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Multiple machine Windows XP BSOD unable to load registry

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Last Modified: 2013-11-22
A small office I support has had 4 out of 10 machines in the last week start BSOD'ing unable to load registry.  Seems like too many to be a co-incidence.  Anti-virus finds nothing, windows updates are current.   3 machines are Dells, 1 a Gateway, so can't isolate to single hardware.  A new virus?  Power surge?  Lightening?  Bad windows update applied?  No glaring hardware erros in event viewer.  Got me puzzled.
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Commented:
What is the specific error?

I have seen two machines the last week intermittently be unable to load the system hive. A chkdsk in safemode fixes the issue for a few days, but it returns. Tried in-place upgrading one of them as well, to no avail.
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Author

Commented:
THe exact BSOD msg is:
STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
  The registry cannot load the hive (file):
  \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
  or it's log or alternate.  
  It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

I will analyze the dump files next time I'm in their offices (later this week probably unless they call me before then).
Here's how to fix it...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545


Here's another website with directions. It seems complicated but I guarantee you it's a simple fix. I do not need any more information from you on this. I've come across this issue many times before with XP. If you have anymore issues feel free to contact me directly @ keith[at]opswat[dot]com
I'll be able to reply faster and answer any technical questions you have while working on it if you email me there.

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_sys32.htm

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the tips for fixing the registry, but what I'm really looking for is the cause since 4 machines had this happen at the same time.  I had googled the problem and found out how to fix it, but what i really need is tips for finding the cause, which I suspect is a new virus?  Bad windows update?  Hoping someone else has seen the simultaneous corruption of the registry on multiple machines and found and eliminated the root cause.
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