After a reboot, I constantly get "Windows could not start becuase the following file is missing or corrupt: \windows\system32\config\system"

When I reboot, the following fail and send me to this BSOD: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA

F8, all safe modes, fail and say the above missing file.
ERD 2003 Boot from CD, at menu load, BSOD
WinXP Boot from CD, R to repair (BSOD as soon as I press "1. C:\WINDOWS"
WinXP Setup, BSD after press F8 (I agree screen)

Evrything goes to the BSOD. All data is on D and E (same drive, diff partitions) so C can be wiped with no problem, but it wont let me.

No new hardware was installed - I think something got currupted from standby mode.

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Did you have a spike in power or power failure??
The Suspend To RAM function of power saving saves all open files and data to memory. If the pc hangs, or power failure occurs, the chance of data loss is severe.

1) Reset you bios
2) Swap out display adapter
3) Swap out memory modules

Do first step, then reboot. If problem persist, go to step 2 and 3. I would say that your display adaptor is causing this havoc.
Please post system configuration.
Forgot to mention. windows\system32\config\system is a directory, not a file. Please let us know which file is missing!
Actually, windows\system32\config\system is not a directory.  It is a file, and is part of the registry.  This MSKB article explains how to solve the problem:;en-us;307545
How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry that Prevents Windows XP from Starting

Unfortunately, it requires getting into the Recovery Console, which apparently cannot be done.  Perhaps it will work if all unnecessary peripheral devices are removed from the system.  However, this problem can also come about if there is defective memory.  The STOP error (PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA) is often caused by this.  Take a look at the following web page,

which is presented using frames.  Click on the error code (50) in the left pane of the page, which is a link to the following quotation:

(Click to consult the online Win XP Resource Kit article, or see Windows 2000 Professional Resource Kit, p. 1548.)
Requested data was not in memory. An invalid system memory address was referenced. Defective memory (including main memory, L2 RAM cache, video RAM) or incompatible software (including remote control and antivirus software) might cause this Stop message, as may other hardware problems (e.g., incorrect SCSI termination or a flawed PCI card). Use the General Troubleshooting of STOP Messages checklist above.
Possible Resolutions to STOP 0x0A, 0x01E, and 0x50 Errors {KB 183169} Win NT, Win 2000, Win XP
During setup {KB 171003} Win NT, Win 2000, Win XP
Partial List of Driver Error Codes That the Driver Verifier Tool Uses to Report Problems {KB 315252} Win XP
Easy CD Creator 5.0 Does Not Function In Windows XP {KB 310628} Win XP
STOP Error When You Start Windows After You Connect a Scanner {KB 310869} Win XP
Stop 0x1E in PROTCLS.SYS When You Undock a Toshiba Tecra 8100 {KB 284154} Win XP
STOP 0x4E, STOP 0x1A, STOP 0x50, and STOP 0xA Errors Occur When You Try to Start the Computer {KB 271955} Win NT 4.0 (corrupt physical RAM)
“STOP 0x00000050” Error Message in Stac97.sys After You Upgrade Your Panasonic Toughbook to Win XP Service Pack 1 {KB 329832} Win XP SP1

You should go to the actual page in order to read the links given in the quotation above.
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gelatAuthor Commented:
1. cannot turn off L2 cache, no option in BIOS
2. swapped video cards, same stop error
3. have 1 GB of mem, 4 sticks - took 2 out - nothing, swapped, leaving only the other 2 -
nothing - same error at recovery console - stop 050

It is a Dell XPS. P4 2.8. 1 GB 3200 CL3 mem, ATI 9800 Pro, WD 200 GB, Audigy 2, XP Pro SP2.
NIC intergrated and working still (as my wireless network goes thu this system and still works on the laptop I am typing this on), Plextor PX708 and a floppy. My media player would not work, but everything else did, so I rebooted. That is when all this started.  ZERO problems prior to reboot - was using DVD, sound, internet, browsing, email.....

actiually, windows\system32\config\system is a file, part of the registry hive. that one is corrupt. Would easily replace if recovery console did not send me to BSOD
gelatAuthor Commented:

I swapped sticks in and out, 1 at a time - it is not the memory, or the video card at this time :(

Now what?
Make sure the memory is ok, download Memtest and run.


See if you can also check for normal temperature and proper configuration in the BIOS.
gelatAuthor Commented:
Running diagnostics now, memory passed, so did L2 cache. Overheating is not an issue.....
If you can somehow obtain boot disks created by Partition Magic, you could likely format your hard drive from there.  Fdisk is another option, but I would definitely recommend that you backup your data to another hard drive or computer if you choose that.

One more thing is to try unplugging all of your non-essential devices (basically everything except monitor and keyboard) and disabling your USB devices in the BIOS and then trying to run setup.  (This only works in some cases though).

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gelatAuthor Commented:
FDISK did not help, but I did like you said, used an old part magic boot disk and it did see the drive and formatted it.

apparently the entire situation was caused by hard drive, bad file created when going to standby :(
Glad you got that to work.  Seems Partition Magic is a handy tool to have (and luckily you had created boot disks).

I hope you'll be able to get XP reinstalled.  Standby occasionally does cause problems; I disable it on my computer since it's not going to make a significant difference in power consumption anyways.  



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