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How to fix registry without full boot

Posted on 2002-07-29
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How to fix registry without full boot?

I have a problem with the registry that I'm trying to fix.
I can't boot up via safemode because of the registry problem.

I have only been able to boot in via CD-Rom.

How can I fix the registry problem without a full bootup?
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Question by:Axter
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LeeTutor earned 200 total points
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This Microsoft Knowledge Base article should help you:

http://support.microsoft.com/search/preview.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q307545
How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry that Prevents Windows XP from Starting (Q307545)
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by:jmiller47
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You can use the bootdisk mentioned here to boot up your system and edit the registry. Make sure to read up on it first a bit!

http://www.pc-pipeline.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=15
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by:Crash2100
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if all else fails, you could try running the windows xp setup and choose the repair option
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by:jmiller47
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Probably your safest bet is to use the repair function...
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by:jehob
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Here is a tip that that I use all the time which lets you re-initialize your registry and refresh your desktop without having to leave Windows.

For Windows NT, 2000, or XP press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select "Task Manager". Choose the "Processes" tab and locate the "explorer.exe" process, highlight it and click "End Process". Select 'File -> New Task', then enter 'explorer' and click OK.

This trick can save you a whole lot of time in certain situations!  It doesn't work when installing new display drivers, but other than that I have never had any problems with it.

Hope this helps!

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by:Axter
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I'll take a look at your comments when I get home, and try it out.

If any of them fix my problem, I'll award points to appropriate expert.

Thanks
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by:GHOSTRIDER
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one thing that you can also try (if you want to spend money!) is a program called ERD commander by winternals software http://www.winternals.com/products/repairandrecovery/erdcommander2002.asp

this awesome piece of kit allows full registry access (plus a mountain of other things)through a GUI without the need to boot into windows...

HTH

Mike
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by:SunBow
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1) Ditto to Crash2100  & jmiller47, if you can only do CD, utilize options. I don't think it has repair anymore, I think it is called recover, like maybe it'll work now. <yawn>

2) My personal preference, is to fix or undo what you (I) broke. Namely, the thing you did last. Takes much less time.

> How can I fix the registry problem

er, and what registry problem was that?
There are many ways to edit. Move on.
You have yet to demonstrate any involvement of a registry in problem.

> I have only been able to boot in via CD-Rom.

Then once in, why not run the editor?

Did you edit it incorrectly? Already? Did you make some good backups of registry before editing it? Try 'restore'.

Tried your known good boot diskette yet?
Update a driver?

(depending on damage, you might be better off reapplying The OS itself, as if from scratch. some things are too difficult to undo, comparatively)

A .reg file can be run.
Use Batch command; Run command
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by:SunBow
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[MS quote:]
Using Recovery Console

If you cannot start your computer in safe mode or by using the Last Known Good Configuration startup option, you can use Recovery Console. With the appropriate permissions, you can use this command-line interface to start recovery tools, start and stop services, access files on hard disks, and perform advanced tasks, such as manually replacing corrupted system files. You can run Recovery Console from the Windows XP Professional operating system CD, or you can install it as a startup option.

Infrequently, startup files and critical areas on the hard disk become corrupted. If the corruption is extensive, it might prevent you from starting Windows XP Professional in normal or safe modes, or from using the installed Recovery Console or using the Last Known Good Configuration startup option. In these situations, you can run Recovery Console from the Windows XP Professional operating system CD.

To start Recovery Console from the Windows XP Professional operating system CD

Insert the Windows XP Professional operating system CD into the CD-ROM drive, and restart the computer. When prompted, press a key to start Setup.
At the Setup Notification screen, press ENTER.
After the Welcome to Setup screen appears, select To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console by pressing R.
A menu that lists one or more Windows XP Professional installations appears.

Type the number corresponding to the installation that you want to use, and then press ENTER.
At the prompt, enter the password for the local Administrator account to access the contents of the local hard disk. Recovery Console accepts only the local Administrator account password.
From Recovery Console, you can attempt to replace corrupted files with undamaged copies stored on removable disks, such as a floppy disk or the Windows XP Professional operating system CD.
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by:SunBow
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Using Recovery Console to Restore the Registry Keys

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE
If the previously discussed recovery methods do not enable you to start Windows XP Professional, you can try replacing the System and Software files, which are in the systemroot\System32\Config folder, with a backup copy from the systemroot\Repair folder. The System and Software files are used by Windows XP Professional to create the registry keys HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE. A corrupted copy of the System or Software file could prevent you from starting Windows XP Professional.

Try other recovery methods before using the manual procedure that follows. The manual procedure enables you to start the operating system, allowing you to perform further repairs by using Windows XP Professional tools.

When using the following procedure, do not replace both the System and Software files as part of a single attempt to start the computer. First, replace one file, and then test whether this action resolves the startup problem. If the problem persists, copy the other file. Which file you decide to replace first (the System or Software file), depends on the information that the Stop error displays (hardware or software related).

Using Recovery Console to replace the System file

At the Recovery Console prompt, locate the config folder by typing:
cd system32\config

Create backups of the System or Software files by typing:
copy system <drive:\path\filename>

-or-

copy software <drive:\path\filename>

If they exist, save backups of other files that use file names that start with "system" or "software," such as System.sav or Software.sav.

Replace the current System or Software file by typing:
copy ..\..\repair\system

-or-

copy ..\..\repair\software

Answer the Overwrite system? (Yes/No/All): prompt by pressing Y.
Restart the computer.
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by:CrazyOne
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Umm SunBow most of what you said in the last few comments are in the link provided in LeeTudors first comment. :>)
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by:CrazyOne
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Oops
LeeTudor = LeeTutor
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by:jmiller47
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Still with us Axter? :-)
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by:Axter
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jmiller47,
>>Still with us Axter? :-)
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait until this weekend before I can work on my home computer.  Maybe Friday.
I'm still at work right now (8:50 PM)


SunBow,
>>er, and what registry problem was that?
>>There are many ways to edit. Move on.
>>You have yet to demonstrate any involvement of a
>>registry in problem.

I had a problem trying to uninstall and install Visual C++ 6.0, so to stop the installation program from seeing the the previous installation, I rename one of the major keys listed under SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.
I was going to change the key back before rebooting, but "STUPID ME" forgot to do so.

So I know it is a registry problem.
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by:Axter
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SunBow,
I didn't want to say how I knew it was the registry, because I didn't want to advertise my stupidity. :-)

I haven't tried editing the registry, because I didn't know how to do it with out a full boot.

It looks like jmiller47's link has a program that will let me edit the registry with out a full boot.
I'll probably try this first.
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by:Crash2100
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That's a critical key, that probabbly screwed up more than just windows.  I think you may be better off just reformatting and starting fresh.
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by:Axter
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Crash2100,
You might be right, but I want to first give it a shot, before scrapping it.
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by:CrazyOne
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I don't know David I really think you wont have to reformat. If are able to edit it appropriately you might be ok. However if not then if you follow the instructions in the link LeeTutor provided that should do the trick. Of course if you turned of the System Restore then there might not be any backup registry files to work with. :>)
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by:CrazyOne
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Also if all else fails give this a try. Look for the section "If Windows XP Does Not Start".

HOW TO: Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q306084
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by:LeeTutor
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Oh, CrazyOne, oh acknowledged Master Guru of WinXp, could you please come in and help with this question?  (I bow down and kiss your feet in abject pleading...)

http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/Q_20326605.html
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by:CrazyOne
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You crack me up Lee. LOL
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by:LeeTutor
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Anything to please, mastuh...
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by:Axter
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jmiller47,
I gave your program a try last night, and I couldn't get it to work.
There doesn't seem to be any documentation for the program, and I couldn't figure out how to get it to recognize the partition in which XP is located.
I have XP in hard drive D, within first partition.
I even tried removing my C drive, so as to make the D drive the first drive, but it still did not see the partition.
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by:Axter
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LeeTutor,
The MS link you posted is hard to follow.

Via the link instructions, I was able to copy a default set of files, in order to boot the computer.
However, the instructions has me put my registry files into a temporary folder, and then boot up with a set of default files.

How can I modify the registry files stored in the temporary folder?
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by:Axter
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This entire experience has really given me a bad taste for Windows XP.  I'm really tempted to go back to Windows 98.

I would never have any of these registry problems with Windows 98.
If I screwed it up, I could easily reinstall anyone of the last 5 backup registries.

Why doesn't XP have the ability to reinstall one of the backup registries files.

I see that in the "\System Volume Information" folder, it seems to have multiple backup registry files.

What is the point of having multiple backup registry files, if you can't restore them?
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by:Axter
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GHOSTRIDER,
Thanks for the link, but I'm not interested in purchasing a new product for a platform that I'm not sure I'm going to stick with.
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by:Axter
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Crash2100,
>>if all else fails, you could try running the windows xp
>>setup and choose the repair option  
My cd does have the repair option, but it doesn't seem to repair anything.

It just gives you access to repair console screen.
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by:LeeTutor
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Axter, I am browsing the article I gave you the link for as I look at your comments.  Tell me, what step in that long, complicated procedure (I agree with you!) have you arrived at?
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by:Axter
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SunBow,
Thanks for the info, but as CrazyOne stated, most of that is covered in LeeTutor's link.


CrazyOne,
OK, I just checked out the last link you posted, and this seems like it might be able to select a paticular backup set of registries.
When I get home tonight, I'll give it a shot.
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by:jmiller47
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Axter, As stated in the article there is an abundance of documentation at:
http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/

As far as Windows XP over 98, for ease of recovery, format FAT32 so you can easily boot to a DOS startup diskette to fix problems and use utilities.

As far as your comment about restoring previous versions of the registry hives, what exact hive did you change? You stated it was "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.", but not if it was under HKLM or HKCU.

Can someone here post any information about about the proper methods of backing up and restoring (offline) registry and system state objects? I have a lot of fragmented information myself and if someone can post even links to best practices for recovery, I'm sure that would help a lot!

Thanks
Joel
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by:Axter
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>>Axter, I am browsing the article I gave you the link for
>>as I look at your comments.  Tell me, what step in that
>>long, complicated procedure (I agree with you!) have you
>>arrived at?

I was able to copy the orginal registry files to the temp directory, and then copy the registry files from the default directory to the \windows\system32\config\ directory.

This allowed me to boot up.
But from that point on, I'm kind of lost.

Starting with the following section:

These files are the backed up registry files from System Restore. Because you used the registry file created by Setup, this registry does not know that these restore points exist and are available. A new folder is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information and a restore point is created that includes a copy of the registry files that were copied during part one. This is why it is important not to use the most current folder, especially if the time stamp on the folder is the same as the current time.
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by:LeeTutor
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Axter, I'm still waiting for the answer to my question I asked 6 minutes ago (1:17 PM).  At exactly what stage in that article have you arrived?
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by:Axter
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What creates "A new folder is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information"
And How???
What is a GUID?
And what creates a "restore point"?

The entire sentance is very ambiguous.
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by:Axter
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jmiller47,
>>As far as your comment about restoring previous versions
>>of the registry hives, what exact hive did you change?
>>You stated it
>>was "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.", but
>>not if it was under HKLM or HKCU.

It was HKLM

I didn't see the doc link before, I'll give it a look tonight.
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by:LeeTutor
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I'm having a very hard time myself figuring out what this article is talking about at the particular point you quoted.  If I figure it out, I'll let you know.  But am I right in assuming you've reached step 10 of Part 2?  If you are sure you've done all those steps correctly, why not just go on to Part 3?
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by:Axter
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>>If you are sure you've done all those steps correctly,
>>why not just go on to Part 3?

If I do that, I'll just be copying the corrupt files back to the registry without having fixed them.  So I would be back to square one.
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by:Axter
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A note above Part 3, states the following:

******************************************
NOTE: The procedure described in this section assumes that you are running your computer with the FAT32 file system.
******************************************

Does that apply to part 2 or part 3.

I think MS went out of their way to see how complicted they can make a set of instructions with this link.
Who ever wrote it needs to be shot several times, and then run over for good measure.
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by:LeeTutor
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I'll agree that whoever wrote the instructions needs to be short several times, etc.  He sure doesn't know how to explain what is going on...  But I'll try to answer your questions:

First, the easier one:
>A note above Part 3, states the following:

>******************************************
>NOTE: The procedure described in this section assumes >that you are running your computer with the FAT32 file >system.
>******************************************

>Does that apply to part 2 or part 3.

I think it applies to part 2.

Second, this one:
>If I do that, I'll just be copying the corrupt files back >to the registry without having fixed them.  So I would be >back to square one.

From my (admittedly vague) understanding of what is going on: I think step 3 copies registry files saved at system setup time (when you installed XP) to the registry.
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by:Axter
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>> I think step 3 copies registry files saved at system
>>setup time (when you installed XP) to the registry.

That's already done in part 1 with the following commands:

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

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by:LeeTutor
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All right, then step 3 seems to be copying the registry from a restore point to the current registry, so that other system restores can be done.  Here's an abbreviated description of what I understand is going on:

Part 1. back up Win\Sys32\Config to Tmp
        delete  Win\Sys32\Config files
        copy    Win\Repair files to Win\Sys32\Config
Part 2. copy snapshots of registry from restore points to Tmp
Part 3. delete  Win\Sys32\Config files
        copy snapshots from Tmp to Win\Sys32\Config
Part 4. use system restore.

In part 1, the Repair files are used as the registry in order to be able to boot at all (and they were saved from system setup time.)  In part 2, a restore point's registry is used so that the other restore points are accessible (they aren't accessible using the setup's version of the registry because they hadn't even been created yet.)
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by:jmiller47
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Ok, I startted trying to translate the article and WOW! you were right. I did however figure it out all the way up to step 4:

Part Four
Click Start, and then click All Programs.
Click Accessories, and then click System Tools.
Click System Restore, and then click Restore to a previous Restore Point.

Then WHAT? Just click "Restore to a previous Restore Point" and everything is magically fixed? What do you do then?

You must pick a restore point to restore to. Which one do you choose?
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by:Axter
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I finally got my XP computer backup and running.
I was able to MANUALLY restore one of the backup registry file set.
I used some of the information listed in LeeTutor's MS link:
http://support.microsoft.com/search/preview.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q307545

In case anyone else is interested, here's how I did it.


Boot to the Recovery Console.
At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
md tmp_r
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp_r\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp_r\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp_r\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp_r\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp_r\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Then after that, you can reboot to XP in normal mode.

Once you do a full boot into XP, go to the "C:\System Volume Information" directory.
If you don't see this directory, or don't have access to it, check the following link for some instructions on how to access this folder.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];Q309531

Look inside this folder you'll see additional folders that have names that look like the following:
_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}

Open the folder with the latest date stamp, or a date stamp that represents the last day&time you think you had a valid registry.
Inside the above folder, you'll find more folders:
RP0
RP1
RP3
etc....

Each one of these folders has a copy of the registry files stored in a subfolder called snapshot.  The folder with the biggist number, is the latest backup.
Select the sub folder you want to use to restore your registry.
Example:

C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot

Useing your selected folder copy the registry file to a folder that has normal access.
Example:
mkdir c:\windows\good_reg
copy C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM c:\windows\good_reg\system
copy C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE c:\windows\good_reg\software
copy C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM c:\windows\good_reg\sam
copy C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY c:\windows\good_reg\security
copy C:\System Volume Information\_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}\RP7\snapshot\_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT c:\windows\good_reg\default

Now reboot to the Recovery Console.
At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
copy c:\windows\good_reg\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\good_reg\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\good_reg\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\good_reg\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\good_reg\default c:\windows\system32\config\default


That's it.  YOu can now reboot XP in normal mode, with the restored registry files.
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by:LeeTutor
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Very good, Axter. Glad to be of help.  Maybe YOU should have written the Microsoft article rather than whoever did it...
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by:Axter
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>>Maybe YOU should have written the Microsoft article
>>rather than whoever did it...

I think anyone could have done a better job.
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by:Axter
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Thanks everyone for your input.
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by:jmiller47
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"Look inside this folder you'll see additional folders that have names that look like the following:
_restore{5C4DCC9D-E782-4845-AB2A-E820210EC1E4}

Open the folder with the latest date stamp, or a date stamp that represents the last day&time you think you had a valid registry.
Inside the above folder, you'll find more folders:
RP0
RP1
RP3
etc...."

I thought you were absolutely NOT supposed to take the last one since the last one would be the one you used to boot up. You need to take one from before that. Am I correct in thinking this?
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by:CrazyOne
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Well Joel it does say "or a date stamp that represents the last day&time you think you had a valid registry". So the user needs to have an idea at least which one is the latest known good registry. This is also assuming that the user hasn't turned off the System Restore feature as well.

I wrote my own program to backup the registry to a specific folder created by the program under the %SystemRoot%. This program can also be run using the Task Scheduler. If anybody is interested or knows anybody who is interested in using this program I have it available for free at the following link.

http://www.geocities.com/eecrazyone/crazyone.html

One thing I forgot to mention if you know which hive is corrupted then usually all you need to do is to replace that hive instead of replacing all five hives. I have done this several times with great success.

Phew I got to tell you I sure am glad that I can get by with not needing NTFS. I like being able to run a Win98 boot disk and using the COPY command from it. One reason is because you can use wildcards on folders so you don't have to do so much darn typing. Another reason is because the Recovery Console has built-in restrictions to what folders can be accessed. Of course you can set permissions in such a way that you can have access to all folders but most users don't know about this. But if that portion of the registry is the one that is corrupted then those permissions are negated. For those reading this thread and are interested in what the permissions are and how to set them then here it is.
-----------------------

Set an Automatic Administrator Logon for the Recovery Console
Control Panel >  Administrative > Local Security Policy.
Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options. Locate the "Recovery Console: Allow automatic administrative logon" policy. Double-click this policy, and then set it to "Enable".

or edit the registry
"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole
SecurityLevel (DWORD) 1 = no password, 0 = ask for pass
--------------------------------------------

Access To All Drives And Folders policy
Control Panel >  Administrative > Local Security Policy.
Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options. Locate the "Recovery Console: Allow Floppy Copy And Access To All Drives And Folders" policy. Double-click this policy, and then set it to "Enable".

or edit the registry
"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole
SetCommand (DWORD) 1 = allow floppy copy etc, 0 = restrict some file
copying

Then when you get into the Recovery Console you need to use the SET command to get a few things to work,

Example:

SET AllowAllPaths = TRUE

AllowWildCards = TRUE Enable wildcard support for some commands (such as the del command)

AllowAllPaths = TRUE Allows access to all files and folders on the computer

AllowRemovableMedia = TRUE Allow files to be copied to removable media, such as a floppy disk

NoCopyPrompt = TRUE Do not prompt when overwriting an existing file
------------------------------
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by:jmiller47
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Very good information CrazyOne and I like the information on your site. Very good stuff! I hope you keep expanding it.

"One reason is because you can use wildcards on folders so you don't have to do so much darn typing. "
I was looking at this and was going to tell you about the article: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];Q307654#6 but I see you covered that later in your comment!

With those variables set, you can actually use wilcards for copying can't you? I've not used it yet....

Thanks
Joel
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by:jehob
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I definitely agree regarding the website CrazyOne...great page with some great links.  What an outstanding resource!  Please keep it up.
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by:CrazyOne
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Thanks. I hope to put some more utilities on there it's just getting around to developing and testing them that is holding me back right now.

>>>With those variables set, you can actually use wilcards for copying can't you? I've not used it yet....

Sort of. When using the COPY command from a Win98 bootdisk you can copy an entire folder doing something like this.

copy /y C:\MyFolder\* C:\MyOtherFolder

However if you set AllowWildCards = True you still can't copy an entire folder but you can use wildcards in this fashion.

copy C:\MyFolder\*.txt C:\MyOtherFolder

or

copy C:\MyFolder\MyText*.* C:\MyOtherFolder

but not

copy C:\MyFolder\* C:\MyOtherFolder

I think MS needs to retool the Recover Console because like Axter alluded to the darn thing is lacking in some useful commands like scanreg and the Console is a bit cumbersome to use.
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CrazyOne, As an alternative to the other shutdown application you have on your site, here is another one if you're interested. I found it for another question I was working on and it was similar to yours.
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