Access to XP recovery console on OEM supplied laptop

My client has an Acer Travelmate 4650  laptop

Today he received a message \windows\system32\config\system is corrupt.

Have followed some threads in respect of registry recovery;

Client has no recovery disks/CDs

Is there any way to get at the repair option of system setup so that we can recover the operating system.

Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Has he tried to do a System Restore back to a date prior to the issue?

Boot from the cd. Do NOT do a repair using recovery console. proceed like you were doing a fresh install but BEFORE you select which disk to install to it will look for previous installs and ask if you want to repair it. DO NOT INSTALL A NEW COPY! Hit "r" to repair bt only when it shows you the previous install disk/directory not at the revovery console prompt!

If it does not see the old install post back as the filesystem is just corrupt and it can't read the boot.ini and I'll walk you through that repair. It isnt hard. And no she isnt going to lose any files as long as the disk is operating properly!
Learn Ruby Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to Ruby, as well as teach you about classes, methods, variables, data structures, loops, enumerable methods, and finishing touches.

CallaghtAuthor Commented:
1 Tried (from F8) to go back to last known good restore point but no good also tried safe mode but both came up with errors

2 Client does not have a CD to boot from as the laptop came preinstalled; He is trying to see if he can get an appropriate recovery CD but most likely that will mean that he has to blow away his current config.

3 have tried link suggested by Ded9 above.

4. have managed to boot to Dos with NTFS support and can see that he has an I386 directory. If I run WINNT from there what are my chances????;
Alo have noted that from /windows/ repair  directory there was no SYSTEM hive but there weer others such as SOFTWARE
You can use any Non-Branded OEM installation disc to perfrom a repair install . . just use the Product Code on the bottom of the laptop when prompted for one.
Hello Callaght,

Do you have partitions on hard drive ?

If you have partitions on hard drive you can install windows XP on D:\ or any partition other than C:\ WITHOUT formatting, this will allow you to boot to the computer and back up your data, then you can do a clean reinstall.

If you don't have another partition, then change C:\Windows directory to C:\Windows1, then install windows on C:\ drive,

You can use any Windows XP CD, but when prompted for the Product Key put the key mentioned in the Windows XP sticker on the LapTop (probably on bottom side).

You may also want to try a recovery before installing dual windows then complete help is listed here, all you need to run is CHKDSK /P/R in recovery console -

You can create a slipstream XP CD and do Repair Console.

How to create slipstream:

Assume that your client know administrator password, then repair console is not a problem.

CallaghtAuthor Commented:
When doing the repair process (which was going a treat) from an XP (+sp2) OEM CD I got the following error

Set cannot copy the file clbcatq .

The file clbcatq.D_ is in both C:\I386 and also on E:\I386 : tried point to both from the 'browse' option but to no avail.

How do I get over this

The extension should be .dll . . was the D_ a typo?

Can you skip it? . .
CallaghtAuthor Commented:
Yes the D_ was a typo. Got confused betwenn the different file types.

In E:\I386 there is a file called clbcatq.dl_. There is also a similar file currently in the Windows\system32 directory

Yes: I can probably skip but am worried that there may be other files with similar issues.

CallaghtAuthor Commented:
Skipped that particular one but now another has come up COMUID.DLL.

Also seems like it's looking for a particular 'label' on the source 'disk' because the copy error box states
"ensure that the windows XP professional Service Pack 2  CD is in drive selected or provide the location where the file can be found'

Using browse I have tried E:\i386 and also C:\I386 but to no avail
Those types of errors generally point to bad memory, hard drive or CD
If the system is overclocked, then turn it back to factory defaults.


remove your cmos cell and wait for 1 or 2 hours and place it back or short cmos jumper setting to clear bios entries

If you cannot recove the SYSTEM part of the registry with command console, and he has no backups, then you are wasting your time to try to recover his laptop setup, it is gone, and this is the reason that a backup should be made.

All you have to do is copy all My Documents to a different directory, and if room on the hard disk, copy all of documents and settings and Program files to different directories for safe keeping.

Then reinstall XP new over the old setup.  It will wipe out all the above-mentioned directories, but since you made copies of them, after the reinstall, you will know what has to be reinstalled and where, and when finally done, copy all of the My documents back into the new my documents, reinstall the programs, and you are done in a few hours.  That is the only way if SYSTEM is truly unrecoverable.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
CallaghtAuthor Commented:
Tried again to 'repair' the system but this time a completely different set of files could not be copied.

Did a memory test using Memtest V3.06 and it passed ok.

Not going to try CMOS reset because its a laptop and I scared the 'bits' might not fit together again .

I think that scrathcyboy may have a point about the 'System' portion of the registry; If that was hosed what reference point has the repair process got. Having said all that the repair process did get right down to the final copy stage so it must have had something worthwhile to work with.

Currently I Am loading an OEM XP CD onto a spare partition (d:) so that I can copy over the Documents and setting folder.

Once this is up and running is there any method of accessing the registry (or whatever) on the 'old' installation and maybe modifying the setting to cure the 'copy' issue during the repair process. Seems like it's the 'label' that it cannot find and if that label is in some file or part of a parameter set the changing/modifying  it might provide a base to continue.

We are trying to source an ACER recovery disk for the model in case there is are specific driver needs etc etc:

As I write Setup on other partition has completed and am copying data files so at least there is now a backup of the data;

Before I take the final step and overwrite the C: drive setup are all my options in terms of the 'repair ' process exhausted. I feel that we are so near and yet so far!!!

many thanks for all inputs so far.

windows cannot start the file c:\windows\system32\config\system is missing or is damaged.
*** Revised by me (not using old files from Repair folder) ***

boot from an XP cd, & press R to enter the Recovery Console
from c:\windows
md tmp

copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

cd c:\"system volume information"\_restore*\
dir /p  (find a folder "RPxxx" with a date prior to when this occurred)
cd rpXXX\snapshot

From the Snapshot folder, do the below command to copy the files:
 (space after copy & before c:\windows)

copy _registry_user_.default c:\Windows\System32\Config\default
copy _registry_machine_sam c:\Windows\System32\Config\sam
copy _registry_machine_security c:\Windows\System32\Config\security
copy _registry_machine_software c:\Windows\System32\Config\software
copy _registry_machine_system c:\Windows\System32\Config\system

reboot & run restore to create new restore point
CallaghtAuthor Commented:
Apologies for the delay in replying

Had to reload system to alternate partition on laptop using an OEM set up disk , and reload all software from scratch. Luckily client's dat file still was ok on main C: partition.

Am in the process of finalising setup this morning and completing recovery;

Thanks to all so far
well that is one way to do it, did you try what i suggested as it would've restored the key registry files from the system restore backup.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Operating Systems

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.