This morning I experienced the pleasure of seeing an error message along the lines of "your computer can't complete startup because the following file is missing or corrupt: windows/system32/config/system." Obviously, I am desparately trying to avoid losing the data files on the machine, as well as all of the various programs I have installed. I have no back up (shame on me, but that's where I find myself).
I bought my PC from Velocity Micro with XP Pro preinstalled. While I have seen some answers already posted concerning this issue, I am concerned about some language on the Microsoft site that pertains to using the Repair Console on a machine that came with XP preinstalled. The language is: "Warning Do not use the procedure that is described in this article if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system. The system hive on OEM installations creates passwords and user accounts that did not exist previously. If you use the procedure that is described in this article, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives." I have no idea whether this would pertain to a Velocity Micro install of XP Pro, but I also do not want to risk the loss of all of my data and programs.
Also, I am no master of DOS commands, so you'll have to really "dumb down" your suggested course of action so that I can see exactly what it is I am supposed to type at the C prompt, assuming you send me to the Repair utility on the XP Pro setup CD.
Thanks to whomever reponds. This is really a depressing situation.