boot me
April 14, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Accidentally ran a Win 95 boot disk on my Win ME system. Can't restore fully. Please hope me.

A friend with a dead old system running Win 95 wanted help, so I downloaded a couple of boot disk programs (95a & 95b) to C Temp, then copied them to floppies. 95b didn't seem to load the first time, so I did it again, then stupidly opened the floppy to have a look, which started booting my already booted system. I pulled out the disk before it finished, but ended up with 16 colors, scrambled icons, and no mouse cursor. I tabbed my way into msconfig, and rebooted in diagnostic/safe mode, ran system restore, and everything is fine again. Except when I want to change msconfig back to normal startup. Then I'm back to 16 colors and no cursor. Tried three different restores, and they all work on selective startup, but not on normal startup. What now?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You're obviously using English here, but it's not parsing to me at all. Booting after you've already booted?? That makes absolutely no sense. You don't boot when you open a floppy in ME... you might get some heavy disk gronking while it loads the icons, but it's not going to 'boot' anything.

Maybe someone else will be able to figure out what's going on, but I'm completely clueless what you did and what you're asking about.
posted by Malor at 12:29 PM on April 14, 2006

I'm going to echo Malor here: you can't "run" a boot disk. It's just a normal filesystem with a handful of files and a boot record installed in the filesystem table that tells the machine to execute a boot loader. Your system won't read that information once the system is started.
posted by mikeh at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2006

Have you checked your display settings and/or the driver for the graphics card? The last time I had to boot my 98 box with a boot disk, it jumbled all my display settings and my graphics card had seemingly gotten disconnected from its driver (so I had to let it search for it and reinstall from my hard drive -- the driver was there but wasn't being seen). My experience sounds almost exactly like yours with the 16 colors and funky icons, though I did have something that was pretending to be a mouse cursor.
posted by Orb at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2006

Display settings are fine, and color is perfect. Problem is that config resets itself to selective startup, and when I change it to normal it reboots with the goofy pixilated colors and no cursor. This has never happened before. I think Orb might be onto something with the boot disk disconnecting the driver. But if everything is perfect when I restore, why can't I change config to normal?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:16 PM on April 14, 2006

is there a driver installed or is it using the default VGA one? (AFAIK, in ME you get 16-colors and 640x480 when you're using it. you do in 95 and 98.) pull up your Display control panel and check in the Settings tab. you should be able to get to it using the keyboard. (do this while it's booted into normal mode.)

did you get these boot disk images from somewhere reputable? and when you said it tried to boot again, did it actually reboot or did you just get a full-screen DOS session? i.e. did you get the Windows ME splash screen or did it just drop into text mode? (it's possible if it was an older command-line disk-imager tool; they usually start in a window, but if something kicks it into a strange video mode or if your machine is set properly, it might have gone full-screen.) I'm thinking you may either have a virus or the program that was supposed to make the boot disk screwed up or something along those lines.
posted by mrg at 5:32 PM on April 14, 2006

Display is A75f on Rage Pro Turbo AGP 2X. It's set on 32 bit color, 1024 x 768 pixels. It's strange that everything's fine as long as I leave config on selective startup. Something is corrupted in normal startup config. Maybe it had nothing to do with the Win 95 boot programs (which AntiVir checked out OK), but that's the likely culprit. In normal startup I don't get DOS. I get the splash screen, minimum colors, and no cursor. Have to sys restore to get back to normal. And If restore works, why doesn't it correct the corruption on normal startup?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:04 PM on April 14, 2006

(Presuming it's not always defaulting to selective startup - you're a bit unclear about that point. Once you use msconfig to change to normal startup, does it stay at normal startup through subsequent reboots?)

Sounds like ME may have dropped back to 16-colour VGA mode - either because the base Win95 display driver has been installed (?!), or the Win95 Setup buggered the ME registry and it's defaulted back to the ME VGA driver.

Boot normally into ME, and set your display resolution to something normal (like 800x600, 256 colour). That should work. If it doesn't, go into the Device Manager, delete your display adaptor, and reboot - ME should re-detect your display adaptor, and prompt to install the drivers. If you have a CD/floppy with the display drivers, use that - if not, grab your ME disc, choose the generic VGA drivers, and a suitable resolution as above. Then download the correct drivers for your display adaptor and install.

If I remember ME correctly - it's a horrible, horrible OS that I've tried hard to forget - it keeps normal and selective startup configs seperate. You can't change a selective startup entry and expect it to stick on normal startup, so you have to do all that under normal startup.

Fixing the icon layout is left as an exercise for the reader, because it's one of my pet bitches when things change the display resolution under Windows ;-)
posted by Pinback at 6:24 PM on April 14, 2006

Thanks Pinback. I think you're on to something. I'm heading out for dinner, but will get back to you with an update.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:32 PM on April 14, 2006

Pinback gets best answer and a gold star. I had to run system restore in the normal startup mode, which was the mode the Win 95 boot disk botched. I had previously run system restore in diagnostic mode, which worked fine as long as it stayed in that mode. This is not only counter-intuitive, since you want to fix your system in diagnostic mode, but no cursor and 16 colors meant that I had to navigate using the arrow keys and tab key, sometimes in folders that were too big for the screen so I couldn't see the tabs I was selecting. On top of that, restore didn't want to work the first three times, but I finally got it and everything is back to normal (including icons) in all modes. I had never heard of that weird quirk in ME. Time for a new OS, I think. Thanks again to all. AskMe does it again!
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:08 AM on April 15, 2006

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