It was caused by some sort of virus, and I fixed it by going into safe mode and doing... I don't remember what, but I thought it was resolved.
After experiencing this problem with my newer PC, my only option for getting online technical support was to dig out my ten year old computer and connect that up.
I have experienced this problem before about six years ago.
This program is needed to open files of type 'application'' And then it asks me to identify the location of Shell32 According to a computer search there are no files by that name on my PC. Sorry for the double post, but I don't think this forum has an edit option, or if it does I'm just not seeing it displayed. Every search I attempted on it yielded one of the following: Something about (no 32) which is specified as a Windows XP (not 98) component. As your research showed, that file is usually a malware attack of the 'trojan' or 'backdoor' variety (it opens ports and allows further malware exploits). Depending on how severe the malware infection is, you might need to try an in-place reinstall of Windows after the malware is removed.
This error comes up when I attempt to load any program, with the odd exception of a 'shortcut to Internet Explorer' in the top section of my start menu but does occur when I attempt to load Internet Explorer from the taskbar. You should find plenty of info about it and how to deal with it. Something about Shell32that has no apparent relevance as it is an entirely different error. If you don't need any of the current data on the old system, and you have access to a Recovery CD for that system, one option is to use that disk to restore the system to it's factory-original state (some Recovery Disks also allow "partial" recoveries - which save some of your current data).
I'm not even sure why this was happening as it was working fine the last time I used it, so I'm not sure why that old problem would be resurfacing, or if it even is the old problem as opposed to the file somehow getting deleted by non malware means. I downloaded one that is exactly 100,000 bytes and was last modified 01/10/1980 at AM but the time, file size, and the fact I already had one were all very suspicious, so I chose not to overwrite the one I had with this one I got from some DLL download site. You can attach the drive internally - using cables, or externally - using USB adapters or enclosures. If the ".exe" or "application" file-association is still broken, you can try restoring it manually.
But I suspect simply replacing the file would fix everything, so I put it in the Win98 board and not the malware board. There's a Windows 98 section in the following instructions --- in-place (or "over-the-top") reinstall of Windows 98 will also fix this problem, but of course there is a fair amount of updating afterwards.
Likewise if I had a Windows XP CD I could most likely fix my better computer, at which point I really don't care about this one.
Also, my older computer does not have a CD-RW drive, and my newer one doesn't have a floppy drive so there isn't any way I know of to exchange data between them. As this is what it is supposed to be, I don't know what to do here, so I didn't do anything. It says it is Content type: (MIME) and that it opens with PROGRAM.
Get a working Shell32for Windows 98, put it in the right place, and it works fine right? I don't know what else but will dig it out if you think it will help. I just know that any time I attempt to open an file of any kind, I get a message that looks exactly like this. Location of SHELL32.exe: [C:\............................................] [OK] [Cancel] [Locate...] I'd screenshot it, but paint is an exe program so no copy pasting screenshots. It is 1,388,816 bytes and was last modified 12/06/01 at PM. If you need to save the current data, you can try cleaning the malware using a bootable CD containing antimalware tools (such as the UBCD4Win -- which works for most PCs, but requires a Windows XP CD to create ---
Trouble is all my searches bring up stuff for Windows XP, even though I specify Windows 98 in the search lines and they're also for and not Shell32 Looking around revealed a lot of stuff about the DLL, but nothing about an EXE. Another option is to remove the hard drive, attach it to another well-protected PC, and scan it using the clean PCs antimalware programs.
My newer computer has simply stopped booting entirely.