The computer still doesn't work with USB devices, but I now have a router, so I can connect it via Ethernet cable and connect to the internet that way. The problem is that I cannot get Windows Update to run, along with all of the previous errors. When I visit update.microsoft.com, or click the Windows Update shortcut, it sends IE into a redirect loop. I've turned automatic updates on, but it does not download and install updates automatically. Microsoft's automated Windows Update diagnostic tool does not support WinME. Internet Explorer 7 and 8 are not compatible with Windows ME; Firefox does not support WinME; Chrome requires Java to run, Java 5.0 is the latest supported by WinME, but Java's website warns not to use it due to the security holes in it (I installed 5.0 anyway, since I don't see how I can do without it if I'm going to use the Internet at all). When I try to run Chrome's setup, I get this message: "The CHROMESETUP.EXE file is linked to missing export KERNEL32.DLL:SETFilePointerEx." If I can't get Chrome running this leaves IE 6 as the only browser option available.
Whenever I try to plug in a USB device, the message "The file 'kbdhid.vxd' was not found," it does the same with hidserv.exe (the hidserv.exe error is present as soon as Windows boots when a USB device is plugged in at boot).
This article talks about what vxd files are, but didn't give specifics on how to fix this particular case. http://www.osronline.com/DDKx/w98ddk/usbptr_9h0u.htm
This article says that vxd files are unique to a computer's configuration: http://forums.speedguide.net/showthread ... -win-98-cd
The authors advise reinstalling WinME, but I do not have the install disc for it. I have the disc from my other WinME computer, however, but I don't know if it will work on this one due to the activation and registration key system, or if it would fix the vxd problems at all. vmm32.vxd is supposed to hold vxd files; this article
talks about how to restore them by setting up vmm32.vxd rather than reinstalling WinME. It refers to Windows 98, so I doubt it will work exactly like WinME does. SFC does not run on this system, for example.
I have my reinstallation disc for the older WinME system, but is says on the disc, "[...] not for reinstallation of application programs or drivers." This article
says I can get extract the files from C:\Windows\Options\Install since it is an OEM install, along with this article
, which says the vxd can be extracted to fix broken versions of vxd files, but the latter article refers to Win98. The problem with this solution is that vmm32.vxd is not in C:\Windows\Options\Install, and since it is created at the time of Windows installation, it's not something that can be copied from another user's system, and may or may not be something that can be copied from the install disc, since the only install disc I have is from a different WinME system made by a different retailer. To verify this, I extracted kbdhid.vxd and hidserv.exe from the install disc to C:\Windows\Options\Install and restarted the computer without the install disc in the cd drive, but got the same errors. I then extracted the files to the cab folder mentioned in hidserv.exe's error on Windows boot (c:\WINDOWS\CatRoot) and restarted. After extracting the hidserv.exe and kbdhid.vxd to that folder, the errors did not appear on boot to Windows and a USB keyboard I had tested it with worked. kbd is the abbreviation for keyboard, which was the only USB device it enabled.
Other USB devices, like mice, joysticks, and drives, still are non-functional. When I plug the drive in, Windows gives its "Windows is installing the USB device" message, but it does not appear in My Computer's list of drives. When I run the Add Hardware wizard, it detects a USB Mass Storage Device, but says it already has the latest driver. I extracted files with usb in their title from BASE2 and DRIVERS7 to C:\WINDOWS\INF, C:\WINDOWS\CatRoot\, and C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\INSTALL\, and restarted, with the same non-functional usb devices as before.
EDIT: I called HP's technical support number (800-474-6836) to see if I could get an OEM install disc or download of WinME. The support representative said that support for their PCs ends after five years. The computer is over ten years old. I asked the representative if there were any affiliate HP stores, and he said they didn't have that information. He said to look for a store using the Google search engine. >_< I can probably find a copy of the OS online somewhere, but I don't know if it would have the correct drivers. The same goes for the Dell OEM CD version of WinME I still have. The WinME version installed is 4.90, build 3000, so it is probably prior to a fix that enables USB 2.0 functionality.
EDIT 2: I tried to reinstall Windows ME on the HP from the Dell CD, but it says partway through installation that it "cannot be installed on this system, contact your computer manufacturer."