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XP SP2 Corrupt System Volume Files

r_may asked
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21

My computer was not booting into Windows XP (Dell XPS workstation).  It would get to the point of the Windows XP splash screen and not make it to the log on screen.   After many attempts, I was finally able to get Notron Ghost Recovery Counsel to come up.  I was able to use the recovery point created by Ghost to go back 13 days ago.  However, when loading the old files it came up serveral times with a message stating that there was a corrupt system file.  After completing the recovery, I was able to successfully boot into Windows.  I then ran CHKDSK to look for bad files and repair them, but I am not sure that it repaired the files since it did not give a list of any repairs done.

My question: Should I boot off the Windows XP CD and select "repair" from the install options to make sure the the bad system files are repaired?  It is my understanding that this will not affect the programs installed on the machine, but just require that I connect to the internet and reload all the Microsoft patches.  

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Top Expert 2009
If you want to find out what was repaired by CHKDSK: The location of the chkdsk log for WinXP:


In XP, open the Control Panel, double click on "Adminstrative Tools", double click on the "Event Viewer" icon, then click on "Application". In the "Source" column, look for the "Winlogon" item. Double click it and you should see the results of your Chkdsk.

And you're correct about a repair not affecting installed programs or data.  To perform an XP repair:


Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive. Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

After you perform an in-place upgrade or repair installation, you must reinstall all updates to Windows.
Here are a couple of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles you should read which concern possible data loss when you reinstall/repair XP:

You May Lose Data or Program Settings After Reinstalling, Repairing, or Upgrading Windows XP

Data Loss May Occur After Reinstalling, Repairing, or Upgrading Windows XP
Note that, from the above articles, the problem of data loss if your Windows XP was installed by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) has been corrected if your Windows XP has Service Pack 1 installed.

This is a very good page on how to perform an XP Repair Install, which will preserve your data and programs:



Thanks for your quick reply.  Would you suggest doing a XP Repair install since system volume files were found corrupt?
Actually, you want to do the *second* repair option - NOT the Recovery Console.

When booting from the XP CD select the first option, "To set up Windows XP now, press Enter."

Some disk activity will happen then you be presented with another screen.  Select your current XP installation and *then* press "R" to repair.


I've never had applications, data, or settings changed by this but I have had to reload service packs after doing this with XP Pro.  

Also, while this will fix a world of problems, I have had some instances where the only way to fix a corrupted XP was to format and reinstall from scratch.

Good luck!
Top Expert 2009

Yes, I would, but be sure and read the entire article at michaelstevenstech, for there are some caveats about doing this with a computer with an OEM-installed WinXP.  Also, after you do the repair install, there will be some problems with Windows Update, as explained and solved by this MS article:

Updates are not installed successfully from Windows Update, from Microsoft Update, or by using Automatic Updates after you repair a Windows XP installation
OK, LeeTutor said everything I was trying to say but he said it faster and in more detail - got in while I was typing.  :-)  Maybe I should use my other eight fingers...?


Thanks for the heads up on the Windows Update issue.  I will do a repair and follow the steps to fix Windows Update.


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