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How can I do a repair so that I do not lose any of my files?  I have tried several solutions posted online and none have worked for me.

Posted on 2007-11-20
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Last Modified: 2008-02-15
I am a computer novice and am not sure of all the technical specifications of my computer.  I have a Dell computer with an XP operating system.  After a multiple power outtage, when I tried to boot my computer, I got the message:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
\windows\system32\config\system

I searched online for repar suggestions and have not found one yet to help.  I tried doing an inplace repair by booting from my original disk and selecting option #1 and pressing enter.  Didn't work.  Then I tried option #2, pressing r, and tried the series of copy, delete, repair commands and this did not work either.  I received a message during the copy stage that a file could not be found for \windows\system32\config\system.

I am trying to accomplish this repair without losing any files as I no longer have the backup cds.

Can you help?
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Question by:cshockman
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325556
If you have system restore enabled, try this.  You could also call Dell and tell them what's happening, and they should be able to walk you through this.

1.      Start the computer using the Windows XP CD, and at the menu, press R to start the Recovery Console.

2.      Then go to the following folder that contains the restore points (the "_restore" subfolder is not the same on every computer):
      C:\System Volume Information\_restore{0E4B8418-7E7E-43B4-BAC5-E50B048028B2}
      OR JUST TYPE:  "CD C:\system~1\_resto~1"

3.      Then in the folder, type "Dir" and find a "RP###" folder that was made at a date before the problems started.

4.      Then go into the "RP###" folder you want to restore from, and go into the "Snapshot" folder:
            C:\System Volume Information\_restore{0E4B8418-7E7E-43B4-BAC5-E50B048028B2}\RP742\snapshot

5.      In the "snapshot" folder for the restore point, copy the registry file that applies to your error.  Be sure to backup the file in the config folder that you're replacing before you copy the snapshot to it!

copy _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325573
how do I do a backup file in the config folder?
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325589
simply go to the folder, then copy the file:

c:
cd c:\windows\system32\config
copy system system.bak
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325594
Thank you for your suggestions.  I was able to start the recovery console and tried typing in your suggestions after the C:\windows> prompt and received a message that the system cannot find the file or directory specified.  I am sorry that I am not very computer literate, but the instructions listed above are not clear to me.  
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325613
Can you get to the folder "c:\windows\system32\config"?
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by:cshockman
ID: 20325615
no... it is missing or corrupt
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325621
Does it give you an error when you type this?

cd c:\windows\system32\config
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by:cshockman
ID: 20325627
I typed the line you posted above after the c:\windows prompt, hit enter and it has now given me a new promt:

c:\windows\system32\config>
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325635
ok, now type this:
      copy system system.bak

If you get an error with that, then there is nothing to worry about backing up.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325647
I typed the line exactly as you posted above, including the spaces, and received the following message:

The system cannot find the file specified.
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by:cshockman
ID: 20325695
This is the complete message:

c:\windows\system32\config>copy copy system system.bak
The system cannot find the file specified.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325705
I copied it incorrectly.  It should read:

c:\windows\system32\config>copy system system.bak
The system cannot find the file specified.
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Expert Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 20325717
Ok, now go back to step #2 in my instructions above, and find a backed up system file to copy and fix this with.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325721
Before you start that, you might try running check disk, maybe it could recover the file.  But I doubt it since you have done so much since this started.

chkdsk c: /r
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325743
I am able to access a list of RP files... but how do I identify a new restore point?  Is there something that I type after:

c:\system~1/_resto~1>
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325755
Do you suggest that I type in the "chkdsk c:/r" after the prompt I am currently at?  The one I posted above?
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325778
It wouldn't hurt to run check disk before you do this.  But I'm skeptical it will actually correct this.

If you just want to go ahead and restore an earlier file to fix this, type "dir" and it should list a bunch of folders beginning with "RP", find one in the list that was modified recently, but before your problems started.

After you choose a RP folder in the list, type (replacing rp### with the name of the folder you just chose):

cd rp###
cd snapshot
copy _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM

Now restart the computer and see if you can get back into windows normally.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325797
I rebooted from my disk and am trying the "chkdsk c: /r" suggestion.  I believe that I already tried this several times today as the process is looking very familiar.  It is still processing (currently at 27%) and the information I received earlier was that one or more volumes (?) had an error.
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by:cshockman
ID: 20325803
It was one of the first processes that I tried.  I have been at this for the better part of today and am getting completely flustered at this point.  
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325828
Volume is simply another term for a partition.

If you have tried check disk already, then this definitely won't fix this.  Once chkdsk finishes, do what I said in my last post.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325833
If you want to wait and continue this tomorrow, we can stop now.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20325834
Okay.  It is still only at 27% completed.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325873
Just let that sit until it finishes, and we can finish this in the morning.

After that, if you want to go ahead and continue this, do what I said before about the RP### folders.
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by:cshockman
ID: 20325884
Thank you for your help this evening.  I will continue with your previous suggestion after this check has completed and hope tomorrow is a more successful day!  Thanks again.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325914
I'm glad I could help.  And hopefully we can get this back up and running for you tomorrow.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 20325944
By the way, if check disk is still at 27% in an hour, I would say it sounds like it's in a loop and not going to complete.  Just shut the computer off, and you can go ahead and copy the registry file from a restore point.
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Expert Comment

by:accrain
ID: 20326088
I sounds like your hard drive has stopped working. I would suggest purchasing an external enclosure and hooking the drive into a working PC. This will possibly bring the hard drive up as the next available drive, making it possible to restore your files. You should be able to get one fo these from any computer store, or here is a link to an external hard drive enclosure, http://www.directron.com/ecsstu35k.html.. If the computer starts to freeze when the external drive is turned on then there is a direct issue with the hard drive and the only way that you will be able to restore files will be through a data recovery application such as, Restorer2000, www.bitmart.net. If you are able to run a chkdsk on the hard drive make sure that you add the /r attribute and not just /f as it will only repair the sectors on the drive without recovering the data in them, causing serious problems. Even if you restore all data from the drive it will need to be replaced and have the OS installed. If you need instruction with this process then I will be glad to provide it.
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by:cshockman
ID: 20327500
Good morning!  When I woke up this morning, the chkdsk operation indicated that one or more errors on the volume had been found and fixed, yet when I rebooted my computer, I still got the message that the \windows\system32\config\system file was corrupted or missing.

I then repeated the process that you suggested that I try last night and chose a restore point before the problems occurred.  This time when I tried rebooting my computer, it kept doing a continuing loop of trying to start ending with this error message:

When trying to update a password, this return status indicates that the value provided as the current password is not correct.

Then it automatically tries to restart itself over and over again.

Now when booting from my disk, it is giving me the option again of trying an inplace repair (it was not giving me this option yesterday) and I am currently attempting this process.
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by:cshockman
ID: 20327569
I have just tried doing an inplace repair and rebooted my computer after that process was complete.  I am still getting this error message:

tsass.exe - system error
When trying to update a password, this return status indicates that the value provided as the current password is not correct.

Then it procedes to do the looping thing.

accrain, Thank you for your suggestion.  I am still hoping (perhaps in vain!?) that my hard drive is still working.  There are many files on my computer that I hopeful of recovering.  My backup is no longer available to replace those files.
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Expert Comment

by:Engineer_JO
ID: 20328087
I hope you to find the solution in the following link where you can repair your windows

http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20328539
Thank you for your offer of help Engineer Jo, but I had already accessed that page (found it during a search for solutions to my problems) and tried those suggestions... to no avail.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20328549
Right now, the issue seems to be the password error message.

tsass.exe - system error
When trying to update a password, this return status indicates that the value provided as the current password is not correct.

Although I am getting that message, I have not been prompted to enter a password anywhere.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20328682
Correction... it is not tsass.exe - system error.. it is:

lsass.exe-system error
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by:accrain
ID: 20332045
Found this while searching google, http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/28079. They have a step-by-step explination of what someone else did to resolve this issue.
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20342885
I truly appreciate all the help several of you have provided for me concerning my computer woes.  My computer is still not up and running.  I have tried multiple fixes... all following detailed instructions from the computer literate!  

I am still getting the message:

lsass.exe - system error
When typing the password, this return status indicates that the value provided as the current password is not correct.

Now when I try to enter the Recovery Console... it asks for an Administrator password to gain access.  I do not have a password and have just hit enter as has been suggested to me.  That did not work.  My computer is still denying me access.

Please don't give up on me.. if there is anyone who thinks they may be able to help me recover my computer... please help!

Thank you.
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by:accrain
ID: 20344886
Earlier in one of my recommended solutions I mentioned trying to hook the hard drive into an external enclosure and transfer the data to a working computer so that you can have it as back up. Have you tried this?
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20490006
Rindi,
I still have not repaired my computer.  I have temporarily suspended attempts to fix it because I did not have any new solutions to try.  I also have not called out any repair technicians because I have not been home much and could not schedule an appointment.  I'm still hopeful of fixing it!  I have had problems with it in the past and have always been able to find a solution... I am hoping this time is no different.  
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 20490322
It looks like the experts have already told you all you can try. Sometimes it happens your disk is too corrupt to recover. This doesn't necessarily mean it is broken, but it may require a lowlevel format to be usable again. You can try running chkdsk again, and then recover an earlier restore point than the one you have tried already. Maybe try two or more. If that doesn't help then I'm afraid you should copy the data off the disk, ask Dell for a recovery CD set, and start from scratch.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 20520856
Any news?
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Author Comment

by:cshockman
ID: 20589283
Thank you to all who tried to help me with my computer issues.  It has not been resolved.  Crash was on the way to helping me, but we called it a night with an understanding that it would be resumed the next day.  Crash did not return, I don't know if it was because the solutions provided after his/her last post were the same as he/she would have suggested from that point.  I guess I will never know.  I have shut down my desktop computer until such a time that I can afford to have someone look at it.  I cannot lose those files and I do not know how to recover them from a computer that I cannot access.  
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Crash2100 earned 500 total points
ID: 20669277
Sorry I didn't return.  Have you tried copying the SYSTEM file out of a different RP folder?

Here's another method of repairing the registry that you could try:

How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545

If none of that works, you could always take the drive and put it in a working computer and use that to copy your files off.
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by:Computer101
ID: 20908079
Forced accept.

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