates and 32-bit software (and some 16-bit).
Scandisk is Windows 95 or 98's disk error detection/repair tool. It will clean up many errors, such as corrupt or damaged files or lost clusters. It will help you get rid of things like cross-linked files which results in system slowdown - and helps to reduce the risk of a logical hard drive crashes.
The Surface Scan checks the disk for physical errors. It marks any damaged clusters as 'bad' - now Windows 95/98 will not write to that marked area. Otherwise the bad cluster will be written to and that data will not be retrievable with possible serious consequences.
Using Scandisk is a routine maintenance procedure - running it about once a month would be pretty normal. Have it running during your evening meal; just keep a eye out for prompts.
• Disable your Screensaver, any Scheduled Events
Close all programs
• Run ScanDisk
• Select Standard and Automatically Fix Errors
• In Advanced select Replace Log
• In Cross-linked Files select Delete
• In Lost File Fragments select Free
• In Check Files For select both Invalid file names and Invalid dates and times
• Disable Check host drive first (unless you have a compressed drive)
• Occasionally use the Thorough option (and in Options select System and data areas and disable Do not perform write-testing) - take a long break!
Windows 98's Scandisk has a new parameter added to the ScanDisk Advanced Options dialog box. Checking the Report MS-DOS mode name length errors box enables the 8.3 file format checking for all files in MS-DOS true mode outside Windows and in a DOS box under Windows.
[top of page]