Autochk not found - Windows won't start

Recently a laptop we have displays the following message after the Windows "Splash Screen"
'autochk program not found - skipping AUTOCHECK'
then it will give the following BSOD

STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}
The Session Manager Initialization System process terminated unexpectedly with a
 status of 0xc000003a (0x00000000 0x00000000).
The system has been shut down.

From the recovery console I performed a chkdsk /r, the copied autochk.exe from the I:\I386 dir on the install CD to the %windir%/system32 directory but that doesn't seem to help.  Are there any other others to run from recovery console that may help?

I have attached the scrrenshots of the error screens.

Who is Participating?
ThinkSmartIncConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I had this happen once and I wound up doing a repair install of Windows XP.  If you are not familiar, put in your WinXP install disk, select install windows (not repair console).  The setup routine will detect that Windows XP is already installed and will prompt you with an option to do a repair installation.  Select this option and it'll delete all the base WinXP files that were setup on initial installation and then reinstall Windows XP.  There are a couple of things to watch out for though.  Even though it keeps your registry untouched and all your programs remain installed, many of your programs may stop functioning as they might be dependent on certain updates that are now missing for Windows (like SP2 or SP3).  Also, if you had SP2 or 3 installed, you'll find that you can't run windows update anymore, it'll find and download your updates but won't install them.  This is fixed with the following steps depending on if you are running 32 bit or 64 bit windows.

32 Bit:
Open a command prompt and enter the following three commands
net stop wuauserv
regsvr32 /s %windir%\system32\wups2.dll
net start wuauserv

64 Bit:
Open a command prompt and enter the following three commands
net stop wuauserv
regsvr32 /s %windir%\syswow64\wups2.dll
net start wuauserv

The reason for this is that the wups2.dll file comes in the SP2 update and is required for Windows Update to run.  This file is still on your system after the repair installation but it is no longer registered.  So, when update runs, it looks to see if that file is in place (along with others), sees it there and then downloads your updates.  But when it comes time to run the updates, that DLL is essentially missing causing the actual install to fail.  You are simply registering the DLL again.

Admittedly, this is the shotgun solution to this issue, and this will fix your issue assuming that this isn't caused by a hardware problem (like a bad motherboard, bad ram, CPU failing, etc), and it also makes it so you won't know exactly what caused your problem (as LeeTutor's method very well could), but it is another option.
The last time I had an autochk not found error it was because of a corrupted or missing boot.ini file.  When you are in the recovery console, type the following commands at the command prompt:

cd \
attrib -h -r -s boot.ini
type boot.ini

Copy the contents to your next comment on this question.

Also, this MS article may be of help:
How to troubleshoot a "STOP 0xC000021A" error
LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
You may want to try creating a correct boot.ini file yourself, if it is corrupt or missing.  This MS article tells you about what it should look like:;en-us;314081
The Purpose of the Boot.ini File in Windows XP

You may also want to try the FIXBOOT and BOOTCFG commands in Recovery Console:;en-us;314058
Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console
Free Tool: ZipGrep

ZipGrep is a utility that can list and search zip (.war, .ear, .jar, etc) archives for text patterns, without the need to extract the archive's contents.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way to say thank you for being a part of the community.

cvhoytAuthor Commented:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional"
/noexecute=optin /fastdetect
I don't see anything wrong with your Boot.ini file.  Did you try the BOOTCFG and/or FIXBOOT commands?
cvhoytAuthor Commented:
I just did a bootcfg /list and it listed the following:
[1] "Microsoft Windows XP Professional"
OS Load Options: /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
OS Loaction: C:\WINDOWS

then I did a BOOTCFG/scan

Scanning all disks for Windows installations.
Please wait, this may take awhile...
The Windows installation scan was succesful.
NOTE:  <omitted>
Total identified Windows installs: 1
Sounds like you should be good to go.  Did you try booting again, and see if it all works, without your error message?
cvhoyt, any feedback?
cvhoytAuthor Commented:
I did a complete re-install, the repair install kept hanging on device installation.  I was able to get a back up image of the drive so I decided a fresh install was probably in my best interest.  Thanks for the help though.
Hi, you can do this without reinstalling the whole thing if you have these files saved from SP2:


just replace them. Here, in this post outside this method is explained in details:
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