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C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM but system in not in the windows\repair folder

GroundHawg asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Have a laptop getting  C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM when I go to copy the system from c:\windows\repair that file is not there. The sam, default, software etc are but not system. Any ideas?
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Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

Close all the office programs, and then try renaming\deleting your Normal.dot file
open word and now check if same issue?
Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

sorry about the last comment, wrong thread!


What I really want to know is why would system not be in the windows\repair folder and is there any other location I could copy system from?
Hi GroundHawg,
I'm just trying to understand your question is your laptop not functioning or is it functioning and you just can't see anything in the system folder?
Good Luck!


No it will not boot and the error is C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
In recovery console I created the tmp folder and made copies of the system, software, default etc per Microsoft and others such as this link http://www.digitalwebcast.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=8658-2
This issue is that when I go to copy the system to c:\windows\system32\config\ from the c:\windows\repair there is no SYSTEM file located there. I am looking at my other laptop and I see the system.bak on it but of course this is tied to that machine. So my question is tthere any other location that I can retrieve the system file from . Thanks

A backup of the system hive can be found in your restore points.
What I've had todo in the past is create a Bart PE Boot CD  http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
Boot of that, and then I can access the drive without any hastles.
from there I went into the restore folder.
In there you have your restore points as directories. Sorry I cant remember the exact location.

In Barts boot PE you can also load the hive into regedit to make sure it's valid before copying it over to  C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG
I've never heard of repairing things this way I would recomend using the repair utility on the winxp boot disk. here are some instructions...

Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

> What I really want to know is why would system not be in the windows\repair folder
can be many reasons, a bad shutdown can cause the file to be deleted from both locations, a severe virus attack can do this, and a hard drive cluster corruption can also cause such problem.

>> is there any other location I could copy system from?
very less chances, but as mentioned, may be in the restore points folder if system restore was turned on!


Can't do this repair because the system does not see a valid xp install which I would assume is because of the system hive missing. Per these instructions "Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair. If Repair is not one of the options, END setup"
okay what about doing a system restore via the recovery console?

Restore the computer to a previous date manually. Though steps look complicated, its worth trying.

Restart the system.

Press f12 when you see the Dell logo. This shud get you one time boot screen.

Insert CD to the top most drive (if u have 2 drives) and press enter. Make sure you see "Press any key to boot from CD...". This is the indication that you are booting from CD. Press any key on the keyboard to boot through CD. You will have about 4 seconds to press the key. This should start loading necessary file and may take 2-5 mins depending on the speed of your computer. On welcome to set up screen, press R and accept the license agreement by pressing f8. This shoud load the recovery console.

First rename the system file using the command below

ren c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\system32\config\system.old

Type exit at the command prompt. This will restart the system.

Boot back to recovery console again.

Type the following commands

cd \
cd system~1
cd _resto~1

Now obeserve the directory listing. You should find a lot of folders starting with RPxxx(xxx will be numbers)
Each folder will be followed by the date it got created. Locate the file with the date when your system was working. Note the folder name (eg. RP22)

Type the following commands

CD RP22 (note: susbstitute the folder you located)
cd snapshot

copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy _registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy _registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy _registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default (note: "." before default)


This should take you to desktop

Good luck
Post I found on this site although I can't remember then link

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Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

if repair is not an option, then only a full repair or clean install is the remaining option here.
having data on the system which was not backed up?

if yes then take out the hard drive, slave it in another system, copy data to the other system, hook back the drive back in laptop and then do the clean install or full repair.

You can use a Laptop IDE convertor adapter to connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop system as described here,
How To Connect a Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop PC:

OR can use a USB 2.0 To IDE convertor cable to connect any hard drive via USB Ports of any laptop or desktop system,
USB 2.0 to IDE Cable


brady1408 you rock!! I am a network consultant and do this stuff all day but you gave me what I needed, the down and dirty!!! My client is up and I am billing!!
I did not want to have to do a data pull and reinstall!! Clients don't like to pay for that many hours.
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