system hive corrupt

Posted on 2005-04-20
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
when i turn computer on windows xp pro i get error message "widows could not start beacuse: the following file is missing or corrupt \windows\system32\config\system"
i can start the computer using ERD Comander booting off the erd cd, is there any way to type a command to restore the registry from previous backups
Question by:cjsasl
    LVL 59

    Assisted Solution

    You may have to use the rather involved procedure referenced in this Microsoft article:;en-us;307545
    How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry that Prevents Windows XP from Starting

    This page has, perhaps, a more understandable treatment of the above article:
    Windows XP Crashed - Here's Help
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Above postings shld solve ure problem... if not, you might need to do a Reinstallation using the XP CD.

    One concern, this should oni happen once in a blue moon... If u encounter this once a mth.. or worse... once a wk... Sad to say... ure HDD is going down.....
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    This is my new favorite repair utility. I've used Knoppix for data/system recovery like you, but it has trouble with NTFS. Use the bartpe program below to create a bootable cd. If you have access to a Windows XP pc, can install the program on that pc and have access to a burner on that pc. It will create a bootable iso image that will let you access a NTFS formatted drive (2000/xp). When creating the image it has the option to burn straight to a cd, if desired. Install bartpe and run bartpe. Select build, wait while it builds the iso, and then burn it to a cd. Stick the cd in the crashed pc and boot. Pay attention, you will have to press a key to boot into it or select the cd rom as the boot device. If you get into the bartpe environment, follow the instructions in the links or try what's below. The repair steps are similar to links provided by LeeTutor, but this provides a graphical interface to do everything.

    After booting into bartpe, use the go button on the lower left and run the plugin/program a43. This is the program to access your c: drive. From here you can move files super easy. Bartpe ignores permissions and will allow you to copy your files off the hard drive via a network connection. It also lets you move system files like the SAM, SECURITY, DEFAULT, SYSTEM, and SOFTWARE (very critical) files with ease if you know where good ones are. You will most likely want the latter.

    You would want to browse to the c:\system volume information\_restore{somecrazylongnumber}\ Find the rp folder with the highest number or second highest. The highest means the latest or time it worked last. You can view them by date and select one from when the laptop was last working.  Within these rp folders there is a snapshot folder with multiple files. The following five are what you're looking for. (You will have to rename them when they are copied to the c:\windows\system32\config folder.)
    However, since its 2000, these files would most likely be in c:\winnt\repair or c:\winnt\system32\repair
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM   will be renamed as SAM in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY will be renamed as SECURITY in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE will be renamed as SOFTWARE in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM will be renamed as SYSTEM in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT will be renamed as Default in the config folder
    Copy them to the c:\windows\system32\config folder.
    Rename them as DEFAULT, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, and SAM (rename these files before copying over them, like default.bad security.bad, etc.) Reboot. If you still cant login, at the very least, you can boot back into bartpe and copy your data off the hard drive through the network or slave it to another system.

    You can find Bart's Windows PE disk here -  
    A full set off instructions for Barts PE disk on this site -

    Also if you load the files from c:\windows\repair it is basically a fresh install. These files are created when the OS is first installed. You would have to go through the work of reinstalling all programs or going into the rp folder i described above and then back into the system recovery console again

    Author Comment

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am sorry about taking so long to reply but I have to go to a friends house to get access to the internet then go back home.

    I'll post you hopefully shortly from my system.

    I do have my registery backed up with Winrepair XP so I can restore it back after I get in.

    Author Comment

    Ok I'm back in the game. I used ERD Commander (works similar to pebuilder) to boot the computer, then I just copied the C:\Windows\repair\system file to C:\Windows\System32\Config rebooted the computer and it went in no problem.

    Now I'll just restore my registery from and April 13 backup & everything is as it was before.

    Thanks again.

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