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Error loading < whatever>. You must reinstall Windows.
An SI Board Since August 1999
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Emcee:  Larry Type:  Unmoderated
I received the message "Error loading user.exe. You must reinstall Windows" when a new application install wizard automatically restarted my computer. My OS is Windows 98 Second Edition and I reformatted my drives to FAT 32 after installation so I can't uninstall and reinstall; there's nothing to go back to. I've stepped through the bootup process and loading msmouse.vxd results in the above error message. I've replaced msmouse.vxd, user.exe, setupx.dll. None of those worked. I've reviewed Microsoft's site and in most cases there appears to be a solution other than reinstallation, but they don't list this particular error message. Anyone else dealt with this one?

A second question is what will happen if I actually do reinstall Windows? Does anyone know whether running setup on my Windows 98 Second Edition Upgrade CD will result in it acting like an upgrade and recognize all my current applications and settings, or will it be a "clean install" and wipe my current applications (that is, will I have to reinstall everything)?

I'm trying not to have to get in the queue to speak with MS tech support and to start my free 90 days of support.

The error message makes it sound like it's nothing, but I can't believe that. Any responses will be welcome.
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