How do I recover from this? says it will NOT work because it is an OEM install.

Posted on 2007-10-08
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Tosbiba notebook computer with Windows XP Home OEM boots with the following error:
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

Microsoft says the solution in will NOT work because it is an OEM install.  What is a solution that will work?

Question by:iccaveman
    LVL 66

    Accepted Solution

    Take a look at buring one of these below tools (UBCD4WIN is ready to burn once it is built, and downloaded as is BartPE). It gives you a Windows Graphical environment to make these changes...

    Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD


    Boot to one of those utilites above, and go to the a43 Explorer utility. Navigate to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

    Rename the following files....DO NOT DELETE THEM....

    Rename system to system.old
    Rename software to software.old
    Rename sam to sam.old
    Rename security to security.old
    Rename default to default.old

    Go into the "System_Volume_Information" folder (if you get a "Access Denied", right click the folder and select the Security Tab, and once you highlight Everyone at teh top, select "Full Control" in the bottom. )
    Select the "Restore Folder"
    Then you will see folders with RP50, RP51 etc... Look for the highest number, as it is the newest one. Go into that folder and copy the following files to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.


    Now, go back to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

    Remove the "registry_machine_" from the 5 files you just copied.

    Restart the machine, and remove the bootable disc you were using....

    If it boots successfully, go to "System Restore" in the Help menu, and do a full restore to a few days back.... This will ensure that all of the files are restored to the proper restore point, not just the registry files you fixed....

    Of course, if you just want to go through this process with just the SYSTEM file, you can do it by itself if you want. If you still get the error, or a Blue Screen of Death upon the next boot, simply go back and redo the other 4 files....
    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    I am assuming you are referring to  

    "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 "

    Have a look here for a good thread on a similar problem...
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    If you have a bootable XP home CD, then it should indeed work. (But there is a case where an OEM install actually set the administrator password to something random hence you not being able to log into it)

    Please note it has to be the XP CD and NOT a toshiba recovery CD.
    The recovery CD will blow away your partitions and put the machine back to the way it was shipped out of the factory.

    As per
    "then there is a known issue with OEM versions of Windows XP and Sysprep (don't worry about sysprep, for another time) with administrator's passwords. If that's the case, then just visit this website to download and use updated Windows XP Setup Floppies for your version of Windows XP. "

    KB308402 points you to

    THAT is where you can get boot floppies for your version of windows that should get you into the recovery console.
    Please note get the ones with the right service pack, so if your machine was running SP2 download the SP2 XP home ones.

    Boot off the floppies and you should be able to get into the recovery console to complete the steps in the KB article you noted.

    The other option is a bootable CD like The ultimate boot CD
    BartsPE BUT you need the XP CD for you to be able to make those CD's in the first place.

    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    Any update?

    Author Comment

    Both suggested solutions look like reasonable solutions, and should have worked, but unfortunatly neither worked in this case. I suspect I was getting a bogus error message. I had to backup the data a do a system restore and the system is now working. Thank you for your help.

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