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Reinstall after a Registry File Failure?

Posted on 2002-07-20
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Is there a way to overinstall Windows XP Pro without losing at least most of your programs and data as could be done in previous versions of Windows?  My particular problem is not allowing a 'Repair' option from booting from the XP Pro CD.  Also, due to problem below, I can only boot to CD, as I cannot access the OS on the hard drive due to the registry failure.  On booting to a CD it gives me the option to overinstall in the same Windows folder, Option 'L' and says all files, subfolders, user accounts, applications, security and desktop settings for that Windows installation will be deleted.  The "My Documents" folder may also be deleted....will I lose the rest of my data and programs this way?  Also, it gives an option to install to another folder, but I'm not sure I have enough hard disk space for another complete install of Windows XP Pro...

Have made several attempts to successfully reboot  <*AND RUN*> a computer that was working just fine yesterday until it spontaneously tried to reboot after being on less than a minute.  This spontaneous reboot after only a few seconds became consistent.  Managed to run full virus scan <F-Prot updated last Tuesday> which took over 20 minutes <normal> and it did NOT reboot until I tried to open a program afterward..  Did not matter which program.  Of course, after a lockup it ran ScanDisk without a hitch.  I have run System Restore twice back to different dates.  On POST, C: drive did
not show at all on every OTHER attempt, and it said non-system disk error, even without a disk in the floppy drive.  On startup it would not boot to Safe Mode at all.  I then booted to a command prompt using a floppy and ran ScanDisk from A: for drive C:  It corrected several problems, and I ran it again at least twice, until no problems showed.  A surface scan showed no
bad sectors.

FINALLY I got a plain screen with the following message:

STOP:  C0000218 (Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\SystemRoot\System32\Config\SYSTEM
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.


Thank you for any help or insight you can provide.





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Question by:tazman405
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 7167098
I found this Microsoft Knowledge Base article which may help you:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q307545
How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry that Prevents Windows XP from Starting
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CrazyOne earned 300 total points
ID: 7167244
Umm if you ran Scandisk and not chkdsk then this probably totally messed up your file system and a reinsatll/repair may be your only hope.

http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
Click on How To Repair Windows XP by Reinstalling


The Crazy One
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by:Comply
ID: 7167245
This only works if you have installed the Recovery Console.

You can replace the bad Reg. with a backup copy that XP makes at each boot.
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by:Comply
ID: 7167250
Is your drive NTFS or Fat?

The best way to keep all the files is too get a second drive and install XP on it. Then recover all your data from the bad drive.

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by:SysExpert
ID: 7167263
In addition to all the great advice,

I would recommend that you download a diagnostic disk from your harddrive manufacturer's url. This will tell you right off where you are at and if
   you can recover from it. It may be under warranty, the hard drives are usually covered for three years and you can make out the RMA on their site
                     also. Depending on the manufacturer of the hard drive, you can download diagnostic utilities from their sites to check the drives.
 www.seagate.com
  www.maxtor.com

http://www.wdc.com/service/ftp/drives.html
    www.ibm.com  
http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    www.fujitsu.com

I hope this helps !
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167264
Comply the Recovery Console does not need to be installed it is on the XP CD and can be loaded from there. Provided of course that the CD is a complete version of XP and not a Restore CD.
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by:pelejab
ID: 7167274
after a crash I could not reboot and had to re-install windows xp. On advise from others here in EE I chose option to install to different directory on same HDD and called this windowsxp2. Only problem I had was choosing same username and managed to overwrite my old docs etc. If you choose different usernames etc when installing you may be able to access the old accounts etc from your original installation. Basically try not to use any names, passwords etc that you used in your original installation. Hope this helps.
cheers, Pete
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167282
tazman405
What I am driving at is that you said you booted to a floppy and ran scandisk. Since there is no such thing as a single bootable floppy for XP that has command utilities on it I am presuming you used a Win9x floppy. The scandisk utility for Win9x is not intended to be used on XP it can damage the XP installation. Actually to use floppies to boot to for XP for the command utilities it takes a set of six floppies. These six floppies are the same as booting to the CD.

I would suggest booting to the XP CD Revovery Console and run chkdsk from there and see if this helps any.

chkdsk /r

http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
Click on Access Recovery Console
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by:pelejab
ID: 7167293
sorry, forgot to mention in my previous comment - use this only as a temporary measure to access and backup your data, email etc from original installation. You do not want to continue using with 2 installations running. After backing up all you need reformat the disk and start with a fresh installation of xp and all other software. You will not have any problems re-registering/re-authorizing your copy of windows xp.
cheers, Pete
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by:tazman405
ID: 7167328
Thank you so much for these replies so far, and for future ones *I hope!*  After reading and going through all these answers so far, this is what I have:
-----
Lee Tutor:  I cannot seem to access the Recovery Console.  It appears that is for NTFS Systems, mine is FAT32.  It offers ASR, but I don't have the disk.  Where can I get/make one?  
-----
CrazyOne:  I may have to reinstall, would still like to exhaust all other options first.  I follow detailed directions very well :-).  My XP Pro is a full version, and is not a restore copy.  I think that it is not letting me access the Recovery Console due to my keeping FAT32 and not using NTFS.
----
Comply:  I have the XP Pro CD, but to run the ASR requires a Windows Automated System Recovery Disk.  Any ideas on how to make one, possibly from THIS computer running XP?  I have a new 40 gig HDD that I was going to use MigrateEasy to move the old info from, but it needs to boot from old HDD.  My software wants to boot from old HD to migrate data to new one, *if I can*  :-)
----
SysExpert:  Have run some utilities on HDD as I originally thought this was a HDD problem as you do. Will download HDD diagnotics and try your suggestion.  HDD seemed to be fine.  The error message I listed in original post makes it appear to be an OS registry problem.
----
pelejab:  I don't have enough room on HDD for a second install of XP Pro as stated in original post.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 7167338
Tazman405, the Recovery Console is not only for NTFS systems. In fact, in the article I mentioned in my first comment, there is a point where it says that a certain step in that procedure is to be taken only if FAT32 is the file system.  As CrazyOne says, if you have not installed Recovery Console on your hard drive, it is available from the WinXP install CD.  Here is a Microsoft Knowledge Base article on how to use (and install) the Recovery Console:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];Q307654
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 7167340
the recovery console is not just for NTFS
see here
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q314058
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 7167341
YOu could also use partition magic to create another partition, copy your doc and settigns folder (and anything else you need to save to it) by booting to a w98 boot disk and copying from dos (since it is fat32), and then go ahead and reinstall.
note you will have to install PM on another mahcine, and then create the boot disks (use a w98 machine)
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167357
tazman405

If you go to this link it has photos on what you will see on the screen when you boot to the CD. This may help you with the procedure. As has been stated the Recovery Console is not file system specific. However to get into the Recovery Console it has to locate the registry files especaily the SAM hive because you have to log in to use the Recovery Console. If scandisk mangled the file system which I suspect it did then the Recovery Console may not find what it is looking for.

http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
Click on Access Recovery Console
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by:Comply
ID: 7167376
Since your file system is fat32, You can remove the old drive. Install the new one, Setup your new install of XP on it. Set the new drive as Primary Active Partion. The old one as Secondary.

Setup Recovery Console on the new drive. Migate your old files over to the new install. Make sure you make the 5 disk needed to recover if this ever happens again.

This is the safest way to recover any Data & Files you need. The drive is dieing anyway, So go ahead and do it now.

CarzyOne- He can't install RC now it's to late. It needs to be Installed from a XP Window, Which he can not get too.
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by:Comply
ID: 7167438
Correction, Was thinking about mirrored volumes which I use.

Here is the way to make a start-up disk

Insert XP CD in Drive-boot to a DOS prompt-Goto the drive where the CD is. Type \bootdisk\makeboot A:

You will need 4 formated disk, follow the prompts to create.

Command to repair Master Boot Record = Fixmbr


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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167444
Comply
The RC does not need to be installed. There are two options.

One - is to install it on the HD from Windows and it becomes a boot option with an entry in the boot.ini. This option does not require the XP CD and since it loads directly off the HD this makes it more convenient and it will load faster. However the installation of the RC is not required to be able to use it if one has a XP CD.

Two - it can be loaded into memory directly from the CD provided the CD is bootable and the BIOS can boot to the CD. If the system can't boot to the CD then the setup floppies can be used. The RC DOES NOT need to be installed. I have run the RC many times directly off the CD without it being installed on the HD. It is not necessary for it to be on the HD. RC is similar to the Win9x bootdisk. It loads the utilities to a virtual drive and/or directly into memory.

The point of the RC is just for cases like this where Windows won't boot. Even if the RC has been installed on the HD it may not be accessible if that section of the HD has gone bad or the files for the RC on the HD have gotten corrupted. Hence the reason it is still accessible on the XP CD. No pre installation is needed what so ever.

There are 6 setup disks that can be used if the machine can't boot to the CD. However you have to download these disks.

Info about the setup disks
Obtaining Windows XP Setup Boot Disks
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q310994

Download disks here
Windows XP startup disks
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=33291
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Author Comment

by:tazman405
ID: 7167690
I feel I am so close and yet so far.  Two answers in particular have me trying to salvage this drive before trying the third answer which I may be forced to do <set up new HDD and migrate>

The two in particular:

Lee Tutor:  Your website had my error code spot on from Microsoft itself.  The problem I have is that in the very first step in the process, Step One, you *have* to get to the Recovery Console, which I have been unsuccessful at, apparently because.....

CrazyOne says that the 'RC HAS TO LOCATE'the registry files <this implies the RC cannot run without access to uncorrupted files>.

----
Comply:  Your suggestion to make a startup disk is very intriguing if I knew the correct way to 'boot to a DOS prompt' after booting from XP Pro CD *without* using a previous version's boot disk <the scandisk on this one apparently screwed up my registry...>  I have DOS 6.22 disks but I believe it's incompatible with XP.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167780
>>><this implies the RC cannot run without access to uncorrupted files>.

Partially true there are five separate files (hives) that make up the registry

DEFAULT
SAM
SECURITY
SOFTWARE
SYSTEM

The SYSTEM hive can be corrupted and the RC will still run because the RC doesn't use this hive. The RC does look at the SAM hive because in most cases you have to login on the administrator account to run the RC. Now the problem as it appears to me is that when you ran the DOS scandisk it mangled parts of the file system in such a way that the RC can't locate these hives or the HD is badly damaged or there is a serious problem with machine that caused the original problem.

There is no such thing in XP as a one floppy bootdisk that loads command prompt utilities like there is for Win9x/Me. The RC is the only thing for XP that loads command prompt utilities. When using NT based OS's which XP is one, a person needs to think in different terms about the approach to certain things such as bootdisks then they did while running Win9x/Me. In other words XP is a paradigm shift and the thought process for using the OS with some things has to change. What I am saying is pretend like you never used Win9x/Me and forget about the one floppy bootdisk with command prompt utilities idea. On FAT32 systems you can still use the Win9x/Me bootdisk to do things like copying files.

Now to get back to trying to remedy the current situation. Have you look at this link for doing a Repair. The procedure is a little different then one you initially had thoughts about trying.  
----------------------------

http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
Click on How To Repair Windows XP by Reinstalling

"Sometimes the only way to repair XP is to reinstall. You do not have to wipe your partition and start over. Just as with previous versions of Windows you can install over top of an existing setup. This has the advantage of retaining your installed applications, data and settings. It is always prudent to backup important data before you make changes to XP.

Boot with the Windows XP CD and at the Setup Screen press the Enter Key

You will be taken to the Windows XP Licensing Agreement. After reading the agreement press F8 to proceed.

The next screen gives you the option to do a fresh (clean) install or to "Repair the selected Windows XP installation." Press "R"

Windows XP will copy the necessary files to your Hard Drive to begin the installation  and will then reboot. You will see the message that informs you to "Press any key to boot the CD". Do not press any keys this time just wait a few seconds and the Windows Startup Screen will be displayed. Following this you will be greeted by the Windows XP Setup Screens.

When Setup has completed you should find all of your previously installed apps and settings are intact."
---------------------------

Generally speaking a Repair will NOT cause you to loose most of your settings or data files. For the most part it will retain your settings for the programs you installed. However there are always risks involved with doing anything when trying to recover an ailing OS.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7167800
You could try this first which I forgot to mention.

Boot to the Win9x bootdisk.

at the prompt do this

COPY /y c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
Hit the enter key

DEL c:\windows\system32\config\system
Hit the enter key

COPY /y c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
Hit the enter key

Reboot
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by:Comply
ID: 7167991
You can create the bootdisk on any box, Does not matter. If you remove the old drive and install your new one, you will be able to create them anyway on yours.

Once the disk are made, remove your new drive and install the old one then use the disk. Of course if you have access to a XP box just use Start-Run and type <CD Drive Letter>:\bootdisk\makeboot a: and hit enter follow the prompts to create.

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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7168115
I think you are confusing XP with Win2000. The creation of Bootdisks (Setup Diks) for XP are only available as a download from MS.

Please read this article.

Obtaining Windows XP Setup Boot Disks
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q310994

"Windows XP Setup boot disks are available only by download from Microsoft. The Setup boot disks are available so that you can run Setup on computers that do not support a bootable CD-ROM.

If your computer does support booting from a CD-ROM, or if network-based installation is available, Microsoft recommends that you use those installations methods instead.

Future products will no longer support installation via the setup boot disks. Installation of future Microsoft Operating Systems will require the ability to boot from the CD or PXE boot from Network. Setup boot disks that are provided for Windows XP are provided and supported on an as is basis."
-------------------------
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Author Comment

by:tazman405
ID: 7168169
CrazyOne:  Am trying your suggestion to copy to a system.bak file and it tells me path not found.  There is no tmp directory on my HDD under the Windows directory using the command line.  I have noticed in the Windows\system32\config directory, there is both the system, and a system.sav file.  Had considered getting .sav file from working machine to replace, but not sure if this is a good idea.  System <the one you suggested copying to .bak file> is too large for floppy to make this idea work.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7168225
Ok see it there is a C:\Windows\Temp Directory if so then
COPY /y c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\temp\system.bak

If there is not a Temp folder then go ahead and copy it a folder you know exits.

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Author Comment

by:tazman405
ID: 7174904
Sorry for the delay, but believe it not, the other computer has been down for a day.  Have looked into all options and tried all that you suggested, and am now up and running and have been for a day using same harddrives.  Thanks again...

tazman
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7175432
You are welcome. :>)
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by:Pynky
ID: 7320790
tazman405, What exactly was it that you did to correct the problem?

CrazyOne, what does the copying of c:\windows\repair\system  to  c:\windows\system32 \config\system accomplish?

I'm having sort of the same problem. Currently I'm in a 2nd WinXP installation that I've had to install to get back online. My original installation hangs in both safe mode and regular for an unknown reason, and a repair installation hangs with 27minutes remaining.

I want to restore my old registry to this installation, delete the original install, and rename this 2nd install to my original "c:\windows" location.

If anyone can be of help, I know this post is a little old.
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