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Article ID: 119941 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.4

This article was previously published under Q119941

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This article discusses how Windows converts existing Windows and Windows for Workgroups groups to Windows 95/98 and Windows Millennium Edition (Me) folders, how to rebuild or restore folders, how the [Restrictions] section from the PROGMAN.INI file is transferred to Windows 95/98/Me, and how to troubleshoot failed conversions.


NOTE: In this article, the term "Windows" refers to Windows versions 3.1 and 3.11 and Windows for Workgroups versions 3.1 and 3.11.

Groups Versus Folders

Windows uses groups and group items represented by icons to provide access to programs. The default groups for Windows are Main, Accessories, Games, and StartUp. An example of an item within the Main group is Control Panel.

Windows 95/98/Me uses folders and links to provide the same functionality as groups and items in previous versions of Windows.

Converting Groups to Folders

To facilitate the upgrade from Windows to Windows 95/98/Me, an executable file named GRPCONV.EXE is included with Windows 95/98/Me. This file provides the translation of groups and group items to folders and links.

Each group is converted to a folder, and its items are converted to shell links, which are placed within that particular folder.

GRPCONV.EXE uses information from the registry to track changes in group files that have occurred since the last time GRPCONV.EXE was run. There are no entries in either the SYSTEM.INI or WIN.INI file that take precedence over these system registry entries.

The last modified date and time of the PROGMAN.INI file and all group files are stored in the system registry:

GRPCONV.EXE runs automatically after Setup has copied most of the files needed for a complete installation and rebooted your computer. You can also run GRPCONV.EXE manually. GRPCONV.EXE supports the following switches:
  • /S

    GRPCONV.EXE, when run with the /S switch, rebuilds the default Windows 95/98/Me folders. A status dialog box titled "Start Menu Shortcuts" appears during the rebuilding process. When it is complete, you are returned to the desktop.
  • /M

    GRPCONV.EXE, when run with the /M switch, lets you manually convert existing Windows groups to Windows 95/98/Me folders. You can convert only one group at a time using this method. If the groups are in the directory in which you install Windows 95/98/Me, they are automatically converted during Setup.
  • -o

    Updates only optional components.
  • -t

    Updates changed folders.
To re-create the default folders that ship with Windows 95/98/Me:

  1. Click the Start button, and then click Run.
  2. Type the following command:
    grpconv /s

Use the following steps to convert existing Windows groups to the Windows 95/98 format:

  1. Click the Start button, and then click Run.
  2. Type the following:
    grpconv /m

  3. Click the group you want to convert.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Open, then click Yes in the "Program Manager Group Converter" dialog box.

      When you click Yes, a status dialog box titled "Start Menu Shortcuts" appears during the rebuilding process. When it is complete, you are returned to the desktop.

    • Convert the group by double-clicking the group name. For example, if you have a group called MYGROUP.GRP, you can double-click MYGROUP.GRP to convert it to the Windows 95/98/Me folder format.

Other GRPCONV.EXE Specifics

  • The first time GRPCONV.EXE runs, the search path criteria for finding existing groups is strictly based on the contents of the PROGMAN.INI file in the current Windows directory (if it exists).
  • Group names and item names are not sorted prior to conversion. Group conversion begins with the first group in the directory, and shell links are created beginning with the first item in a group.
  • Memory required for conversion of groups is allocated per group item as needed and then released all at once at the end of processing each group. No temporary files are created during conversion.
  • All data in a .GRP file, except icon location (x, y coordinates in a group), is used during conversion and migrated to folders in the Windows 95/98/Me \PROGRAMS folder.
  • GRPCONV.EXE calls the shell link creation APIs directly, and as such does not call any executables during conversion.
  • Windows Program Manager has been known to create corrupted .GRP files that may work in their native environment, but have the potential to cause errors during conversion in Windows 95/98/Me. GRPCONV.EXE recognizes corrupted .GRP files and properly converts them.
  • If one or more groups are not converted to folders, or if one or more items in a group are not converted to links, follow the methods outlined in the "Troubleshooting Group Conversion" section below.

Restrictions Migration for Upgrades

GRPCONV.EXE migrates the [Restrictions] section of the PROGMAN.INI file from previous versions of Windows into the Policies section of the system registry.

Troubleshooting Group Conversion

If a group fails to be converted or if an error is displayed during conversion, use the following steps to troubleshoot the problem:
  1. Use GRPCONV.EXE to convert a group file that was previously converted successfully. If this fails, GRPCONV.EXE has been corrupted, and you must replace this file with the GRPCONV.EXE file from your original Windows 95/98/Me disks. If this step is successful, continue with step 2.
  2. Run the PROGMAN.EXE file that ships with Windows 95/98/Me and view the group that did not convert. If it displays and acts correctly in Program Manager, create a new group and copy (do not move) the items from the original group to the new one.
  3. Close Program Manager and run GRPCONV.EXE in interactive mode (grpconv /m) to convert the newly created group. If this step fails, continue with step 4.
  4. Run Program Manager, delete the items in the newly created group, and copy a few of the items from the original group into the new group. If this fails, repeat this step with different items until you have determined which item is causing the failure.
NOTE: It is also possible for a virus to cause conversion failure.

  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.11 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11
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