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XP boot problem system32/config/system missing/damaged : 2nd HDD solution?

Posted on 2004-09-25
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
Hi,

i had a problem with XP which forced me to turn off my PC as it had completely frozen. When i tried to boot windows again i got this message:

Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM


when trying to follow this article:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545

it does not work as i cannot copy anything over from c:\windows\system32\config\system as it does not exist.

so...

thought i'd try a repair installation:

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tips/xp_repair_install.htm

 but the option doesnt exist, is this something just for XP Pro perhaps?, the only options i get are related to adding or removing partitions..

so..

I have 2 hard drives on my PC, C: and F: , is it possible to install a fresh XP copy on my 2nd HDD (which is running as slave) and then access C: to backup files onto F': before i wipe the drive and reinstall windows?

I presume this is all possible but not too sure where to start, and if its safe???

Thanks a lot.
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Question by:robjmills
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12150307
Hello robjmills =)

Yes u can do that, that will call a Parallel Installtion of XP >> http://www.windowsreinstall.com/winxppro/installxpwindowsparallel/indexfullpage.htm

But first check this, might can help u !!
Warning!! If the Repair Option is not Available
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm#warning2

But if this doesn't work then u can install XP on ur second drive, and u will be able to see ur C: drive(remember if ur C is NTFS and ur second drive is FAT32, u will have to convert second drive to NTFS in order to access C: drive), and then u will be able to backup ur data to somewhere else or in any third partition !!

once u will finish backing up ur data, u will be able to format ur both C: and D drives again and then can install a fresh XP on only C: drive again !!  :)

!! GOOD LUCK !!
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by:robjmills
ID: 12150390
those instructions appear to be for XP Pro, will they be the same for XP Home. ?

Also, will i have a problem with the fact that F: is set to be slave and C: is master?
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12150530
those instructions are same for WinXP Home !!
and i dont think that install;ing XP on ur slave drive shud create any problem for u :)
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by:robjmills
ID: 12150721
right, problems. My little brother has been at my pc while i was out, he thinks he's solved the problem but i'm totally confused. When it boots now i am offerred the chance to boot up 2 diff versions of XP (Both say "Win XP Home edition etc") If i select the bottom of the 2 it tries to load the previous (corrupt) installation of XP. If i load the top one it loads this new installation that contains the same C: drive as my previous install except documents and settings is now empty. My second HDD is still available but is now called D: with my two CD Drives renamed E and F.

now when i hit f8 during the boot the only drive that can be selected is this new D: drive which i think has been autoselected as the primary drive.  Does this mean my computer is operating off D: ? If so, should i now delete the windows folder from C: ?

the computer is now generally running slowly, the screen does not scroll smoothly and it is not possible to select my usual screen resolution. Do i need to reinstall my graphics card drivers maybe?

thats enough for now.. off to give my little bro a clip round the ear, further help would be much appreciated.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12150964
well i dont think so that there is a prblem,,,, coz its all normal after a Parallel installtion.... :)

ur previous C: drive installtion was not working,,,, u installed another XP on ur slave drive D:
now ur previous corrupted is also there, along with the new installtion, so u are getting two OS options at boot menu :)

old is still not working, and new u can run without problems,,,,, now atleast u can access ur old C: drive installtion to backup ur data to a safe place, as i said above !!

now when u will finish ur backing up ur data..... u will be able to format ur C: drive and will be able to install a fresh copy of XP on it !!

so what are u upto now.... ?? :)
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by:robjmills
ID: 12150980
okay, i've reinstalled my nvidia drivers and the appearance is good again and my favorite resolution is available. I'm still a bit confused about the drives though, C: which has a 38GB capacity has only 9GB available yet there should be much more than that, as this drive is no longer in control of windows and i have everything i want (that was possible to get) off it then should i just be able to clear the drive completely and then reinstall windows on it?, if so how do i do this, like i said the 2nd HDD is now being autodetected as the primary drive (by the looks of it).
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12151018
u are confusing me toooo.... =(

u had two drives before, C: and D:
C: had windows installed on it, D: was a slave drive
C: installtion got corrupted
so u installed XP on D:
now u are working from D: installtion
and u can see the contents of C: drive

so u can copy ur data from C: to somewhere else
after that u can boot with the XP CD, and then when it will ask u to choose partition to install XP
choose C: drive,,,,, it will ask toformat the drive
Format it and install XP !!

if u want, u can format D: drive also at the same point..... or u can do it after installing XP on C:
as u wish.... so what is the confusion,,,,, u have started installing softwares and drivers on ur D: drive now...... why, do u want to continue with this installtion,,,, i will not recommend it, coz u still have old windows on C: and ur boot information is still stored on C:,,,,,, so u will be not abel to just Format C:

its better that u just backup ur data now,,,,, then format and do a clean install of XP on ur C: drive !!
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151060
u had two drives before, C: and D:
C: had windows installed on it, D: was a slave drive
C: installtion got corrupted
so u installed XP on D:
now u are working from D: installtion
and u can see the contents of C: drive


is all right except what is now called D: was originally called F: , i dont know at what point this changed and my brother says he didnt change any drive names.

The thing is when i boot with the XP CD it only gives me the option to make changes to D: and not C:

Thanks again.
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151102
do i need to make a change in the bios so that it attempts to boot from the c: drive and not d: which it seems to be doing?

how do i then remove windows from the D: drive without losing my files on there?
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151145
tried setting it to manual in the bios so that it detects C: first but it wont seem to do it. I can just format the C: drive from My Computer, right click, format. Maybe if i do this on C: it will make it possible for me to put a fresh install on there.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12151175
tell me tell me..... u are booting with WinXP CD, u are hitting Enter to doa  fresh install.....
and its not giving u two hard drives, i.e. C: and D:
its just listing D: drive..... right ??
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151348
i've managed to format and then install XP on the C: drive. I now have two working drives with XP on both of them , when i boot my PC i have the option to boot either copy of XP. How do i now safely remove XP from D: without losing the files that are stored on there (These files are stored on the root of the drive, not inside documents and settings.)
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SheharyaarSaahil earned 500 total points
ID: 12151360
ok great.... good job :)

now first u have to edit ur boot.ini file, to remove the entry for this second WinXP installtion which is present on ur D: drive,,,, do it carefully :)

HOW TO: Edit the Boot.ini File in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q289022

after u will remove the entry for the second installtion, ur system will not give u the option ot two XPs on boot time,,,,, so u will have a non-bootable installtion on D: drive,,,,, just delete the Windows folder from D: windows, and it will delete XP from ur D: drive, and u will be left with ur data on it :)

ask if feeling any confusion :)
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151380
this is the content of my boot.ini file, how do i know which drive is which?

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect


thanks.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12151399
what is ur default drive now..... i mean at boot time when u dont select any OS and let it there for 30 seconds, does it boot into C: drive ??
means where u have just installed the new installation !!
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by:robjmills
ID: 12151438
k, i saw my stupidity in the end, i deleted the second entry and then the windows folder. All working fine now.

Points on there way......
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12151592
:)

glad ur system is up again and running happily,,,,, Cheers ^_^
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