Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Directory Tree Screwed - And Phantom System Folders


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 faster

faster

  • Members
  • 108 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:59 AM

Posted 18 October 2005 - 07:04 PM

My pc is screwed up. I just did a complete reformat of C and the problems I had been having have only been reduced, but aren't gone. My system is Win98SE, 256MB RAM, 80G HD, and I use ZoneAlarm Pro and Firefox (whenever not forced to using IE6). I am attaching a .txt file of the basic system I've got, from SiSandra, so you'll have most of what else you might need. I don't know how this could be a hardware problem, but who knows? I sure don't. I've been having freezing problems, too, particularly when on the Internet. My expert switched out my CPU chip, which he said was not compatible with my upgraded system. The problem had been devastating, but isn't completely gone, even now, though it's more at a nuisance level. I mention it in case there might be a connection to the problem mentioned below.

A number of software installers can't find system files, even though they're right where they ought to be in C:\Windows\System, and they also tell me that a device attached to my system isn't functioning, which is ridiculous after a clean reboot. Firefox can't play videos on cnn.com, because it can't "find" my Windows Media Player, even though I have the latest version and it is right where it belongs, too. IE6 can play the videos, but I hate IE6. WMP does seem to require ActiveX, and Firefox intentionally doesn't support this open invitation to malware, but has plugins which are supposed to allow WMP to play videos through Firefox. It doesn't deny access to the videos; it simply gives a new window that says it isn't installed, with a link to MS so I can get it. But it is installed, and Firefox isn't able to detect it.

The problem seems to me to be coming from the directory tree screwup which forced me to reformat in the first place. I had several "Desktop" directories. The one in C:\Windows\All Users, I've learned, belongs there, but not the one I had in C:\windows\Profiles. There are only the two proper Desktop folders on my system since the reformat, but the problem with the directory tree has not gone away, even though the reinstall of W98SE went without a hitch.

It causes problems, because when I get one of those open or save dialog boxes, it'll show Program Files with a generic icon, not the yellow folder. If I click it, I won't get to see the subdirectories, nor can anything be opened or saved there. I have to "browse" to C: first, then to Program Files, and then it operates the way it should.

Something has screwed my directory tree, and I think it's responsible for these installers that can't find the files that are right there, and Firefox being unable to find my WMP. Apparently some programs browse my directory tree to find what they want step-by-step and others use a different way, perhaps a kind of shortcut.

Whatever it is, I know for certain that Program Files (and possibly System, too) has a doppelganger, a ghost folder with the right name but nonfunctioning. I can't find the ghost with any method I know, other than bumping into it while using my PC. It doesn't show up in a search, for instance.

The problem is not the same as it was before the format, but it isn't much better. What can survive a complete reformat? Only something like malware in the boot sector, is my guess. I'd like to know what some of the real pros will have to say, though, because I'm only at a moderate level of expertise. Since formatting, many utilities and games have the same install problem - they can't find necessary system files that I actually do have, and some device, which is never specified, is said to be inoperative. I don't have any way to find out what device they're talking about, so I can't investigate it.

Please let me know if you have any bright ideas about what's causing all of this, and thanks. I just hope I won't have to do the reformat thing again, but a little green voice is telling me I probably will. That's okay, as long as I can know that THIS time, the problem will be gone. Until then, reformating is pointless.

Holly B.

Attached Files



BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 Rimmer

Rimmer

  • Members
  • 2,159 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Location:near Sydney, Australia
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:45 PM

Why are you playing about with a computer, Holly, you are a computer! (joke)

Nothing in your Sandra report jumps out at me except the S3 Virge is a really old graphics card and you seem to have a lot of network adaptors. How do you connect to the internet and are you on any other LANs?

Have you looked in device manager to see if windows is complaining about anything?
Control Panel > System > Device Manager (from memory)

Have you done any virus scans?
Here are some links to free online Anti-Virus scans. They do take some time to load and run and in some cases you can only use Internet Explorer, with ActiveX enabled, to access them but they are an excellent support for your existing anti-virus program.

Trend Micro online scan "housecall" - http://housecall.antivirus.com/

Panda Active Scan online - http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/
Internet Explorer only. Requires email address. Requires Active-X components to be installed. Approx 12MB download.

BitDefender online scan - http://www.bitdefender.com/scan/licence.php
Internet Explorer only. Must agree to a EULA. Need to allow installation of an Active X component.Some of the options are not clearly explained.

McAfee online scan - http://www.pcpitstop.com/freescan/

Security Advisor (?) - http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/virusinfo/scan.aspx

Trend Micro Housecall - http://uk.trendmicro-europe.com/enterprise...call_launch.php
(European version, supports Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and Opera)

hth :thumbsup:

Edited by Rimmer, 18 October 2005 - 08:48 PM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#3 faster

faster
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 108 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:59 AM

Posted 23 October 2005 - 03:50 PM

My system uses the SiS network adapter, but I can't seem to install Windows without it automatically installing a Rhine adapter that is attached to my motherboard. It won't give me access without all those things in the list installed. My motherboard is a VIA Technologies, Inc. P4X266E-8235, and the best I can say about it is to tell people to NEVER buy a VIA device.

I use DSL broadband, but it is at a lower level than is average for the States, I believe. I live in Mexico, and they're not quite up to the highest levels yet. I just downloaded and tried to install GoogleEarth. Maybe my system isn't quite up to par for it, but I wasn't able to find out - the installer couldn't find necessary files which do exist on my system. End of story. Could you make a recommendation for upgrading my system enough to make use of this program? I'd really like to have it. Once my system has learned how to find the C:\Windows\System folder again, that is.

I do not participate in any LANs; my PC is purely a home use, although the kids in the Huichol family who live with me have "game-time" on it every night, and sometimes they experiment more than they're allowed to. Nothing they do that messes things up is terribly serious, though. I'm connected through Prodigy in Mexico.

Directory Manager says all is well. All of the bug-scanners you mentioned, I've got. I used them ALL, and more, just before I reformatted C. They found lots of stuff, mostly spyware and little things, plus one real virus, and I cleaned it all away, but the problem persisted. After formatting, any unfound malware should have gone away. I should probably try them again. I'm currently using Avast's free antivirus and ZoneAlarmPro. The problem is still here, in modified form, but, like the last time, the problems started small and infrequent, and got bigger and more frequent until the PC was practically unusable. That's happening again, too.

I know my graphics card is old, and plan to replace it as soon as the budget allows, though it works pretty well. I've had it ten years. Can you recommend a replacement, one as gonzo as possible but inexpensive? I'm living on SS. Most of my other hardware is only about 2 years old. My monitor is 3. At pc pitstop, I get a report that calls my system "a winner," even though it's not as gonzo as most people have up north. Still, it should be good enough for most modern uses. I continue using W98SE, because I detest the newer OSs, which are bloated with stuff for LANs and commercial users, and they don't allow the old DOS games and utilities to function. My favorite tweaker, TweakAll (the original free version)is a utility I refuse to live without. I use IconLock, too, which is invaluable when my 60 or so desktop icons get scrambled during a refresh. I know TweakAll won't work with XP. Probably nothing that is DOS-based will. I test-drove XP for a while and truly hated it. You can't perform a simple search without a few dozen clicks - in small places. I want one that is clean and straightforward.

I think I may do an overlay reinstall of W98SE, just to see if the problem lives through it. Again. I am beginning to think that my problem may be a HD that is not functioning properly, but HOW can I test it for this? I don't know how to utilize SmartDrive. It may not find the problem, anyway. Is it reasonable to think a HD problem could actually create ghost folders? The arbitrary freezes I used to have were somewhat resolved when my expert switched out my CPU. He said it wasn't compatible with the other parts of my upgraded system, and only charged me a bit for his time. The freezes stopped for a while, but are now resuming. That sort of thing I can understand as a possible HD problem. Not ghost folders. Is it really possible?

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply.

Holly B.

A small gift. Your daily giggle:
Sign in posh Acapulco hotel:
"For the peace of mind of our guests, you should know that all the water consumed on these premises has been personally passed by our manager."

Yukyuk. A little knowledge (of English) can be...

#4 Leurgy

Leurgy

    Voted most likely


  • Members
  • 3,831 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Collingwood, Ontario, Canada
  • Local time:11:59 AM

Posted 23 October 2005 - 04:15 PM

When you format a 98 machine, if you simply use the Format command, your previous registry is re-used to make the next install go more quickly. In order to effectively remove your previous settings you need to use the format /u command to do an unconditional format or use a third party formatting program like those supplied by the hard drive manufacturers.

Since you state some of your former problems returned after reinstalling I suspect that is whats going on.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#5 Rimmer

Rimmer

  • Members
  • 2,159 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Location:near Sydney, Australia
  • Local time:02:59 AM

Posted 23 October 2005 - 09:31 PM

Could you make a recommendation for upgrading my system enough to make use of this program? I'd really like to have it.

Google Earth needs a fast internet link, a lot of memory, and preferably a fast CPU. You have broadband access, you could probably add more memory to your system but if your CPU is not up to it you are probably better off thinking about a new PC.

Re Display card:

Can you recommend a replacement, one as gonzo as possible but inexpensive?

Not specifically, but I'd check your motherboard manual to see what type of AGP slot you have (1X, 2X, 4X?).
Then look for a matching AGP card with at least 128MB RAM. But wait till you fix your other problems first.

I am beginning to think that my problem may be a HD that is not functioning properly, but HOW can I test it for this?

Find out your hard drive manufacturer and model number and go to the manufacturer's website to download a diagnostic. If you don't know those details download the system analysis program 'Everest' so you can get detailed information about your system:
Everest download

Here's how to use it:
Start Everest.
In the 'Menu' pane on the left click on 'Storage' a number of icons will appear in the right hand pane.
Clicking on these icons will replace them with more detailed information.
For example clicking on 'Optical Drives' lists all your DVD or CDROM drives and gives details for the drive which is highlighted.
To go back to the Storage screen use the green up-arrow on the toolbar or click on 'Storage' in the menu again.

Clicking on 'ATA' in the Storage screen will list your hard drives and give details for the one highlighted.
  • At the top of the list under 'ATA Device Properties' is the model number of the drive (Model ID).

  • Look under 'ATA Device Features' to see if there is a tick next to 'SMART'

  • 'ATA Device Physical Info' shows the manufacturer, the model name, the size (Formatted Capacity), the rotation speed and other data.

  • The manufacurer's website is listed under 'ATA Device Manufacturer'
If there was a tick next to SMART you can go back to the Storage screen and click the 'SMART' icon to look at drive performance statistics.
The right hand 'Status' column should have 'OK:value is normal' or a similar message in each row.
If there are other messages you should download a diagnostic from the manufacturer's website and test your drive.

Remember to backup! If your data is important to you, backup today!

I don't know how to utilize SmartDrive.

See above. Your system may not support SMART. Or are you talking about an application called "SmartDrive"?

Is it reasonable to think a HD problem could actually create ghost folders?

No it is most unlikely.

my expert switched out my CPU. He said it wasn't compatible with the other parts of my upgraded system

Yet your system was running with that CPU? :thumbsup:

Update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly and run the online scans as an extra support. You should only have one anti-virus program and firewall program installed on your PC.

Edited by Rimmer, 23 October 2005 - 09:32 PM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#6 faster

faster
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 108 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:10:59 AM

Posted 27 October 2005 - 08:44 PM

When you format a 98 machine, if you simply use the Format command, your previous registry is re-used to make the next install go more quickly. In order to effectively remove your previous settings you need to use the format /u command to do an unconditional format or use a third party formatting program like those supplied by the hard drive manufacturers.

Since you state some of your former problems returned after reinstalling I suspect that is whats going on.



THANK YOU, Leufgy, extremely much for that factoid! I've had Win98SE for years, and reformatted at least ten times, but never knew anything about that. MS says nothing about it in the instruction files.

I formatted by going into pure DOS, then typing:
format C:
and got a warning that everything on the disk would be erased, etc. I said yes, and it formatted.

I had NO IDEA that it wasn't a complete format! I'd ask why MS doesn't say to use the /u afterward, but that would be a silly question, considering MS, wouldn't it? I have DiskMagic, but someone on a forum told me it wasn't a good program to use, and that I could do just as good a job using simple DOS.

It didn't seem that my registry had been retained, though. None of my prior settings remained, and all had to be redone. But Murphy lives, right? So the stuff retained was probably the stuff I didn't notice and wouldn't like, while the good stuff... well, you know how it goes.

I've done "overlay" reinstalls of Windows, and I know that isn't nearly the same thing as reinstalling after a format. It retains all settings and installations, and can only solve certain kinds of problems.

Are you recommending, then, that I attempt to reformat again, using the /u after "format C:"? It's a pain in the tush to reformat, but if it might get rid of these vermin on my system, I'd do it.

Again, thanks, and with a hug.

Holly B.

#7 BanditFlyer

BanditFlyer

  • Members
  • 283 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:59 AM

Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:59 PM


When you format a 98 machine, if you simply use the Format command, your previous registry is re-used to make the next install go more quickly. In order to effectively remove your previous settings you need to use the format /u command to do an unconditional format or use a third party formatting program like those supplied by the hard drive manufacturers.

Since you state some of your former problems returned after reinstalling I suspect that is whats going on.


Since you just reformatted, you probably have all your data in backups. Perfect timing for another reformat. Might try fdisk(fdisk is a "mid-level" format, "format" is only a cursory 'top-level' format) to make sure everything is completely gone before reinstalling.

#8 IsMe

IsMe

  • Members
  • 87 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Location:Tampa, Florida
  • Local time:12:59 PM

Posted 28 October 2005 - 08:00 AM

Agree with the fdisk suggestion. Also remove any cards in the slots inside except for the Video card. If you use a usb keyboard or mouse, go back to the standard ones. Then reinstall your Windows - and have the motherboard CD nearby.

BTW, I've never had a problem with a straight reformat where it reuses the old registry, I don't think it does - I keep tabs on the size of the registry and the size after a reformat is decidely smaller which indicates it is newly created. For that matter if there is any hint of it using an old registry, you can always replace it with the very first registry an install creates. I think it is kept in the root directory - called system.1st, if I remember correctly (always a scary thought) :thumbsup: It's been a while since I messed with W98.

Edited by IsMe, 28 October 2005 - 08:03 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users