Use the system recovery utility to restore windows 98 after a hard disk meltdown – techrepublic

If you support Microsoft Windows 98 clients on your network, some of your users may have older hardware in their systems. Older hardware is more prone to failure; this especially applies to older hard disks—though even today’s reliable hard disks fail on occasion. How do you restore Windows 98 and all the data from a backup when a hard drive crashes?

Windows 98’s Backup utility has you covered. If you back up the hard drive to tape on a regular basis and have a Windows 98 CD and startup disk on hand, you can easily restore a Windows 98 system by using Windows 98’s System Recovery Utility.

Before I start with the actual procedure, I’ll take a brief look at the steps involved. To begin with, you’ll have to either install a brand-new hard disk or reformat the one that crashed, depending on the severity of the meltdown.


You’ll also need a Windows 98 startup disk, a Windows 98 CD, and your backup tape.

The first step involves booting your system with the Windows 98 startup disk. You’ll then run a special Windows 98 minimal installation procedure. You’ll complete the procedure by running Microsoft Backup to restore your operating system, applications, and data from the backup tape.

When you boot up your system with the Windows 98 startup disk, you’ll see a menu like the one shown in Figure A. Option 1 is the one you want. Since it’s selected by default, all you have to do is press [Enter] and your system will boot up with access to the CD-ROM drive.

As soon as the correct CD-ROM driver is located, the Windows 98 startup disk will automatically reboot the system and load it. In addition, the procedure will create a RAM disk and copy a series of diagnostic tools to this new disk drive. However, you won’t be using any of these diagnostic tools in this procedure, so you need not concern yourself with them.

Loading the System Recovery Utility is a snap. Begin at the DOS prompt by typing the letter assigned to your CD-ROM drive. Bear in mind that the CD-ROM drive letter will be one drive letter higher than it normally is. This is because the RAM disk drive will be assigned to the letter normally assigned to your CD-ROM drive. For example, if your CD-ROM drive letter is normally D, it will now be E. Don’t worry about this change affecting the restore operation—all drive letters will return to the way they were when your system is restored.

Once you change to the CD-ROM drive, you’ll use the DOS CD command to change to the \Tools\Sysrec folder. For example, type CD \TOOLS\SYSREC. Next, type PCRESTOR and press [Enter] to launch the System Recovery Utility. When you do, you’ll see the introduction screen for the DOS-based portion of the System Recovery Utility.

Simply press the Spacebar to continue. As soon as you do, the System Recovery Utility will launch a fully automated version of the Setup procedure, which will begin to install a minimal version of the Windows 98 operating system—only enough to launch Microsoft Backup and perform the restore operation. As this minimal installation proceeds, you can remove the Windows 98 startup disk from the A: drive and set it aside.

The first half of the procedure is totally automated, so you won’t have to respond to any prompts. However, during the second half of the procedure, the Windows 98 Setup Wizard will prompt you to accept the license agreement and provide some information, including product identification number, username, and password. The Windows 98 Setup Wizard will also detect the hardware and restart the system several times.

Once the minimal installation procedure is complete, you’ll see the first screen in the System Recovery Wizard. When you click Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your registration information again. The System Recovery Wizard will track down and install any special drivers needed to operate your tape backup drive. Once the tape backup drivers are in place, the System Recovery Wizard will display its last screen and prompt you to begin the actual restore operation. To commence this operation, click Finish.